With its palm-tree-lined boulevards and graffiti-adorned shopfronts, La Mer in Dubai has a Venice Beach, California, vibe — and the funky Hyatt Centric Jumeirah fits in nicely with these surroundings.
The hotel opened in December and it is ultra-modern, bright and colourful, with artworks that take centre stage. The National went along to find out what it's like to spend the night.
In the lobby, an abstract piece made of oyster shells hints at the UAE’s heritage. The cool lighting feature like a cluster of stars and the mismatched furniture in green, red, pink and turquoise give the space a fun and futuristic feel.
Staff are friendly, welcoming and chatty, asking guests how they are and offering compliments, which sets the tone for a comfortable stay. We’re given quite a lot of information at check-in, but it’s handy to know upfront what will be available to you during your time here.
One side of the hotel is still very much a construction site, but on the La Mer side, there are plenty of cafes restaurants, shops, bars, a beach club and nightclubs to keep you occupied. You’re in among the action here and there’s plenty to explore, but if you seek further entertainment, Downtown Dubai and Burj Khalifa are also a 10-minute drive away.
The safety measures
The hotel follows the safety measures as mandated by law, however, there is a relaxed take on enforcing rules. The hotel states that guests may be required to wear masks in public places indoors. Many we see within the grounds aren’t wearing them and aren’t asked to. Hotel staff do wear them, though. There are hand sanitisers at the reception desk, in the lift and at the restaurant entrance, but there are no masks or sanitisers in the room.
We’re staying in a king sea view with balcony room, which gives us the best of both worlds when it comes to views. We get skyline with Burj Khalifa on one side and azure blue waters on the other.
The sand-coloured furniture is accented by pops of colour from the modern artworks that hang on the walls and furniture in orange and red. A bright statement wall in orange also gives the room a fun and summery feel.
The hot drinks station comes with teas and a coffee-machine, plus Coffee Planet capsules.
There’s a living room space with wall-mounted TV and comfy sofa and the bed faces out to the balcony and that dramatic sea view.
Hyatt is focusing on reducing its greenhouse emissions, the conservation of water and reduction of waste as part of its "Caring for the Planet" initiative and we notice elements of this. Rooms are restocked with water in bottles made entirely of plant-based materials, and these are reusable and biodegradable.
The Coffee Planet capsules are also biodegradable and the company plants a tree for every packet purchased – a lot when your customer is a 173-room hotel.
Housekeeping will only change towels and linen upon request, toiletries come in refillable dispensers that are not made of plastic and the disposable toothbrush in the dental kit is made of bamboo.
Staff are helpful, friendly and welcoming. In the restaurant, recommendations come confidently and expertly. Elsewhere, help is at hand no matter what time of day you may need it, give the reception a call and they’ll ensure to meet your needs the best they can. It’s still a fledgling address, so some questions staff may need to get back to you on, but they make sure the information given is correct.
The hotel has one pool that’s on the small side, but with La Mer and its sprawling beach nearby, you can split your time between the two locations and make the most of both. Upon check-in, we’re handed a beach pass, which gives us access to a designated area of the public La Mer, with sun loungers and towels for Hyatt guests.
The hotel also has a small spa with separate rooms for ladies and gents, which can be conjoined for couples’ treatments, and a large gym with brilliant, new equipment that's open 24 hours. A children’s club is also coming soon.
The restaurant’s meals are currently all provided by the French-Mediterranean all-day restaurant Eunoia by Carine, a venture from Dubai’s much-loved chef Izu Ani.
It’s a bright space, all stark whites, gold and grey marble, with flecks of turquoise that give it a care-free feel.
It serves an all-you-can-eat, made-to-order breakfast for Dh150 (if not included with your room). We order the eggs Florentine and try the French toast upon recommendation. The poached eggs are cooked to perfection and the dish comes with just the right amount of wilted spinach and rich Hollandaise sauce. The French toast is comfort food joy, stodgy on the inside with a sweet, caramelised crust.
At dinner we try the tarte flambee (Dh53), a starter highly recommended by our waiter. And it’s good – the charred bread beautifully offset by the sweetness of its caramelised onion and tomato toppings. The roasted peppers with ricotta and raspberry (Dh58) is a highlight. It’s a sweet and vibrant dish with incredible flavour and texture combinations. The sea bass carpaccio with passion fruit dressing (Dh105) is also delicious, being light, wafer-thin slices of fish with a refreshing, fruity kick
The grilled tiger prawns with garlic butter and smoked tomato relish (Dh225) is a delight, with delicately cooked meaty chunks of prawn and a sweet smoked tomato relish. The only lowlight of the meal is the sole cooked with brown butter, capers and lemon (Dh440). We’d hoped for a richer, butterscotch flavour to the sauce, but instead it’s bland and underwhelming.
But the meal ends on a high, with the tarte tatin and vanilla ice cream (Dh110). It’s sweet, with satisfying chunks of caramelised apple at the top, sitting in expertly crafted pastry. A meal here could be the highlight of any trip.
Highs and lows
The best thing about this hotel is its sweeping sea and views. However, my room was facing Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, which, at the weekend, hosts two thumping club nights into the small hours. It abruptly burst any tranquil retreat dream bubble I had while staying on a Saturday.
The Insider tip
If you’re a light sleeper and staying over the weekend, request to stay in a city view or La Mer sea view room (which comes with partial sea views) for a bit of peace and quiet. Go for the sweeping sea vista rooms during the week.
This is a great option for a weekend getaway as there’s so much by way of entertainment on your doorstep. And the views are stunning.
The bottom line
Rooms cost from Dh500, excluding taxes. Check-in is at 3pm and checkout at noon. Cancellations should be requested 48 hours before check-in to avoid a one-night fee. www.hyatt.com
This review was conducted at the invitation of the hotel during the global coronavirus pandemic. It reflects hotel standards during this time, services may change in the future.