There comes a time in every man’s life when occasionally – just occasionally – you have to splurge a little bit and treat yourself to life’s little luxuries.
Take beers for example. You could have a pint of Fosters – it does the job and will, after much effort drinking, make you fall over eventually, but then, you could also have a pint of Stella, which will cost ten bobs more, but will, as the tagline goes, be “reassuringly expensive”. And it will make you fall over much quicker.
And that’s probably a fair way to describe Fairmont The Palm in Dubai.
Funnily enough, this beer-based logic doesn’t apply to the famous beer in a golden can that is approved by the Danish Royal Court. By all and any logic, any beer served in a gold-coloured can, approved by Royalty in a country famed for its beer must be an outstanding beverage. But no, because that beer is of course Special Brew. You crack open a can of that at a party and people will start asking questions, like, “Is everything alright at home, Jim?” Rightly so, too.
But anyway, back to Fairmont The Palm in Dubai.
It’s certainly reassuringly expensive, but by crikey it’s worth it! The final bill will make you suck a lot of air in, over your teeth, and sure, there might be a bit of mild hyperventilation as your credit card is swiped for the final time and every last pound is wrung out of it but do you know what?
We’re put on this Earth for a good time, not a long time. Sure, you could stay in a cheaper hotel and in the words of Alan Partridge, “be mugged or not appreciated”, or you could stay here and live like a total rock star.
Probably not a hedonistic rock star like the Rolling Stones – I don’t think the management would appreciate it if you drove a Rolls Royce into one of the four fantastic swimming pools or vomited on their eiderdowns – but certainly a middle-of-the-road rock star would feel at home here.
Sharleen Spiteri from Texas would certainly like it here. Perhaps if you’re more Fleetwood Mac than Led Zep, you’d have a terrific stay. I certainly did even though I’m totally hard rock. Hey, some nights I’m up till eleven and don’t brush my teeth.
Fairmont The Palm
Anyway – enough of this blathering.
If I could only pick one word to describe Fairmont The Palm, that word would be excellent – truly excellent in every respect. From the initial complimentary welcome drink to the final friendly handshake from the porter wishing you a genuinely fond farewell, you are made to feel like a very welcome guest.
This hotel was excellent – truly excellent in every respect. From the initial welcome drink to the final friendly handshake from the porter wishing you farewell, you are made to feel like a very welcome guest.
Like a lot of the top-end hotels in Dubai, Fairmont The Palm is located on the famous Palm Jumeirah. If that location feels familiar to you, that’s the artificial palm-shaped island that juts out into the Persian Gulf like a well-appointed erection and is jammed packed with luxury locations, luxury cars and 5 star resorts in Dubai.
As this place was reassuringly expensive, we opted for an economy flight to Doha, before getting a connecting flight into Dubai, thus saving a few shekels on travel to splurge once we got there. For the best ways to travel to Dubai, you can see my other blog about travel which contains a few useful tips on things that aren’t specifically Fairmont The Palm.
As with many options when you travel to Dubai, many hotels offer a range of airport transfer options to get you to the hotel, and they are normally, in order of cheapness, walking, hitchhiking, camel, group transfer (where you might risk having to share a minibus with someone awful, an actual murderer, or worse, an aspiring TikTok star), or private transfer, or luxury private transfer. Transfers from the airport start at AED 320 (£70) one way and only go up from there.
Of course, in the frantic excitement of trying to prepare a wife and 2 beautiful children for a holiday to Dubai, by the time our aeroplanes’ tyres hit the tarmac, I had totally forgotten what I’d booked as a transfer. As we left the air-conditioned sanctuary of the Arrivals Lounge and into the blistering Arabian heat, I began to worry.
God, please don’t let there be a camel. Did I book a camel? Not the minibus with the TikToker. Please, no.
One £150 transfer later to the hotel, in a beautifully air-conditioned BMW 8 series, we sped smoothly through the streets of Dubai towards Fairmont The Palm.
Mrs B and the children made lots of appreciative “ooooh” and “aaaaah” noises as the sights of Dubai flashed by like a carousel of luxury and, as we pulled onto the Palm, the normal city traffic of delivery vehicles and commuters gave way to a steady stream of supercars, the likes of which would make Jeremy Clarkson’s pants suddenly rather tight.
Lamborghinis and Aston Martins glided by, leaving us poor people in their wake when suddenly, the gleaming sand-coloured shape of the hotel hovered into view.
Our room at Fairmont The Palm
Our room was, as expected, extremely well appointed, with a complimentary basket of fresh fruit in the room and a small and very tasty tray of Arabic sweetmeats to welcome us after our journey.
We’d opted for a Heritage Room, the most economical (cough, cheapest) offering, but like Emirates Economy flights, the basic offering is much better than some companies’ higher-end offerings.
For approx. 1743 AED (approx. £395) per night, you get a shower, stronger than an Englishman’s sense of reserve which soon perked us up and I threw on a complimentary bathrobe onto our private balcony to drink in the view of the Persian Gulf below me – and what a view.
Like a child’s drawing of the seaside, a turquoise blue sea shimmered in front of us, sailboats lazily crisscrossed around the bay and at one point I’m sure I heard Mrs B weep and say “It’s so lovely” under her breath. Naturally, I took that as a sign she’d seen me, but it could also have been possible it was the view she was referring to. Unlikely – but possible.
As we had our children with us (booo!) I was pleased to see the room came with air-conditioning with digital climate control, thus satisfying my deep-seated parental desire to worry about the correct temperature.
Mrs B, for her money, was pleased to see the bathroom toiletries were supplied by Elemis, who I am assured are a very good brand, although, from my vacant expression, she would have got a better reaction letting the balcony furniture know of this discovery.
Being a bit of a coffee addict, Mrs B was also pleased to find a Nespresso coffee maker in the room, thus allowing her to start her day correctly.
Dubai Holidays with Kids
This was also our first trip as a family with our children, and I have to say, the customer service from the Fairmont The Palm Gold team was superb. I genuinely felt that there was no task too big or small for them to assist me with.
Could they help me sterilise and clean my baby’s bottles? Of course, they could – one phone call and one of the housekeeping team arrived with all manner of cleaning kits and kettles for me.
Could they help me find a bunch of flowers for my wife on a Friday (the Arabic Sunday, when all the shops are closed?). Pah, not even a problem for them. Boom, here’s your flowers Mr B.
What else have you got? Could they arrange a birthday cake? But of course, they can!
I was half tempted to ring down and really test them by asking them to fetch me a unicorn horn and a dinosaur egg sandwich, but I knew it would be futile as they would probably have some out the back ready to go.
That’s how good they are.
I’m not being paid to say any of this, but I fully believe the Fairmont Concierge team sweat pure excellence as they go about their business. They should bottle it and sell it to other, less successful hotels, of which there are many. Looking at you here, Britannia Hotels.
I think, in retrospect, that was the difference the hotel made for me. Sure, you can have a luxury stay in a hundred places in Dubai. But they’d have to work very hard to even match the level of service we experienced at Fairmont the Palm.
The staff are friendly and genuine and you get the very real sense that if something didn’t match their high standards, there would be heartfelt apologies, if not outright resignations and walkouts that they had failed to impress. They were genuinely kind to our children, playing peek-a-boo with them as they explored the vast and impressive public areas, bringing over little treats of ice cream unprompted and picking up dropped toys, of which there were many. Very many.
Fairmont The Palm Resort
What of the resort itself?
Well, the beach and pool are wonderfully relaxing, the staff seem genuinely happy to see you and the food is incomparably good, especially in the on-site Brazilian restaurant which is about all any human could need, I guess.
There’s a real magical quality about the place, like a sort of fevered dream in which you’ve temporarily won the lottery. The resort was fairly busy, but never felt crowded, as there was more than enough space for everyone, plus more – almost the very antithesis of the Mediterranean resort experience where you have to send your long-suffering wife down with towels at sunrise to secure a sun lounger before the scrum against the German tourists starts.
At Fairmont the Palm there are more than enough sun loungers for everyone, and if, by some weird co-incidence there wasn’t, you get the distinct impression the management would apologise profusely, commit hari-kari, then build you a new sun lounger from freshly chopped palm trees. Using their bare hands.
We didn’t do much else, to be honest. In such an idyllic setting, with gentle but not invasive relaxing music played through well-concealed speakers and iced drinks on hand, it was a gentle few days of building sandcastles with the kids, napping on sun loungers, splashing in the sea and eating good food before sleeping in enormously comfy beds.
If you wanted to relax further, there’s a pretty good-looking on-site Spa, with treatments starting at 299 AED (about £68) for a quick facial, all the way to the full panoply of treatments people seem to enjoy.
Food and drink
Fairmont The Palm puts as much effort into the food and drink service as it does to the hospitality.
We opted for the Executive Lounge option which saw an Afternoon Tea buffet as long as a London bus laid out early every evening with dishes catering to local, Western and Oriental tastes, and my only real raised eyebrow moment came in the middle of the day when I spotted Mushy Pea vol-au-fonts in the middle of the Western section.
West Yorkshire maybe?
Self-serve fridges groaned with an appealing selection of complimentary international beers, (but not Special Brew), wines and soft drinks, where my children discovered, much to their delight, they could have unlimited free juice to the point of severe stomach ache and beyond.
I nearly cried when it was time to leave.
Even my daughter pulled a face when it was time to leave and she never looks upset. Equally, my son looked slightly perturbed and he never actually shows emotion.
Mrs B however took it in a positively Mediterranean, almost Greek, manner with chest-beating, loud sobbing and snotty tears, which miraculously stopped when we were presented with the final bill in a deliciously tasteful envelope. It was like being mugged by the Royal Family. All good things come at a cost, I guess.
So if you’re in doubt about where to stay and looking for one of the best beach hotels in Dubai, spend a little cash and stay at Fairmont The Palm. I will stake my reputation as a writer of nonsense that you will have a great time here, and if you don’t, please message me and I will come to your house and personally apologise for getting it wrong.
And if you’re reading this and you work in Fairmont The Palm, feel free to come to my house and I will make you a cup of tea as a thank you for what were an exceptional few days.
See, the beer adverts are right. There are some things in life that money can’t buy. But for everything else, you should really stay at Fairmont The Palm.
Have fun. I know you will.