WE ALL GET TIRED OF ‘HORSING-AROUND’ IN THE MIND-FIELD THAT IS DUBAI, AMIDST ITS TOWERING BUILDINGS AND FAST-PACED LIFESTYLE, AND SO CAME THE IDEA TO SOURCE OUT A TRANQUIL ESCAPE CLOSE BY. FACT TROTTED TO THE LUSCIOUS SERENITY OF THE DESERT PALM DUBAI AND WE CERTAINLY DIDN’T HAVE A LONG FACE DURING THIS STAY!
The Melia Desert Palm Dubai is set amidst an expansive estate with 160 acres of polo fields, tree lined lanes and secluded, shady nooks housing residences and villas. The sprawling Metropolis of Dubai with its array of entertainment and frenzied business and shopping districts is a mere 20 minutes away. When approaching the property, you’d imagine that those who designed each space and vista simply looked to the high rise cacophony of the city and said “Shhh! Serenity reigns here.” Remove words such as hustle, bustle, overwhelming, frenetic and anxiety from your vocabulary and replace them with lush, vegetation, tranquil, relaxing, leisurely and inviting – the language of Melia Desert Palm Dubai guests.
WATCH ME NEIGH NEIGH
Visitors are greeted by a beautiful wooden sculpture depicting a horse drinking from a watering hole. Inspired, you might assume, by the old adage ‘You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’. This illustrates how closely each element of the estate is intrinsically linked to the equestrian stables and prestigious Dubai Polo Club. Guests can indulge their interests in both polo and riding as much or as little as they desire. The Club which was founded by Ali Albwardy in 1994 houses over 250 ponies during the course of the season which runs from October to April with practice chukkas being held on Thursdays and Saturdays within sight of the hotel’s terrace. In addition, the beautiful Spanish-style stables, draped in bougainvillea, accommodate private livery horses and riding school horses which hotel guests may use. Saddle up and meander across the vast expanses of lush greenery or down tree-lined lanes. A visit to the stables is a must even for those who aren’t horse enthusiasts.
THE SUITE LIFE
If the thought of all that exertion is simply too much for those wishing to unwind and indulge then the hotel itself has just the ticket! The accommodation on offer, comprising 38 luxurious rooms along with additional private villas and residences is understated sophistication. The colour scheme boasts a spectrum of creams and browns which remove any hint of sterility whilst retaining clean lines and a contemporary vibe. The Palm Suite – our inviting home for three nights – had a superb layout which flowed effortlessly from the relaxed seating areas adorned with complimentary beverages and fruit platter to the expansive sleeping area with king size bed and modern amenities through to the stunning egg-shaped bathtub which was the centre piece of the wet-room-style bathroom. Floor-to-ceiling windows afforded us views of the paddocks and polo pitches. This was not just a space in which to sleep and leave hurriedly but rather a space in which to spend time enjoying the facilities.
RARE FOOD GOALS
By the time dinner came around, the delirium we had experienced whilst in the city was no more and we moseyed from the room feeling like we didn’t have a care or worry in the world. Due to the location of the hotel it is less likely that guests would venture back into the city to dine, therefore, we were overjoyed to find that this had not created a sense of complacency at having a ‘captive’ audience as we perused the menu at RARE. The setting itself was one of ‘fire and iron’ (which the menu refers to) with industrial inspired pendants of light crafted into various shapes from opaque glass. Flames soared in the open grilling station and could be seen ferociously heating the ovens above them. Beyond the cooking stations dishes were swiftly delivered to our table by knowledgeable hosts. Some of the platters mimicked distressed steel trays whilst others were equally interesting shapes and colours whilst drinks were delivered in perfectly mismatched pewter tumblers or exquisite long stemmed saucers. This all added to the panache.
The plenteous variety of salads, soups, ceviches and appetisers bamboozled me in the most wonderful way. As my eyes continued onwards into the entrees we quite literally rubbed our hands together with delight. What could possibly follow poached Veal Loin Carpaccio, Seared Diver Scallop, Peruvian Fish soup or indeed Seared Lobster tail? Ordinarily, we would try something slightly more experimental or adventurous such as their Braised Beef Cheeks accompanied with smoked vegetables or Pumpkin Gnocchi with sautéed Mango Spinach and Tomato Concasse. However, we were completely smitten by the splendorous selection of beef steaks and ribs which began with the ‘baby’ 40-Day Aged Prime US Grass Fed Beef through to the ‘Godfather, the patriarch of the family’ 450-Day aged Wagyu Beef from Ranger’s Valley.
If the flavour profile wasn’t already outrageous enough, diners can opt to add Foie Gras or Blue Cheese or one of seven sauces. In addition the 12-hour double cooked beef short ribs served with in-house barbeque sauce brought this carnivorous escapade to a crescendo. For those who prefer to opt for something more heart healthy or who have removed meat from their diet completely, RARE offers mouth-watering options such as Roasted Vegetable Ravioli and Baked Provolone with vegetable compote. We challenge anyone to visit RARE and leave feeling anything other than mind blown… and extremely satisfied. The resident chef is also available for those staying in villas and residences for bespoke private BBQs.
AN EPIC FEAST
Epicure – Gourmet, Gastronome, Gourmand. With breakfast being prepared in an establishment with such a title we had no doubtthat quality would be guaranteed. The Epicurious Breakfast menu boasted 14 tea choices and Desert Palm Dubai’s signature Arabica coffee blend as well as juices and homemade smoothies. Traditional Arabic breakfasts along with the best of the ‘Hen House’ or ‘Heart Healthy’ dishes once again provided something for everyone. For those with a big day ahead the ‘Big Breakfast’ would set you up to tackle anything. The menus have been skillfully crafted in order to ensure that even guests staying for weeks at a time need not grow tired of the dishes on offer and could probably eat something different every day of their stay. Brilliant!
Samana Spa was our final destination. Although we might suggest that the best was saved for last, that would be an injustice as my time at Melia Desert Palm Dubai was phenomenal from the moment I arrived. Nevertheless, the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly their spa and the treatments it offers. The healing qualities of crystals are renowned the world over and therefore Samana has sourced crystal-infused waters which each hold special properties. The crystals are displayed, suspended within the dispensers. An invigorating yet thoroughly relaxing one hour massage was concluded with time in the relaxation zone which boasts heated tiled loungers, beautifully ornate day beds and a selection of teas and preserved fruits including apricots and dates. Despite our best efforts to remain, our time here had ended and we grudgingly left to face the loud, brash, reality of the world outside.
Melia Desert Palm Dubai is the epitome of a hidden gem. It’s the kind of secret you feel you want to share but are too afraid to because it’s just so wonderful. The proximity to the city means that it’s both a perfect getaway for residents or businessmen and a superb location for those hoping to discover the delights of Dubai by dipping in and out as they see fit.
GO: CALL (0)4 323 8888 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION. FOLLOW @MELIADESERTPALMDXB ON INSTAGRAM FOR ALL THE LATEST INFO.