Prior to this trip, I had been to Dubai probably 5 or 6 times, for a total of about 90 minutes each time, which means I’d been in Dubai for a grand total of around 9 hours. Those hours were mostly spent in the vast Dubai airport frantically shuffling my plane cramped legs to the next flight. Obviously, as a traveler, this was an unacceptable situation which I rectified on my way back from a Christmas trip to the Swiss Alps. I booked a two night stop over and went about researching hotels, food, bars, sights, and tours.
This article was initially going to be simply titled “48 Hours in Dubai” and it was going to be one of those typical “how to get around, eat here, see that” kind of guides. However, these plans were interrupted when I made the fortuitous mistake of booking the FIVE Palm Jumeirah Hotel. I’ll state up front that this isn’t a sponsored post, I just happen to have really enjoyed my stay at Five Palm Jumeirah.
I’ll start with the ethos of the hotel and origin of the name “FIVE” because it really does resonate throughout the hotel and explains why I was grounded there. This is best explained through this quote from their website:
“Our philosophy is based on the Five Elements; Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Consciousness. These keep us grounded in everything we do as we reshape what it means to be hoteliers. We understand time is the ‘new’ luxury and at FIVE Palm this starts from the most basic service to the highest level of expectation. In this way, we hold ourselves accountable to provide a perfect luxury getaway for all our guests.”
Due to the grounding nature of these Five Elements, I’ll admit I hardly left the hotel, instead, I embraced Earth by indulging in a massage:
There was plenty of Water (and mojitos) to be enjoyed by way of the multiple pools:
Fire represented through sunset serenades cooly exhaled through shisha smoke:
The freedom of Air from the spacious rooftop lounges:
And I guess Consciousness through writing this article. It’s very refreshing to see that they give back to the community through supporting Project Udaan which aims to save children’s lives through preventing human trafficking.
A contributing factor to me not being able to leave the hotel was the sheer quantity of gorgeous restaurants and bars. My first food stop was at Praia Restaurant and Lounge, which features beachside Portuguese inspired cuisine with a Japanese twist that is well supported by a creative cocktail menu.
My masculinely pink cocktail was a Pomos Fizz – Gin, pomegranate, rose water, pistachio orgeat, lemon, it was unique without being over the top and was perfectly balanced. I, of course, clicked away some photos while I waited for my Pink Swordfish Tataki. The meaty texture of the swordfish was softened by some slight curing and was expertly paired with a little tropical salad, again it was well balanced so I can tell there is some experience in the kitchen.
Whilst exploring the hotel I noticed a special massage and 3-course lunch deal which I just couldn’t pass up. I quickly headed over to the spa and booked myself in. The spa was, of course, luxurious and the massage rooms were actually little separate huts which gave an indulgent sense of privacy.
The main event was of course lunch, I was supremely excited because it was at the authentic Italian Ristorante, Quattro Passi lead by Chef Antonio Mellino, holder of two Michelin stars! I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves:
The service, presentation and the food were of course immaculate. This theme was repeated throughout the hotel. Being a solo traveller, when dining or enjoying a beverage alone the staff would expertly sense whether or not I wanted to be left to my own devices (read: iPhone) or engage in conversation. The staff in the lobby were more than happy to discuss the sights of Dubai and give me tips on what to see; of course, I’m exaggerating about not leaving the hotel and did manage to do a little exploring. I had myself booked into a Middle Eastern Food Pilgrimage with Frying Pan Adventures, but it was canceled due to last minute illness of the tour guide, I promise I’ll go along next time Arva!
There was so much to do at FIVE Palm Jumeirah that I didn’t even make it to the fusion brasserie BLVD On One or sample the authentic Chinese cuisine at Maiden Shanghai. The rooms were, of course, lavish and spacious, generously adorned with gold and marble.
What lessons have I learnt from this trip to Dubai? Definitely not to just spend 90 minutes there on a stopover between flights. Also, to book an extra 48 hours to allow myself to fully enjoy the FIVE Palm Jumeirah and actually go exploring the other sights of Dubai. Total hours in Dubai so far: 57.