- Detailed Review
- Facts & Amenities
The One&Only Royal Mirage was one of the true pioneers of beachside luxury in Dubai. No expense was spared in its creation, designed to impress and ‘wow’ its customers with sky-high standards, luxurious facilities, and superb service.
Royal Mirage is really three hotels: The Palace, The Arabian Court, and The Residence & Spa. These three distinctly different hotel experiences are all wrapped up in the property’s sprawling gardens, gorgeous swimming pools, and acres of grass that roll down to the shores and pristine beaches of the Arabian Gulf. Designed along the lines of a mirage that rises from between the sand dunes and the sea, the feeling of immersion in a mythical palace is everywhere with water features, beautiful architecture and numerous artisanal details that will appeal to all who stay here.
I have been coming to Dubai for years, and have spent a lot of time at this hotel and have always loved it as a guest. So this time, I was looking forward to seeing how it held up now that I was here on a different mission, to critique it and perhaps find fault. But even as I entered the gates, I started to unwind, leaving behind all the buzz, heat, traffic and energy of Dubai; entering the perfect place to find what I hoped would be my very own desert oasis experience.
On arrival at the hotel the doorman greeted me professionally. He seemed very proud to be working here. My luggage was retrieved from my car and taken away whilst I was escorted through reception to the check-in desk. My passport details were recorded and I was then seated in the lounge where I was offered a chilled towel and a cold drink as the remainder of the check-in formalities were handled.
One&Only Royal Mirage was designed to be an iconic Dubai resort and that is exactly what you get. The lobby is vast and luxurious with towering ‘pretend’ palm trees and gorgeous marble and tiling. Designed to impress, that’s exactly what it does.
Rooms and suites
The rooms here (regardless which category) are a delight. The initial investment has gone a long way it would seem. Rooms are spacious at 45m² (484ft² ), and all feature balconies with either garden/pool views or sea views. Decor is elegant-Arabia, with sand-coloured floor tiles accented with large carpets. Artwork and fittings are of a very high quality, as are the decorative pieces in the rooms. These are not bare, soulless spaces. Far from it; these rooms have character and are designed so that guests spend time in the room enjoying the space.
There is a large, double wardrobe with plenty of hanging and storage space. Rooms are well lit, something I appreciate especially here in the Gulf where the sun goes down, year round, at around 6pm. There is a small dining table for two that does double duty as a desk. There are telephones on the table, beside the desk and in the bathroom, so never let it be said that you can’t be reached. These rooms are nice, very nice, and comfortable to boot.
In-room technology is reasonably simple to use. I did, however, need to master the lighting system which, once I got the hang of it, was easy enough. Each area of the room, including the bathroom, has a control pad which allows the room lighting to be set at any of five preset levels. Thankfully, there is also an ‘off’ switch for all the lighting.
The obligatory 42″ HD TV is here, with the usual selection of cable channels and a sound system that operates via the TV. Complimentary WiFi is provided and whilst coverage in room and throughout the resort is excellent, the speed is very, very slow. You can opt for a paid package which can only be worth the investment.
The bathrooms here are pleasant. They are not huge or super-chic, but you do actually feel like you are in Arabia. The design, decor and colours are lovely: a combination of sand-coloured tiles inlaid with brightly coloured, Moroccan, ceramic ones. The end result is authentic and quite delightful.
Lighting in the bathroom is excellent, although the vanity is a little cramped, and so one’s lotions and potions may need to live in the storage area under the basins.
Bathroom amenities are plentiful and are the Gilchrist & Soames brand, in sensible 60ml bottles.
There is an array of dining options at Royal Mirage but my favourite is the Beach Bar & Grill.
Firstly, in the cooler months you can sit outside, directly on the beach. During warmer times (by that I mean unbearably hot and humid) there is a delightful indoor area which is fully air-conditioned and features an open kitchen. So if you’re inclined, you can watch all the action.
Being a ‘bar and grill’, the menu is American steakhouse with fresh seafood thrown in for good measure. There is an excellent choice of starters (including salad and vegetarian options) and main courses, with the emphasis on many varieties of steak, grilled fish and the usual collection of crustaceans. I opted for a tomato and buffalo mozzarella dish to start, which was pleasant enough, followed by a US 28-day aged rib-eye, which came perfectly cooked. The side of sautéed broccoli with garlic and chili was the best I’ve ever tasted.
While the choice of wines was reasonable, there was nothing terribly exciting or ‘new’ on the wine list. I did manage to find a decent vintage available by the glass. To Middle East newbies, do note that food servings are generally quite large and wine pourings are generally quite small and (grossly) overpriced. Although I didn’t indulge, there was good range of desserts on offer, including a sugar-free option. Traditional Arabic deserts such as Um Ali (the Gulf’s take on rice pudding) and Baklava are also available.
Royal Mirage, like all luxury beach resorts in Dubai, has a diverse choice of dining options, including a Moroccan, an Indian, a rotisserie, and several casual eateries. Good food, and generally lots of choice, is one of the hallmarks of Dubai and its luxury hotels.
Pool and beach
Recently restored, the pool area is resplendent. Massive in size, it is surrounded by manicured lawns and palm trees on a grandiose scale.
Pool service is state-of-the-art with attendants on hand to arrange sun loungers, towels and give out chilled water. There is a beach/pool bar menu for drinks and snacks. Service was friendly and efficient and never far away when needed.
The beach at Royal Mirage is indeed very nice although not the finest stretch of Jumeirah Beach: that crown is held by Madinat Jumeirah. The view from the Royal Mirage beach is across to the Palm Jumeirah and whilst not exactly an ocean vista, it’s beautiful during sunrise and sunset. The waters of the Arabian Gulf are generally crystal clear, salty and always warm.
Staff and service
I was pleased that the service fell squarely into the ‘exceptionally good’ category here. And when the service is good, it isn’t stage managed to death. It’s warm and genuine, smiling and very ‘human’. Most of the time you’ll be on the receiving end of genuine caring hospitality that makes a large, sprawling resort feel small and intimate, your very own private palace.
I did wonder during my stay if winter had descended early on the North of England, as the guest profile at the hotel was heavily weighted to couples hailing from there. There was also a sprinkling of French, Italian and Germans, some doe-eyed honeymooners, and a few Arab families having a mini break. Rather an eclectic group, I fit right in.
As I was a Gold Lounge guest (Royal Mirage’s take on an executive floor), I checked-out upon departure on that level. My bill was waiting for me when I arrived and check-out was very efficient, not rushed and very friendly and polite. After a short walk to the lobby, I was quickly in my taxi and off to my next port of call.
How to get here
30 minutes by car from Dubai International Airport
48 Rooms & Suites & 1 Villa
Non smoking rooms