Is this what a cool resort looks like? Ultra All Inclusive at Rixos The Palm brings more than just cuisine to the table. A white-sand beach with Dubai Marina views from the crest of Palm Jumeirah sets the scene for this award-winning escape, the hottest new resort in town. We jetted off for an All Inclusive Dubai holiday to experience the resort that’s taking the Middle East by storm. and we found out a few things in the process.
Flying to Arabia isn’t as much of a slog as it sounds. The whole trip is under-six hours but it felt even less than that thanks to the features of Virgin Airways which boasted comprehensive entertainment systems, comfortable seats and tasty plane food. (You heard that right. I enjoyed a creamy mushroom farfalle bake, Gü Pud and a 18CL bottle of house wine and that’s just economy.) For the window gazers among us, a glance out the window take you over some of the world’s most beautiful bird’s-eye views, from the Swiss alps to the Iranian desert.
After touching down, taking the E11 from Dubai International Airport to Rixos makes for a fast forty minutes because of the sights you see en route. Our drive-by introduction to the city takes you by the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Creek, Safa Park, the Burj al Arab and more. Once you reach the trunk of Palm Jumeirah, you’re spoiled with the sparkling skyline views of Dubai’s most iconic resorts including Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Atlantis, The Palm.
It’s worth noting that the pretty little promenade of Palm Island is almost deserted near Rixos. Strolling towards Atlantis The Palm with cracking Burj al Arab views was a modest highlight of the trip.
Let’s get this out the way: Rixos The Palm is a cool resort. It’s slick, it’s trendy, it’s hip. But it doesn’t try to be any of those things, and that’s what makes it intriguing.
Take the Deluxe Room, whisk it off to London and stick it somewhere between the gentrified apartments in the heart of Shoreditch. Suddenly, you’ve got yourself that bachelor pad from the movies: an oak-paneled, steamed glass hideaway equipped with the newest tech including a hands-free lighting rig, deep-soak bathtub, a high pressure rain shower, 40-inch plasma TV and more. These 52-square-metre babies don’t cost a fortune like their London cousins do either. And kicking back on your Victorian balcony with views of a graffiti clad chimneys as the British weather, uh, continues, may have its charm. But does it have the same vibes as Rixos’ private balcony sunbed with views of the Arabian Gulf? Not quite.
One for the extraverts: A curious feature of the marble bathrooms are the sliding doors that reveal your intimacy to the rest of the room. These, of course, can be closed as well, and this is recommended if you’re bunking with your Kenwood colleague. But each to their own.
For research purposes, we tasted everything. That included the chef’s special, an outstandingly tempting egg benedict with black caviar. But that was just a taster, because we followed it with everything from freshly baked chocolate muffins to a rare-cheese board to traditional Scottish porridge to a pineapple cocktail loaded to the brim with healthy nutrients. And thanks to the latter, we felt we deserved a second course. The dishes were global; we ate our way from Far Eastern reaches to Polynesian specialities; Eastern Anatolia to the Black Sea, all whilst watching the Middle Eastern sun rise over the waterfront. Now that’s how you do breakfast, and that’s how you do an All Inclusive Dubai holiday.
Travelling with the Kenwood Travel colleagues didn’t lend itself well to romantic outings, but if it did, L’Olivo Ristorante was the place to be. Selling itself as an intimate Italian dining environment complimented by live music, L’Olivo sets itself up as the Dubai datenight hotspot.
And let’s not forget the Aegean Restaurant which boasts stunning views of the Arabian Gulf or the six bars and cafes you’ll find throughout the resort. The favourite bar (aptly titled The Bar,) lived up to its name with killer live music and a healthily vast selection of drinks (Plus one of the only places we felt comfortable dancing barefoot. Don’t try this in London, guys.)
Low-key but high end; barefoot beachfront & ball gowns & tuxedos. It’s difficult to pin-down Rixos because it blends all flavours of life seamlessly in a cocktail of class, whether you’re craving chicken nuggets or a laced-up a la carte banquet. As I mentioned earlier, it’s the cool member of Dubai’s ultra-luxurious and what makes this apparent is the way it’s so wonderfully thorough and attentive that the act appears effortless.
It’s not a suit-up resort. But it’s not a strip-down kind of place either. Instead, Rixos The Palm has elements of both, meaning those beach-bum moments can be savoured at the private white-sand beach. As for the ooh-la-la Mr Darcy moments, you can enjoy these too: the resort boasts a vast array of upscale establishments and hideaway romantic corners where only the finest will do.
It’s this friction that drives Rixos. Both sides of the coin compete for attention, therefore it’s difficult to find mediocrity within the resort grounds. That means you can enjoy your niche desire to its fullest, whether that’s beach yoga and snorkelling or live DJs and motorized water sports. Every activity is sculpted to compete with the other, but if it’s a competition, I can’t spot any losers.