The lowdown Nestled on the outer frond of the Palm Jumeirah Island in Dubai, One&Only The Palm is the ultimate in boutique luxury and is in fact the island’s only boutique gem. This tranquil oasis of calm feels miles away from downtown Dubai but in reality is no distance at all from the buzz and excitement of the city which is just a 30-minute drive or short water taxi ride away. From the resort you can see the ever expanding skyline of New Dubai which is particularly stunning at night. To really appreciate the view, reserve an outdoor table at 101, the hotel’s hip drinking and dining haunt (already a firm favourite with locals) perched over the marina.
The hotel In a destination known for over sized, bling bling hotels, One&Only The Palm is a rare jewel. With just 64 rooms, 26 suites and four beachfront villas, it is all about intimacy and romance. The décor is understated yet super stylish, fusing contemporary design with Moorish and Andalucian architectural influences. The beautiful chandeliers and simple Moroccan lanterns that adorn the interiors combined with the hues of white, soft gold and mother of pearl give the resort a cool and calming ambience.
For a truly special experience, nab one of the beachfront villas which feel like a luxurious, upgraded home away from home. Spanning two levels, they boast a private temperature controlled plunge pool, a full bar and a huge fully furnished balcony and roof terrace overlooking the gardens with direct access to the beach. In fact, all the accommodation is spacious with private balconies or outdoor terraces, with the beach and massive swimming pool just steps away. We fell in love with the sumptuous bathrooms with oversized free-standing bathtubs and rain showers.
If you can tear yourself away from the beach and the king-sized daybeds dotted along the sand, the pool is the place to hang out with a Mojito or two in hand. If you don’t want to soak up the sun all day, opt for one of the super luxe air-conditioned poolside cabanas, all equipped with showers, lounge area and eating area where you can while away the day in between dips in the pool.
Dining Fronted by three Michelin-stared chef Yannick Alleno (of Le Meurice, Paris fame), there are three restaurants: 101 which has a Champagne and seafood bar, Zest, the resort’s main restaurant which blends the flavours of the Middle East, Asia and the West; STAY (the acronym for Simple Table Alléno Yannick) which offers a fine dining experience in a stylish yet laid back setting. InStyle recommends the Fregola Sarda pasta and Dublin bay prawn ravioli, but don't forget to save room for pudding – the pinnacle of your dining experience at STAY. Here there is a dazzling pastry library where you can tell the chef de patisserie your favourite ingredients and she will create an array of tantalising puds served by the half metre. InStyle indulged in 1.5 metres, including passion fruit cheese cake, macaroons, gooey meringues and a selection of chocolate goodies. Simply divine!
The spa For total relaxation, head to the One&Only spa by ESPA, a secluded retreat set amidst ponds, fountains and open courtyards. Treatments, based on ancient Arabian rituals, can be tailored to three different approaches entitled “Unwind”, “Restore” and “Elevate” - which help you choose the spa experience most suited to your individual needs. There are eight suites with private gardens, and one private VIP couple suite complete with double scrub room and shower, two soaking baths, two treatment beds and a relaxation area. The spa also offers Bastien Gonzalez's fabulous pedicures that leave your feet feeling incredibly smooth.
To book Emirates Tours (www.emiratestours.co.uk tel: 0844 800 1400) offers 3 nights at One&Only The Palm, Dubai from £1,119 per person (saving up to £979 per couple). Price based on two people sharing a Palm Manor House Premier Room with breakfast and dinner daily. It includes return Economy Class flights with Emirates* and return private car transfers. Valid for travel from 8 May to 3 June 2011.
*Valid on flights from Heathrow (EK008 and EK030 only), London Gatwick and Newcastle. Supplements apply for alternative departures. A weekend supplement of £45 per person applies for departures on Friday and Saturday. Emirates (www.emirates.com/uk) operates 14 flights a day from the UK to Dubai with departures from Heathrow (five times daily), London Gatwick (three times daily), Birmingham and Manchester (twice daily), and Newcastle and Glasgow (daily).
By Natalie Hartley