Dubai is glamorous, luxurious, and indulgent. It’s a city of skyscrapers, shopping and sunshine, where big business rubs shoulders with sun-seeking tourism. Dubai has always been known to push the boundaries when it comes to infrastructure development. With structures like Burj Khalifa, Burj al Arab and the Dubai mall; the skyline of the Emirate has grown farther than that of Manhattan. This slick city is famous for its soaring skyline, but that’s not the only thing to capture the world’s imagination about this bustling city. One of Dubai’s most ambitious projects has been the construction the city’s impressive man-made archipelagos, a land reclamation project that has seen millions of cubic meters of sand dredged from the Persian and Arabian Gulf’s floors, before being sprayed and “vibro-compacted” into shape (using GPS technology for precision) and surrounded by millions of tons of rock for protection. Perhaps the most recognized of the man-made islands is the Palm Jumeirah, and that’s where we started out Dubai stay.
The world famous Palm Jumeirah is located one kilometre from Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai’s main arterial road, and consists of a trunk, a crown with 16 fronds and a surrounding crescent island that forms an 11 kilometre long breakwater. The crown is connected to the mainland by a 300 metre long bridge, and the crescent is connected to the top of the palm by a subsea tunnel. The unique island is home to glitzy hotels, fancy apartment towers, upmarket global restaurants, and some of Dubai’s top luxury resorts, including Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort, a luxurious five star resort located on the quieter, eastern crescent of the iconic Palm. With views looking over the bay to the Palm Atlantis on one side, and across to the glittering Dubai skyline on the other, Anantara The Palm is an Asian-inspired sanctuary, that seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
There’s an air of Siam-style sophistication here, and surrounded by lush gardens, the hotel’s buildings could be mistaken for a collection of small Thai temples. 293 beautifully appointed rooms and villas are designed with contemporary Asian flair and surrounded by gardens full of colourful flowers. With 400 metres of private beach, this is the perfect place to indulge in an exclusive beach escape, while still enjoying the excitement of a global city. Here, you can get into the Dubai action, or get away from it all.
Clustered around three azure, temperature-controlled lagoon pools, water takes centre stage at this resort. Lagoon Access Rooms are perfect for keen swimmers, with steps leading directly from private decks straight into the inviting water. Three small, Thai style, boats criss-cross the lagoon pools dispensing cocktails, cold towels, fruit and water – the perfect treat in the Dubai sun. Alternatively, with its pagoda-roofed swim-up bar and a crescent of sea-facing sun loungers, the main infinity pool is a lively affair.
Those searching for action, can choose from various water sports on the beach or visit the gym. You’ll also find tennis courts, a games room and various water sports on offer, and for the youngest visitors, a children’s club and playground are on offer. The hotel operates long-tail boat rides to and from Barasti Beach (17km away) and a complimentary shuttle service to the Mall of the Emirates (just over 19km away). If that sounds like too much action, then I’d suggest relaxing in the onsite spa or visiting the resort’s Turkish hammam.
The nearest Dubai attractions are the Aquaventure Waterpark and The Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis. The Dubai Marina, The Walk, the legendary Burj Khalifa and various malls are only a 25 minute drive away. Art lovers should visit Alserkal Avenue, a cultural district housing contemporary art galleries, and for families, Children’s City science centre and Splash ‘n’ Party Kids Waterpark. If you don’t want to venture far from the hotel, the Palm’s boardwalk is right on your doorstep and is popular for its views of the Dubai coastline and the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel.
Come sundown, you’ve five restaurants to choose from, serving delicious dishes from around the world – world-class Asian dining in the Mekong Restaurant, Mediterranean cuisine in the oceanfront Beach House, or rustic Australian dishes are served at Bushman’s Restaurant and Bar. Crescendo serves up an international buffet and the Lotus Lounge offers light bites and afternoon tea. Mai Bar serves cocktails and beverages throughout the day, and Revo Café offers fresh coffee and pastries.
If you really want to get away from the hype of Dubai, Anantara offer the ultimate escape – the Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort, located on its own island just four kilometres, and a 25 minute boat ride, from the Palm. Just like the Palm Jumeirah, the World Islands are an archipelago of 300 small, artificial islands, formed into the shape of a world map. Constructed from 321,000,000 cubic metres of sand, and 386 million tons of rock, the development is surrounded by an oval-shaped breakwater island.
Anantara World Islands is the first luxury resort in the World Islands development, and is located in the South American continent. You’ll get a whole new perspective of Dubai from here, as you look back on the city’s dramatic skyline from your island paradise. This is a peaceful place, with your own private beach just steps from your room – a place to come to when you feel the need to escape the city.
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Start your day, by the beach, coffee in hand, as you watch the sun rise from Helios, the Mediterranean restaurant, where breakfast is served on an outdoor beach terrace that offers impressive Dubai cityscape views. The food is great and you’ll likely find yourself returning here for lunch, happy hour or dinner – informal dining with your feet in the sand. If Indian and Arabic cuisine is more your style, then Qamar Restaurant offers oceanfront views to accompany their aromatic and delicious dishes.
To work off all the delicious food, perhaps try the island’s running/walking track or the fitness centre. Alternatively, beach volleyball, stand up paddle boarding, jet skis, banana boats and a golf driving range with a difference will keep you busy. However, if you really want to immerse yourself in island bliss and feel your tensions melt away, head for a pampering spa treatment or rejuvenating massage.
Dubai definitely delights and with Anantara’s The Palm Resort and World Island Resort, can be both an ultimate city break and a beach vacation destination – the best of both worlds.