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Hotel Review: Ritz-Carlton, Dubai

Hotel Review: Ritz-Carlton, Dubai

The new Shorooq wing houses 148 rooms, while the new bar and pool offer a higher level of luxury and sophistication.

Few names in the hotel and tourism industry are more closely entwined with luxury and lifestyle than Ritz-Carlton, and in Dubai, land of the seven-star hotel, that’s no small achievement.

Despite new hotels opening in the emirate on what seems like a weekly basis the mature establishments continue to draw their loyal and regular visitors.

That is partly because the older chains retain a style of subtly and discreetness that is hugely lacking in the fantasy-inspired iconic hotels you see pictured on postcards.

It is also because they are not afraid to change with the times, something the Ritz-Carlton Dubai is currently boasting, having recently opened its new 148-room wing.

Situated on The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence, the Ritz-Carlton arguably has one of the hottest prime locations in Dubai. Palm Jumeirah hotels will argue differently, but not everyone loves the Palm. Those who prefer a real community on the hotel’s doorstep will love the Ritz-Carlton’s location.

New wing

Apart from the 148 new guestrooms and suites in the Shorooq wing – Arabic for ‘sunrise’ – the renovation also includes a new corporate Club Lounge, new food and beverage venues, a new spa, additional swimming pools and new spaces for social and business gatherings.

Like the majority of hotels in Dubai, the Ritz-Carlton offers amenities for the travelling businessman as it does the sun-seeking holidaymaker. But it is probably the latter that will feel more at home here, given the hotel’s beachside location and sleep-inducing bedrooms.

The rooms themselves are hugely modern and luxurious, with an overriding sense of comfort. Large soft beds with several scatter cushions create a white sheet-cocoon, which proved hard to rise from each morning.

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The room did feel as if it was targeted more at the romantic couple than any other market, a feeling that ran ever so slightly throughout the hotel. A glass window between the bathroom and bedroom, offering views of the large white tub – which had its own TV at one end – would probably be an uncomfortable experience for anyone other than a couple very much in love. The balconies of every room overlook the Arabian Gulf and the hotel’s pools and facilities.

At the Ritz-Carlton they obviously believe in the old saying: eat breakfast like a King. Served in the Italian Splendido restaurant, Arabic mezzeh options sit alongside cheese boards, fresh fish, meats and an omelette station, though it is the warm breads and pastries that will catch your nose as you enter.

Sitting outside offers a setting full of trees, plants and wildlife, though be prepared to be watched closely by a large family of crows – the hotel could do with using a hawk to warn off the bold opportunists each morning.

Two swimming pools, an impressive kid’s pool with slide, a plethora of palm trees and second-to-none service with ice-lollies, water and melon regularly offered to those reclining on the many sunbeds, sum up the luxury that the Ritz-Carlton offers.

Although plenty of fauna infiltrates the flora – a welcome change of natural wildlife for the regular Dubai visitor – the only mild hang up would be the sand-to-grass ratio. Were the hotel to extend the lawn over some of the arid ground on its stretch towards the beach, it would be utterly faultless.

La Baie Lounge

One of the pools runs up to and alongside La Baie Lounge, the hotel’s newest bar and alfresco dining concept. Oversized-cushioned wicker chairs sit on a wooden decking with grand candle boxes littered in between. King-size beds for the sleepier drinker are separated by a small moat, fed by the nearby infinity pool’s overflow.

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A circular bar serves the clothed, dry guest on one side while guests in the water can swim up and be served on the other.

There are plenty of bars for sundowners in Dubai, but La Baie Lounge with its Mediterranean feel and DJ playing chill-out tunes throughout the day, offers a more subtle, stylish and sophisticated setting.

Blue Jade

As well as La Baie Lounge, the hotel’s dining options include the superb Asian restaurant Blue Jade, which makes an art form of balancing the different cuisines of the Far East.

The menu includes rice paper rolls from Vietnam, tom yum soup from Thailand, black pepper crab from Singapore, miso black cod from Japan and ginger sea bass wrapped in lotus leaf – a dish created by chef Ta Van’s own grandmother.

The sushi and sashimi options – alongside a raw fish bar – are incredibly good, with the octopus a must try. Deserts ranging from mint ice cream to banana sorbet and crème brulee offer a sweet ending and yet, such are the great portion sizes, you don’t leave with a sick, over-eaten feeling.

The clever design and layout of tables gives each party enough space and privacy while maintaining a quietly buzzing atmosphere. A relatively small but quaint outdoor terrace offers a very real Asian setting as you look out over the resort’s gardens, making it the perfect backdrop for a romantic meal.

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