Madinat Jumeirah Resort – Dubai, UAE: Built like an ancient Arabian citadel, the Madinat Jumeirah Resort is the place to stay if you want to absorb and live the culture and history of Dubai—the culture and history of the well-heeled that is, where everything is larger-than life. It combines the legendary, often infamous, Arabian opulence with traditional architecture and design—ornate, elaborate, and luxurious. This vast property actually consists of two luxury boutique hotels—Al Qasr ad Mina A’ Salam, the courtyard summer houses of Dar Al Masyaf, a themed mall called “the Souk,” and a connection of waterways to get you from one area to another (in a water taxi).
First Impression/Lobby: No one from the hotel was there to pick us up upon our arrival. Luckily, after looking and asking around, we found the Jumeirah office. Their contention for their failure to pick us up was that the new terminal (Emirates Terminal 3) just opened the day before, and they were thus not as organized as they would have liked. A bit lame, if you ask me. However, they immediately arranged a transfer for us.
We got in the Audi A8 and were offered cold water, a cool cloth to freshen up and a granola bar. On our way to the hotel completely relaxed, we soon forgot about the mix-up at the airport. The drive to the hotel was just under 30 minutes.
When we arrived at the hotel it was very busy, but they were able to organize the chaos and handle the guests very well. I was impressed! The lobby, like most of Dubai’s luxury hotels, was big and remarkable! Mercifully, it was not as overdone as those I have seen in other five-star hotels in Dubai. The interior was opulent and elaborate, definitely, but compared to others, it was subdued; tastefully done, I might add.
Reception: Our check-in was quick and easy and the reception staff was warm and welcoming. After our check-in, a young lady escorted us to our room. She made us feel very welcome, and for a moment, I forgot I was in a hotel this large. The personal and friendly service she gave us made it feel more like a boutique hotel.
The Room: We had an Ocean Deluxe Room—just a regular room, not a suite; although it had a small sitting area and was spacious enough for a room in its category. The decor was typical of traditional Arabian interiors—extravagant and lavish. It reminded me of Fantasia or the Arabian Nights. The walls were a light golden color. The furniture was large, dark, heavy and antique-looking. The pieces included a dresser and an armoire which led to the bathroom. While the items were opulent, they were not really my taste. It made me think of being in Disneyland or in one of those themed rooms in Vegas. Still, it was a worthwhile experience. Outside was a small balcony with a beautifully panoramic view. It was furnished with a table and two chairs, spacious enough to have dinner in, which we did.
The bed was pure bliss, and probably the best part of the room. It was covered with white luxurious top-of-the-line linen sheets and had a feather top, similar to the “Heavenly Bed” that the Westin Hotels have.
The bathroom was also a dream. It had dual basin sinks, a large soaking tub, a separate shower, a private toilet and a bidet closet. It was well-stocked with lush bathroom amenities (the Jumeriah brand, which were quite nice) and heavy plush robes, as well as lighter robes.
Room Service: Again, like everything else I had experienced so far, the hotel’s Room Service was excellent. They had an extensive menu and made it very convenient for us to order. Absolutely no fuss! We didn’t have to wait on the phone as they immediately took our order and told us it would be ready in thirty minutes.
They were right on time! When they got to our room, they set the meal up on the balcony complete with table cloth and elegant-looking utensils. The presentation was impressive. It felt like we were dining in an upscale restaurant and not our balcony. The dishes were well-prepared and delicious. They did a very good job in providing us with an unforgettable experience.
Housekeeping: The housekeeping was also impeccable and invisible, just what you would expect from a five-star luxury hotel.
Restaurant: There is an endless list of restaurants to choose from inside the property, not to mention, there’s a mall which houses every cuisine preference or food craving one may have.
We tried the seafood restaurant, Pisces (which I reviewed here separately), and it was one the best restaurants I have tried in Dubai. It’s definitely worth going back to. Other restaurants and cuisines offered in the resort include Chinese, Thai, Spanish, Moroccan, Asian, Steakhouse, International, and Vegetarian. They also have a number of bars, cafes and lounges so there’s no reason to get bored.
Pool/Spa/Activites: The hotel has a magnificently large pool that will surely impress anyone. It goes around the property and gives the illusion of being three separate pools, when in fact, it is all connected. You get the best of both worlds: a largely extended pool that is quiet and not too busy.
Service at the pool was also excellent. The staff was attentive and responsive to every request whether it was getting towels or ordering lunch or drinks. They were on call and never far away.
Besides the pool, there is a wide range of recreational activities offered in the hotel and the mall. The hotel spa is supposed to be one of the most lavish and luxurious in the country. Water activities for children and the family such as kayaking and banana boat rides are also offered here.
Overall Impression I typically shy away from large resorts such as this but they have done such an excellent job in both service and all the small details that I give the Madinat Jumeirah Resort a rating of Bombastic!