x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Flying high with Travolta

When an invitation to a John Travolta event lands in your inbox, you don't delay with the RSVP.

When an invitation to party with John Travolta lights up your inbox, you don’t delay with the RSVP. I wasn’t alone – more than 150 VIPs packed out the newly refurbished 360 venue at Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai on Thursday night.

In an age where some celebs have no qualms about keeping their audience waiting for hours, refreshingly, Mr T arrived right on cue. The second bonus was that he spent more than an hour posing for group photographs with suited and booted fans.

Looking far younger than his 59 years, Travolta was clad in a petrol blue velvet jacket, black slacks and crocodile skin slip-ons.

Softly spoken, with dancing eyes and a broad smile, the actor chatted politely with star-struck attendees who gushed about their favourite of his films.

Having spent a week in Dubai in his role as an ambassador for Qantas, Travolta appeared charmed at the Arab hospitality he had received. “The desert was awesome, so tranquil, beautiful and comfortable,” he said. “We rode camels, did falconry and I took lots of pictures with my son. The desert was their highlight – other than the tallest building in the world, they loved that too.”

The screen legend confirmed he planned to return to the UAE and said he identified with the ambitious spirit of Dubai.

“It’s a city with vision, it’s very rare and I think there’s something happening here that isn’t anywhere else in the world,” he said. “I’ll be back and bring more people with me because I’d like to share it with the rest of my family and my friends. My advice would be to do everything I did.”

As guests tucked into chicken satay and tangy tomato gazpacho, a trim Travolta regaled tales of the meals he’d enjoyed while in town.

“I have loved everything and dinner under the stars was delicious.” he said. “It’s the most cosmopolitan place in the world, you couldn’t want for any [kind of food] here.”

As Travolta sauntered out of the club, well-fed and ready for bed, fans and VIPs soon followed, each clutching Qantas goody bags of business class pyjamas.

rduane@thenational.ae