When I moved to Dubai 14 years, I was lured immediately to the bright lights and eclectic vibes of Jumeirah Beach Residence - a beach-front strip of prime real estate brimming with vertiginous residential towers and an equally dizzying social scene. There was sea, sand and a real sense of community on tap, with residents, tourists and good times wherever you looked.
It’s been almost a decade since I moved out of JBR to embrace a more suburban lifestyle, but whilst I slowed down, JBR did the opposite. They say Dubai’s a city that never sleeps and JBR can certainly attest to that - never sleeping, ever-expanding, always hungry for more.
Hospitality took a front seat, with hotels finding new homes where once there had only been a handful, in turn shifting JBR’s narrative from a resident-centric to tourist-dominant destination - one that manages to blithely blend the worlds of business, pleasure and leisure for all.
In 2017, Rixos Premium Dubai took note and set up home right at the heart of this spirited strip, its geometric, mirrored silhouette transforming the cityscape of JBR, standing glistening, sentry-like, just inches from the sea. With luxury boutiques, restaurants, spas and high-end entertainment all within tickling reach, Rixos Premium Dubai definitely lucked out on location (location, location).
Soaking up the energy from its neighbourhood surrounds, the hotel is a hive of activity - guests merrily mill around the open reception crossing paths with afternoon tea-indulgers at Rixos’ Godiva Cafe and shoppers raiding the rails at multi-brand boutique Rodeo Drive next door.
A contemporary lifestyle product, Rixos Premium Dubai pours everything into cool and immersive experiences: ceiling tiles morph from pinks to purple to blue in an ever-rotating light display as you enter, a huge floral butterfly artwork brings the pretty, while a park bench with floating umbrellas adds a photo moment in reception.
From reception to the 30th floor, I stay in a Premium Two Bedroom Suite, an inter-connecting space that merges three suites (when you need it to) at the corner of the building, with views that will do their best to bowl you over.
The newly-opened Ain Dubai - the world’s highest observation wheel - is best viewed from the Master bedroom, where at night you have your own light display, while the sitting room’s stretch out over Dubai Harbour, Palm Jumeirah and beyond.
The suite is all about soft, curved lines, with a contemporary, cosy and uncluttered design. Wood parquet flooring runs the full length of the suite, with two grey velvet sofas and a pouffe - with artistic patterns hand-brushed into each - sitting in the middle, and flanked by a four-seat dining table in one corner and two armchairs, positioned perfectly for sunset, in the other. Pops of purple and yellow burst through in cushions and carpets, while the mini-bar appears from a secret wall at the gentle push of a button.
The second bedroom is like the Master, all soothing hues of tan, cream, greys and whites, with equally pumped-up views, and a large bathroom with rain shower.
When views come as good as this, it’s tempting to never leave the suite, so our first few hours are lazy ones bouncing from bed to couch to armchair in between several ‘Seriously, just how amazing are these views?’ exchanges.
That said, with a Black Tap restaurant downstairs, and a unicorn milkshake with cupcake, candyfloss and ice cream on offer, we manage to mobilise ourselves.
To be honest, most of our stay is centred around food. We eat croissants and chocolate-dipped strawberries to the sound of a classical harpist at Godiva Cafe; we slurp smoothies and eat sushi by the pool at Azure Beach; and eat more mezze than we should at Asil, a beautiful Turkish/Lebanese/Moroccan-inspired restaurant that helps fuel our One Thousand And One Arabian fantasies.
Families also gather at Luigia for the ‘best pizza in town’, while STK’s high-energy ‘food-meets-party’ vibe is definitely for the grown-ups. Lunch at Ammos is also a very pretty affair, with its taverna interiors the perfect backdrop for its ‘Kouzina from the islands’ menu.
With weather this perfect, we’re outside from sunrise to sunset, via a treatment at the Turkish-inspired Naturelife Spa Premium. Get to the pool early to secure a day bed or book in advance to enjoy one of the VIP Pool Islands or Private Pool Cabana by Azure Beach. We spend a few hours on the beach while the sun works its magic on warming the pool, people-watching, swimming and chatting to strangers. There’s a Rixy Kids Club with an outdoor playground on the side of the pool, and Ocean Drive boutique selling beautiful designer beachwear.
We swim, eat lunch, and sip cocktails as the sun dips and dances behind JBR’s skyscrapers, providing strategic shade for the midday heat. I haven’t packed my workout gear, but the outdoor Jungle Gym is a hit with the kids, where weights and equipment are fashioned out of tree trunks and rope, and there’s a wellness area dedicated to a roster of al fresco classes, like Pilates, Tabata and boxing.
Golden hour casts a gorgeous glow over the garden, while the music and energy switch up a gear as kids are packed off for bath and bedtime and the after-dark crowd takes over.
After dinner, we amble along The Walk to get an ice cream, as throngs of people stroll in from the beach or out for the night, with a frisson of excitement in the air that could only belong to JBR.
A long soak with Chopard bath salts paves the way for a long sleep. I leave my bedroom curtains open because how can you block out those views? Yes, the morning sun may wake you at some unearthly hour, but I think it can be forgiven.
WHAT: Premium Two Bedroom Suite
WHERE: Rixos Premium Dubai
TEL: +971 4 520 0000