- Detailed Review
- Facts & Amenities
Location is everything as they say and the One&Only Royal Mirage, Arabian Court is well situated for enjoying the best of Dubai’s sun-worshipping and sightseeing.
The city’s ubiquitous downtown malls, the Burj Khalifa, and the Emirates golf course are all within a ten to twenty-minute drive. But the real pièce de résistance is the beautiful one kilometre stretch of private beach, part of Jumeirah Beach, one of the most fashionable parts of town. And it’s shared only with fellow guests from sister properties The Residence & Spa and The Palace, which together make up the One&Only Royal Mirage domain. It’s easily one of the nicest places in the emirate to take a dip in the warm, clear sea which seemed calm at all times. All rooms and suites face the water, and from most, you get a partial view of the sea through the lush gardens. While there is some ongoing building work visible across on Palm Island, this didn’t detract from the enjoyment of my stay, and there was no noise at all to detract from the ambience.
I consider this an excellent venue for a relaxing family holiday and yet it’s by no means overrun with children. As a spacious and low rise hotel—there are just four floors—it retains a quiet air even when at near full capacity, so it’s good for couples looking to chill out. There are daily activities like aqua aerobics, water polo and water sports on offer.
While Arabian Court has several stylish restaurants and bars, you’ll have the advantage of being able to wine and dine at The Palace too. A delightful meander through the grounds will lead you there in minutes, or hop on the shuttle.
If you’re looking for a relatively quiet light and bright hotel with impeccable attention to detail, a paired-back and modern Arabian experience, where you can relax by the beach and pool by day and then dine at stylish restaurants in the evening, then this is one to try.
Arriving around 9 pm when darkness had fallen, the driveway of the hotel was beautifully lit up with burning torches. Greeted at my car by the doorman, my bag was taken, and I was escorted through the tea light and lantern-lit corridors, under domed ceilings and across exquisite mosaic flooring to reception. The vibe was elegant, quiet, and the smell of exotic incense was divine. I instantly felt relaxed. There was a moment’s pause while a gong was sounded to officially welcome me, making me feel special indeed. Then, bang on cue, a member of check-in staff appeared and greeted me once again. Check-in took place in the lounge area of the lobby and felt personal, with a cold towel and fruit juice drink offered, along with essential information like where to have breakfast. A member of management came out from behind the scenes to greet me, and I was shown to my room and pointed out the important features. My suitcase arrived a few moments later.
Rooms and suites
My 50 mᒾ (538 ftᒾ) Deluxe Room had a cream colour scheme with dark wood furniture and splashes of vibrant Wedgewood blue fabrics, while touches of elegant Arabian detailing were on the carved archways, mosaics and fretwork. My king-size bed had a very tastefully carved headboard with lovely white cotton sheeting. It was extremely comfortable, but should it not have been, an extensive pillow and mattress topper menu was provided. There were lamps on the bedside tables, as well as handy reading lights attached to the bed head, perfect if you are two and one of you wants to read, and the other just wants to doze. Even though the room had a fairly modern feel, there were echoes of the traditional from the luxurious velvet brocade armchair and footstool to the old school drop leaf writing bureau, as well as a few vases that added a homely touch. A small dining table and chairs, plenty of drawer and wardrobe space with lots of hangers, and an invitation to leave your shoes should you wish to take advantage of the complimentary shoe shine service, completed the picture in the bedroom. Just before the bathroom, there was a small alcove with a marble-topped ledge, stool and mirror, ideal for hair-drying with a powerful hair dryer supplied. Meanwhile, my shady balcony had two chairs and a coffee table from where I could sit and admire the gardens and partial glimpses of the sea and Palm Island. My room also had a partial view of the Dubai skyline.
Robes and slippers were provided, while special touches included fresh flowers and fresh fruit. The mini bar was well-stocked with soft and alcoholic drinks, sweet and savoury treats, and handy extras including cooling facial mist and children’s sun cream. However, there weren’t tea and coffee making facilities, so if that’s important to you, beg beforehand or upgrade to a suite as they come with a coffee machine.
On the technology side of things, there was a 40″ full HD LCD television with satellite channels including movie channels, a DVD/CD player and complimentary WiFi for up to two devices (more is chargeable). The signal in my room and indoors in the hotel was very good. Digital air-conditioning was easy to use and efficient, while there was also an electronic safe.
Closed off from the bedroom by a sliding dark wood door that kept the lines neat and the space feeling ample, the marble bathroom was a good size and had everything you could need. There’s a bath, and a separate, walk-in shower cabin with a granite seating ledge, a rainfall shower head and a handheld shower, while a separate cubicle housed the toilet and bidet. Around the sink, there were all the usual bathroom amenities—ear buds, cotton pads etc., and plenty of space to put your bits and pieces, a shaver point and a portable make-up mirror. Penhaligon’s shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion in 100ml bottles were provided, in a scent that was very suitable for both men and women. And if you should forget anything, fear not, there’s a great menu of items available on request, including nail varnish remover, toothpaste and shaving cream.
I ate dinner at Eau Zone. Entering along a walkway built over a beautifully floodlit pool, I was greeted and on the spot opted to dine outside at one of the covered dining decks that appear to float on the water. It was very atmospheric and quite romantic, with soft music playing and subtle lighting. As well as couples, there were families and friends dining together.
The Asian menu’s delights included miso glazed black cod, teriyaki chicken and ginger lotus sea bass. I selected the egg fried rice with slices of shrimp, made particularly tasty by the crispy shallots sprinkled over the top. To whet my appetite, I had a fish cake and sweet chilli sauce appetiser—a gorgeous morsel—along with Asian crackers and a lovely mildly spiced tomato dip. I could have eaten it all over and over again.
My waiter was very friendly and made just enough polite conversation to make me feel welcome without being intrusive. He did a very good job of topping up my water and keeping me supplied with tasty, homemade bread.
Other restaurant options
Rotisserie is an elegant and traditional style dining room with outdoor seating; buffet breakfast is served here. A large and lovely spread, there was an array of fresh smoothies and juices to begin. I enjoyed the beetroot and ginger blend to kickstart my day, followed by hot and cold items including salads, cheeses, meats, cereal, yoghurt, fresh and dried fruits, plus freshly baked cakes and breads. There was even a small gluten-free selection. Eggs were cooked to order, and in the corner was a pork section for those looking to indulge.
Arabian Court also boasts Nina’s Indian restaurant, where I later learned from several trusted sources that the butter chicken is the dish to try, while the rooftop bar has an amazing sunset view, and the Samovar Lounge serves afternoon tea. If you fancy something fun, head to the Arabian Courtyard where enjoying an evening shisha (aka the ‘hubbly bubbly’) is pretty much customary.
You can also catch the complimentary shuttle to use the restaurants and bars at The Palace, where I went for a drink at the relaxed, but equally chic, Jetty Bar on the beach. I highly recommend it for pre sunset cocktails and watching the yachts and jet skiers showing off in the bay, especially on a Thursday which marks the start of the weekend here. Or take the boat service from the jetty at The Palace to the One&Only The Palm on Palm Jumeirah, which takes just seven minutes and opens up even more dining options.
Spa and wellness
The spa, known as the Health and Beauty Institute along with a gym, is located at The Residence & Spa, so take the shuttle which takes about two minutes. As I walked in, the smell was divine. Gorgeous Arabian lanterns and rose petals on every step of the staircase added to the blissful atmosphere. There’s an Oriental hammam downstairs, and upstairs you can have a range of treatments, including Carita beauty treatments, and there are ladies and gents’ hair salons too. To respect the local culture, there are spa times set aside for ladies and gentlemen separately.
Pool and beach
The pool area was a good size and immaculately clean. Comfy sun loungers with thick mattresses were paired up and well spread out, with plenty of parasols and thick, turquoise pool towels. Activities take place at certain times of the day, including morning aqua aerobics and water polo, so be aware and try and avoid the goal end, unless you don’t mind joining in the fun and getting wet. Arabian Court guests can also use the swimming pool at The Palace.
Just beyond the pool area is the beach of gorgeously groomed white sand, where sun loungers, parasols and beach towels are provided. A selection of water sports is also available.
Wherever you choose to chill-out, staff are on hand to help you select and move your sun loungers and deliver iced water at regular intervals.
One&Only are planning a beach club next to Arabian Court, scheduled to open in 2018.
The hotel provides a nice, relaxed ambience for families, and I saw several with young children and toddlers. On a couple of occasions, I noticed staff treating little ones like mini VIPs, making a point of bending down to say hello and ask, “How are you today?” There’s a complimentary kid’s club, with different activities planned each day, as well as a small play area at one end of the gardens, complete with slide and swings suitable for 3 to 12-year olds. Even though my room overlooked this, it was far enough away to be quiet, even when there were a couple of kids playing there. A babysitting service is available.
The scene may be a little too quiet for teens unless they will be content with the pool, beach and associated activities. However, guests staying three or more nights benefit from preferential rates at the famous Aquaventure waterpark at Atlantis on The Palm.
Staff and service
Service at reception was very attentive and warm, and all staff were very friendly and welcoming. Service sometimes seemed a little slow in Rotisserie, as on one occasion, it was quite a while after I was seated for breakfast that I was asked for my drinks order, and it wasn’t busy.
The majority of guests here are European and, without a doubt, mainly from the UK. It’s particularly good for families, but also for couples, mothers and daughters on a shopping trip, and friends just having fun. I saw it all—and everyone seemed to be enjoying the resort in equal measure.
I called reception to book a cab which was efficiently organised, and I also requested assistance with my bag. A porter turned up within five minutes. Check-out at reception was slower than expected but professional and friendly. The hotel manager personally thanked me for staying and asked if I’d enjoyed my visit, a nice personal touch. My suitcase was waiting for me at the door.
How to get here
30 minutes by road from Dubai International Airport
172 rooms & suites