DUBAI // It generally is considered very poor form to visit a hotel and walk away with half the fixtures and fittings. But the crowd that gathered early yesterday outside one of the city's few boutique hotels, La Maison d'Hôtes, in Jumeirah, did just that. The owners, Claude Berquier and Julie Renaudie, closed the hotel on January 11 after Dubai Municipality decided it was not suitable for a residential area.
Yesterday, they opened their doors for a final time to sell off decorations, bed linen and goods from the hotel shop. There were people waiting outside the secluded guesthouse an hour before the doors opened at 9am, and by midday about 100 had flocked through its doors to browse through the mostly new goods discounted by at least 50 per cent. Stephen Walsh, 64, a retail consultant, had already spent about Dh3,000 on beds, tables and chairs when the French-born hotel owners sold their furniture on Tuesday. They were expecting the sale to last two days but the hotel was stripped bare within two hours.
Mr Walsh returned to finish fitting out his home with La Maison d'Hôtes bedding and tablecloths. "This place is a symbol of originality, inspiration and entrepreneurship and it is very sad to see something so unique in Dubai disappearing," he said. "It is very difficult to understand why. "Whenever friends visited me in Dubai, they would always come and stay here. I came today to show my support. It is all very good quality, which must make it more of a bitter pill to swallow for the owners."