The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai

This expansive hotel, occupying one of the most sought-after stretches of sand in Dubai, has eight restaurants with outdoor seating overlooking landscaped gardens and the Arabian Gulf. A week is hardly long enough to try them all and dip a toe in each of the six pools available onsite.

Location:

This hotel occupies one of the most sought-after stretches of sand in Dubai, bookending JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) in the north with Bluewaters Island in the south.

In addition to the Ski Dubai indoor snow park, Mall of the Emirates houses Magic Planet kids entertainment center, a cinema, around 100 restaurants, and more than 600 stores. It also has its own metro stop, facilitating safe and cheap transit to major attractions, including Dubai Marina, Burj Khalifa, and Dubai Mall.

 

The metro runs as far as Dubai International Airport; the journey time is 40 to 50 minutes – about 10 minutes more than in a cab at a tenth of the cost. The nearest public beach is in Jumeirah, 10 minutes by car.

Local charms in the area include jewelry and fashion markets, an inflatable water park, a running track with workout stations and a glut of restaurants. Dubai Marina, with its mall, zip wire, and yacht-lined waters, is within a few blocks, and a five-minute cab ride will get you to SkyDive Dubai and Emirates Golf Club. The main airport is 40 minutes away by car.

Style & character:

This low-level property, Flanked by high-rise neighbors, is almost half as old as the UAE and stands apart in its colonial-style splendor. The winding drive ascends to a stone portico. Inside, the marble lobby centers on a fountain, its surface mirroring the crystal chandelier above. Behind it, double spiral staircases descend towards a private beach and pretty lawns blessed with 12 bird species, the scene poetically framed by symmetrical rows of arched windows. Focus and you may spot the vivid flutters of parakeets and macaws.

Service & facilities:

Two family pools, two pools for children, a spa pool, an adults-only pool, and the Arabian Gulf provide swimming options aplenty. Next to the Technogym-equipped fitness center, there’s an exercise studio hosting chargeable classes. The Maison de Joelle beauty salon, founded by famous Lebanese television presenter Joelle Mardinian, is frequented by local celebrities. The hotel’s own spa offers manicures, pedicures, scrubs, massages and Prevonia and Mila D’Opiz facials. Both the spa and the small but perfectly formed gym are open 24/7, and the Technogym exercise machines have YouTube-enabled monitors. There’s even a tennis court.

Play tennis for free, or take a walk along the beach, which extends beyond the resort for around 20 minutes. There’s also a hair salon and a spa offering a signature Arabia Felix massage using warm aromatic candle oil. Service is extremely attentive: noticing I preferred rooibos tea at breakfast, the staff updated my in-room tea selection accordingly.

  •  Parking
  •  Restaurant
  •  Bar
  •  Steam room/hammam
  •  Laundry
  •  Room service
  •  Pool
  •  Sauna
  •  Spa
  •  Wi-Fi
  •  Tennis court
  •  Fitness center
  •  Kids’ club
  •  Beach

Rooms:

All rooms have a patio or terrace to capitalize on the seductive sea and garden vista. Inside, chestnut woods surround a subdued beige and mustard palette accented with Arabesque geometrics typical of Dubai’s old-school luxury hotels.

Bedside control panels for lighting, curtains, and air-conditioning confuse matters, but space is otherwise conveniently equipped with kettle and coffee machine, television and iPod dock. Generously proportioned marble bathrooms include large showers, twin vanity units and freestanding tubs with toiletries by Asprey of London.

Food & drink:

The options are plentiful. Nestle in Bedouin-style tents at Arabian Amaseena, the wooden pavilion of Palm Grill or the deep wicker chairs of pool bar La Baie. Take afternoon tea beneath the lofty rafters of The Lobby Lounge where scones are accompanied by homemade rose jam. Sample whiskey and chocolate pairings at Library Bar and romance your taste buds with Italian at Splendido and Southeast Asian at Blue Jade.

All-day restaurant Caravan delivers vast international buffets. Wake up to pancakes, pastries, Indian street food, Arabian loaves of bread and pickles, cold cuts and cheeses, and a full English with two types of pork bacon. An astonishing transformation occurs between breakfast and brunch here on Friday when it becomes London Social, a pop-up party celebrating the British capital’s multicultural cuisines presented at tube-themed stations – a highlight for guests and locals alike.

Value for money:

Double rooms from AED 1,042 (£214) in low season; and from AED 2,205 (£454) in high. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.

Three Deluxe rooms and the spa, pools, restaurants, and bars are wheelchair accessible.

Family-friendly:

Adjoining rooms and suites are available. Ritz Kids offers a program of daily activities and a dedicated playroom. Baby cots are complimentary for infants up to two years old and one chargeable rollaway bed can be provided per room.

 The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residences, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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