From my apartment on the fourth floor of a block on Road No 35 -undoubtedly the most socially and politically interesting road in Gulshan - I can not only see the new 5 star hotel in town but I can hear it too. Yes noise pollution is of no concern for the shiny and glitzy Westin. “Driver Musharraf, Driver Musharaff” followed by a little jingle and on and on it goes throughout the day and evening as each chauffeur is called to the surface from the underground car park.

Still, I decided I should go and patronise the place being as it is less than 2 minutes from my block by foot. You have to do a little mental moral calculation though - the owner Noor Ali is an ex communist party member (no problem in that but read on), and has recently hit the headlines when he accused Hasina of extortion ( no problem in that) and is a businessman who made the bulk of his money through labour recruitment to Saudi ( big fat mother of all problems there). Aren’t commies supposed to be pro-labour? Nevertheless, goaded by stories of how lovely the female staff are, I thought I had better get there pronto.

My friend and I were given a tour of the place by very customer oriented staff. I have stayed at the Sheraton and Sonargaon but neither come close to this. Inspired by Singaporean hotel management, I am pretty sure, even down to the decor I was quite impressed by the place.

The gym and pool are high tech and very pleasant indeed. The membership is a staggering 125,000 taka per year, and yet despite this the majority of the members are not foreigners. You can utilise the facilities on a one-off basis for 25,000. My friend’s World Bank outfit I understand gets a corporate discount.

Westin Pool

The rooms are apparently all bigger than the competitor hotels, and get this - this is the only 5 star hotel in the world with all plasma/lcd tvs in all rooms and reception areas.

Westin Reception

We ended the evening with a meal in their buffet bar. All of Gulshan’s elite had arrived by the looks of it, including the Foregin Adviser and some well known artistes and constitutional lawyers. Again the South/Far East Asian emphasis was welcome and superbly done. The staff attentiveness was quite something. If you are like me and keep dropping your napkin between your legs and onto the floor and hate bending down to retrieve it - no problem, a waiter will spot it within seconds and bring a fresh one instantly!

Sushi at the Westin

Crits? Well there is no greenery outside and the orchids inside are not quite Singaporean standard. And of course there is the noise…why do Starwoods and Westin think they can pollute the environment like this? Cos they are in Dhaka?