1. Inspired by opulent, historic palaces
The hotel’s interiors – think red velvet, hand-painted 24-karat gold leaf accents and ornate designs – are a step into the regal world of a European king. Chandeliers glint from every corner (there are 6,400 of them, including one in the grand atrium made from 40,000 Swarovski crystals and framed by mirrors), while the five Palladian domes are intended to echo the symmetry of Neoclassical architecture. This grandeur continues into the rooms, where you can even stir your tea with a genuine silver spoon. For true indulgence, opt for one of Kempinski’s Imperial Villas, which include four bedrooms, private beach access and an in-villa spa.
2. A 3,000m² spa that pulls out all the stops
With lantern-lit hallways and candle-framed alcoves, the Kempinski’s Cinq Mondes spa is certainly spacious, yet feels extremely private. Treatments draw inspiration from different parts of the world, and include Chinese massages, Brazilian coffee scrubs to help tone the body and Balinese rituals that soften the skin through tropical nuts mixed with avocado oil. There are also four traditional deep-soaking Japanese wooden bathtubs and seven scrub rooms.
If you’re planning a long-term stay in Dubai and want to regularly indulge in the spa’s hammam, sauna, ice fountain and pool, there’s the option of a long-running membership (prices start at $14,720 for six months) that also provides access to the hotel’s outdoor pool, private beach and yoga classes.
3. Dubai’s largest indoor pool
While the hotel offers plenty of activities (including an 18-hole putting green, an 80-seat private cinema and diving courses), guests can also find serenity in its indoor pool. At 22.5m long, it’s the largest indoor pool in the city, and is framed by private alcoves and hanging lanterns.
4. Food by a world-famous, Michelin-starred chef
While the hotel has eight restaurants and bars, its main draw is miX, celebrity chef Alain Ducasse’s first Dubai offering. The chef – whose other restaurants include the three-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London – is known for food that is a fusion of classic and contemporary, meaning you can feast on everything from prawn toast and scallops with white truffle to a cookpot of quinoa and seasonal vegetables.
Like the food, the three-floor venue’s vibe is creatively eclectic, playing with the idea of “dreams and reality”. Translucent tubes dangle from the ceiling while the furniture glints in glossy white and gold. There’s also a private chef’s table accessible via a private lift if you’re feeling particularly flush.
5. It’s expensive – but worth the price
Costing US$700m to build, the hotel was incredibly pricy to create, and the room rates echo that. According to Sebastien Mariette, the managing director of the hotel, that’s not such a bad thing. The objective isn’t to run at 99% occupancy all the time, he says, stressing that “the goal is to maintain this property to an optimum level of luxury”.
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This article was originally published in the March 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine