In Dubai, five-star hotels are somewhat run of the mill, but there’s one area of the city that’s been synonymous with luxury resorts for longer than most.
Jumeirah on the city’s coastline has been welcoming well-heeled visitors since 1997, when Jumeirah Beach Hotel — the flagship property for home-grown Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts group — opened as one of the city’s first modern resorts.
Two years later, Burj Al Arab opened its well-documented doors less than a kilometre away and now, about 24 years since the world’s first so-called "seven-star" hotel welcomed guests, Jumeirah’s oceanic trilogy is almost complete.
Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab is expected to have its soft launch before the end of the year, said Katerina Giannouka, chief executive of Jumeirah Group at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.
Old-timers in the emirate will recognise the location of the yacht-shaped hotel as the same plot where the popular 360˚at Jumeirah Beach Hotel used to stand. Located on Dubai’s largest private beach, the hotel is set to be a “new expression of hospitality in Dubai”, said Giannouka.
“Marsa Al Arab will be a phenomenal hotel and experience. We have carefully selected the restaurants opening as part of it, with a mix of different cuisines and featured chefs. There will be hotel dining, as well as outlets on the Marsa Pier — which is open to the public … and the views from each room mean this is going to be an exceptional hotel,” added the recently appointed chief executive.
Originally scheduled to open in 2021, the project was delayed by the pandemic, but the luxury hotel is set to open its doors "soon", we are told. Here’s everything we know about the newest Jumeirah property.
Where is Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab?
The five-star property is located on a peninsula jutting into the Arabian Gulf, opposite the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Jumeirah Beach. Burj Al Arab is situated to the right of the superyacht-shaped Marsa Al Arab.
Will the hotel replace Jumeirah Beach Hotel or the Burj Al Arab?
“Each hotel has a different positioning and attracts a slightly different profile of guests,” said Giannouka.
“The Burj Al Arab is extremely private on its own island and inaccessibility is almost its key feature, but Marsa [Al Arab] on the other hand is much more open and can be accessed from both sides. And then Jumeirah Beach Hotel is our flagship and has a strong family focus, so each property is slightly different.”
The Jumeirah Beach Hotel has recently been renovated and its possible that once Marsa Al Arab opens, the Burj Al Arab may undergo a similar renovation.
“We don’t have any plans at this point to close it or renovate it on a deeper level. But at some point, I can imagine there will be a necessity to do some of the deeper renovation work and maintenance that we can’t do today,” said Giannouka.
Who designed Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab?
Designed by architect Shaun Killa, the same man who designed Dubai’s Museum of the Future, the resort is inspired by the glamour and craftsmanship of the world’s superyachts. Its external structure resembles that of a mega yacht perched on the coastline of Dubai, with tiered levels forming the bow.
How many rooms will the hotel have and what will they be like?
Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab will have 303 sea-facing rooms and 84 suites all of which come with balconies. More than 40 per cent of the hotel's rooms have terrace space bigger than 22 square metres.
Designed to maximise seafront real estate, all rooms have four-metre-high ceilings and many rooms feature 11-metre-wide floor-to-ceiling balcony windows offering guests views of Burj Al Arab and the city’s sparkling coastline.
French designer Tristan Auer, in association with Wilson Associates, has designed the interiors that exude sophistication with a hint of nautical inspiration. Unique to the resort are a collection of premium suites that follow the contours of the property, each with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass walls, framing views of Burj Al Arab and the resort’s new superyacht marina.
What facilities will Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab have?
The hotel will have five private swimming pools and two exclusive beaches, as well as a premium yacht club and marina, with 82 berths. There will also be nine oceanfront private villas.
A luxury spa is split over three levels — one of which is dedicated solely to women — with 13 treatment rooms, each with its own terrace. The hotel’s fitness suite will have state-of-the-art equipment, a 20-metre pool, sauna, steam room and mixed hammam.
What restaurants and bars are opening at the luxury resort?
Details about the restaurant brands and chefs heading to Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab’s culinary outposts are being kept tightly under wraps, but we do know that there will be 10 dining outlets and nine bars at the resort.
Restaurants will span a variety of cuisines including a Mykonos-inspired Mediterranean restaurant, pan-Asian, Japanese and Indian eateries.
Adjacent to the spa will be a Californian-inspired restaurant with sea views. A Venetian-style restaurant and bar will serve fine Italian cuisine, and in the Marsa Al Arab residences, a club-style restaurant will evoke American yacht club vibes.
Will Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab be open to non-hotel guests?
Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab is designed to be a key draw both for international tourists and the local Dubai community, confirmed Giannouka.
Visitors not staying in the hotel will be welcome to walk along the resort's newly created Marsa Pier, which will be dotted with more bars and restaurants, as well as accessing in-house hotel restaurants and bars.
When will Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab open to guests?
At the moment, Jumeirah is hoping to launch the hotel in late 2023. However, it’s possible that the official hotel opening might not take place until early next year.