REVIEW: Anantara The Palm Dubai

Anantara The Palm Dubai looks nothing like a hotel. The peaked orange roofs, water villas and bright blue lagoon would be better suited to Asia’s south-eastern peninsula, giving away the brand’s Thai roots.

They’ve done an excellent job of taking a massive hotel chain and giving it a boutique touch – although there are 272 rooms and 30 villas, the low-level layout means that you get around by tuk tuk rather than a lift, adding to the Thai village feel.

We stayed in a lagoon access room, which opens straight out into the “lagoon” swimming pool that winds between buildings. With underwater lighting, it is open 24 hours so you can take a late night (or early morning) dip as you wish. This is Anantara’s trump card; there isn’t another hotel in Dubai with pool access from the rooms or water villas, so this will tick a few boxes for those looking for something special. There’s even a “floating mixologist” who brings the pool bar to your door on a boat.

Rooms are simple, with dark wood and bright white sheets offering quality rather than a distinctive design. But with an impressive view full of oranges, greens and blues from the sliding doors, there’s little accessorising needed. Of course, all of the cons are mod – an LCD TV, Nespresso coffee machine, and a walk-in rain shower that’s more like a monsoon. For us, the best part was the bed. Seriously, that’s one comfortable mattress.

Combining the best parts of intimate boutique and large resort, the hotel is packed with facilities. Crescendo, the all-day dining restaurant, does breakfast, brunch and an evening buffet, and is a notch above most, with plenty of cooking stations and live entertainment. During brunch we particularly enjoyed music from a young guitarist called Jamie, who did his own take on pop songs using a loop pedal. The other restaurants, such as The Beach House and Bushman’s, are popular in their own right. These venues are famed for their ladies nights and lazy lunches, so you won’t actually have to leave the hotel for a night out.

During the day, Anantara’s beach is a must. Being as it’s five star, there’s lounger service… even the sand is raked to make sure your holiday photos look neat. The idyllic views of the Arabian Gulf and Dubai Marina make it the perfect place to lie back and do nothing, but if you’re anything like us and need to be constantly occupied, that’s covered too. A little wooden beach hut offers plenty of watersports, with banana boats, kayaks and boat trips. We only wish we’d stayed longer.

Price: Lagoon access room from AED1,560 per night
To book: +971 4 5678304

Must-do list

Ladies night – The Beach House
Every Tuesday The Beach House hosts the “Sparkle in the Sand” ladies night. The concept is a little different as you pay AED75 for a wrist band and get unlimited bubbles from 8pm. Best of all you get a stone – most are glass but one lucky lady will get the real deal.
Tuesdays, from 8pm

Friday Fork & Cork – Crescendo
The all-day dining restaurant’s Friday brunch is superb. We ate our way through Thailand, Japan, India, Britain and the Middle East, with a huge range of seafood and meats at live cooking stations. Taking the brunch concept to a five star level, you’ll find the likes of oysters and sashimi in amongst cocktail stations. From AED325 per person.
From 1pm-4pm.

Saturday Lazy Lunch – Bushman’s
Those who prefer their brunches more leisurely than lively should try Bushman’s Aussie-style ‘lazy lunch’. Starters and deserts are served at stations, while mains are a la carte. AED220 with soft drinks and AED330 including Australian house beverages.
Saturdays, 1pm-4pm

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