x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

The historic brand with an emphasis on luxury

Walking through the entrance on the ground floor, where much of the shop floor will be, it was clear that final preparations were almost complete.

The pristine lettering of the store’s name had only just had the protective packaging removed and was reflecting in the midday sun overlooking Dubai Fountain and Dubai Mall as we made our way into the building for a tour.

All around us dozens of workmen in overalls were scurrying about, busying themselves.

They entered the shop carrying items or exited with handfuls of bubble wrap and plastic sheets.

Walking through the entrance on the ground floor, where much of the shop floor will be, it was clear that final preparations were almost complete.

Wooden tables and shelves were already stocked with Fortnum’s famous hampers, while others had tins of tea, biscuits and preserves.

The lift, which will be the main mode of transport for people wanting to try out the menu on the first-floor restaurant or the second-floor ice-cream parlour, was not in use, so we made our way up several flights of stairs.

Carpenters, plasterers, electricians and decorators were focused on their jobs in hand.

The restaurant still had plastic sheeting covering the floor and some of the chairs and tables were stacked on the balcony, which has great views of Dubai’s famous fountain.

The tiled floor of the ice-cream parlour had large areas of wet mortar that had just been laid.

As we were leaving, a new group of workers were arriving to continue preparations. They were listening intently to instructions being given by their supervisor on what needed to be done so that the store would be ready to welcome customers on Friday.

When the doors finally open, it is clear that Fortnum and Mason will be ready for the inevitable flood of custom.

nhanif@thenational.ae