The Palm’s latest hotel gives gold without glitz

The Palm's latest hotel gives gold without glitz.

The pool of Fairmont The Palm. Courtesy of Fairmont The Palm
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The welcome

We arrive on a busy Thursday night, while there’s taxi queue out front, so it takes some time for a bellhop to find us. He escorts us through a spacious lobby to the lift up to the Fairmont Gold floor; strangely, he doesn’t offer to take our small overnight bags. All is forgiven as we’re seated in the Gold lounge while we’re checked in, and they bring us plates of snacks, even though the evening food service has just ended. A butler takes us to our room and gives us a detailed tour, including pointing out the fire exits.

The neighbourhood

Situated on the trunk of The Palm, the Fairmont blends in with the sandy-coloured residential buildings, up a steep driveway after a U-turn that is well-marked but somewhat tricky if you’re not paying attention. The real vista, though, is on the other side of the hotel, which overlooks a pristine beach with a sweeping view of Dubai Marina in the distance.

The room

Our ninth-floor Gold room has a modern Arabic design, with mashrabiya wood headboards, dark-wood furnishings and a cream-tile floor with carpeting near the beds, lovely in its simplicity, with a large, shaded balcony overlooking the sea. It comes equipped with a Nespresso machine (one of our mandatory luxuries), a Geneva sound system and Le Labo toiletries. In the roomy bathroom, a glass-walled rain shower overlooks the bathtub, near a somewhat-awkward vertical window that looks onto the bedroom through wood blinds. The eco geek in me rejoices at the rubbish bins, which have a section for recycling.

The service

Fairmont-friendly: staffers stop to chat and seem genuinely concerned with our happiness. Efficiency, however, is a bit hit-and-miss. Our room service is almost 10 minutes later than promised (but it comes with an apology), the table isn’t picked up when we ask for it to be and when we call again the phone doesn’t work. However, when we ask about yoga mats, they are delivered promptly to our room, and a last-minute laundry request is dispatched with ease.

The scene

A healthy mix of overly tanned European tourists and Gulf visitors, many of them couples, move at a leisurely pace between the beach and the Fairmont Gold lounge.

The food

The extensive room-service menu includes vegan and gluten-free options, a welcome rarity in this part of the world. The food in the Gold lounge, including a full breakfast and a small buffet of salads and snacks in the afternoon and evening, was enough that we didn’t need to eat elsewhere, except for one decadent feast at Frevo (Dh250 per person for all you can eat). The hotel’s Brazilian churrascaria offers more than 15 meats, Wagyu beef included, brought to your table and carved from the skewer, and if that’s not enough there’s a hot and cold salad bar. (Other dining options include Flow, its international family restaurant, or the Seagrill.)


The Fairmont’s beach, fronted by pools for adults and children, is a magical place to watch the sun set and feels rather peaceful for Dubai. A Friday morning is perfectly quiet, later only occasionally punctuated by the faraway Dubai soundtrack of watercraft and construction.


The noise from the adjoining room, which might not normally be an issue, but our neighbours were a particularly loud bunch.

The verdict

For those who want to stay on The Palm but want to skip the glitz to enjoy a relaxing beach weekend or to do business in no-nonsense luxury, this Fairmont’s a feel-good place to stay.

The bottom line

Rooms at Fairmont The Palm currently start at Dh2,112 including taxes (; 04 457 3388).