SUITE LIFE DUBAI
Suite Life Dubai - Luxury Travel Magazine
Suite Life Dubai
|By: Ben Crawford, Issue 45 – Summer 11|
|DUBAI IS BOOMING WITH NEW LUXURY HOTELS. BEN CRAWFORD LOOKS BEYOND THE OBVIOUS TO SAMPLE SUITES FROM SEVEN HOTELS TO SUIT DIFFERENT TASTES.|
|Whilst architectural attention-seeking remains a key part of the Dubai hotel landscape, the local approach to luxury accommodation has evolved far beyond solid gold bathroom fittings, with resort, urban contemporary and boutique properties all offering suites for discerning travellers. Inevitably the best suites in Dubai are permanently booked by local |
royalty, but the actual prices charged for the other suites, especially during the low season, may be a fraction of the rack rates quoted here.
A hotel within the world’s tallest free-standing structure, the Burj Khalifa, the Armani Hotel Dubai is the result of five years’ effort in creating a total environment in the style of Giorgio Armani.
Inside, everything is sleekly curved, grey, subtly textured and personally selected by Mr Armani himself. A recurring form is based on the shape of a pebble that Armani found on the beach in Pantellaria, an Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea – used for moulded handles as well as for the individual soaps in the mood-lit bathrooms. Sliding panels are used to conceal such utilitarian features as in-room espresso machines and the daily treats delivered from the in-house confectionary store, creating a seamless minimalist space for elegant people to fl oat through.
Those guests who choose to glide through the hotel’s public spaces will find an exceptional breakfast buffet at Mediterraneo; a Spa where you may select any treatment you desire or your advisor suggests; the Armani Galleria, which offers access to limited edition pieces otherwise only available to those on private Armani mailing lists; and the nightclub Armani Privé with European DJs and an exclusive door policy which guarantees admission to suite guests. Each guest is assigned a personal Lifestyle Manager who contacts you before check in to assist with plans for your stay and greets you by name on arrival. Most of these – indeed many of the staff – are Italian imports. The most perspicacious hire is master chef Alessandro Salvatico, whose Ristorante serves irreproachable classic Italian food, and is destined for multiple Michelin stars.
The property offers six suite types, ranging in size from a slimline 70 square metres to an opulent 235 square metres and in price from AED2,400 (about A$665) to AED9,000 (about A$2,494) per night, with the two- bedroom Suite 3910 the one that Armani himself has selected to stay in.
The Armani Hotel Dubai helms the world’s most prestigious square kilometre - the Downtown Dubai luxury hospitality and shopping precinct. On the opposite side of that precinct, over the Dubai Fountain and ornamental lake, stands the Address Downtown – the flagship property that defines “The Address,” a two-year old hotel brand that aims to become a global phenomenon. The hotel well and truly lives up to its ambitions. Imagine if you will the Park Hyatt Tokyo transplanted next door to the world’s largest shopping centre, with an unparalleled array of top-end retailers from Europe, the USA and beyond. Add to that the rooftop pool scene taken directly from a trendy LA hotel, and on top of that such traveller-friendly features as a kids’ “Qix Club” to entertain children at no charge from 8am to 6pm, and a 24-hour business centre with the amenities of an airline fi rst class lounge.
Suites start at AED6,500 (about A$1,800), and all enjoy balconies and fountain or mall views. Options include Spa Suites from AED10,000 (about A$2,770) with massive balconies with jacuzzis, and the Tower suites from AED15,000 (about A$4,156). Guests in suites enjoy The Address’s revolutionary “total 24-hour stay” service, which means that you are guaranteed your suite whenever you check in – day or night – and may keep it for up to 24 hours, rather than being evicted at midday.
The One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai, is a resort built along a kilometre- long beach in three constituent properties. Each hotel’s suites enjoy the generous proportions and design features of high-rent apartments, including large terraces facing the calm seas of the Persian Gulf.
The Arabian Court conjures the Arabian Nights in an elaborate arrangement of intriguing corridors and landscapes, with Superior Suites ranging from US$1,390 (about A$1,414) to US$1,650 (aboutA$1,679) per night, and the Royal Suite available for US$5,200 (about A$5,292). The Palace proffers Falcon Suites at US$1,775 (about A$1,806) per night and Prince Suites at US$2,100 (about A$2,137), gardens in the desert, multiple swimming pools and sports facilities, as well as a treatment centre offering the renowned Bastien Gonzalez pedicure, which softens and smoothes the most abused feet to the point that they remain only just still functional.
The Residence & Spa, one of the Leading Small Hotels of the World, is an intimate property, offering such extremes of personalised service as making you any food request that comes to mind. Junior Suites are US$1,650 (about A$1,679) per night, Executive Suites US$2,280 (about A$2,320) and the Garden Villa US$5,700 (about A$5,800) per night. And for those game for brusque full-body exfoliation, the spa offers a perfectly reconstructed traditional Oriental Hammam, complete with attendant Tayels imported from Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. Guests at The One&Only Royal Mirage may also take a fi ve-minute boat ride to the One&Only The Palm, where the food and beverage is overseen by three Michelin star chef Yannick Alléno of The Meurice in Paris.
The Park Hyatt Dubai is a low-rise property comprising eight buildings sprawling through manicured gardens along the picturesque Dubai Creek, with all rooms enjoying views of the water and an enviable array of moored yachts. Standard one-bedroom suites here range from AED2,750 (about A$762) to AED5,050 (about A$1,400) per night, with the 220 square metre Royal and Presidential Suites available for AED17,650 (about A$4,890) per night, with all the amenities you might imagine and more. A favourite among the global golfing set, the Park Hyatt is within easy walking distance of the 18-hole championship Dubai Creek Golf Club, whose floodlit driving range is open until 10pm.
The hotel itself is a cool marble and glass rendition of Moorish- inspired architecture. Appropriately, its Café Arabesque features the finest Arabic buffet in Dubai, and at both breakfast and lunch it offers delicacies from throughout the Levant region. By contrast, entering the striking Traiteur is like venturing into a gigantic Frank Gehry- esque cavern with daring twists on steakhouse food to match. Friday brunch here is the traditional see-and-be-scene event in Dubai (where the weekend falls on the Friday and Saturday). Even as a guest, caution dictates making a reservation to ensure a ring-side seat.
The alternative Friday brunch venue is Vu’s restaurant at the 50th floor summit of Jumeirah Emirates Towers hotel, where “Fabulous Fridays” is the ultimate expression of their “no shorts, sneakers or young children” grown-up dress code. Modern, corporate, elegant - with truly spectacular city, sea and Palace views, including from the vertigo-inducing glass elevators, the property known at “JET” is like a preview of a utopian future. The three-bedroom duplex Royal Suite is among Dubai’s most awe-inspiring, at AED9,325 (around A$2,593) per night, while those requiring only two bedrooms may prefer the Presidential at AED7,325 (around A$2,037). The single bedroom Club Executive suites between fl oors 38 and 46 also offer complimentary buffet meals at the Club Lounge and proper offi ce facilities in your suite, including a desk and chair you’d be happy to have in your corner office, and a fax/printer, for AED2,825 (around A$785) per night.
Situated among the skyscrapers of the Dubai Marina district, Grosvenor House offers hotel suites at AED4,600 (around A$1,279) per night, but also one, two and three bedroom serviced apartments. It is in fact the winner of the award for World’s Best Serviced Apartment Hotel for the fifth consecutive year, and its apartments are available for as low as AED4,000 (A$1,112) per night for a three bedroom, with full kitchen and dining rooms, as well as access to all the hotel’s facilities.
The Retreat spa offers actual beauty treatments like peels and waxing, and it includes the excellently-appointed 1847 men’s grooming lounge, equipped with wireless, TVs and a library, as well as barbers able to trim your facial hair with the immaculate skill only known in the Arab and Latino communities. Dining options include a signature restaurant from British celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, where everything is white from the tablecloths to the floor to the white tomato soup amuse bouche. However it is the Dubai outpost of Paris’s famous Buddha Bar that is the most sought-after destination in Grosvenor House, fi lling the valet parking with Ferraris and Bentleys.
Only fifteen minutes from Dubai airport, the Desert Palm Retreat by Per AQUUM feels like a different city, if not a different world. Its centrepiece – a luxuriant terrace overlooking the polo fi elds that host The Nations Cup, could be taken from a White Mischief colonial fantasy. There, local beautiful people dressed in immaculate traditional robes smoke shisha, while impossibly chic Europeans, who still tan as though sun damage had not yet been discovered, dine on British-style high teas or steaks from the restaurant, Rare. One fl ight of stairs up (note: there is no lift), the thirteen Palm Suites, at AED1,065-1,600 (around A$296-A$445) a night look out over the terrace to the polo fi eld beyond. Open plan and fi lled with natural light, they encompass in a single space a bedroom with ample storage, a lounge area fi t for intimate entertaining, and a bathroom with a free standing tub. Additional options include four one-bedroom Pool Villas with large indoor and outdoor living areas and private swimming pools, from AED3,300 to AED4,090 (around A$917-A$1,137) per night, and two-bedroom, three bathroom Pool Residences at AED4,495 to AED5,815 (around A$1,250-A$1,617) per night. At AED9,000-12,000 (around A$2,503-A$3,337) per night, the two-bedroom presidential Villa Layali is a walled sanctuary built from Jordanian stone around an open- air courtyard containing a large swimming pool with a private rooftop terrace, ideal for viewing the polo matches or relaxing under the stars.