Dukes Dubai opened in April this year as the iconic British luxury brand’s first venture overseas.
WHAT’S IT LIKE
The hotel is decked out in the same classic décor as its London sister, though glitzy flourishes such as the lobby’s 1,610 Swarovski-crystal chandelier do a good job of reminding you that you’re in Dubai, not London. In contrast to its cozy, dimly lit lobby in London, the space here is tall and spacious, flanked by shelves of weathered novels and gilt ornaments, while in the central area, pairs of button sofas and silk armchairs cluster around coffee tables enlivened by pots of fresh white lilies.
Further on, dramatic portraits of English aristocracy hang behind reception, and there are plenty of lounge areas where guests chat, making the most of the air-con before they head into the oppressive heat. Staff are warm and helpful – I arrived straight from my London flight at 8am and though my room wasn’t quite ready, I was allowed to relax at the 14th floor indoor pool while I waited for it to become available.
WHERE IS IT?
On the west trunk of the Palm Jumeirah, about 25 minutes from Dubai International airport.
The hotel’s 279 rooms, which include 64 suites, are spread across 15 floors. Still in the works are the upper 16th and 17th floors, though these are expected this December. An additional 287 studio and one-bedroom residences are also on offer for extended stay guests. There are 12 room categories ranging from the entry level Dukes rooms, situated on floors 1 to 13, to the lavish 203 sqm Ambassador suites which can accommodate up to four people. All rooms offer views of Dubai Marina, the Palm Jumeirah and Dubai city.
I stayed in a 32 sqm Superior room, regally decorated in rich navies and coffee hues, and brightly lit by a traditional lamp chandelier, deep mahogany fittings and artwork showing London cityscapes. Our room had a balcony, though the view overlooked a dusty construction site and sadly it was too hot to sit outside for long.
All rooms come with a wooden work desk, a 48-inch Samsung TV a Nespresso machine and tea making facilities. Ours had a cream sofa and armchair tucked into an alcove next to the bed. Bathrooms are fitted with sleek black and slate tiling and come with rain showers, and deep bathtubs in Superior rooms and above. The hotel has partnered with a number of well-known UK brands including perfumers Floris, Andrew Martin furniture and Liberty fabrics in the 20 rooms on the women-only Duchess floor.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
The hotel has three restaurants, a cigar lounge and champagne and tea lounge, alongside the brand’s iconic Dukes bar. Located on the ground floor is GBR, the hotel’s all-day dining outfit, where an impressive breakfast is laid on each morning – highlights include the pancake and waffle station and a range of obscure tropical juices. The space is stylish and modern in design, featuring a monochrome checkered floor, half-crescent leather booths and whimsical lamp fixtures on the walls and surrounding columns.
Khyber is an outpost of the award-winning Mumbai flagship, a north Indian restaurant that has hosted the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Richard Gere and Demi Moore. We had a fantastic meal there one evening, with an assortment of delicious curries and grill dishes, including a rich prawn jalfrezi, chicken tandoori, vegetable kadai and a Khyber raan, which featured lamb leg, onions, ginger, garlic and garam masala.
The food was fantastic – one of the best Indian meals I’ve had in a while. Walls are adorned with murals of women in traditional Indian dress and are handsomely framed by engraved stone friezes and scalloped archways, while the floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto Dubai Marina.
The Dukes Bar juts out over the lobby on the mezzanine level, and is accessed by sweeping staircases that lead up from the lobby on either side. Décor is understated and classy, with a large marble bar at its heart, golden lamps and deep blue velvet armchairs scattered throughout, with fringe curtains obscuring the windows that look out onto the lobby. There is also West 14th, a Manhattan-style steak house, though this is at the Oceana Beach Club next to the pool.
The hotel has seven “British styled” meeting rooms and banqueting spaces with capacity to host between 10 to 150 guests.
There is an 18-metre indoor pool and gym on the 14th floor. There is also an outdoor pool, alongside a 200-metre private beach and kids club. Yoga classes take place by the indoor pool each week.
A classy option that stands out among Dubai’s flashier five-star segment. Staff are eager to help with any request, and the dining offering is first-rate.
Internet rates for a Dukes room in November started at £198.
Dukes Dubai, Oceana Palm Jumeirah, Dubai