Villa Romana St Tropez-Dubai

We hang out in Saint-Tropez nightspot at Habtoor Grand

Villa Romana St Tropez-Dubai
Villa Romana is the latest in a slew of über-exclusive European club brands to arrive, franchised out, in Dubai, hoping to attract the Middle East’s moneyed party people and notorious big spenders. Yet this
one may be among the most eager to flaunt its outrageously VIP-only credentials.

A brand hailing from the French Riviera, founder Jean-Luc Fournier apparently transformed a traditional family pizzeria into a booming Saint-Tropez nightspot, incorporating exclusive fashion shows, opulent decor and an exclusive door policy. The venue’s proximity to the Cannes Film Festival probably didn’t hurt; its web home page proudly and shamelessly displays numerous images of George Clooney and Penélope Cruz enjoying
a bite and a beverage.

The tone is set in Dubai with two large lion statues sitting either side of the venue’s garden entrance, while what looks like a Greek goddess marks a small courtyard. Ushered inside by a polite hostess, the interior is rather tasteless: as though Marie Antoinette’s boudoir was spewed over an art-deco ’70s apartment. The plus side of such a gaudy cultural cacophony is that we were able to fill several minutes of an awkward date playing a novel take on I Spy, entitled ‘guess which feature I think is the most ugly’. We were torn between the pink chandeliers and the leopard-skin bar stools, but do tell us yours.

The bar’s staff didn’t escape the tar of tastelessness: we were handed menus by a gent wearing a beefeater-esque costume, topped by a feathered black top hat. Yet we noticed that the barmen, dressed in
a black suit-and-shirt combo, along with a white bow tie, had got off comparatively lightly.

These guys clearly took it all in good humour, with the legions of staff – far outweighing the punters on a quiet week night – offering a jovial conversational flair and enjoying riotous jokes among themselves. However, a little more attention to detail wouldn’t have gone astray: when we were handed an (old) menu quoting prices of Dhs180 for a signature mixed drink, we gawped and asked for the bill after one. Had we known we’d only (!) be charged Dhs100 apiece – the correct price, apparently – we might have ordered a second. Meanwhile, a side order of water never appeared, yet graced our bill nonetheless. This kind of shoddy service isn’t really acceptable in a venue that serves mixed-drink pitchers spiralling into five figures, and has bubbly bottles worth Dhs115,000 sitting on the shelf.

The same careless attitude was displayed in the music policy. Exclusively playing misplaced cheese may be in keeping with the bar’s ironic lowbrow ethos – but hearing ‘Angels’ and ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’ twice within an hour suggests the management may need to invest in a few more iTunes tracks.

The new wave of high-end European brands setting up shop in Dubai – this, Café del Mar, VIP Room – is welcome proof that Dubai’s nightlife scene is as buoyant as ever, yet seems to pander to one kind of (very moneyed) expat. Villa Romana St Tropez-Dubai
5 1

By Rob Garratt | 15 January 2013

Location: - Dubai Marina
Tel: 050 502 8666
Travel: Al Sufouh Road
Times: Open daily 12.30pm-4pm (walk-ins accepted); 6pm-1am (bookings only)

Villa Romana St Tropez-Dubai on Map

  • shades May 12, 2013 11:37 am
    Would you go back to this bar/club?
    Best for:
    Decor
    Service
    Music
    Ambience
    we love it
  • Martin Feb 15, 2013 11:24 am
    Would you go back to this bar/club?
    Decor
    Service
    Music
    Ambience
    I think some of the above reviews aren't from genuine customers.

    Now I'm used to the poor levels of service generally found in Dubai, but this place, considering the pedigree & hype, well its just incomprehensibly atrocious!

    The food is so, so average.

    Yes it's a funky venue but I go out to dine for good food, good service & good ambience.

    For the cost of a meal here, go to Table 9. OK, you won't get a few un-skilled clowns in costume, but you will get food & service that is taken very seriously.

    Music - laughable. Yes Robbie's Angels is still on the tape loop still!

    Wake up Villa Romana, your product in Dubai is pathetic.


  • Sarah Kaye Feb 13, 2013 01:56 pm
    Would you go back to this bar/club?
    Decor
    Service
    Music
    Ambience
    Went on a weekday and were the only punters for an excruciatingly long time before one other table arrived. The decor is tacky on a grand scale (and not fun tacky- it just looks cheap); the food is average but not worth a detour. Skip. Please. Learn from our experience.

    I have been to the venue in St Tropez; cheesey yet great fun. This just goes to show what works in St Tropez does not necessarily work in Dubai.
  • Ziad Jan 29, 2013 10:10 am
    Would you go back to this bar/club?
    Decor
    Service
    Music
    Ambience
    Villa Romana in St Tropez is one of the tackiest most vulgar places in the world, with crap food and crap service at outrageous prices. If this new location in Dubai aims to repeat the same experience then "mission accomplished"
  • April Lewis Jan 17, 2013 02:41 pm
    Would you go back to this bar/club?
    Best for:
    Decor
    Service
    Music
    Ambience
    I am not sure where all your thoughts came from but obviously, you have not been to Villa Romana St Tropez which has been patronized and loved by all people who loves St Tropez and after visiting Villa Romana Dubai, I might say that I they offer exactly the same ambience, excellent food and service.

    You do not know what you are talking about and people will for sure laugh at you because you obviously know nothing about Villa Romana.

    Your article in fact shows that you are only used to wallpapers and curtains, white floors and beige couches that most Dubai restaurants have and do not appreciate the fact that Villa Romana Dubai has an ambience, interior and style that no other restaurants in Dubai can come close to.

    You just made a big fool out of yourself Mr Garett!!!

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