The International Model and Man of Mystery makes a quick visit to the Luxury Hotel on the Palm Jumeirah Island and gives us his take on food, fun and just plain old relaxation.
For some reason, when people first hear the word Dubai, they think hijabs, the desert and a country that has a strict dress code. Well, you were right about the dress code part, during the day. Yes, it is in the desert, and yes, you will see many people dressed in hijabs and selwars due to religious practices. The city is well-known for its luxury shopping, exotic cars, super modern architecture, not to mention being home to the tallest building in the world and a lively nightlife scene; with the only man-made and artificial islands make it the equivalent to Miami on steroids.
As soon as the plane landed and I arrived inside Dubai International Airport airport, I couldn’t help but think how crowded this place was and then I remembered the city having the 10th busiest airport in the world. With over 100 million people flying in and out of the country, and tourism growing at a rapid pace. I usually choose boutique hotels when traveling for leisure because I enjoy the solace they bring. Boutique hotels always give you privacy and seclusion and are seldom crowded. This time around I decided to go a little outside of my comfort zone and go with a resort, but one that gave me the same feel and vibe as a boutique hotel, and the Sofitel Palm Resort and Spa did just that for me.
Located on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah Island, which consist of 3 artificial Islands in the shape of a palm tree, this spot gave me everything I needed. This 5-star resort had the perfect balance for those that want to be entertained on a nightly basis as well as those who are just looking for serenity. Arriving at the hotel after a 30-minute cab ride, I was in awe of this place at first glance.
Upon entering the hotel, the grand and spacious lobby that led to the main pool was majestic. The towering pillars and decor of onyx, dark wood, and stone color pattern that resembled Parisian and Egyptian concepts took me to another world. This place embodied the essence of luxury. The staff was swift and extremely efficient, and minutes I was checked in, bags on a trolly, and on my way to my room. The customer service was unmatchable. Upon check-in, I received a complimentary upgrade to a luxury villa.
My upgraded suite was about 300 meters with a private pool and patio and panoramic views looking out at the Arabian Sea, as well as the Palm Jumeirah. I took in every breathtaking moment. I noticed the design of the bedroom suite layout had plans similar to that of the lobby and other areas of the hotel. The bedroom decor consisted of a recurring theme of sophisticated French design alongside an Arabic Theme. France is responsible for 4.5 billion visitors annually in Dubai, so, I can see why the French culture is so prevalent in the city from the language to the design. It often gives you a feel of being inside of the Chateau Marmont. I began indulging myself throughout the entire room, with selfies in every livable corner of the space. The open concept living area with a clear view of the jacuzzi to the balcony made it hard for me to leave the hotel. I would have been happy staying there, it had everything I needed, but it was time to explore my favorite vacation pastime… food.
One might start to get nervous and even doubt their choice not to stay in, for a brief second. Realizing how much this resort had to offer, between the vast amount of restaurants, lounges, and the number of pools on the premises, one could easily be overwhelmed. Luckily the sprawling grounds had amenities perfectly placed with just enough distance between each one of them that no one area was crowded and loud. If loud is what you are looking for during your adventure, there are areas for that as well.
The Sofitel Palm boasts 12 amazing restaurants, yes 12! This resort feels like a city within a city. So, anything you want is right at your fingertips. Now, there a one factor I forgot to mention, I am a picky eater. My food issues were not problematic at all. Imagine having 12 different ethnic themed restaurant options to choose from, heaven and confusion all inside of a 30-page resort dining menu. The menu contains everything from Classic to modern dishes, ranging from the Mediterranean, Gulf region, Asia, America, South Pacific, and of course Europe. The well celebrated French cuisine was front and center. After all, we were staying at the Sofitel. With so many choices, I decided it was only right to indulge in surf and turf on my first day. I sought out a relaxed and grown environment to enjoy my few days of vacation. Moana and The Porterhouse Steaks & Grill were a few of my favorites. Moana, My love for seafood won over. The French oysters (you should be used to the Parisian influence by now), fresh lobster, Alaskan crab, succulent scallops, to name a few of my indulgences.
As I dined al fresco overlooking the garden and pool. The interior with crystal chandeliers and bold turquoise color decor made the indoor dining section just as sexy. I will say that I felt a bit underdressed. It was lunchtime, so I thought a t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops would be casual enough. I was wrong. So when you arrive, you should be in proper attire for Moana. Just a tad fancy. This chic seafood gem with exquisite chef preparations and an extensive menu boast any and everything under the sea that can be caught and made fresh daily will be one of your faves as well. If you’re here for the weekend, you’ll love the seafood brunch on Saturday and the Sushi Brunch on Sunday’s. And one of the most significant selling points is the bottomless cocktails. Now that we’ve surfed it’s time for turf.
*sigh* Is it just me or does seeing a 16 oz Porterhouse T- Bone Steak make your mouth water? OK, There’s something about a perfectly cooked piece of meat that you can smell being cooked from meters away, and that’s precisely what attracted me to The Porterhouse. You could feel the meat being seared in butter garlic from the hallway filling the air like the formal dining room table in an episode of Game of Thrones. Porterhouse is said to be one of the most famous steakhouses on the Palm of Jumeirah Island with prime cuts flown in daily from the top suppliers globally. Every cut of beef is available from prime rib, to filet mignon, to sirloin to strip steak or ribeyes. The rack of lamb is one of the favorites. It comes accompanied with a la carte sides at your dinner table or the chef’s cutting table where it is prepared to your exact liking as you watch. With a full wine list and racks of Bordeaux and cabernet displayed on the wall, you can treat your palate until you’ve had enough. The Porterhouse is as authentic as a steak house can get.
If you happen to be as indecisive as I am on a day your stomach is rumbling, then you can walk into the World Eatery which has no strict dress code and a menu that covers a dish from every country. If you have a group setting with you, then Manava is your best bet, its Buffett style as well as table order. There are a handful of other restaurants on the premises that you will find on your own but trust this resort will accommodate all walks of life.
After my sea and land excursion, I sat out with my coffee by the main pool staring at the sea from my cabana. The pool area is breathtaking and very picturesque, so after a few hours of blissfulness I wanted to cap off the night with a few drinks and some hookah action at the Laguna Lounge.
This was the place for it, tucked away on the beach this vibrant gem with music playing and drinks flowing until 4am. I was able to have cocktails, and smoke flavored shisha until I was ready for bed. I passed by the sports bar on my way up to the room, and for those who aren’t fond of the sand and mosquitoes, the bar area was as lively as the beach lounge.
There are a few gift shops located in the lobby that are open pretty late and tour guides are available during the day for the Burj Khalifa, Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque and camel riding in the desert, I took all three tours, and they were exceptional. I highly recommend doing at least 2 of the three if not all, I mean it’s not every month you get to visit a billion dollar playground with an artificial island on top of a Desert that has not a trace of being human-made. The hotel concierge provided my transportation to and from the airport hassle free. This perk was all inclusive in my hotel fees. All in all, my Dubai experience was beyond amazing, and I’m planning my second visit as I type this article, so until next time.
Images: Courtesy of Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa