The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Qurum really does embrace its new face, its ‘nouveau visage,’ with pride, and so it should! General Manager for Crowne Plaza Muscat, Herve Corvest, (photo on right) can be justifiably proud of the stunning refurbishment of the flagship establishment which overlooks the Gulf of Oman from its enviable perch at the North Eastern end of the Qurum Al Shati promenade.
Corvest, boasting 15 years in the Sultanate, surveys the almost minimalist, clean yet elegant lines of crisp white marble, glass balustrades and fascia, broken only by the luxurious sky blue of the infinity pools, and the subtly decorative furnishings, as he says, “All this, in just a hundred days.” The appearance, the subtle mood and atmosphere of the terraced verandah, or galleria, command respect and appreciation, it is clearly meant to be enjoyed as a premier destination, if not of the rich and famous, then certainly for those who enjoy the finer things in life. “We re-opened in September of last year,” said Corvest, “but it still inspires the same emotions as the first time we walked out here. The owners had a vision, we had an excellent contractor, and of course a wonderful team here, in-house, and from memory we hosted a wedding on the hundredth day, so a lot of people have done very, very well.”
However there is no doubt the dignitaries, the French Ambassador, HE Renaud Salins, and Event Manager Henri de Montmarin, are all looking forward to the luxury event, the OSMOTHEQUE and Amouage Conference aimed at presenting, representing, and de-mystifying perfumes, at 5pm on Thursday the 21st March. Perfumes have their origins in the Cote d’Azur region of France, and the first perfumes were derived from the natural scent of the local grasses. It will be interesting to be privileged to understand the journey of some of these famous brands throughout history, because as Christian Dior insisted, “a woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.”
Osmotheque itself has a mission statement of being devoted to preserving the memory of scents, and tracing lost perfumes to give them life again, paraphrasing a French proverb that, “beauty, unaccompanied by perfume, is like a flower without color.” Osmotheque’s commitment to task is demonstrated in the more than 3200 perfumes in their current collection, many of which are no longer on the market, and these are not simply perfumes, perfumes, but the iconic brands that have remained fashionable, awed, respected and treasured, for generations, and of which it is said, “Smell is a word, but by comparison, perfume is literature!”.
Those demonstrating, and explaining the perfumes are known as osmocurators/perfumers and highly trained, qualified and respected in their fields, are sure to reveal the interesting origins of many of these delicate scents which are interestingly, not owned by Osmotheque, but entrusted to it on the basis of custodian, or guardianship by the lenders. Osmotheque ‘remakes’ many long-lost perfumes through a careful process of reconstruction from original formulae in its role as an archivist, but doesn’t seek to replace like-for-like, preferring to maintain the integrity of the original perfumeries. “Authenticity,” wrote Janice Louise Stephenson, “requires vulnerability, transparency, and integrity,” thus acknowledging the delicacy of the curator’s work. Oman’s premium perfume brand will also be well-represented as it seeks to continue to establish itself globally, and push its way towards the ‘top table,’ of discreet beauty.
Here is a genuine opportunity for you ladies of discretion, you aficionados of temptation and romance, whether young or old, delicate or robust, truly romantic or pragmatic, to experience something completely different, a once-in-a-lifetime life experience such as you have never had the opportunity to be a part of before. Wake up, dress up, make up, get up to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and smell the roses, lilies, and all that is attractive of nature’s bounty, for as the iconic Coco Chanel once remarked, “No elegance is possible without perfume. It is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory.”