It might be part of luxury hotel firm One&Only, but there are actually three separate properties nestling in the lush gardens of the Royal Mirage near Jumeirah Beach: The Palace, Arabian Court, and Residence & Spa (which is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World). We stayed at The Palace, the largest hotel of the three. It has more than 200 rooms and suites, all featuring contemporary Arabic décor. Former world number-one tennis player Rafael Nadal might live over the road in Le Rêve building, but he sometimes likes to sneak away for weekends here! Superstar fashion designer Giorgio Armani has also been a guest, and British musical-theatre star Michael Ball brought his family here for Christmas and New Year! Ahlan! couldn’t wait to see why it still attracts the A-listers, despite being more than 10 years old.
We took one of the 49 superior gold club rooms. Like many UAE hotels this optional upgrade allows access to a separate check-in area as well as a dedicated lounge. The décor is a rich Arabian style, with terracotta tiles and cute touches like a little mosaic in the shower. The room was way bigger than those at many of the hotels we’ve visited ,and the TV was a decent 40 inches. Our window looked out over the 65 acres of manicured gardens and we could also catch a glimpse of the 1km private beach that looks out towards The Palm Jumeirah.
POOL & SPA
Each of the three hotels has its own pool, and at The Palace, if you get bored on your sun lounger, organised activities such as water volleyball are available. We also loved the mini fruit kebabs handed out by the attendants! The three hotels share a spa as well as a stunning Oriental Hammam. We sampled the Blissful Back, Face and Scalp, their signature treatment, using Espa products. It lasts for 110 minutes (Dhs740) and is dubbed a powerful, stress-relieving way of focusing on classic areas of tension while restoring balance to mind and body. Therapist Vish let us choose the fragrances of the oils she used, before exfoliating our back and then giving us a massage with hot stones. A balancing facial followed, and an Indian head massage completed the treatment. We emerged feeling glowing and rested. Plus, give your toes and digits a revamp at Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio by Bastien Gonzalez at The Palace. It focuses on podiatry, rather than beauty, to take care of your feet and hands.
RESTAURANTS & BARS
The elegant European-style restaurant had a make-over at the beginning of the year – check-out those chandeliers – and a new menu has just been launched. It’s suitable for the fussiest of A-listers, with pasta and risotto, fish and meat sections. Highlights include spaghettini with Dublin bay prawns and fresh herbs (Dhs110), seared Norwegian salmon fillet with baby broad beans and wild mushrooms (Dhs155), and Wagyu fillet, black pepper and raisin sauce, green beans and artichokes (Dhs255). Dessert fans will have trouble making a choice from the decadent list, which includes mille-feuille of dark chocolate and sweet passion fruit cream, and coconut soufflé, pineapple and fresh mint sorbet (each Dhs55). There’s also a private dining room.
Breakfast is held in all-day restaurant Olives, and we were glad we’d arrived with an appetite! There were traditional English breakfast goodies, Arabian delicacies, and plenty of fruit. There was also an omelette station, a great selection of pastries, plus pancakes and maple syrup. Come the evening it turns into a pleasant Mediterranean-style spot complete with a bougainvillea-covered terrace.
If you fancy a post-dinner drink, head to the modern and stylish beach bar, Jetty Lounge. Funky lights and a chill-out atmosphere make it a gorgeous place to relax. Even if you live in Dubai, you’ll feel like you’re on holiday.
Top Tip: Make a reservation at sister Hotel One&Only The Palm for dinner or drinks and catch the ferry over from the jetty here.
Room rate: From Dhs1,600 per room per night
Signature massage: Dhs740
Bastien Gonzalez mani-pedi: Dhs650
Pool pass: Dhs275 (with reservation)
INFO: The Palace, One&Only Royal Mirage, Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, 04 339 9999, www.royalmirage.oneandonlyresorts.com.