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Published November 19th 2016
Jostle with the paparazzi for a shot at these great cars
I love historic hotels, which is what took me to one of London's oldest and finest -- the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane. That and a story my mother once told me about a lavish ball she attended there the 1950s. It was her Cinderella moment of wearing a red satin, off the shoulder ball gown.
What I hadn't expected in my personal quest was to be totally mesmerised, not by the hotel, which was certainly spectacular with it fine tea rooms and mirrored reception area to the ballroom, but by the cars parked outside.
I was not alone. There is such a thing, it seems, as car paparazzi. Nimble of foot accustomed to squatting, kneeling and scaling low overhanging branches while they balance lenses as long as baby elephant trunks they sit in wait for the supercars.
The owners it seems are pretty irrelevant. Despite the number who run out to their cars and do the traditional playboy jump into their vehicles without stopping to open doors.
Perhaps they have simply seen one too many James Bond films.
Let me explain their presence. In August, the wealthy descend on London from the oil-rich Middle East in what has become known as the Ramadan Rush.
After the dawn to dusk fasting and month of moderation, it is all about letting loose. They come and stay at Park Lane hotels such as the Dorchester which cost thousands of pounds a night and then descend on some of London's exclusive stores such as Harrods, Liberties and Selfridges.
But they don't leave their cars at home. Oh no. Their Lamborghinis, and Mercedes are shipped over as well. And when I say shipped this is no languorous sea journey as they are driven to the airport and then flown over at the cost of £20,000 for a return journey, Their number plates (written in part in Arabic) display origins such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.