Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai
27 June, 2016
Dubai is often dubbed the "Vegas of the Middle East". But Vegas' garish neon signs, gimmicky shows and tourist traps pale in comparison to the futuristic skyline and ambitious architectural developments found in Dubai. This desert city is an adult playground built on excess; ATM's dispense gold bars, robot jockeys race camels, and it boasts of being home to the world's largest shopping mall and tallest building.
Notorious for uber-luxe accommodation, impeccable service and an emerging culinary scene, if flash floats your boat, Dubai is the one - and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel goes one step further and delivers it straight your door in a daily hamper overflowing with fresh fruit and dates.
The resort celebrates its 20th anniversary this December and with its array of amenities resembling a 101 in how to experience Dubai, it's no surprise that it has withstood the test of time. Set on the pristine sands of Jumeirah beach and overlooking the Burj Al Arab, the hotel resembles a breaking wave with the blue-plated glass cleverly reflecting the waters of the Arabian Gulf. Welcoming you to Dubai is an on-site PADI diving centre, several tennis courts, six pools, a private beach and a relaxing spa and wellness centre - but that's by no means all.
Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai
Each of its 599 rooms offers floor-to-ceiling windows with curtains controlled by in-room mobile panel. Wake up to jaw-dropping views of the Burj Al Arab without leaving your king-size bed, with ocean-side rooms offering large seating areas, walk-in showers, complimentary newspapers and access to Wild Wadi Waterpark (you're never too old).
For those who revel in exclusivity (or suffer from vertigo) stay in one of 19 Beit Al Bahar villas at ground level. The epitome of tranquility, these luxurious hideaways benefit from 24-hour butler service, limousine airport transfers and daily afternoon tea. The piece de resistance? A sunken mosaic bath, just for you.
What's for breakfast?
Everything. By the end of your stay you still won't have managed to work your way through the extravagant breakfast buffet, served in the hotel's Latitude restaurant.
How about lunch and dinner?
Jumeirah's 21-restaurant roster will take your taste buds on a global expedition, with Italian trattorias, red-brick German kellers and British gastropubs or beachfront seafood all on the menu. In a city where Indian cuisine is found in abundance, Naya is noted as the go-to for a high-end version of the British favourite. For a taste of Latin passion, head to the dizzying 25th-floor restaurant, La Parrilla, where the views are as splendid as the food. The wagyu beef tops the must-try dishes, while the fresh basket of prawns, tapas sorbet and seared scallops are served with a side of tango dancers and live Latin music.
Is there a bar?
Stroll to the end of the Jumeriah marina walkway to the renowned 360°, where panoramic views of Dubai's ever-evolving skyline and the sweeping waters of Arabian Gulf accompany your nightcap. With a "no effort no entry" dress code you'll be clinking glasses among Dubai's movers and shakers, as international DJs pump out house, hip hop and R&B. Carry on the party at tiki-infused celeb favourite Mahiki, also situated within the resort. Look out for buried treasure at the bottom of their infamous chests and conch shell cocktails.
It would be easier to mention what this expansive resort doesn't offer - which is virtually nothing. The most aficionado hoteliers would struggle to find flaws as refreshing ice-lollies are regularly handed out around the pool, complimentary sunscreen is readily available and sun umbrellas come complete with a bell to summon an on-call butler.
Things you should know
With the iconic wave spanning 275m alone, we recommend generously tipping the golf cart drivers who'll be driving you around. It's a long old walk between the private beach and spa...
Within a short walk you'll find…
You're in Dubai, so you might as well go the whole hog and dine at Burj Al Arab, which is embellished with 1,790 m2 of 24-carat gold leaf. Channel Arabian night fantasies and order the 27.321 cocktail at the toe-curling price of £5000 - then walk away with your very own piece of Aladdin's cave as the 18-carat gold glass is gifted to you.