Gossip & Rumors

Alo Yoga Location

Back in August, I broke the news that Alshaya is bringing the Los Angeles-based yoga brand Alo to Kuwait. I also mentioned since they’re direct competitors to Lululemon that I’d imagine Alshaya would give Alo a premium location in The Avenues. Well looks like that location is right at the end of the Grand Avenues, in the Grand Plaza right next to the Mercedes dealership. You can’t get a better location than that right now.

Thanks @inspirededibles

Food Gossip & Rumors

Beefbar Coming to Kuwait

I was just informed by a reliable source that Beefbar, the popular meat focused restaurant originally from Montecarlo is coming to Kuwait. I don’t have a location or date yet, only that they have now signed with a local partner.

Beefbar is already available in Dubai and Riyadh so we aren’t going to have the first location in the Gulf but, it’s pretty cool that restaurants like Roka and now Beefbar are entering the market.

Gossip & Rumors

Lindsay Lohan is back in Kuwait

The American actress Lindsay Lohan is back in Kuwait again. Last year she got engaged to a Kuwaiti who lives in Dubai, and the two are now in Kuwait to celebrate their engagement. I guess we’re going to randomly start bumping into her at places like Cocoa Room and Avenues now. Those who grew up watching her in movies like The Parent Trap and Mean Girls and were fans of hers probably find all this a bit unreal.

Gossip & Rumors

Rumor: Sheraton to become St. Regis Hotel

Sheraton Hotel in Kuwait was the first Sheraton to open outside of North America. It opened up in 1966 and I’ve always had a connection to it due to the fact my family used to have lunch there every Friday when I was a kid in the 80s. Sadly like all nostalgic places in Kuwait, they eventually get demolished or they get an ugly facelift. In Sheraton’s case, it’s the latter. I think the facelifted building has lost its charm and history and now looks too generic.

But the bigger story here is that the Sheraton Hotel will become the St. Regis Hotel. The rumor is that the main building pictured above will become St Regis while the hotel extension (back right of the building) which was built in 1979 will become Sheraton Hotel and have it’s own separate entrance. Sheraton Four Points behind that will remain as is. Here are some more tidbits taken from the Skyscraper City Forum:

  • The plans to rebrand are confidential and relatively unknown.

  • The hotel renovation project was supposed to have the main wing done by the end of 2020, the 1971 extension done in 2021 and the 1979 wing renovated over the course of 2021 and handed over by 2022. Due to COVID, they are now two years behind schedule.

  • The renovation on the main building may look done, but they fast-tracked the exterior completion so that they could give the hotel a clean appearance instead of having torn green tarps hanging off the façade.

  • The interior of the main building is still very much under construction; due to COVID and Kuwait’s closed borders, the interior designers and foreign contractors are unable to come to the site and oversee the works, so whatever little the hotel can do locally, they’re doing it at a slow pace.

  • With the closed borders and no events taking place, the hotel’s occupancy is EXTREMELY low – I’m talking four or five rooms occupied, max.

Sheraton Hotel in the 1960s

Thanks ChaoticTranquility

Update: Here is a bit of random info. The first customer at the Kuwait Sheraton Hotel was Edmond Ghantous – June 26, 1966.

Food Gossip & Rumors

New % Arabica in the City

My favorite coffee shop used to be the % Arabica location in downtown Kuwait City, the one across from Crystal Tower. It was their first location, it was small and it used to be really cozy. Since that location closed down I’ve been waiting for them to open a new one on that street and they’ve finally gotten a spot and it’s right next to my office, like literally one building away. They’ve taken a pretty large location, a whole ground floor of a tower a couple of buildings down from where Ora is located so I’m pretty excited. Here is the location on Google Maps, they’ve just put the hoarding up so I’d assume they would need 6-12 months to open.

Gossip & Rumors Music

The Dancer in Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ isn’t Kuwaiti

This is an odd post I know but there seems to be an old myth that one of the dancers in Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ music video from 1982 was Kuwaiti. I first heard this from a friend a few months ago and shrugged it off, but this weekend I got an email from a reader telling me the same. So I decided to dig into this to see if it was true.

The story goes that the dancer in the white outfit who leads the rival gang in the music video is actually Kuwaiti (to the left of Michael in the picture above). Going by the way he looks I could see him passing as a Kuwaiti so I tried to dig up the full cast members list to see what his name was. Turns out that the dancer with the white top is Michael Peters, an American choreographer and director who has no connection to Kuwait.

I then decided to dig up the list of cast members in as many Michael Jackson videos as I could think of and I wasn’t able to find anyone that sounded Kuwaiti either. So I guess that myth is busted.

Automotive Gossip & Rumors

New Chevy Tahoe Cop Cars

The photo above got leaked online showing what potentially are new cop cars based on the recently facelifted Chevy Tahoes. Keep in mind that similar to the Volvo and Patrol cop cars I previously posted, these could just be samples and not eventually go into service. But, since the current cop cars are Chevy Tahoes, I wouldn’t be surprised if their fleet did get updated with the new facelifted versions.

Thanks Fahad

Gossip & Rumors

Inspire to Take Over Corniche Club

Last year Corniche Club closed down after losing the right to operate the location and there were rumors that Alshaya tried to get the location for Equinox but lost out. But according to a contact it turns out that Arkan Real Estate which is part of the BNK Holding portfolio have taken over the location.

BNK have a number of consumer brands in their portfolio including Volvo, Vespa, Backburner, Gia and the Japanese restaurant Odachi. The popular gym Inspire will supposedly be taking over the club and I wouldn’t be surprised if BNK opened their other brands at the location like their coffee shop Backburner or maybe a Vespa showroom.

Update:According to Alshaya they never bid on the Corniche location just rebid on the PF Chang location. They won the rebid and PF Chang just reopened again this week.

Food Gossip & Rumors

Starbucks Opening at 360 Mall

A Starbucks opening up in a mall wouldn’t really be news except for the fact when 360 Mall first opened, one of the differentiating factors from other malls was they wouldn’t carry any of the Alshaya brands. They wanted to be different from other malls and so didn’t want the same shops you’d find everywhere else also open there. That’s not an easy decision to stick by especially when Alshaya owns so many brands. I think the first Alshaya brand that opened there was Asha’s, but now Starbucks is planning to open up by the end of the year.

Food Gossip & Rumors

Mr. Holmes Bakehouse Opening in Kuwait

I’ve been wanting to post about this since back in 2018 when I first found out but couldn’t due to secrecy reasons (I was working on the project back then). But, now that the secret is out I can finally share this. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse known for popularizing the cruffin is opening up in Kuwait. The cruffin, a hybrid of a croissant and a muffin became a huge hit a few years ago and sparked a lot of copycats around the world. But Mr. Holmes are also known for their pastries which I got to try all of them and they’re really good. Like I’m going to gain a lot of weight once they open kinda good.

I think they should be opening up fairly soon with their first location being in the city right next to Eighty Six.

Gossip & Rumors Sports

Al Corniche Club is Closing Down

Yesterday Al Corniche Club sent out an email informing their members that they will be closing down the club on October 11th. Last year Al Corniche Club lost the bid to operate the location but went to court hoping to reverse the decision. That must have not worked out and so they now have to leave the location.

Food Gossip & Rumors

EL&N Cafe Opening in Kuwait

EL&N Cafe (formerly known as Élan Café), one of the most instagrammable cafes in London is opening up in Kuwait. EL&N Cafe is known for their over the top pink interior, pink and purple floral wall, neon signs, millennial pink furniture and their equally instagrammable pink desserts. They will be opening in The Avenues near Cheesecake Factory next year.

Food Gossip & Rumors

Alshaya Closing Down Some Restaurants

Over the weekend I was in Avenues for work (the mall is closed FYI) so I decided to walk around and see if it was true that Alshaya was closing down some of its restaurants. Inspired Edibles had posted a list on Instagram of the brands that were closing which included:

400 Gradi
Blaze Pizza
Bridge Water Chocolate
Le Pain Quotidien
P.F. Chang’s (Phase 1)
Spontini Pizza

Turns out it’s partially true. Other than Blaze Pizza and P.F. Chang’s, all the restaurants listed above had been closed down with their logos removed and the storefronts boarded up. I guess the two I’m gonna miss the most are Alforno and Spontini. When Alforno first opened I used to go there a lot with my family, and Spontini, well I kinda liked their pizzas even though I know a lot didn’t.

But, if a giant like Alshaya has difficulty sustaining a restaurant during this difficult period in a mall they basically own, you can only imagine how other smaller businesses must be doing.

Gossip & Rumors

Rumor: Corniche Club Moving to Arabella

Like Chili’s, McDonalds and a lot of the restaurants on the Gulf Road, Corniche Club also lost the bid for their location earlier this year and now have to move out. Originally the rumors were that Alshaya won the location and were going to turn it into Equinox but that rumor didn’t turn out to be true.

On the other hand, the latest rumor I’ve been hearing is that Corniche Club will now be moving to Arabella instead. I’ve known for some time now that Arabella was repositioning itself and I had also heard rumors that it was turning into a hotel, so it would make a lot of sense if it turns out Corniche is taking it over. Sadly, that whole strip is already too congested with Palms and Radisson Blu right next door so I’m not really excited about this.

Food Gossip & Rumors

Eataly Opening Next Month

The popular Italian restaurant and marketplace Eataly is targetting to open up in Avenues on July 21st. Eataly is already open the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia and although I haven’t tried it myself I’ve heard the food is great. The Avenues location is in Phase 4 near the Mercedes dealership and they’re on Instagram @eatalyarabia