Hotel insider Despite still being in the city, Desert Palm is ideal for a weekend away from Dubai.
Dubai Desert Palm
A little mixed. Turning off the main road, we were first greeted by a rather cantankerous watchman at the gate who seemed unsympathetic to our difficulties with directions. However, once we managed to find the hotel, which is hidden amid residential properties, the welcome could not have been warmer. Check-in, which took place on a squishy designer sofa, was executed smoothly, quickly and accompanied by a thirst-quenching fresh juice.
Plush villas surround the hotel, and those with a healthy budget can stay in one of the houses. Guests in the villas and the main building get to enjoy views over the polo fields and a wonderful sense of detachment from the bustle of Dubai. There is a pervading sense of calm and the only intrusion into the peace comes from the odd groom riding a polo pony past the pool. There is one downside, though - a nearby sewage plant. We're happy to report that we didn't detect even the merest of whiffs during our stay, but the knowledge of the plant dimmed the glamour a little.
The staff managed to avoid the fake-smile trap and came across as relaxed and genuinely helpful. The spa therapists were particularly good - extremely knowledgable and happy to share their expertise. The room Chic, understated and guaranteed to delight design fans. The Desert Palm suite features a vast bed clad with sheets so comfortable that I asked about buying a set to take home. The amenities were design-centric, hi-tech, and went beyond the standard TV. The iPod dock is by Bose, the coffee machine is Nespresso's Cube and the alarm clock comes courtesy of Georg Jensen. A free-standing bath and impressive rainfall shower complete the picture.
For help with hi-tech amenities. When the remote control got the better of me, the concierge didn't just dispatch someone to explain the technicalities, he also sent up a DVD menu featuring an impressive array of box sets in case the TV schedule didn't come up to scratch.
It's early days but Desert Palm looks set to attract spa junkies (the property boasts an excellent Lime brand spa), honeymooners and design-conscious UAE residents suffering from bling fatigue.
The understated design, the perfect peace, and the excellent eggs Benedict at breakfast. Also, the spa for the therapists poached from Carita Paris, the Kuush organic products and the views over the polo fields from the massage beds.
The steam room, which was tepid and had a slightly stale smell. And the ice cave, purely because sitting in an igloo doesn't strike me as a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
The perfect antidote to marble, gilded and overblown luxury. Despite still being in the city, Desert Palm is ideal for a weekend away from Dubai.
Desert Palm, Al Awir Road, Dubai, 04 323 8888. Doubles from Dh1,582. @email:www.desertpalm.ae