United Arab Emirates Travel Guide
FS at DIFC. But will it have a spherical vodka bar?
How many luxury hotels can Dubai hold? An infinite number, obviously. And how many Four Seasons? Possibly the same answer.
Anyone thinking about the World Cup? How about the one in Doha in 2022? Die-hard soccer fans probably are – and die-hard hotel fans like ourselves sure are. Qatar is building a city chock full of extremely modern hotels as it prepares for the arrival of an extremely popular sport.
Following a heated competition for the design of the stadiums, featuring a couple of our hotel faves Foster+Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects, standout hotels must naturally go hand in hand (foot in foot?). No kidding from what we can see.
Hoteliers are hoping to score a “gooaal” with designs that are off the charts and in some cases, off the shoreline. Operators are not yet official for many of them and we’ll be tracking that closely as the games approach.
So, as we take stock of all the Doha hotel news - and there's more coming - here are three hotels in the works that will help define a skyline like nothing we’ve seen before. Strap yourselves in.
Discreet English manners. A shoe-polishing service. Fine afternoon teas. Not the kind of thing we expect from Dubai.
February 2016 is the day that the world will change its axis and the DUKES Dubai will open on the “trunk” of the Palm Jumeirah. It’ll be a five star property with attached “residences”, or villas, in Dukes Oceana which are already up for sale from today.
Hotels Doing Good / Hotel Pets / Hotel Animals / Hotel Turtles / Dubai Hotels / Jumeirah Hotels / → All Tags
This turtle stayed at the Burj Al Arab and all he got was this lousy Facebook tracking system...
Normally our hotel pets tend to be dogs. Occasionally cats. Once, in Cambodia, we’ve even seen crocodiles. But turtles? Here’s a new one.
It’s a little known fact (at least to us) that two Jumeirah properties in Dubai – the Burj Al Arab and the Madinat Jumeirah – have a turtle conservation program. The Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project is run by the two hotels in conjunction with Dubai’s Wildlife Protection Office. It rescues and rehabilitates poorly turtles, releases them back into the wild, tracks them, and works with both locals and guests to educate them about the plight of sea turtles. Have a look at their Facebook page. They're doing pretty wonderful stuff.
We’re just going to let those two words – “timeless style” – taken straight from the Palazzo Versace website, sit alongside the above image for a minute. We’ll be here when you’re ready.
Taken it all in? Though we’ve spent much more than a minute looking at this and the few other visuals now available for the Dubai-based (where else) extravaganza, we continue to struggle putting into words what we think. It’s… very bright. To the point where we feel like you’d be wearing sunglasses inside. We also cannot sign off on the turquoise and the purple against the burnt sienna(ish) of the marble on the floor. Are we alone in thinking this?
Women-Only Floors / Women-Friendly Hotels / Dubai Hotels / Jumeirah Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Chopard / → All Tags
Dubai is never short on luxurious experiences. And Dubai never goes for "understated." Everything in this desert city is done bigger and better than anywhere else. So it's no surprise that the Ladies Only Floor at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers is one of the luxurious women-only floors we've seen yet.
The hotel, which was built in 2000, was one of the first hotels in the Middle East to have a Ladies Only Floor. Located on level 40, there are just 10 guest rooms (including some with twin beds #ladiesgetaway) and the entire floor is staffed only by female Jumeirah employees. Oh and the rooms come with in-suite yoga facilities, a make-up fridge, soft bathrobes and kimonos and exclusive Chopard toiletries. Yes, please.
Rates at the hotel start around $345 USD a night. Guests also get complimentary access to Wild Wadi Waterpark and the beaches at sister hotels, Jumeirah Beach Hotel or Madinat Jumeirah.
It was promised to Dubai residents almost five years ago that Four Seasons was going to enter the Dubai market with a spectacular golf resort at Festival City.
Unfortunately, due to a plethora of reasons, it was not to be and the luxury hotel operator’s entry into the market was called off, if only for the time being. It has been a long wait but the Four Seasons’ second attempt to enter the glitzy Dubai hospitality scene is finally over.
One look at Four Seasons Dubai at Jumeirah Beach and it is not hard to understand why it took the company this long to enter. They waited for the right partner, identified the right location and orchestrated the right product mix. Everything from the warm welcome, the color palettes and the well-designed amenities and facilities, (including the spherical vodka bar we told you about last week), the Four Seasons was not going to get their second chance wrong by a long shot.
Here are a bunch of photos of the Four Seasons Dubai to keep you occupied all weekend long. So many photos. So, so, so many photos. You're welcome.
[Photos: Aditya Rajaram/HotelChatter]
Boat hotels: they’re the shiz if our recent experience in Yangon is anything to go by. You know what other boat hotel we were really looking forward to? The QE2, which was meant to undergo a $90m renovation to turn it into a 400 room floating hotel in China.
Except the QE2 is currently languishing in Dubai, as it has done for the past six years, awaiting the renovations. Looks like it isn’t happening – and the Oceanic Group, which owns the boat, is staying silent.
In the meantime, says the Daily Mail, it appears to have morphed into an impromptu BBQ area. The ignominy!
It’s on. In September we told you about Jumeirah’s plans for a new millennial-targeted brand, Venu Hotels. The first Venu, as reported then, is still expected to be on Bluewaters Island in Dubai – and should be confirmed by the end of this year. But according to Travel Daily, Jumeirah is also looking at other sites, with a second Venu in the UAE expected to be announced within the next six months. The article reckons that it’ll likely be in the Dubai Design District.
According to Travel Daily, Jumeirah also has its eye on Abu Dhabi – and, following the UAE expansion, it’ll be planning some European Venus, with London, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Berlin on the cards.
On the heels of themed-restaurant competitor Planet Hollyhood's announcement of its new digs in India, Hard Rock International has revealed plans to build a hotel in Dubai, the Hard Rock Hotel Dubai Marina.
The project will be Hard Rock's first built in the UAE and the Middle East. The entire structure will be a huge 101-floor tower that includes residential units, and the hotel will have 281 rooms and occupy the first 33 floors. Its location in Dubai Marina puts guests within launching distance to Jumeriah Beach, Dubai Media City, the Mall of the Emirates, and other restaurants, shops, and attractions.
No, we're not sure where it'll fit, either
The “luxurious urban resort” will be on Jumeirah Beach and will open in 2017. The 200 rooms and suites will, of course, undoubtedly be stunning, but the category to really get excited about will be the overwater villas, accessed via a private bridge, each with a private infinity pool and “swim platform”, allowing you to jump straight into the Arabian Gulf. Yes please!
It’s not all bad for the relative paupers in the rooms and suites, either – there will be a “variety of infinity edged pools leading down to the beach”. You’ll also have the run of nine restaurants and bars, including one on a pier with its own private dock. What’s more exciting than that? The signature cake shop, that's what.
We can't hardly wait for the November opening of the Miami Beach Edition Hotel but a self-described "hotel enthusiast" is more excited for the Abu Dhabi Edition Hotel, which is slated for 2016.
Admittedly, we haven't heard much about Edition's first Middle Eastern property but our curious reader did some sleuthing and has uncovered its location of in the Al Bateen Harbour complex in Abu Dhabi Marina. He also determined that the hotel will most likely be within a complex called Al Marasy.
There's no mention of a hotel project on the complex's website but our curious reader thinks that the Abu Dhabi Edition could open in one of the nearly finished, but still empty buildings on the waterfront. If that's true, the Abu Dhabi Edition could totally open in 2016. If construction still hasn't started, then we can kiss that date goodbye. Anyone know what's going on with the Edition in Abu Dhabi? Send your sleuthing to us!
Interestingly, Marriott has already sold the Edition Hotels in London, Miami and NYC to the Abu Dhabi government. Marriott will, of course, manage the properties. And as long as each one is run like London Edition, we won't mind.