January 6, 2017 / Leave a Comment
Whether you’re looking for a staycation break away from Dubai without a long drive, or you’re an international visitor looking for something a little different away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, Desert Palm PER AQUUM is a great choice.
Set on verdant polo fields just 30 minutes from downtown Dubai, the serenity of Desert Palm makes you feel a world away – while still being able to glimpse the gorgeous Dubai skyline, Burj Khalifa included, at sunset. It’s equestrian chic throughout, and lovers of horses and this elegant sport will feel more than at home. Equine art features throughout the extensive resort premises, from the lobby to the lush pathways to the pool area. Saddles double as bar stools at Red Bar as polo and dressage play on large screens. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch some live polo while you’re staying at Desert Palm too – from my room you would have a decent view of the main field. I bet you never thought watching polo in your bathrobe from your room would be possible, but in Dubai, of course it is! They’ll also happily take you on a tour of the stables if you’d like to get up close to the majestic animals themselves.
Even if you aren’t a horse aficionado, you’re certain to enjoy the unique brand of luxury that Desert Palm has to offer. From the moment you arrive into the grounds there is a certain sense of grandeur to the property – there’s nothing quite like it in Dubai. Natural materials dominate throughout the extensive grounds – water, wood, stone and marble are used to create a wonderfully soothing effect, as is flora with beautiful gardens perfectly fringing the brown, aqua and crimson palette. It’s just the relaxing antidote needed to shake off some of that big city stress.
The property features two restaurants – Epicure (poolside) and the newly reimagined Rare, where you can feast on amazing wood fired meats, delicious breads and desserts – the perfect reward after working up a sweat in the world class fitness facility. Speaking of – the gym at Desert Palm is one of the best I’ve seen at a hotel property worldwide! I thoroughly enjoyed being able to work out while on holiday in such a lovely space, it certainly encouraged me to put in the extra effort and burn off a couple more cocktails (more on those later)! There are also group classes (and ballet!) for those who just can’t go without their fix (additional charges apply). Getting back to the food, there are brunch options available on Fridays and Saturdays too for those who enjoy Dubai’s unique take on daytime eating and imbibing.
For those who would rather relax sans-gym, there is a lovely pool area equipped with plenty of loungers and polo field views. You’ll usually find it peacefully empty as many villas feature private pools, putting less demand on the main facilities – an added bonus! In fact I often felt like I had the entire estate to myself on my visit – now that feels luxurious. Within mere minutes of entering the pool there was a cold bottle of water and glass of ice delivered to me poolside – what more could one want? Well, ok, a cocktail or two wouldn’t go astray…luckily, cocktails are certainly something Desert Palm specialises in! Whether made in room – your room is stocked with an extensive mini bar featuring everything from Grey Goose to Taittinger to New Zealand red, plus a luxury cocktail making set (and any extra ingredients required can be delivered to your room) – or expertly crafted at Red Bar, cocktail fans will be well catered for.
Red Bar is known for fantastic service, and Brandon looked after us spectacularly well on our visit. I can see why it’s a popular bar with those who like to indulge in premium Whisk(e)y – they have the biggest collection I’ve seen, even offering the rather special 62 Gun Royal Salute at a mere 2,900dhs a shot! (Apparently it’s quite popular too – the highest bar tab thus far being 56,000dhs in one sitting!) We tried the ‘Autumn’ cocktail, so named after a lovely painting in the bar, which featured Tattinger, strawberry puree, honey and lime – the perfect tipple on which to sip while gazing out at sunset over the polo fields. The Chukka Mule was also a winner, and the Espresso Martini is a must try for their unique twist (they use Patron Cafe instead of Kahlua).
There’s enough to keep you amused outside your room at Desert Palm, but that doesn’t mean the rooms aren’t so fab you just might want to curl up and stay in! My Palm Suite was very spacious – featuring a king size bed, lounge area, large desk and huge bathroom. I think the grand bathroom might have been my favourite part of the room, next time I need to ensure I put enough time aside to utilise the large standalone bath! A fully stocked top shelf mini bar and fridge, luxury cocktail making equipment, a draw full of delightful Riedel glassware in which to enjoy your fine wine – Desert Palm, you’re making a fussy oenophile very happy indeed.
Free wifi throughout makes it easy to stay connected and for those who like to have some tunes in their room (me) you’ll be rather pleased to see that they have a device mirroring system integrated into their television menu – so you can stream your music or videos straight to the tv, wirelessly! Very cool. The room has several pre-set ‘mood’ lighting settings, but I found these a little tricky to get just the right balance of light – in fact I would have loved a bit more light in the room in general as with the brown decor it could be a little dark. It’a a sophisticated, minimalist masculine fit out, lovely for sure, but I would like to see a little more glamour injected into the room – maybe some metallics or a pop of the signature crimson or aqua for contrast.
There’s also bottled water, fruit and a Dalloyau coffee machine to help you get your day off to a great start, before you head down to breakfast poolside at Epicure. It’s not a buffet thankfully, but rather a la carte – when I mentioned I wanted something healthy like protein and veggies (nothing on the menu quite fit what I was looking for), the staff whipped me up a slightly modified dish of sublime steak and grilled veggies. I think it was my favourite meal at Desert Palm, so don’t sleep in! (Breakfast runs until a very reasonable 11:30 so even late sleepers should have plenty of time to indulge).
With such a calm and soothing space so close to the heartbeat of urban Dubai, you’d be mad not to take some time out and unwind at Desert Palm. I’m sure you won’t have experienced anything in this city that feels quite like it.