Sea spa: Treatments fit for royalty at Dubai's Emerald Palace Kempinski
Where is it?
The newest addition to Dubai’s Palm Jumeriah is a palatial property offering spectacular views over the Arabian Gulf and the city skyline, with the Burj Khalifa twinkling on the horizon. Sitting on the Palm's West Crescent, it’s just a 30-minute drive from the heart of the city but acts as its own private Kingdom.
What’s the hype?
In the City of Gold nothing is done by half measures, and this hotel pushes the boundaries of extravagance even further. Inspired by the Palace of Versailles, its grand lobby is hand painted in 24-carat gold leaf with a dazzling 40,000 Swarovski crystal chandelier in the centre – just one of more than 16,000 chandeliers dotted throughout the hotel. Each room is lavished in either platinum or gold, with damask walls and curtains, silky brocade throws and yet even more chandeliers (even in the bathroom). Other highlights include a lagoon pool, a private beach laid with Maldivian sand, and a heavenly Cinque Mondes spa.
What to have?
In comparison to the rest of the hotel the spa is an understated Eden, with corridors softly lit by gold filigree lanterns and cool stone floors underfoot. Taking inspiration from age-old beauty rituals from across the globe, there’s a melting pot of treatments on offer. For the jet-lagged, a tonifying Ayurvedic massage will revitalise you in no time. Warm vanilla and cardamon scented oils combined with a succession of energetic and warming strokes will release tension and relax muscles as you lay on a gently heated bed. For total privacy check into a spa suite complete with its own hammam, sauna, ice bucket shower and twin treatment room with traditional deep soak Japanese wooden bathtubs.
Those in need of something a little more invigorating should choose the North African hammam. You’ll be scrubbed head to toe with Beldi black soap and an exfoliating kassa glove before being slathered in a detoxifying clay Rhassoul wrap leaving you with silky soft skin.
Where to eat?
Brunches are a long and lavish affair in Dubai and you’ll find one of the best at All’onda. This chic rooftop lounge features gold-backed sofas and sunset views, set to a soundtrack of chilled house music. There’s an impressive spread of Italian-Asian fusion on offer from sushi to salads, and classics such as tomato rigatoni and All'onda risotto (not to mention a dessert counter that will require more than one trip).
But the real star is miX by internationally acclaimed chef Alain Ducasse. Serving seasonal French dishes with a twist, miX is contemporary in both it's cuisine and design, with white sofas, mirrored walls and a ceiling made of a wave of acrylic cylinders. A private lift will whisk you up to the chef’s table hidden in the hotel’s central dome, where you'll be treated to 360-degree views from a private terrace and an extraordinary kaleidoscopic ceiling. Tuck into sharing plates of sea bream ceviche, waygu beef tiradito, smoked aubergine, and seared octopus. And for dessert, a mix of milk pastilla, pine nut soufflé, and a refreshing snowball of frozen meringue, pineapple and mint.
Best by boat
Dubai Marina is the closest and offers berths up to 60 metres, or alternatively, anchor off from the Palm, check in to a sea view suite and watch the sun as it sets behind your superyacht. Bigger boats should head to Mina Rashid Marina – in the city’s busy historic quarter – which can host yachts up to 80 metres and is currently home to one of the largest superyachts in the world Dubai.