Built on a private estate of a 150 acres, the Desert Palm is one of our favourite boutique hotels in Dubai and one of the city's best-kept secrets. Far from the madding crowds, this exclusive hotel is located on the dge of Dubai not too far from the airport but in an area that feels isolated away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A real haven of peace and quiet with a smart lodge atmopshere, this hotel is ideal to get away from it all. With sparkling facilities and spacious luxurious rooms, the Desert Palm specialises in equestrian activities and even has its own stables and polo club, including three hundred horses and four polo fields. Contemporary and arty, the hotel's interiors have been closely studied to give it the sharpest aesthetic aspect possible, whilst remaining extremely simple in using natural materials and fabrics throughout.
Desert Palm Hotel is located on the edge of Dubai, on the road to Hatta and Oman. The hotel isn't close to Dubai's main attractions, but its quiet surroundings make for a good break from the fast-paced city-life. The hotel is a short drive away from the airport and 20 minutes away from the original centre of the city, the Deira area, north of the creek. The new city centre, where you will find the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall is about 30 minutes' drive away.
Guests at the hotel can visit the Jebel Ali hotel beach, which is 30 minutes away by car. If you fancy a bit of shopping, shuttle transport is provided to and from the various shopping centres. Guests should be aware that polo tournaments take place every evening from October to March.
The hotel is run by slowly expanding luxury hotel group, Per Aquum, which also has the top notch Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives and the Nurai, which is to open in Abu Dhabi in 2012. A second resort in the Maldives, Niyama, is to open October 2011.
The Desert Palm is beautiful small and exclusive boutique hotel of 26 rooms and 14 villas. Opened in 2008, the hotel has been extremely well maintained since and look brand new. There are 12 rooms in the main hotel building, with the rest as one-bedroom villas dotted around the site. The equestrian concept of the hotel distinguishes it from the rest, which is a huge success in Dubai, where myriad luxury hotels makes it difficult to do things differently to what is already on offer! The small hotel is located on large grounds with well planted gardens, giving it a relaxing luxurious lodge atmosphere. The hotel's polo club often holds events involving locals as well as in-house guests, which is practical given that there isn't much happening in the immediate surroundings of the hotel. The hotel is built around a main house, where most of the facilities are located. 'Rare', the hotel's grill restaurant, is a cosy upmarket steakhouse open for dinner. The all-day café and gourmet market, 'Epicure', is a more casual and contemporary place to stock up on any food stuffs you might want to take back to your room or villa and also a lovely little place to hang out with a good book and a coffee. The hotel pool lines the café. There is also a television here. The 'Red' bar is also found in the main building and is open in the evenings - the bar has a healthy stock of old and new vintage wines as well as a few rare finds on which it bases its pride and joy. High tea is also served on the estate terrace on most afternoons, which reinforces the luxury lodge atmosphere of the hotel. Other facilities include a Lime Spa, a Per Aquum own-brand spa, which also exists at the exclusive Huvafen Fushi hotel in the Maldives (Desert Palm's sister hotel). There is also a well-equipped gym and tennis and squash centre. The most impressive aspect of the hotel is its four full-size polo fields and polo club however. This adds a whole other dimension to the property; a great diversion for experts and for newbies alike. Guests needing to get on with work have access to a business centre and all rooms have Wi-Fi internet access. The hotel also has a selection of DVDs and iPod music at reception. There is also a kids' playground onsite.
There are 24 rooms and 14 villas. Six palm deluxe rooms (45m²), seven palm suites (75m²), five polo suites (45m²), six pool villas (198m²), thirteen pool residences (528m²), and the monumental presidential villa, which comes in at a record 600m²! With even the smallest rooms being as spacious, there really is no ideal room, although we did have a slight weakness for the presidential villa with its large private pool and large living room lining the pool. The bathrooms of the rooms here have been particularly well-studied to give guests the best possible pampering experience. Most of the rooms have a minimalist look with calming oriental touches in the choice of wall-hangings and other deco items. We liked that some of the rooms have stone walls, giving them a contemporary edge preventing the decor from falling into the boring category as the tones used are otherwise neutral. As the rooms are so different from one to the other, it is best to have a look at the images below in order to get a good idea of which room would suit your needs best before you book as there are no pictures of the different rooms on the hotel website. All the rooms have the expected mod-cons of a five-star hotel and more, including espresso machines in every room, free-standing baths and separate showers, REM branded toiletries in the bathrooms and a 'tower of treats' arranged in a tower to greet every guest. The rooms have different views; we appreciated the glass-enclosed rooms with unobstructed views of the estate grounds, which made us feel like we were alone in the world! The full-size villas are ideal if you want to retain your independence as they have fully-fitted kitchens and living areas as well as private pools.
'Rare', the hotel's grill restaurant, is a cosy upmarket steakhouse open for dinner. The all-day café and gourmet market, 'Epicure', is a more casual and contemporary place to stock up on any food stuffs you might want to take back to your room or villa and also a lovely little place to hang out with a good book and a coffee. The hotel pool lines the café. There is also a television here. The 'Red' bar is also found in the main building and is open in the evenings - the bar has a healthy stock of old and new vintage wines as well as a few rare finds on which it bases its pride and joy. High tea is also served on the estate terrace on most afternoons, which reinforces the luxury lodge atmosphere of the hotel. Any of the hotel's options are a good choice, but guests staying at the hotel longer than a long weekend may want to explore other dining options around the city for a bit of variation.
The hotel is fairly far away from the nearest beach. Not the best choice if what you are after is a beach holiday. Guests must have transport if they plan on sight-seeing although there is a shuttle bus available; guests must enquire about schedules as they tend to vary according to the season.
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