Check In: Conrad

Ahlan!’s guide to the UAE’s leading hotels. This issue, we’re at Sheikh Zayed Road’s newest designer stopover
BySarah Hedley HymersFriday , 17 January 2014
The Conrad Dubai
© Reinhard Westphal
The Conrad Dubai
A bit of a dip? Don’t mind if we do!
A bit of a dip? Don’t mind if we do!
The gym
The gym
Izel
Izel
Marco Pierre White Grill
Marco Pierre White Grill
Ballaro
Ballaro
Cave
Cave
Must try: The foie gras macaroons with black pepper and salted caramel
Must try: The foie gras macaroons with black pepper and salted caramel
Conrad Spa
Now open, treatments include the Conrad Signature Aromatherapy Massage at Dhs520.
Conrad Spa Now open, treatments include the Conrad Signature Aromatherapy Massage at Dhs520.
And… relax
© Reinhard Westphal
And… relax

With some of Dubai’s best new restaurants inside and uber-easy access afforded by the World Trade Centre metro station directly in front, this newly opened Dubai hotel is already popular. Here’s our guide to what’s on offer. 

The Pool, Gym and Spa
PUROBEACH URBAN OASIS
Team Ahlan! will definitely be having loads of girly weekenders here. On the sixth floor of Conrad Dubai, with high walls hiding its close proximity to the mayhem that is Sheikh Zayed Road, this place is an oasis. For just Dhs250 you can hire a poolside lounger for the day and the cost will be deducted from any subsequent food and drinks bill. Drinks start at Dhs20 for a Sprite. Order your tipple, then close your eyes and think of Ibiza. 

The Gym
Large, light and airy, this well-equipped gym is open to UAE residents. At Dhs6,000 per person per year (or Dhs9,600 per couple), including access to Purobeach, it’s good value for money. 

The Restaurants, Bars and Clubs
Ballaro 
Michelin-starred chef Massimo Mantarro is to Italy what Marco Pierre White is to the UK. His Sicilian restaurant at the Conrad is an all-day dining venue. After serving a buffet breakfast, which is open to non-guests, it offers a Mediterranean lunch and dinner with eat-as-much-as-you-like antipasti (Dhs80) and Italian desserts (Dhs50), plus à la carte options like the starter of Sicilian capanata ‘sweet and sour’ served in a slice of fried bread with smoked ricotta flakes, and mains like luscious lobster linguine with eggplant, tomato and majoram fondue (Dhs165). Eat indoors or hit the terrace for views of Purobeach Club. 

Cave
Cave makes a posh cheese and vino experience very laid back, quite literally, with beds! Book ahead at weekends as there are only four of them and they’re very popular. There are also deep, dark, leather-clad booths and cosy armchairs clustered around coffee tables and a sexy soundtrack, making this place the ultimate antidote to a stressful day at the office. Platters of cheese cost Dhs95 while the charcuterie plates are Dhs75, and you can mix them up. 

The Marco Pierre White Grill
When we walked in and heard Hot 100 alumna Clarita de Quiroz belting out a soul ballad version of Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger on the piano, we instantly liked this place. With its open flaming grill and miniature galaxy of low-hanging lights, it’s easy on the eye and the food’s good too. Starters include Marco’s classic white bean soup with black truffle (Dhs50) and a fancy crustacean preparation featuring deep-fried whole crab with apple and celery (Dhs75). Mains are the stuff of meat lovers’ dreams: a duo of Dorper lamb features a melt-in-the-mouth mini shank with creamy polenta served in a doll’s house copper pot, plus loin fillets with an almond herb crust (Dhs175). The 120-day grain-fed beef (from Dhs190) comes with even dinkier pots of sauce, from Béarnaise to horseradish crème fraîche. Save room for dessert – we hear the chocolate fondant is to die for, but we couldn’t fit in another mouthful.

Izel
Taking over the seventh floor you’ll find the luxury Latino supper club with al fresco terrace, high ceilings and the promise of a live five-piece band playing every night, other than Sunday and Monday when Izel is closed. This is the place to get your steak on and let your hair down with mates. The view is awesome, dinner is served until 1am and bar food is served until 2am, with ceviche the house speciality. Here the dish is reimagined as ceviche de pato (duck breast with cilantro and bitter oranges, Dhs65) and centolla (spider crab with palm hearts, Dhs78). 

Pssst....
Suga
You have to register your interest in this club online, with successful applicants receiving an access card. Inside, it’s dark and atmospheric with DJs, expert bartenders and late closing. Just brace yourself for the bill…

The Rooms
Beige, minimalist chic is the backdrop for stunning Dubai views. The complimentary Aromatherapy Associates toiletries are gorgeous.

Check Out
• ROOM RATE: From Dhs1,100 for a standard room at time of going to press
• SIGNATURE MASSAGE: Dhs520
• POOL PASS: Dhs250 per day
• GYM: From Dhs6,000 per person (Dhs9,600 per couple) per year to Dhs750 per person per month (Dhs1,200 per couple)
INFO: Sheikh Zayed Road, 04 444 7444, conraddubai.com