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First impression A glittering fairy forest by the beach.
Staff Attentive and smart.
Food and drinks We can taste a Michelin star.
Bed and bath Beach and city views.
The crowd Emirati/expat mix.
In a nutshell A triumphant launch and one of Dubai’s most appealing new hotels.
Set the scene
Rows of towering bronze trees with leaf-shaped crystal bulbs, shimmering like fireflies, a woodland of light leading from lobby to the beach. Outside are walkways and bridges and teak decks, with cabanas for poolside lounging. Staff appear in bright blue fedoras and frock coats. There are artful embroidered flowers on the walls, marble and wood throughout, and floor-to-ceiling windows for mesmerising views out to sea.
What’s the story?
Part of the Asia-based Mandarin Oriental group, this is the group’s first property in the United Arab Emirates, open since March 2019.
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What can we expect from our room?
We had a Junior Suite. The TV swivelled on its axis frame so I could comfortably watch it from my huge bed or any seat in the room. The tea was by Jing. And the bath potions are by Natura Bissé, the Spanish equivalent of La Prairie. The tech was frustrating though – over-complicated electric control panels offering lighting moods.
How about the food and drink?
There are six restaurants and bars, but head straight to Tasca for the menu from José Avillez, the Portuguese chef behind the two-Michelin-starred Belcanto restaurant in Lisbon. Highlights here include the Algarve prawns: prepared ceviche-style, the red Mediterranean shrimps, served on lime halves, pack more flavour into their little bodies than lobster. The citrus marinade doesn’t overpower and the silky texture feels as decadent as an oyster. After dinner, down a Smoking Gun – the aroma is as intoxicating as the drink and it gives the bar staff a chance to play with their coolest toy, a smoking gun that gives the bourbon, Campari and chocolate cocktail its name as well as its flavour.
Anything to say about the service?
Staff seem genuinely excited to be part of Mandarin Oriental’s Middle Eastern debut. Celebrating birthdays is easy here as the hotel houses a Mandarin Oriental Cake Shop, with freshly made and very photogenic creations.
Who comes here?
Locals flocked to the hotel from the get-go, gathering in the lobby’s Noor Lounge and the cake shop, their pristine kanduras and abayas making a very Emirati first impression. Off-duty Financial Centre professionals, fashion-forward holiday makers and one or two female DJs in ankle boots and sequin dresses add to the mix.
How does it fit into the region?
Sharing a neighbourhood with Four Seasons Dubai and Bulgari Dubai, it’s not the only beachfront hotel in Jumeirah, but the others don’t have Tasca or youth on their sides.
Anything you’d change?
We’d love to rewrite the flowery, uninformative spa menu.
Anything we missed?
There’s the Nomad Kids’ Club, plus the Middle East’s first-ever Outrace frame-gym rigged with ladders, suspension ropes and punch bags. And a tempting selection of ice cream is served at breakfast.
Worth it – and why?
Yes: for its pool space, private beach, central location, and lots of reasons to stay in, including a spa with wigwam-like relaxation pods, instead of plain old recliners.
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Address: Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Telephone: +971 4 777 2222
Wifi: The charge for Wi-Fi is approximately £9
Price: Doubles from approximately £500
This hotel is one of our favourite new hotels in the world, and included in our Hot List 2019. Discover more of the best new hotels in the world 2019 now.
The best new hotels in the world: the Hot List 2019
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