The first hotel on Dubai's Deira Islands opened on Thursday.
The city’s only 24-hour all-inclusive beachfront hotel, the four-star Hotel Riu Dubai, has 800 rooms, its own mini waterpark, two children’s pools and three large pools for adults.
Guests who book a stay at the luxury resort can leave their wallets in the room after check-in because the all-inclusive concept means food, drink and activities on site are free.
Whether it is early morning yoga, afternoon water aerobics or a kayak along its exclusive stretch of beach, dirhams do not need to pass hands at this resort.
It is the Spanish chain’s first hotel in the Middle East and was built in collaboration with Nakheel, the master developer of Deira Islands.
On Thursday, The National was given a grand tour of the property just hours after its first guests checked in.
On opening during a pandemic, Oliver Kluth, senior vice president of sales and business development at Riu Hotels and Resorts, said the company wanted to instil a sense of normality.
“We think it was an excellent idea to be the first property to open on Deira Islands as we can be the pioneer for what is to come,” he said. "As an added bonus, today’s opening marks the addition of our 100th property to the global market.
“Depending on whether you travel on a package deal or not, prices vary, but on average a one-week stay at the hotel would cost about $1,500 (Dh5,500) for two adults and a child.
“We are unique to Dubai as no other hotel offers the 24-hour all-inclusive concept.”
Set on Dubai’s new coastal city, Deira Islands, the hotel offers skyline views of old Dubai on one side and sweeping views of Downtown Dubai – including the Burj Khalifa – on the other.
The rooms are finished with Rius’s signature crisp design and feature shades of beige, grey and aqua green. More than 95 per cent of the rooms at the hotel offer sea or lateral sea views.
True to Dubai’s nature, the property has a gamut of choice on offer when it comes to room preference. It has one presidential suite, 10 junior suites, 14 two-bedroom family rooms and 96 interconnecting rooms.
The infinity swimming pools overlook the beach and there are plenty of sunbeds for those who prefer to soak up the rays. For guests who want to take a break from lounging at the pool or beachside, there is a water sports cabin on site that houses paddle boards, kayaks, floating sun loungers and pedalos, which can be used, without charge, throughout their stay.
This hotel does not disappoint when it comes to food either. Home to four restaurants, it offers a mix of international cuisine, including Asian, Italian and Lebanese.
The main restaurant, Al-Andalus, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and operates a buffet-style service.
If you prefer an afternoon espresso or sundowners at sunset, there are also six bars at Riu Dubai, including The Pearl, an elegant lobby bar with a large terrace, Shamal, which will host live on-stage performances and a 24-hour sports bar.
As well as overnight stays, visitors can make use of Riu’s day and night passes. From Sunday to Thursday, visitors can pay Dh349 and make use of the food, drink and facilities between 12 noon and 6pm, or 6pm to midnight. At the weekend, the price increases to Dh399 for the same deal.