Executive Travel: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray — the Dubai hotel on a mission of opulence

Once featuring in a Mission Impossible film, this luxurious retreat is a regular for business visitors from the US

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray -  Beach Aerial. Courtesy Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
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During my recent stay at the glamorous Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel on Palm Jumeirah, the school holidays meant that families predominated the guest list. Yet only a week earlier the hotel was hosting executives from two of the top US technology companies. Wall Street bankers are also frequent business guests.

The hotel is naturally too discrete to reveal the identity of their visitors, but it is no secret why this Jumeirah flagship property is held in such high esteem by global business giants and other corporate executives.

I remember its opening in 2011, one of the first big Dubai hotel launches after the Global Financial Crisis. The public spaces created an immediate stir.

I have certainly recommended it over the years to visiting business VIPs. The price of a basic room starts from just over Dh1,000 — a great price for an executive guest to Dubai.

What the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray offers is an outstanding 405-room property modelled on a palace from the golden age of the Ottoman Empire, as well as eight high-end restaurants, an amazing Turkish spa, great service and a wonderful location on the crescent of The Palm Jumeirah. It also boasts its own beachfront and 360-degree sea views.

True it is 40 minutes from Downtown Dubai, but that can be an advantage if you want peace and quiet after a busy day.

I remember its opening in 2011, one of the first big Dubai hotel launches after the Global Financial Crisis. The public spaces created an immediate stir.

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray - Lobby. Courtesy Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
The  hotel's golden lobby once featured in the 2011 film Mission Impossible — Ghost Protocol. Courtesy Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

They were the work of the same team that restored the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, with the hotel's golden columns in the lobby featuring in the 2011 film Mission Impossible — Ghost Protocol.

Exquisitely detailed marble floors, outre furniture and huge chandeliers are carried over into the extremely spacious restaurants that line the high-vaulted shopping arcades that emerge from the lobby. The Turkish restaurant Lalezar is particularly lavish in Ottoman style with fountains, silk furnishings and inlaid stone.

But this opulence is actually multinational. I ate in The Rib Room, a steak house on the first floor that could be straight out of New York in the roaring 20s for the quality of its steaks, decor and first-class service.

My waiter Diptesh remembered my name the next day at breakfast on the terrace of the Imperium, an all-day dining restaurant that looks like something out of Versailles with its white columns and shimmering gilt mirrors.

Other dining options include Al Nafoorah, a top-end Lebanese eaterie, a truly palatial British pub called The Crown and the award-winning Indian restaurant Amala. There is a huge alfresco terrace for these restaurants, and also the large Plaj, a Mediterranean restaurant on the beach.

For business meetings the Zabeel Saray has two large boardrooms and three meeting rooms for up to 60 people. There is also a 29-seat luxury cinema suitable for corporate presentations and a function room for around 100 people on the ground floor. Other spaces like the 370-seat Music Hall can be adapted for corporate functions.

Also popular are the 38 royal residences that adjoin the main building of the hotel. These private villas are luxuriously appointed with their own beach access. Where better for a corporate retreat away from prying eyes?

My own 94-square-metre Imperial suite on the sixth floor matched the best of any hospitality I have reviewed in Dubai. Its dramatic high ceiling rose into the apex of an Arabic arch.

There were skyline views of The Palm from its terrace and the white marble bathroom came with golden basins, taps and mirrors, not to forget the two-metre long, sunken marble bathtub.

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray - Imperial Two Bedroom Suite - King Bed. Courtesy Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
The Imperial suite came with internet speeds of 47.7 megabytes per second. Courtesy Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

The internet clocked in at a handy 47.7 megabytes per second, while room service offered a margherita pizza for Dh84, a club sandwich for Dh116 and Pepsi or Acqua Panna for Dh26. Club room and occupants of the 26 suites also have access to an expansive club lounge for drinks and snacks.

The stunning Talise Spa has a Techogym with brand new equipment and three of the six running machines have sea views.

But don’t miss out on a lazy afternoon lingering in the beautifully-crafted Turkish spa itself, one of the largest in the city, with its traditional Hammam treatment on a hot stone bed. There are mosaic-lined indoor swimming pools for men and women, and a truly splendid VIP spa for a lucky couple. All hotel guests have complimentary access.

• The writer was a guest of the hotel