The One & Only Royal Mirage in Dubai is a vast mini city. It’s beachside presence has always confused me – I have visited the Beach Bar and Grill at one point, I have partied in its nightspot Kasbar, I have even attended a glitzy gala dinner in one of its function rooms. Yet when I arrived to check in, I had no idea that the resort was actually split into three very different hotels: The Palace, The Spa and Residences, and The Arabian Court.
Getting it completely wrong, I arrived at The Palace entrance only to be escorted on the resort’s minibus, which runs all-day between the resort’s outlets, to The Arabian Court.
The Arabian Court has, as one would expect, taken influences from the Arabian world. Everything from the elegant architectural touches on the walls to the smell of Oud wafting throughout the public areas is Arabic. Each room has been paired with another to ensure interconnecting is possible, and the large guest rooms remind me of an Arabian princess’ boudoir.
There is something very enticing about this kind of décor. It’s opulent, it’s impressive and I often found myself wanting to take pictures of even the smallest things; the archway that led into the bathroom, the tiled floor, the plush scatter cushions and the grand bath – I have pictures of them all.
The service is typical Dubai. Nothing is too much trouble, yet the service staff don’t go too far and follow the guests round on an endless mission to please.
I decided to familiarise myself with the layout of The Arabian Court – I thought better of mastering the entire resort in just two days. The lobby level is located on the third floor along with a rather lovely tea lounge, a gift shop and some of the rooms. A few floors up is the Rooftop Terrace bar.
The swimming pool and other restaurants such as L’eau Zone and the Indian offering, Nina, are all located on the ground level. It’s very spread out, but as soon as you master the topsy-turvy design, The Arabian Court is extremely easy to navigate.
Evening is a magical time here – twinkling lights, dramatic flame torches and romantic low lighting really set the atmosphere.
I wandered up to the Rooftop Terrace to enjoy a glass or two as The Palm Jumeirah and Royal Mirage’s sister property, One&Only The Palm, twinkled in front of me. It is a quiet, intimate spot; the noise from busy Dubai below goes mostly unheard.
The waiters then brought our drinks back down to ground level as my friend and I decided to dine at Nina, which is short for Nor Indian Nor Asian. The restaurant is located down a winding stairwell on the ground floor. It is romantic; a large room but with cosy seating areas. The food comprises traditional Indian cuisine with a European twist, with many familiar dishes modified for the western palate, so you will find the likes of Dhal and butter chicken alongside creative salad dishes on the menu. It was extremely tasty and perfectly washed down with a glass of Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc.
I entered the restaurant at around 7.30am and it was largely empty, but a few hours later, the crowds came en masse, and by 9.00pm the place was buzzing with families, couples and friends all enjoying this dining experience. The evening ended back at the Rooftop.
Breakfast the next morning was another grand affair. Imagine anything you could possibly want for breakfast (plus a few surprises) and this will give you an idea of the sheer scale of the buffet and à la carte menu on offer here.
As I had a late flight that day, I had asked for a late checkout, which the staff were more than happy to offer (subject to availability). So I had a leisurely day relaxing by the pool, then back to my room to freshen up in the grand marble bathroom before checking out and jumping in a hotel car to Dubai International Airport.
Dubai is always abuzz – it truly is the city that never sleeps, however, One&Only Royal Mirage has created a peaceful, relaxed retreat suitable for families, couples or the business traveller. It’s the perfect haven.
THE IMPORTANT BIT
What: One&Only The Royal Mirage – Arabian Court
Where: Dubai, UAE
Price: from AED 3,010 (US$820) per night.