Check In: Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates
Just when you think you’ve experienced everything the UAE has to offer, it surprises you with yet another hidden gem. We’ve shopped our way past the Kempinski Hotel at Mall of the Emirates several times, we’ve dropped in to enjoy their award-winning afternoon tea at Aspen Café, and we were well aware of their famous ski chalets overlooking Ski Dubai, but we had no idea that this hotel has such an amazing ayurvedic spa and ab-fab pool bar. If you haven’t indulged in some downtime at Softouch spa or Mosaic Chill, you’ve missed out. Read on to find out more...
THE POOL, GYM AND SPA
The hotel’s two pools are bordered by suites and one of the hotel’s restaurants, so eating here allows you access to the area. The K Wellness Health Club includes a tennis court with coaching available if you want to work on your serve; swimming lessons are also offered and there’s a fully equipped Technogym, making gym membership popular with local residents, but to ensure there are always enough machines and space available only 100 members are allowed to sign up at any given time.
After a workout, visitors can unwind at the Softouch Spa, an elegant haven specialising in ayurvedic therapies. Try the Kerala shirodhara 75-minute massage in which a stream of warm medicated oil is poured over the forehead – it’s bizarre, but brilliant for hair and skin and includes a 45-minute full body massage, so you’ll emerge feeling blissed out from head to toe. You can also get eyebrow threading, one-on-one yoga training sessions and even caviar facials!
For hair and makeup, head up to Maison de Joelle, the beauty salon of local celeb, make-up artist and TV host Joelle Mardinian where you can be preened to within an inch of your Louboutins Lebanese-style.
THE BARS AND RESTAURANTS
Mosaic Chill: What better way to break up a hard day’s shopping than with a spot of poolside lunch? Mosaic Chill is Kempinski’s relaxed al fresco dining option and it’s the only place at the mall where you can enjoy an open-air lunch and catch some rays alongside the hotel’s sun-worshipping guests. Grab a trio of mini burgers for Dhs70 and a Hershey’s shake for Dhs32, or go for the healthy option of griddled salmon from the skewer bar for just Dhs45 and give your skin a treat with a Green Garden mocktail made with aloe vera, fresh mint kaffir lime leaf and lime (Dhs34). At night sun loungers are replaced by beanbags and Mosaic’s traditional majlis-style seating gets busy as the cocktails and shisha come out.
1987 Bar: Get two complimentary glasses of bubbly at this smoky cigar bar on Wednesday’s ladies’ night or order nibbles costing more than Dhs150 on 1987’s new iPad menus and women get a free bottle of sparkling vino any night of the week. Then there’s (18)97 Fridays where premium vino is sold for Dhs97 a bottle. Why 1897? It was the year the first Kempinski opened in Berlin, Germany.
Aspen: One of Dubai’s best afternoon teas is served up here à la carte on weekdays for Dhs150 per couple and à la buffet on weekends for Dhs85 a head between 2.30pm and 5.30pm. You can also get quirky salads from Peking duck Caesar (Dhs75) to The Myth (Dhs60), a virtuous cauliflower and broccoli ensemble.
KGrill: With a variety of grills and ovens, from charcoal and al forno wood to tandoori and rotisserie, this is the place to get your Atkins on and indulge in juicy cuts of meat and fresh fish – the grilled hammour (Dhs110) is a KGrill local favourite, the Angus milk-fed Canadian veal striploin (Dhs310) is divine, and there’s plenty of Wagyu beef options. On Friday there’s a brunch and during the week there are themed buffets on Thursday (BBQ Nights, Dhs175) and Fridays (Seafood BBQ, Dhs265).
Light and spacious, standard rooms feature clever storage space – we loved the glass-fronted drawers, which made finding items so much easier. The seating ledge in the wet room-style shower was another useful feature, but the real wow factor comes with the premium rooms. There are both poolside cabanas and suites that overlook the slope of Ski Dubai, and then there are the stunning duplex ski lodges with views of both – sparkling sunshine and azure pool on one side, snow and skiers on the other. The phrase “only in Dubai” springs to mind.
See Ahlan!'s video tour of Kempinski Hotel right here
Room rate: from Dhs1,119
Gym membership: Dhs1,200 per month, Dhs1,500 for two months, Dhs2,000 for three months, Dhs3,990 for six months and Dhs7,200 for annual membership
KGrill Friday brunch: Dhs195, Dhs295 with house beverages
60-minute swimming lesson: Dhs200
Shirodhara massage: Dhs750
Eyebrow shaping: Dhs90
Blow-dry: Starting from Dhs125
INFO: Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, 04 341 0000, www.kempinski.com/dubai.