Luxury Hotels

Dubai

Girlahead says hello from Dubai, the biggest success story in luxury travel right now. This is an Emirate with a population of 3.3 million that has kept the pandemic at bay. Over 150,000 tests continue to be done every day and if someone tests positive, it is isolation for all those around – and, unlike so many other destinations, there are plenty of hospital beds if needed.

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No wonder all Dubai’s hoteliers are smiling (above, see Jose Silva, CEO of Jumeirah – we are outside Burj Al Arab, which re-opens on 15th December). Hotels are in many cases running at 100% occupancy, with long stays. Four Seasons was so overwhelmed with business that it has flown in a task force of 50, from around the world, to help. Those task forcers from, say, Moscow and St Petersburg will be here, in the divine climate that is Dubai right now, through mid-January.

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Girlahead revelled in a night at One&Only The Palm, in the most perfect villa (#704) imaginable. It is right on the beach, with its own 8 x 5-metre private pool.  The villa is not too large, and it is light and bright and you can see where everything is, and work the technology without a PhD in electronics.  Early morning, doing a pre-mango hike, we passed dozens of rabbits frolicking in the exterior greenery (apparently some regular guests, who account for 50% of all business, order extra room service items so their favourite bunnies can breakfast, too).  At One&Only The Palm, by the way, dine outside, over-water, at the perfect 101 seafood restaurant.

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It was actually seafood most of the time, in Dubai. Burj might not yet be re-open but its outdoor Sal restaurant, part of its beach club, is a superb lunch venue, again over-water. All around were the local and foreign lovelies, a couple of hundred or more, shelling out good money for a day on a lounger, with $100 food-drink credit thrown in (as Girlahead so often says, it is not cost but VALUE that should differentiate luxury these days). Jose Silva understands what today’s new-look luxury requires.  Tomorrow, for instance, sees the opening of the Jumeirah Arrivals Lounge at the airport. Fly in, exit past Customs and there is this Presidential Suite-look lounge, food-drink-showers 24/7, complimentary to anyone going to a Jumeirah hotel and – and this is the clever part – to ANY blogger or would-be social media success. Smart move, Jumeirah.

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Watch more Dubai, to come. Meanwhile, let us switch to history, in the form of palaces. King of the palatial luxury hotel scene is Puneet Chhatwal, MD/CEO of IHCL, which includes Taj’s iconic palaces. Here him now, on MARY GOSTELOW GIRLAHEAD PODCAST