Ice lounge cools down Dubai diners
The region's first ice lounge sets its sights on cool summer business
As temperatures soar, there is one place in the Middle East where customers can stay cool — Chillout at Dubai’s Times Square Center, the region’s first ice lounge.
“Almost everything in the restaurant is sculpted out of ice,” explained Sharaf Hospitality business manager Parvinder Singh.
“Diners will sit on ice benches or chairs, eat at ice tables, from ice plates, drink from ice glasses served from a bar made of ice.”
The unsual outlet, where the temperature hovers around a chilly -6ºC, even boasts an ‘ice gallery’ showcasing Dubai’s landmarks.
The restaurant, which opened two summers ago, was an AED 9 million project undertaken by Sharaf Group, with technical input from Canada-based Iceculture Inc, famed for building ice lounges around the world.
The 2400ft² restaurant has three areas: the lobby and lounge areas are separated by what is called the ‘Buffer Zone’.
“As they enter the lobby, visitors are given thermal gear to protect themselves from the chilly conditions,” said Singh. “This comprises a hooded Parka jacket, disposable woollen gloves and a pair of shoes.
“Visitors are advised to first spend a few minutes in the Buffer Zone to get acclimatised. The temperature in the buffer zone is set at 5 ºC, which gives the body time to adjust to the sharp drop in temperature in the dining area,” Singh explained.
The restaurant can accommodate up to 40 guests and serves cold cuts, barbecued items, soups, sandwiches, juices, ice creams and mocktails.
For added dining enjoyment, seats are cushioned while the acrylic-topped tables boast decorative pieces sculpted from ice.
“The ideal time to spend inside an ice restaurant is 30-40 minutes. While in other countries people are asked to leave after that period, Chillout will not follow that policy,” revealed Singh.
“The workforce comprises people from cold countries such as Romania and Russia to ensure they can withstand sub-zero conditions.”