You don’t actually have to go that far from the pace of hyper-Dubai to get away from it all. Virtuozity’s Noel Ebdon tries out the Jebel Ali Palm Tree Court and Spa
Unless you head out into the depths of the desert, all Dubai hotels are basically located in the city, either beach front or along one of the main highways. So the only way to get away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai’s never-ending motion is to head to the East Coast or north to Ras Al Khaimah. But there is another option, and it’s one that’s been around longer than most of Dubai. Nestled on the beach on the far side of Jebel Ali Port, beyond the nightlife of JBR, beyond the glitzy yachts of Dubai Marina, and far away from the traffic and business of Sheikh Zayed Road, DIFC and Downtown, is the Jebel Ali Hotel.
Built in 1981 (yes, you did read that right), the original building still stands facing the sea, and what may eventually be Palm Jebel Ali, like a historical centurion. The original hotel is still there, although it’s due to be completely renovated in the next few months. Palm Tree Court and Spa, sits right next to the main building, but was added later to the complex, and is the more premium part of the resort.
The entire complex is set over 128 acres of grounds, housing the two hotels, a spa, a nine hole, par 36, golf course, an 80-berth marina, equestrian facilities and stables. Arriving at the entrance has the feel of a private members club, as you pass by horses in the paddocks, before choosing to head to Palm Tree Court at the small roundabout.
The property features 134 suites arranged across six, three level, Mediterranean style buildings all facing towards the sea. Around them, small pathways and wooden bridges run over trickling, fish-filled streams, ponds and waterfalls, surrounded by lush gardens, giving it the air of a South East Asia setting.
Peacocks strut around the pathways, adding an air of the exotic to everything, although their extremely loud calls are almost loud enough to shatter glass. Luckily, they seem to respect most guest’s sleep timings.
The rooms are of an older style, but with that comes a bigger space than many regular travellers will be used to. The rooms are very generous, with huge beds, lots of comfy furnishing and large balconies.
Ground floor suites are excellent for families with children, as they have direct access onto the grass areas, which feature sun loungers for anyone looking to relax in the tropical setting.
The main building features large wooden ‘flying buttresses’ again clearly inspired by South East Asian design. This gives the reception a stunning vaulted ceiling, as well as huge windows with lots of natural light. A small flight of stairs lead up to a cosy library, under which is the lobby bar (featuring one of the best acoustic duos you’re likely to hear).
Beyond that the quite excellent White Orchid Restaurant, which combines cuisines from around Asia, including Chinese, Japanese and Thai specialities. There’s also a traditional Teppanyaki table, with its popular, lively display.
Head down the lobby stairs and you have access to the various pools, and the breakfast area. The morning spread is wholesome and nutritious, with the choice of both indoor and outdoor seating.
Outside, there’s a multitude of swimming options, including a dedicated kids pool, a range of quieter pools, including one with a swim up bar, and a salt water pool. Or guests of course have the option of just plunging into the warm waters of the Gulf, which is just metres away. The water is incredibly calm, as the various breakwaters from the marina and Palm Jebel Ali protect the beach from the elements.
Other attractions include watersports, Jebel Ali Shooting Club, the Club Joumana gymnasium, mini-golf and fishing. You can even go for a ride in a sea plane.
The Jebel Ali Resort and Palm Tree Court bucks the normal Dubai trend of shiny and new. Yes, it’s older, but it’s got a great setting and a bit of history, plenty of things to do and is a world away from the noise and buzz of the bright city. The lush gardens really do make it feel like you’ve left the region and gone East. That’s important, especially for Dubai-based guests.
It may only be just outside of the city limits, but it feels like a world away from everything, which is exactly what you want for a hotel stay. It could almost coin the phrase ‘awaycation’. You’re not home, you’re definitely away, but you’ve actually hardly gone anywhere.
Sounds like the perfect recipe for a bit of rest and relaxation. jaresortshotels.com