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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Dukes Dubai: a classy British-themed hotel on Palm Jumeirah

Highlights include the Palm's only indoor swimming pool and the popular Khyber restaurant

The private beach and infinity pool at Dukes Dubai. Courtesy Dukes Dubai
The private beach and infinity pool at Dukes Dubai. Courtesy Dukes Dubai

Dukes Dubai seems much bigger on the inside than it looks from outside. But then this new 15-storey, almost cubic hotel, is deceptively spacious and nicely located if you are doing business in Dubai.

Hidden at the top of the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah, it has 506 rooms, of which 279 are hotel rooms and suites, together with 227 studio and one-bed apartments with another 60 to be added next March.

Taking the theme from its sister hotel in London, Dukes Dubai aims for British standards of service and hospitality, and rooms are named after prominent London sites and British royalty.

The 14th floor Queen Elizabeth Suite is the largest of these at 145 square metres, and costs Dh6,000 to Dh8,000 per night. Its interior of many shades of grey is completely modern, down to the auto­mated Japanese toilet, a feature of every room in the hotel.

The impressive suite’s next booking is for four months, however there are six large ambassador suites to choose from as an alternative.

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The hotel’s 23-metre swimming pool is also on the 14th floor, the only indoor pool on the Palm Jumeriah. It can be hired for corporate or private entertaining, and features a huge bar and ­panoramic views over the Palm fronds and the blue ­Arabian Sea.

Above the pool is the cavernous Khyber Indian restaurant, the first ever spin-off of Mumbai’s Mughlai eatery. The Dukes version has many interesting private spaces including a terrace with a mirrored view down to the swimming pool and two outside terraces. The view is marred a little by the huge construction site of the Nakheel Mall, expected to open next year.

Executive chef Martin Cahill, who worked for Gordon Ramsay, says that the Khyber’s biryani is its most popular menu item. A club sandwich ordered via room service will cost you Dh70, while a can of Coke and a bottle of water will are Dh20 and Dh15 respectively.

“Room service is particularly popular with our corporate guests,” says Mr Cahill. “As are the apartments for long-term guests.”

Guest rooms are from Dh800 to Dh1,200 a night, according to the season. I liked the window into the bathroom that is rendered opaque at the touch of a button.

For female guests there is a dedicated floor off limits to male guests and staff, containing 20 rooms decorated with fabric from British department store Liberty London.

The 4 Mbps free Wi-Fi follows you around the hotel, even on to the beach, and you can upgrade to much higher speeds instantly on request. A small business centre on the first floor has two PCs and a serious-looking printer.

For major corporate events, the St James Suite on the fourth floor is the biggest of the seven meeting rooms. It can accommodate up to 120 in its conference area and has three breakout rooms.

For all-day dining, the Great British Restaurant has a high ceiling and something of the atmosphere of a medieval hall with windows. Upstairs, a cigar lounge and a slightly souless afternoon tea lounge offer more food and beverage options.

I tried the signature West 14th, New York-style steak house on the beachfront, perhaps a slightly odd venue to find in a British-themed hotel but not a place to miss. Chef de cuisine Clive Pereira trained under another British superchef, Gary Rhodes. He served up a delicious Wagyu steak and chips with truffled mushrooms and beans with bacon.

Visit the private beach when you can, do business and dine in the interior. And soon there will be a world-class shopping mall just in front of the hotel.