The Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates is known for many things – its city-central location, its attachment to one of Dubai’s biggest malls, its piste-facing Aspen Ski Chalet overlooking Ski Dubai… But the hotel has a hidden gem, a selection of colonial-style Aspen Pool Chalets, that take you from snowy slope to sunny New England in one breath.
Tucked away on the second floor, in its own private wing, so to speak, my Aspen Pool Chalet is pure Hamptons vibes. A marked difference to the other rooms and suites I’ve seen, that blend dark and light interiors, the Aspen Pool Chalet is licked from top to bottom in white paint, with cream and taupe furnishings, fawn-hued parquet flooring and pops of brighter hues only in the artworks, vases and statues dotted around. I love it. It’s a crisp, chic breath of fresh air that instantly transports you to coastal New England life.
Spread over 63 square metres, the chalet allocates its space so well, serving up more than one might initially assume, and a clever inclusion of a vaulted ceiling. The large-but-cosy living room, with its sofa, armchair and desk, provide a pivotal point that everything else filters off. There’s an entranceway, walk-in wardrobe, double-bedroom with two sliding doors (with the most well-made bed), and a two-basin bathroom, with deep-set bathtub and rain-shower. The bathroom and bedroom overlook a little outdoor seating area, with access to the hotel’s two infinity pools from the bedroom’s private back door. The light and colour play create such an intimate vibe – a real sanctuary in the city feeling – and when the sun streams in, the room beams even brighter.
Guests staying here are also granted the use of a dedicated butler, perfect to help with private check-in and check-out. Mine helps me book a treatment at SENSASIA Stories Spa – a monastic and immersive concept space that is dark, cavernous and mysterious. All very alluring. I move from the comfiest bathrobe to the comfiest bed for a Balinese massage at the hands of the wonderful Pantera. When it’s done, I stay longer to soak up the ambience and take pictures of the spectacular Bagno Design London sink in the changing room, and the spa’s striking light installations.
If you’re hungry, head up to the lounge on 11th floor for afternoon tea in the Executive Lounge, or stay for sunset and Aperitivo hour with views over the city. For dinner, I’m booked in at The Banquet of Hoshena, an illusionary dining experience that takes you on a journey through a mystical land as you eat. Using cutting-edge 3D technology, image-mapping and experiential props, it brings your food and flavours to life in hypercolour, as a five-course menu starts with a floral summer truffle pea tartlet and autumn foraged mushroom croquettes, followed by pan-seared seabass with potato purée and spinach toast, and the pièce de résistance, the ‘Hoshena’ dessert of Venezuelan chocolate, pain d’Epices, yuzu mascarpone and berries.
If my daughter had been with me, I’d have taken advantage of the complimentary access to the Ski Dubai’s Snow Park, but instead I put my time to better use and make the most of the Hermès amenities and the gloriously big bath tub.
Quite possibly my favourite thing about the chalet is waking up in the crisp linen sheets, with the sunlight streaming through the shutters. There’s something to be said for the power of natural light waking you up rather than a screeching alarm clock - seriously mood-enhancing.
For those wanting to breakfast in privacy, the 11th floor lounge offers an exclusive space in which to quietly ease into your day. However, I opt for breakfast at Olea, the all-day dining restaurant that serves Levantine food during the day, and a voluminous buffet breakfast in the morning. Covid-19 restrictions mean there’s someone to serve you, which I could get used to if I’m honest, as it helps extend the laziness of the morning. Fruit platters, cheese, pastries, Arabic mezze, noodles... It’s all here.
I spend the morning post-breakfast dipping in and out of the two rooftop infinity pools. It’s hot, but the temperature-controlled waters keep things cool. The Mosaic Chill isn’t open yet (I’m too early) but the swim-up bar looks very inviting, and I can imagine it’s a popular place to rest and refresh at, mocktail in hand.
To make the most of where I am, I spend a few hours wandering around Mall of the Emirates - trust me, few things feel more rewarding than a stolen morning window-shopping without a four-year-old hanging off your arm. One of the USPs of this mall - bar it being quite literally on your doorstep - is that it blends high-end, bridge brands, lifestyle and all sorts in between, covering everything from Louis Vuitton to Lego and Harvey Nichols to Niké. If you do happen to have your kid(s) in two, there’s Ski Dubai, Dreamscape and Magic Planet to keep them entertained (aka out of trouble).
On return to the hotel and before I check out, I make one final stop at Aspen by Kempinski, the hotel’s classic lobby lounge café. There’s over 20 types of tea to sip on and 10 different Illy coffee creations, as well as a Parisian Express Breakfast and an Aspen Afternoon Tea with finger sandwiches, scones, pastries and cakes. For lunch, I have a Panzanella Salad with Kalamata olives and crunchy garlic croutons, followed by a frothy almond milk cappuccino - well, it would be rude not to indulge in a little Illy whilst here.
I’m loathe to say goodbye to my little slice of Hamptons life and the beautiful Aspen Pool Chalet, in all its white, crisp, calming glory. I have a feeling there will be some redecorating once I get home...
WHAT: Aspen Pool Chalet
WHERE: Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Dubai
TEL: +971 4 341 0000