Illuminati, UAE’s first luxury experiential lounge, opened its doors last Sunday at V Habtoor Hotel, Dubai, echoing the sentiment of the forbearers of its name – a secret society formed in 18th century Germany. An evening full of mystery, entertainment and culinary brilliance await those who find this lounge.
Using artificial intelligence and technology, the lounge creates a 3D-mapped immersive space, starting at the entrance, so you can truly enjoy its thematic offerings. Entry, once gained, opens up new doors and with them, a new world where fantasy and reality blend, where you may find characters come to life from fairy-tales. On opening night, a performer wearing the cape of red riding hood walked among patrons, stopping to belt out singles such as Adele’s Rolling in the Deep and Hozier’s Take me to Church that had them nodding along.
Hitesh Khushalani, owner of Illuminati, believes the UAE is ready for this end-to-end fantasy programme: “The UAE is known to have a discerning audience that’s willing to experiment with lifestyle experiences. To elevate hyper-personalised dine-in choices, we crafted Illuminati that serves culinary fusions to bring the world to your plate along with a sublime ambiance to complement the experience.
“We endeavour to make it a futuristic culinary experience like no other to further put Dubai on the global map for surreal food experiences. With the original Illuminati manifested in every aspect of this concept lounge, the food, decor, technology, and service, everything about Illuminati is a captivating experience.”
At one end of the long corridor, draped in darkness that is broken intermittently by ambience-creating light routines, stands a DJ stall, where the day’s tracks are chosen. The club’s walls transform every 24 hours to bring to life a new theme. The LED-studded walls follow suit with their formations. And at the VIP pods that have AI-backed touch screen tables, with menus glazed over their tops, what makes the experience more fun is the content of those offerings – bespoke fusion creations, signature drinks concocted for just this space, and shisha with notes blended just so.
“We want our guests to expect the unexpected,” explains Khushalani. “If you are passionate about food and love trying new things, then you will love the fusion cuisine at our restaurant. The menu features dishes inspired by the original Illuminati society’s enigmatic history, and the decor is designed to evoke a sense of mystery and intrigue. While mastering the art of food fusion, our chefs also pay attention to detail with the appetising mixing of tastes and plating.”
On opening night, as friends sat and punctuated the silences between songs with chatter, chairs dropped from the ceiling, and with them came the performers. As little red riding hood sang, these performers took to dance mid-flight; standing atop the chairs, using rigged straps to give themselves balance as they moved acrobatically in time with the beat and with each other. The main act as it were, was a woman on the ground, who at one point was suspended on a resistance band using nothing but her neck. The whole time music blared and dancers jived. Once the performance ended and silence had dawned, it took a moment for cheers to fill the air.
“Entertainment, reality-defying acts by certified aerialists, world-renowned resident DJs, and live performances at your table are sure to redefine hyper-personalized dine-in experiences,” reiterates Khushalani.
A dance of fantasy and reality in a 15,000-sq-ft space of fusion – of food, entertainment and magic – that’s what the enigmatic new Illuminati lounge offers its visitors.
Illuminati is located on the first floor of V Habtoor Hotel, Shaikh Zayed Road. For reservations, call 054 545 4354, then, get ready for an adventure.