Once the preserve of families travelling en masse, or young adults looking for more bang for their buck, all-inclusive holidays have long been viewed as a more budget-friendly, less luxury, option.
But recent years - and in particular post-pandemic - have seen the all-inclusive model have something of a renaissance, moving away from purely mass market to present a more upscale luxe offering to a higher-end guest.
Step forward Rixos Hotels, which has been leading the charge for this new breed of ‘luxury all-inclusive’ offerings in the UAE - or exclusively ‘ultra all-inclusive’ as named by the brand - paving the way for the Emirates’ first all-inclusive resort following a rebrand in 2019 with Rixos The Palm Dubai Hotel & Suites, and adding another all-inclusive property to its portfolio, on top of Rixos Bab Al Bahr in Ras Al Khaimah, with Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, each allowing guests to pay once on arrival and bid adieu to their bank card for the rest of the trip.
It’s quite a game-changing concept for anyone who has shied away from all-inclusive resorts before, making a holiday significantly more fuss-free with less logistics, bookings and monetary quibbles. And, with Rixos redefining elevated luxury in this sphere, it’s something worth exploring.
And so, to put Rixos’ ultra all-inclusive model to the test, I spend a weekend at Rixos The Palm Dubai Hotel & Suites. As far round as you can go on the East crescent of Palm Jumeirah, so close to land you can almost kiss the coastline, the hotel sprawls across a one-kilometre stretch of private beach. With palm trees everywhere, it provides seclusion and respite from Dubai’s not-so-distant metropolis.
I stay in one of the resort’s three Two-Bedroom Senior Suites, each designed a little differently but centred around space, tranquility and views. Oh the views... My suite has floor-to-ceiling windows running down almost every inch of its east side, allowing the eye to glide from the Marina, along Al Sufouh and all the way up towards Burj Al Arab - and Burj Khalifa if the weather is on your side. The seascapes are deeply soporific too, with yachts sleekly gliding by as the twinkling water casts mirrored patterns on the wooden floor.
At 150sqm, there’s room and then some to call your own. Off to the right of the entrance is a guest bathroom, followed by the second bedroom with twin beds, plasma TV, beautiful marble bathroom with shower and its own private balcony.
Back in the entrance hall, there’s a break-out area on the right with armchairs and an eight-seater sofa, and to the left a vast lounge space perfectly positioned in front of 180-degree views, with enough space to entertain 14 guests. There’s also a dining table and two TV consoles. The ceilings are high with over 40 spotlights dotted throughout, with cream marble walls and dark wood parquet flooring that runs, uninterrupted, from one end of the lounge all the way to the other end of the master bedroom.
Built in a triangular shape, there’s light from almost every angle of the bedroom, with eight curtains dedicated to keeping it out when sleep calls. The choice of balconies feels spoiling - there are two accessed from the bedroom and another from the bathroom - each proving perfect at different times of day for morning coffee/sundowner views; there’s a Francis & Francis coffee-maker with Illy capsules for the former, and a fridge stocked with fizzy drinks and snacks for the latter.
The bathroom houses one of the largest showers I’ve seen, with two huge rain-shower heads, as well as a bath that lets you slip into bubbled bliss - courtesy of Chopard products - against a pretty Mashrabiya-panelled backdrop.
The other two suite designs are equally spacious and elegant with brown wood flooring, marble walls, taupe furnishings and, the true selling point, those balconies with their epic, panoramic views.
Venturing out, the hotel has 10 restaurants to choose from: A La Turca restaurant perfect for breakfast and easy-breezy buffet bites; Aqua & More the ideal spot for seafood, sliders and salads at lunch; and, my favourite place, L’Olivo Ristorante - a genuinely authentic Italian ideal for dinner, with five-star pizzas and staff that ooze the warm, familial vibes the culture is so known for.
Between feeds, I flit between beach and pool. For the latter, I opt for the main pool, finding a spot by I-Chill Beach Lounge for easy on-tap refreshment requests, but there is also a semi-Olympic lap pool for those wanting to burn off the buffet. The beach is lovely and offers a sheltered, shallow spot that is perfect for young kids to play. There’s also an outdoor Jungle Gym, tennis courts, paddle boarding and sunset biking for those with more energetic inclinations.
The Rixy Kids Club excels in harnessing the energies of little guests too, with almost 12 hours of activities a day. Between art classes and movies, sports, games and evening discos, they’ll be living their best life. Which in turn allows you to live yours, with an hour or two spent at Anjana Spa – a genuine sanctuary of calm, where its Turkish-inspired treatments and hammams go beyond the conventional.
From sunrise to sunset, Rixos The Palm Dubai Hotel & Suites is proof that you can wrap up an all-inclusive resort in a way that offers the luxury of convenience without compromising on quality. Whilst it’s all on tap here, the experience still offers tailor-made exclusivity, where the guests are in charge, but you get to leave your cheque book at home.
WHAT: Two-bedroom Senior Suite
WHERE: Rixos The Palm Dubai Hotel & Suites
TEL: +971 4 457 5555