DUBAI: DANCE OF THE ARABESQUE
From architecture to ambience, serenity to sensuousness, these two luxurious One&Only establishments in Dubai channel ancient splendour.
From architecture to ambience, serenity to sensuousness, Dubai’s two luxurious One&Only establishments channel ancient splendour.
Welcoming seafarers and traders was all part of the Bedouin tradition in Dubai long before the City of Merchants became – courtesy of the region’s bountiful oil discoveries and the port city’s precious metal trading – the City of Gold.
At the One&Only Royal Mirage, the welcoming committee is a nod to both sources of riches. Front and centre is an imposing caravan of seven nomads (one for each of the Arab Emirates) astride life-sized camels. The gold-painted bronze installation by South African sculptor Danie de Jager depicts the travellers arriving, finally, at an oasis.
Once inside, there is that same sense of reward, relief, and a journey completed.
The Royal Mirage is a luxury layer cake – pattern upon pattern, shape upon shape, texture upon texture. It comprises three accommodation wings: The Palace, the Residence & Spa, and the Arabian Court, all set on a 26-hectare swathe of unexpectedly luscious land, with a long private beach.
All rooms have views of the Palm Island
Bay and of gardens, so no squabbling there. It’s a sleepover fit for a Sheikh. Indeed, the Residence & Spa is part of the Leading Hotels of the World portfolio.
We are assigned an executive suite in the VIP Gold Club, a section of the Palace with a lift and private entrance. It’s spacious and plush, exuding warmth and comfort, its colour palette reflecting the myriad sands of the desert, with turbo-turquoise touches. There are fragrant arrangements of white roses and lilies. A caramel-coloured leather attaché case has slide-out drawers with designer baklava, and beside it is a silver cake stand of dates and dried figs. There are views over manicured lawns to a city that is forever a shimmering work in progress.
While it looks like something that rose from the desert centuries ago, The Palace was built in 1999 and its siblings several years later. And, like siblings, each has a discrete personality. But all are imposing yet intimate, courtesy of a trademark Arabian décor that evokes mystery, fantasy and a no-holds-barred luxury. Curved and scalloped archways and windows, vast floors of marble or tiles, water features and big furniture add to the Arabesque majesty.
Light fittings are a signature feature of Arabian décor. Lights are draped, hung, looped, and fall from exotic domes in clusters like oversized Christmas baubles or unfurled metal parasols.
Guests are not just a room number here – and the staff are always one step ahead of their guests, having cars ready, making reservations, suggesting and organising excursions to the desert and beyond. Prescription medicine at midnight? No problem, it’s there within the hour.