When sun and sands call to play, pick a resort that will make you shine this summer. The One&Only Royal Mirage plays its part well!
By: Karishma Suri
Posted on: May 21, 2015
LF Says: ★★★.5
Staring down at my feet while unwinding with an inviting swimming pool, sand and amazing palm trees, all I could think of was two things. One, that perfection comes at a price (as does any luxury) and two, relaxation is as unique to everyone as their thumbprints. A part of the stylish Dubai, the One&Only Royal Mirage fuses genuine care and hospitality with fantasy and tradition, creating an ambiance of Arabian influenced refinement and splendour. Positioning itself as a magical place of supreme hospitality rising out of the sand, the palm shaded pools, reflecting waters and cooling fountains heighten the sense of pleasure.
Overlooking Palm Island Bay, the property is often referred to as an oasis of calm in the heart of bustling “new Dubai”. It is so connected to the hustle bustle of the city yet so peaceful and conveniently disconnected inside. With the core offering of understated elegance and exclusive charm, there is also a kilometre of private beach and 65 acres of lush landscape. Consisting of three equally distinctive properties with three beautiful environments, The Palace, the Arabian Court and the Residence & Spa, One&Only Royal Mirage is an answer to the idyllic traveller.
A two nights stay at The Palace section, my companion and I found it to represent the magic of Arabia, a realm where we had the liberty to wander amidst the abundant gardens or stroll amongst the meandering water features. Pulling up into the driveway, a palatial structure comes into view and is not enough to prepare you for the grandeur inside. The main entrance also tells a tale, of the seven nomads riding gold camels (signifying the seven emirates), and welcomes one and all into the magic of Arabia. A generous property, the facilities make the stay comfortable, providing a tranquil haven for relaxation. Evoking a sense of majesty and style, we were both impressed by this wondrous place. The welcome is quite dramatic, what with the royal gong to announce your entry, spreading positivity that transcends throughout the property. Check-in formalities are quick and effortless, especially if you are at their gold club like we were, with a private check-in and an escort to your room.
Room, suite room
The stylish, modern design of the suite is given an Arabian twist, offering comfort right at first sight. Rekindling the grandeur and dignity of old Arabia in mesmerising splendour, we found the detailing to be welcoming and warm. Featuring enhanced open space with an elegant palate of calming neutral tones, it is interspersed with rich, vibrant shades. The bedroom is well designed and offers perfection, whether in the form of a vanity table with a hairdryer socket, or the double bathroom unit with his and hers under-counter storage space. Two separate closets make your stay organised while the tub with a small TV relaxes (do make time for it - it is quite an experience).
All guest rooms face the sea with a private balcony or terrace, and are adorned with ornamental arches, terracotta tiling and custom-made furniture. The vivid colours echo the warmth of the Arabian Gulf, while the soft tones will remind you of the desert. The architecture takes every opportunity to remind and connect you to Arabian roots. Different by day, and beautifully astonishing by night, we spent two hours visiting all the three properties to size it up.
At first glimpse, the Arabian Court is illusive and mysterious, like an ancient dwelling that is crafted in the spirit of the orient. The theatrical architecture creates symmetry with striking fountains, walkways and lush gardens, defining the Arabian vibe, culture and heritage of Dubai. The subtly angled entrance leads to the impressive grand gallery, where the magic of the sky and its stars and the beauty of the desert appear on the floor if you give a closer look (it flawlessly reminds you of the beauty of the desert by night and day with the seven colors of sands through the seven Emirates). The seven domes in the gallery also connect you to the heritage that talks about the seven emirates. Drawing me in was an enchanting reflecting pool (a water filled courtyard)..
My companion’s favourite was the Residence & Spa at One&Only Royal Mirage, because it has Arabian styled private residences offering an intimate sanctuary for those who seek nothing but comfort and privacy. Don't miss the beautiful peacocks and deer that have escaped from the royal palace and choose to bask in the attention of amazed guests and team members alike, while taking a moment to admire and appreciate how distinct each property is from each other.
Called ‘a jewel of stylish energy, emotions and senses’, we visited One&Only The Palm during our stay at the Palace. A short drive away, we had the option of experiencing their inter-resort luxury boat transfer, but we opted for the former due to water sickness. Located on the peninsula of one of the world’s most spectacularly enviable landscapes, the Palm Island, we were welcomed into a property of style, energy and classy design. A strong sense of Moorish and Andalusian architecture fused with Arabian chic, and we had ourselves regretting that we weren’t at this property instead! A quick walk around, we could only spend a moment more to appreciate this addition of contemporary elegance to Dubai. Making our way to 101, I would give top points to this chic overwater dining lounge and bar, which offered unmatched views and a sophisticated vibe with white canopies. Unfortunately, the food options for a vegetarian are very limited which makes it tough for my romance with food. For this very reason, our stay at The Palace was much, much more appreciated by both of us.
To plate. For you
Being a resort that has more than sufficient dining venues can only mean topped up laziness as you do not have to even step out of the property to gain those extra pounds, and you are truly spoilt for choice. A sumptuous breakfast got us to Olives. Sky-blue ceilings adds a sense of drama to this refreshing Mediterranean all-day dining venue, while marble-topped tables and cane chairs give the bougainvillea-covered terrace a Riviera coastal café feel. Due to the vastness of the property, breakfast is also served at Celebrities, which is also beautiful owing to a grand marble staircase that leads to it. Breakfast was a wholesome affair during our stay there, comprising of global favourties such as fruits, yoghurt, baked confectionary and what not.
The Beach Bar & Grill, surrounded by lush gardens and golden sands, where swaying palm trees change with the mood of the sea, made for a perfect postcard for our first lunch at the property. Finding “the Beach” experience to be refreshing, with an extensive menu for both vegetarian and non-vegetarians alike, it is a lovely place even if you are not staying at the property. On the chef's recommendation, the burrato and mezzo platters, apt for sharing, were fresh, tasteful and filling. Opting for a portion of the Tagliatelle in pesto cream, my eyes and olfactory senses did a jig while my digestive system let their hands up in surrender. My colleague opted for the sea bass on the other hand - a light meal grilled to perfection. It was a treat to take in the plating with all the colours and presentation on that one single platter. Flavour and freshness being key in this dish, non-vegetarians will love the thrill of imagination, while the catch seems to be just moments before cooking and plating. The olive tapenade added zing to the dish, needing nothing more than a few sprinkles of fresh black pepper. Satiating the sweet tooth, don’t miss the chocolate fondant, which was set well enough to wobble at every touch. Piercing our fork into it, we smiled as we noticed the melted chocolate just ooze its way out waiting to dance on the taste buds.
By day, the mood is informal on the shaded wooden terrace, and as the waves roll in, so do the impressive platters of freshly grilled seafood and light salads. By night “The Beach” dresses up. From the intimate courtyard to the extensive open deck, candles flicker and the warm glow of the night is abundant.
Bathed by the blue of the sky and water, Eauzone is a place to contemplate the rhythm of ocean tides and the setting sun. Or even better, romance your better half and wow them as you soak in the ambience. On the beach surrounded by palm trees, Eauzone features shaded wooden decks and floating ‘Majlis’ – the Arabic word for a room in a home used to entertain guests – overlooking the Arabian Gulf and translucent pool. The ambience is casual by day and stylish after sunset. Make a dinner reservation and enjoy the dim blue lighting around the pool to uplift moods and, well, senses. The refined restaurant is complemented by modern food with an Asian twist.
My companion and I took our time to appreciate the setting while I thanked the overhead heaters that kept me warm in the cool March Dubai evenings. After a brief chat with their chef from Nepal, I opted for the vegetarian spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce, which though high on the greasy side, managed to make me quite hungry for the next to come. The Pan Seared Tofu came next with a black bean sauce, which failed at tantalising any of my senses – except perhaps the visual one - and lacked any flavour whatsoever. Last but not the least, I went with the vegetarian Pad Thai with chilly and tofu, and I would recommend skipping the dish because it was unusually tangy and lacked any of the authenticities that this famed delicacy should have.
My companion opted for a mixed platter which included duck spring rolls (painfully oily and not at all crunchy as expected from a spring roll), prawn dumpling (with an unfortunate thick and chewy coating), crab cakes (the best of the lot but still needed the tomato salsa to balance out the flavours) and chicken satay (while flavour made you want to enjoy it the chicken was hard to chew). Making up for the meal, of course, was dessert, where we had the chocolate crème brulee – yes, creative and delicious, which was an interesting concoction of chocolate sandwiched between two layers topped by a caramel sheet adding a crack and crunch. The clear winner at this restaurant is the ambience and layout which will guarantee a return visit, with some nibbles for dessert.
Besides this, you can also visit other restaurants such as The Jetty Lounge (an elegant beachside lounge with Arabian architecture and contemporary interiors), Nina (their take on Indian –European cuisine in a lively and colourful backdrop), Kasbar or even Tagine.
It’s in the details
Two negatives shy of being a perfect getaway, this property knows how to draw in guests. Providing an element of theatrical drama for every visitor, enthusiasm and delight won’t escape you while at this property. Creative, surprising, and dedicated with a touch of elegance, the property boasts 40 per cent repeat guests without any membership program or point system. Competition being strong in Dubai, the strength of the property lies in its ability to tailor your stay as per your liking and their identity that separates as well as unites you with true Dubai. Renowned for their hospitality and service world over, there was a slight cause for concern for us.
Be very wary of their gold club that will promise to make all your reservations for you, but actually make none, leaving you stranded on a Saturday night in Dubai. Also be careful around their golf carts as the team may choose to indulge in some light chatter with a colleague and may randomly reverse into you - just before you enter the spa. How ironic!
Pluses and minuses apart, One&Only Royal Mirage is beautiful and magnificent. With a plethora to do (or not do) anything in the hotel or in Dubai, you know your holiday is set to be gorgeous. Just be a tiny bit careful….
(With inputs from Akshay Suri)
LF Says: ★★★.5
Coordinates: Al Sufouh Rd,Jumeirah Beach Road,opp Dubai Media City, United Arab Emirates
Ph: +971 4 399 9999
Ratings range from zero to five stars and signify the reviewer’s thoughts on the property architecture, room ambience, facilities, food, and hotel staff service.