Executive Travel: Mandarin Oriental Jumeira offers far more than the social media hype

From the glistening 'forest' of Fortune Trees to the vast spa, the Dubai hotel offers plenty for the business traveller to get lost in

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From its position on Dubai’s popular Jumeirah Beach Road thoroughfare, the Mandarin Oriental Jumeira would have to be one of the most significant openings the emirate has seen this year.

The first outing for the brand in the UAE, this 256-room/suite luxury property that overlooks the Arabian Gulf and the glittering city skyline ranks right up there with its five-star neighbours, the Four Seasons Resort Dubai and the Bulgari Dubai. However, it has attracted its fair share of attention since its doors flew open in February.

If you were to be drawn into the social media hype, you’d be forgiven for thinking this beachfront resort was all about the glistening ‘forest’ of Fortune Trees that greet guests in the lobby. Granted, the forest does consist of 14 bronze metal trees that stand 7, 8 and 9 metres high and create a canopy of crystal and light. It’s a statement entrance in true Mandarin style, but once guests arrive and familiarise themselves with the facilities most will realise, as I did, that there’s far more to this exciting new resort than the Instagrammable welcome from door staff decked out in their Mandarin Oriental-blue Fedoras and frock coats.

The property is a 20-minute drive from the international airport and 15 minutes by car from Downtown Dubai, making it a central location for business travellers. Mercato Mall is directly opposite, which is convenient for those who may require a supermarket, phone credit, or a local sim card, coffee, or any other incidentals during their stay.

Guests can choose from 15 room and suite categories. I’m staying in a Deluxe Sea View Room that is incredibly spacious and has a lovely terrace that affords me views of the pool deck below and the glistening turquoise Arabian Gulf beyond.

A sea view suite at the Mandarin Oriental Jumeira Dubai. Courtesy Mandarin Oriental

Furnishings are ultra-luxe with crisp white linens and the beige colour palette accentuated by vibrant teal suede upholstery. There’s a king bed, a cosy sitting area, a good-sized work desk and an elaborate marble bathroom with his/hers basins, luxurious soaking tub, walk-in rain shower, and toilet.

The Superior is the standard and as such, it's slightly smaller and instead of the Gulf views it offers guests vistas of the famous Dubai skyline.
The range of Natura Bissé toiletries elevate the in-room experience further as do the each-way cupboard nooks where the service staff can deliver laundry or newspapers without disturbing guests.

Unfortunately, the interactive digital bedside technology is not as intuitive as I expect — curtains cannot be partially opened, it’s either fully open or closed, and controlling the lighting is a bit of a guessing game. This aside, it’s a slick, quality set-up.

Guests who opt to stay in the Club rooms or Suites are provided complimentary access to The Club Lounge. This exclusive space provides breakfast and afternoon tea services daily as well as an evening canape service between 5pm and 7pm, which is worth a visit for the views of the city alone that can be enjoyed through the floor-to-ceiling glass panels in the dining area. It’s a relaxing yet sophisticated space that boasts an open-plan kitchen, drawing room and private dining area, and the ideal spot for catching up on emails or just having some quiet time after a day of meetings.

From an events and meeting point of view, the resort has a 700-square-metre glass-walled ballroom along with a beachfront terrace, four meeting rooms that can be divided into seven separate spaces, a private Bridal Suite and MO Canvas, a raw space for brands to foster experiential concepts.

Equally impressive is the property’s dining landscape which consists of two signature restaurants, an all-day brasserie, lobby lounge and cake shop.

Portuguese eatery Tasca has been the talk of the town since it said it would lead the hotel’s culinary collection, and with celebrity chef and world-class Michelin man Jose Avillez behind it it’s not hard to see why.

From its rooftop position beside the infinity pool and with views out over the Gulf on one side and the city on the other, the modern, coastal chic aesthetic — think vivid blue blended with pale sanded wood, polished white, grey marble and painted white bricks — is as impressive as the quality of the service and the food. Popular dishes include tuna tartare, Algarve prawn ceviche, and avocado tempura.
For those who have a penchant for Japanese food, Netsu is the in-house go-to. It's here that guests are able to try Warayaki — a traditional Japanese cooking technique that sees meat grilled using dry straw instead of charcoal, giving it a unique smoked flavour. So, if you're keen on impressing a business partner over dinner, this is the spot — Netsu is the only restaurant in the emirate that cooks like this.

The Bay Restaurant at the hotel. Courtesy Mandarin Oriental

The main breakfast is served in all-day dining restaurant The Bay. It features a variety of show-stations and a decent selection of  international and Asian-inspired foods. The buffet is packed with a good spread of French cheeses, cold cuts clamped and ready to slice, fresh fruits and yogurts and hot dishes including wok-fried noodles, turkey bacon, scrambled eggs, congee, and a selection of fresh detox juices, tea and coffee.

For a more casual snack or sweet treat, Noor Lounge and The Mandarin Oriental Cake Shop (also on ground level) are refined, sophisticated spaces ideal for that quiet cuppa with the newspaper or catching up on emails over morning or afternoon tea.

Those who like to keep fit while on the road are sure to appreciate the hotel’s fitness centre that includes the latest in functional and suspension fitness training. If free training is preferred, there’s a beachside jogging path that complements the five pools on the property and free non-motorised water sports options that include kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and water biking.

And when the hard work has been done and there’s some time to relax the beachside butlers are a real treat.

The ultimate deal-breaker though would have to be the 2,000-square-metre in-house spa that has luxurious treatment suites to lose yourself in and extensive facilities that include indoor vitality pools, dry saunas, steam rooms, heated relaxation lounge, experience showers and ice fountains.

If you’re not a ‘fan’ of the brand already, you will be after a stay here.

The writer was a guest of the hotel. Doubles start from Dh2,400 per night.

For more information go to www.mandarinoriental.com/dubai/jumeira-beach