Hotel Insider: Kempinksi Hotel & Residences, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

Checking into the Kempinski Hotel & Residences on Dubai's Palm Jumeirah.

A bedroom at the Kempinski. Courtesy Kempinski Hotel & Residences
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The welcome

I arrive by car, and the valet staff attend to my stuff with reasonable speed. The lobby is more residence than hotel, without the extravagance of some nearby properties. The two reception desks, which are staffed by Russian and Arabic staff, have a slightly workaday feel. Staff go about their business without cloying obsequiousness, which makes for a pleasant change.

The neighbourhood

The hotel sits on The Palm’s West Crescent, before the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. To the right of the property is what will be the main Kempinski hotel on The Palm. That’s under construction, but doesn’t impinge on the hotel’s relaxing, well-landscaped gardens. The back of the hotel faces the gardens and beach. Mature trees, shaded lawns and the classical European-style architecture make you feel like you’re somewhere else.

The room

The hotel has 240 suites, of which 131 are hotel accommodation – the rest are private residences. The smallest are one-bedroom apartments; mine – on the first floor, facing the gardens – is spacious and has two bedrooms, a living room with dining area, kitchen and three bathrooms, and a large balcony (also with a dining space). There are marble floors and an attractive blue, cream and silver colour scheme runs through the upholstery, curtains, carpets and furniture. Everything is spotless. The bathrooms are well equipped, though the baths are narrow. I’m woken at 5.30am by what sounds like banging and crashing in a nearby garbage room – otherwise, it’s peaceful.

The scene

Deceptively serene. Because relatively few units are being used as hotel suites, the property has an adult, almost exclusive feel. There isn’t the din of young children, but there are some large, well-heeled family groups. The clientele are Russian, European and Emirati. There’s just one restaurant, Brunello, which is dimly lit and elegant at night, plus a poolside bar and a beach barbecue. The only downside is that sunset is on the other side of the hotel, so it’s mostly blocked by the building.

The service

Attentive without being suffocating. Only two of my three bags made it from my car to my room, but the mistake was quickly rectified without stress. Dinner service was assured, fast and efficient, but still relaxed.

The food

At Brunello, I order a starter of blue mussels, which come in a generous portion in a tasty garlic-and-tomato sauce with herb butter (Dh85). The seared bluefin tuna (Dh185) is two large, fresh pieces of fish coated in a black-pepper-and-sesame-seed crust with cucumber and grilled watermelon – delicious and enough for two (more of the watermelon would have been good, as no sides were included). The breakfast buffet is more average, with all the usuals; there’s a good juice selection and good coffee; the hot items could have been better.

Loved

Getting a glimpse of life as a Russian oligarch, and the dreamy view across what looks like parkland from my window.

Hated

I couldn’t get my laptop to connect to the Wi-Fi. It worked on my iPhone, but the signal outside was very weak.

The verdict

A surprisingly relaxing break.

The bottom line

One-bedroom suites at the Kempinski Hotel & Residences, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai (www.kempinski.com; 04 444 2000) cost from Dh1,940 per night, including tax but excluding breakfast.

rbehan@thenational.ae