The instant you arrive at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai there are smiles, warmth and an esteemed level of service not often felt even at the ritziest hotels. An ornate, relaxing fountain covered in sweetly scented rose petals (changed daily), a step for the kids to sign into their own kids club, luggage whisked onto trolleys before blinking, swift check-ins and just general grandeur are all part of the perfectly crafted Ritz-Carlton Dubai guest experience.
The 294 rooms and suites are beautifully appointed to maximise the stunning panoramic views over the Arabian Gulf’s crystal waters. Private balconies, Arabic inspired luxurious furnishings with Western flair, the highest level of comfort for bedding and bathrooms fit for royalty, every detail has been considered in the design and execution, from the rooms to the foyer to the grounds, this is a 100% divine stay in one of the finest hotels in the world.
If you have not had the good fortune of staying in one of the many Ritz-Carlton hotels strategically placed around the planet, (soon coming to Australia – look out Melbourne, Perth and Sydney) then you may not understand that at the Ritz-Carlton, guest experience is paramount, and that means the guest comes first always (and not just part of a mantra, but actually does come first). The noticeable attention by staff to all guests (without being overbearing) is intuitive, thoughtful and just plain kind.
THE CLUB LOUNGE
The executive rooms and high level suites have access to “The Club Lounge”, which as the name describes is an exclusive club for guests to unwind, do business and eat and drink (read indulge). With five meal offerings throughout the day: breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner canapés and hors d’oeuvres, and unlimited drinks including sumptuous Arabic coffee, tea, beers, spirits, cocktails, fine wine, champagne and more – if you can afford it, you really should upgrade to the executive levels.
The staff here are so attentive, even going as far as freshly making pasta for children and looking after guests’ specific dietary requirements. The delicacies begin with a full American breakfast, or Mediterranean breakfast (note, fresh cucumber with boiled eggs are a must) and go right through the day with a selection of fine meats (please be respectful of Halal dietary preferences), cheeses, sensuous fruit displays, yoghurts, freshly baked pastries, breads and scones, mouth watering soups, petite fours and desserts. After 6.30pm the lights dim and a cocktail dress code applies (with no children allowed). The bar is well open with a dizzying selection of drinks.
If you have ever wondered what “appointed” means when used to describe rooms or abodes, then the rooms and suites at the Ritz-Carlton Dubai would be the perfect example. Each room has been carefully arranged to provide the best in guest comfort, almost to the point where it is a challenge to leave the hotel room (and an even greater challenge to leave the hotel complex entirely!).
The shower is opulently fitted with four separate hosing options, having a bath is like floating into a meditative state, the towels and robes are sturdy and soft with a plush deep pile that make you feel as though you are being enveloped in soft white fluffy clouds. Add to this special Ritz-Carlton Dubai branded toilet paper, with bathroom bench white orchids and the bathroom is positively resplendent!
With smart curtains (yes you read that right), that adjust to night, day and everything in between, state of the art TV, Wi-Fi, hi-fi, air-conditioning, extremely well-stocked mini-bar, balcony views of the grounds extending out onto the private beach by day and bustling city lights by night.
Keeping well-maintained gardens in the desert ought be a challenge, yet somehow the grounds and gardens are immaculate. This is likely attributed to the staff who care for the premises as though it were their own. Constantly pre-empting what guests want by bringing towels, complimentary chilled water in mini-eskies and ice-blocks for the kids, lying on a lounge has never felt so good.
The surrounding grassed areas, five swimming pools, cabanas, day beds, deck chairs, sun-lounges, swim-out cocktail bar, kids water-slide and ready life guards mean that the outdoor environment is a great way to relax and let holiday smiles take over. There is also a kid’s playground and sports area with table tennis, badminton and play archery and for those that can tear themselves away poolside there is of course the private beach. Soft Arabian Desert sand is so pleasant compared with our coarse Aussie grains, and a stroll along the beach is an absolute must. Be respectful of garment rules and only wear swimwear within hotel grounds. The water is calm and serene and well worth the effort, even if no one else wants to join you!
Recently introduced is complimentary morning yoga on Saturdays (yoga mat provided), where you can watch the sun rise over the Gulf while practicing your downward dog and taking in the sparkling sea (as well as your Ujjaayi breath aka ocean breath).
GUEST SERVICES: KIDS CLUB + SPA
One of the highlights for family travellers is Ritz Kids, a program dedicated to adventure, fun, exploration and learning for young travellers aged 4 years old to 12 years old. The program runs every day from 9am -6pm and is free for kids staying at the hotel. What a plus! The program includes activities such as shell collecting and painting, kids yoga, recycled arts, game playing and more. Children can forge special friendships with other children from all over the world, and mixing in this type of social environment enhances their diplomacy and negotiation skills in ways that cannot be learned elsewhere.
While the children are being professionally cared for having fun, there is no better opportunity to experience the Spa. With a choice of 12 rooms (including 3 private rooms with individual terraces), ladies’ and gentlemen’s relaxation lounges, a traditional hammam, an outdoor lap pool, hot and cold plunge pools and modern gym the spa offer a multitude of outcome focused treatments. Artfully blending traditional fragrances, age old formulas (such as camel milk, rose water and Dead Sea salt) with both Eastern and Western techniques the spa offers such luxurious treatments as the Arabia Felix (an all over body exfoliation with full body massage) and the Relax and De-Stress with an OMG factor – where skin is prepped with a vitamin C body polish and soufflé mask for a massage performed with obsidian and marble stones. Yes please!
Gourmet Food and Drink
Choose from several restaurants ranging from regional Asian cuisine at Blue Jade to traditional Arabic cuisine at Caravan or authentic Italian at Splendido. Whatever you choose, you will be certain have Dubai’s finest chefs preparing your meal!
BLUE JADE RESTAURANT
With an elegant and casual ambience Blue Jade restaurant serves up quintessential Asian fusion food that harnesses fresh produce, honest tried and trusted recipes and perfectly presented (i.e Insta-perfect) dishes.The ever gracious hostess, Precious and the rest of the Blue Jade team make clever menu suggestions and offer wonderful service. Try the signature Ginger Lotus Sea Bass, Duck Gyoza, Singapore Chilli Prawns. Sushi chef Tom, is ready to perfectly create a sushi/sushimi platter for two consisting of everything from boiled octopus to delectable first class salmon.
Prices start from $350 per night
See www.ritzcarlton.com/dubai for more.
By Sonia Komaravalli