When it comes to luxury hotels, Dubai has it all. Desert charm, beachfront relaxation and buzzy metropolitan hubs are scattered throughout the city, with new additions popping up at breakneck speed.
But there are a handful of luxury hotels in the city that fall into the veteran category, standing the test of time and continuing to attract visitors – old and new – decades after opening.
Among these is Park Hyatt Dubai, a sprawling picturesque haven in its own quiet corner of the old city, that continues to set the bar for luxury.
The National checked in for a stay at one of its new pool villas.
After turning off the E11 to the private gate that marks the entrance of Dubai Creek and Yacht Club, we are greeted by a fedora-wearing security guard, who is noticeably cheery. He directs us to the hotel’s entrance, a short drive along a palm-lined road, where private villas sit on one side and the sparkling marina faces them on the other.
After pulling up to the entrance, equally friendly valet staff are quick to help us with our bags, which we don’t see again until they appear in our rooms later that afternoon. Check-in is from 3pm, but we arrive a couple of hours early to grab some lunch and laze by the pool, which is no problem. In fact, staff at reception tell us they will do all they can to ensure our room is ready as quickly as possible and, within half an hour, they’ve come to find us at the pool with our keys.
Just a short drive from Dubai International Airport and around 15 minutes from attractions including the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, Park Hyatt Dubai is part of the old city but close enough to the action at the heart of Downtown Dubai. Thanks to its location in the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club complex, it feels quiet and serene in its own little corner of the city.
Park Hyatt Dubai first opened in 2005, but we are here to try one of its newly modelled villas, which opens out directly onto the resort’s new lagoon pool.
It’s surprisingly spacious, with a huge lounge area, complete with an office nook, washroom and sliding doors opening to the first of two terraces, where seating surrounds a small firepit. Back inside, an equally spacious master bedroom lies through wooden double doors at the far end of the lounge, where we find a perfectly made king-sized bed waiting. The bed looks out towards the terrace space and the azure pool beyond, a view that we happily lie back and drink in.
Through arched doorways, a master bathroom features a double sink, free-standing bathtub, double walk-in showers and a dressing area, with open shutters to the bedroom, again designed to optimise the view.
Neutral tones, abstract vases and rattan fixtures give the new villas a laid-back, contemporary feel, with touches of azure laced throughout the room complementing the outdoor surrounds.
All staff we encounter throughout the resort are friendly and professional, and go above and beyond to help. Once, after finding ourselves in the wrong block searching for our room, which subsequently turns out to be on the other side of the resort, a groundkeeper escorts us all the way to the right block, which took a good few minutes out of his day.
With its whitewashed buildings, topped with azure domes, and flowering bougainvillaea trees scattered throughout, the resort feels distinctly Mediterranean, with scenes more akin to those usually found on Greek islands than in the UAE. Still, touches of Middle Eastern design are subtly sprinkled throughout the resort, giving Park Hyatt Dubai a charming character that has kept guests returning for close to two decades.
As well as a good-sized palm-lined main pool, the hotel is home to two lagoon pools – Al Porto, a family-friendly spot overlooking the harbour that opened last year, and Twigg, the chic private beach club operated by Rikas Group that serves incredible views of the Downtown skyline and impressive Mediterranean fare.
Elsewhere, the Amara Spa, set on its own private patio, is the epitome of serene, with treatment rooms having their own private gardens, complete with trickling water features and outdoor showers. My 60-minute signature treatment with Nikita puts me into a trance-like state, and I practically float back to my room.
Guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining. Daily breakfast can be enjoyed at Brasserie du Park, where a perfectly curated buffet is on offer, as well as a la carte options. Noepe offers the ideal laid-back pre-dinner sundowner spot.
As well as the aforementioned Twiggy, dining options include The Thai Kitchen, afternoon tea spot The Lounge and seafood restaurant Boardwalk.Set on a terrace overlooking the creek, the restaurant has stood the test of time, having been operational for more than 26 years. There are also a few casual spots for dining and drinks throughout the resort, including Jones the Grocer, QD’s and Lakeview, which has a 900-year-old olive tree from Italy as part of its design.
Highs and lows
The tranquillity of Park Hyatt Dubai, alongside its stunning grounds and architecture, makes it one of the most picturesque spots in the city, leaving guests feeling a million miles away. There are no real lows but guests should be prepared for a bit of a walk to their rooms through several corridors, which can be a little confusing to navigate upon arrival.
The Insider tip
The most photogenic spot in the hotel can be found by heading towards the spa, where a grand stairway heads down towards a blue tiled floor, making for the perfect Instagram backdrop.
Almost two decades (and many, many new luxury hotels) later, Park Hyatt Dubai’s appeal endures thanks to its Mediterranean vibes, charming aesthetic and sheer variety of facilities.
The bottom line
A twin lagoon-view room starts from Dh995 per night, while a lagoon beach suite starts from Dh5,345 per night. Check-in is from 3pm; checkout is at noon; hyatt.com.
This review was conducted at the invitation of the hotel and reflects hotel standards during this time. Services may change in the future