Elegant and welcoming: Exclusive first media review of Palace Dubai Creek Harbour Hotel

Five-star skyscraper in one of city's newest neighbourhoods is perfect for a serene getaway – with the spa a particular highlight

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Dubai's newest hotel has opened in one of the city's hottest up-and-coming neighbourhoods.

Palace Dubai Creek Harbour hotel is the latest addition to the city skyline from Emaar Hospitality Group. Located in Dubai Creek Harbour, it's within a 15-minute drive from the international airport and city landmarks such as Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.

The hotel rises above its namesake waterway, boosting Emaar's portfolio in the newly developed district, which is already home to the Address Grand Creek, Vida Creek Beach and Vida Creek Harbour.

Located between Downtown Dubai and the city's historical neighbourhoods, Dubai Creek Harbour makes the most of its location with 700,000 sqm of parks and open spaces, some 66,000 sqm of cultural offerings, a picturesque promenade and views of the Dubai creek and adjacent Ras Al Khor Wildlife Reserve.

Palace Dubai Creek Harbour Hotel opens to the public

Palace Dubai Creek Harbour Hotel opens to the public

The five-star Palace Dubai Creek Harbour opens to overnight guests on Wednesday, May 1 and The National was invited along for the exclusive first media review. Here's what's in store for travellers.

The welcome

Driving over the bridge that connects the neighbourhood with the main artery of the city, I'm impressed. Streets are wide and traffic-free, and I easily navigate my way to the new hotel.

Valet staff immediately appear, and whisk luggage from my car before ushering my husband, daughter and I inside where a member of staff in a beautiful jewel-toned abaya welcomes us to the hotel. The lobby is stunning, with an Arabian-inspired central water feature set underneath a delicate glass chandelier amid rolling archways.

We're shown to the check-in desk and offered refreshing welcome drinks and cold towels, before being handed our room key and shown to the elevators.

The neighbourhood

Wandering around the area, I soon realise that it has many similarities to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Boulevard in Downtown Dubai. There's a similar vibe but less traffic.

Dubai Creek Harbour has an evergreen central park, a marina, yacht club and a selection of hotels and dining venues. There's also a Spinney's supermarket, salon, nursery and other amenities. Colourful nature-focused art installations are dotted around, including a giant flamingo and swimming turtle sculptures. The View Point is the place to go in the early evening for sunset views and the nearby Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary offers up-close pink flamingo sightings.

The room

The hotel has 122 rooms, ranging from a deluxe king to a sprawling presidential suite. Each is beautifully decorated with a modern Arabesque charm that extends to the smallest details, like the Islamic-inspired patterns inside the shower shelves.

We're staying in a deluxe partial canal view king room on the fourth floor. It has a huge king-size bed, a circular desk and a spacious bathroom with a soaking tub, separate toilet and shower – plus sliding doors that open to allow guests to sit in the bath and still be able to see the television in the bedroom.

Toiletries are from Lorenzo Villoresi and fluffy bathrobes and slippers are provided. As my baby daughter is staying with us, a wooden crib has been placed in the room, alongside some organic baby toiletries. It is a lovely, personalised touch. We also have an outdoor terrace with a seating area from where we can see a sliver of Dubai Canal to one side and a small segment of the water in the other direction. We're not sure it qualifies as a waterfront view. Nonetheless, it's a relaxed place to sit and watch the city wake up.

The service

When we visit, the hotel is preparing to open to the public so staff are friendly and enthusiastic, if a little nervous at times. Requests are efficiently handled, including non-standard messages such as leaving our room service order outside the hotel room to prevent my baby daughter from waking up, are followed through. A mix-up with coffee orders at breakfast is efficiently resolved, as is my husband's lift mishap – more on that to follow.

The scene

Emaar's Palace hotel brand takes inspiration from its surroundings and that's clear to see at Palace Dubai Creek Harbour, where interiors have Arabesque decor fused with tasteful modern accents. Heritage art pieces sit side by side with contemporary architecture, and a selection of books and artefacts shine a light on the destination, wider region and travel as a whole.

This hotel will appeal to leisure and business travellers, families, solo travellers and groups and is well located. Because it is not a resort, it does have a slightly more formal atmosphere than some of Emaar's other properties. That said, staff are welcoming to everyone.

The rooftop infinity pool is open to all – unlike some rooftop pools in the city that exclude children – and friendly lifeguards are on hand to make sure everything is safe. There's also a brightly coloured Qix Club for children on the eighth floor, just down the corridor from the spa, making it a perfect drop-off point for parents seeking relaxation.

For business travellers, there's a boardroom and a business centre, plus a striking oversized dining table in Ewaan restaurant that would be ideal for corporate breakfast, lunch or dinner. There's a 24-hour fitness centre for those looking to stay in shape on the road.

The food

Recreating concepts found in other Palace hotels, the property boasts Ewaan and Al Bayt which serve Levantine and local cuisine. We enjoy breakfast at Ewaan, where there's a beautifully laid-out buffet and a live cooking station on the open air terrace where chefs whip up eggs, pancakes and other dishes.

Fai Lounge is a sleek outpost adjacent to the hotel's infinity pool. It has poolside options and an elegant international and seafood-inspired à la carte menu. Indoors, teal seating, brushed gold accents and vibrant wall prints adorned with flamingoes, camels and lush greenery set the scene for a sophisticated meal, with a hint of creativity.

Starting with the tuna tartare (Dh105), we're impressed by the portion size. It is the same for the sea bass ceviche (Dh105), which comes with tangy blood oranges and a sharp dressing, although we wouldn't mind if our fish was a tad more delicately sliced.

I opt for the grilled tuna niçoise (Dh170) for my main course and enjoy a huge meaty piece of fish served with quail eggs, tomato salsa and green beans. My husband has the pan seared king scallops (Dh180) and they're so beautifully plated that he's reluctant to start eating for fear of spoiling the aesthetics. We also try two of Fai's mocktail offerings, which are brightly-coloured and full of flavour.

Highs and lows

We're offered treatments at the spa and are thoroughly spoiled with a relaxing bio-lifting facial using Team Dr Joseph products for myself, and a soothing bespoke ritual massage for my husband. It's the highlight of our stay. I also adore the dried flower arrangements, which add modern elegance throughout the property.

The low-point is when my husband takes my daughter for a walk on the promenade. Afterwards, when they attempt to take the lift back to the lobby, they discover it's not operational from promenade level. Thankfully, he has his phone with him and a call to reception saw help arriving shortly after. We're assured the issue will be immediately resolved.

The insider tip

If you book a spa treatment, take your swimsuit with you. There's an experience shower, steam room and sauna available to use before or after your session – and leave plenty of time for relaxation post treatment as the spa has golden-toned robes and slippers that are some of the fluffiest we've worn.

The verdict

A beautifully designed hotel that exudes a sense of elegance in the heart of one of Dubai's newest neighbourhoods. Perfect for those travelling on business or seeking a serene getaway but without being too far from the heart of the city.

The bottom line

Opening rates start at Dh490, including breakfast. Check-in time is from 3pm and checkout time is at noon; www.addresshotels.com

Updated: May 02, 2024, 7:39 AM