Dubai, a bustling metropolis Middle Eastern Hub, is teeming with luxury hotels along the likes of chain hotels like the Ritz, Oberoi and St Regis. So, where best suits to stay?
First, you decide if you wanna stay in the city center or outside the city on the Palm Jumeirah Island. Personally, I prefer staying on The Palm. It may be a good 20-minute car-ride distance from the city, but the sea/beach views are way more relaxing than a sandswept monotonous skyscraper-view.
Thing is, the island itself is also littered with a million luxury hotels. But, if you're looking for the ultimate in luxury and money isn't really an objection, I'd highly recommend One & Only The Palm.
Our plan was always to cocoon ourselves in our hotel in Dubai, as touring the city, which would only take an afternoon, was a secondary purpose to visiting Dubai. Hence, the choice of accommodation was paramount. And as we'd previously stayed in One & Only in the Maldives, we knew to count on the chain's Dubai property to provide a pampering and luxurious stay.
True to form, One & Only The Palm didn't disappoint. It was perhaps, one of the very few hotels that's nicer (and cleaner) than my own home. Which is no mean feat, as the Hubs is quite the clean freak. (For context: it's our policy to, as much as possible, only stay in hotels/resorts/apartments at least as nice as our home, because it's really not worthwhile to pay good money to stay in a place that's less comfortable or not as nice as my own home. I may as well stay home then, am I rightttttt??)
If you're concerned about it being too far removed from civilisation, One & Only The Palm has got a sister property, the One & Only Royal Mirage right on the mainland, which can be reached very easily by speedboat shuttle transfers. And yes, hopping onto a speedboat will get you faster to the mainland than a car.
The hotel's Andalusian-Moroccan aesthetic is opulent without being garish, sumptuous without being vulgar.
It's at the tip of one of the palm's leaves. The grand cobble-stoned driveway leading to the front of hotel.
We don't see this very often around this parts, but isn't this just gorgeous? And in my favourite colour too! Clearly the guests here have good taste.
The check-in counter
The foyer, where you're processed for check-in
Where you are served welcome drinks
While savouring the beautiful view of the outdoor veranda which overlooks the main pool
The concierge - alternatively, each villa is frilled with a personalised butler, who will arrange any tour requests you may have
The main pool is cladded in marble, which is scrubbed every day. It's probably cleaner than the pool in my home!
The fitness center also houses a Guerlain spa
The full service spa also holds a nail studio and hair salon, outposts of the famed pedicurist Bastien Gonzalez and stylist to the stars Alexandre Zouari respectively
There's also an adults-only pool annexed to the fitness center
The beach, though man-made, is calm and clean
The small-ish business center cum library from which you can borrow CDs and DVDs should the multiple international movie and cable channels on tv isn't enough.
Palm Beach Mansions
There are three accommodation concepts, the Manor House, the Beachfront Villas, and the Palm Beach Mansions, the last of which was where we stayed - Mansion 5.
The courtyard of Mansion 5, with heavy swing doors
The main foyer of Mansion 5
There are suites on the ground and second levels, the second storey suites have its own balcony, while the ground floor suites have its own pools.
Palm Beach Junior Suite with Pool
We stayed in the massive 1000+ sq ft, very plush Palm Beach Junior Suite with its own private pool. Prices start from AED8900 (S$3300) per night for double occupancy. There's a walk-in closet, and sitting area.
The sun-drenched room looks out into the pool deck
The marble-everything bathroom, which also looks out to the pool deck. Don't worry about privacy, there are remote-controlled blinds that roll down.
The huge steam shower on the opposite end of the toilet.
Love love love the gigantic soaking tub
Toiletries from the ultra luxe Acqua di Parma range
The pool deck, with a large covered patio should you be inclined to dine alfresco. We had many a room service meals here.
I spent many hours reading and drinking by the pool; Dubai in January is enjoyably cool. Yes, cooler than Singapore. With a high of only 24C and lows of 18C.
Georgie Bear, still on New Zealand time, is an early riser, and loves watching the sunrise
Polar covering up to avoid a heatstroke from the searing afternoon sun
The hallway entrance
The mini bar, with a wide range of coffee capsules
Welcome fruits and chocolates that were pretty decent
Restaurants & Bars
All of the dining concepts at One & Only The Palm are curated by three-Michelin starred chef Yannick Alleno. Note that all restaurants have a minimum of a smart casual dress code.
Stay by Yannick Alleno - the fine-dining concept serving exquisite French fare. Full writeup here.
Zest - the all-day restaurant serving international cuisine. The lowdown on meals here and breakfast here.
Our favourite table at Zest
101 Dining Lounge & Bar - the late-night option for cocktails and grub.It's perched over the Marina, at the far end of the resort. You can opt for a buggy or take a short stroll over. Review of the food is chronicled here.
You can an awesome view of the Dubai skyline on the way over to 101.
The private function room adjacent to the main lounge.
The restaurant has an outdoor lounge and indoor dining area.
It's accessible by boat, which is also where you hop on to get to One & Only The Palm's sister property, One & Only Royal Mirage.
Best get there early, about an hour before sunset, to enjoy the in-house band. They take requests!
The Lounge - off the main reception, where you can enjoy small bites and a full drink menu.
One & Only The Palm