Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai: Twenty-First Century World Once a small fishing port, the Gulf Coast emirate of Dubai is now a fascinating fusion of ancient culture and vibrant modernity. Its oil wealth has enabled it to invest in desalination plants, telecommunication systems and all the trappings of technology but, when the oil runs dry, Dubai can fall back on one commodity that will never run out: the sun. In little more than a generation, this sleepy emirate has transformed itself into a cosmopolitan city – the Vegas of the east. We are literally witnessing the birth of a new civilization. And one of its most stunning constructions is the prominent Jumeirah Beach Hotel, known as the Wave, housing 598 sea-facing rooms, suites and villas on twenty-six floors. It has unspoilt beaches, four swimming pools, a magnificent variety of restaurants and sporting facilities, and a terrific kids’ club – in fact, of all the top hotels along this coastal strip, the Jumeirah offers the optimum experience for families: of course, there are superb facilities for adults, but children are by no means side-lined.
Elements of nature Entering the hotel, you’re immediately drawn into its ‘Elements of Nature’ theme. Different floors represent earth, air, fire and water through distinct colour schemes dividing the hotel into four separate levels: restful blues and greens for water; comforting browns and muted reds for earth; tranquil blues and white for air; and brilliant reds and yellows depicting a vibrant sun. Take your pick as the mood takes you. In the Atrium a colossal sculpture, ninety metres high, portrays a satellite view of the earth with the United Arab Emirates at its centre, complete with a galaxy of stars and a moon in orbit.
A Food-lover’s Fantasy Dining is a serious affair in Dubai and is at the heart of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, whose twenty restaurants, cafes and bars represent every region of the world. The Apartment restaurant is based on the concept of a ‘home away from home’ interior of a residential apartment, and includes a bar, music room, cellar and dining room offering a gourmet menu prepared by two-star Michelin chef Patrick Lenotre. La Parrilla is the first and only Argentinean restaurant in the region, where fine steak is cooked before your eyes to a melting tenderness while tango musicians and dancers cavort around the room. Al Khayal is a traditional Lebanese restaurant styled after an Arabic tent. Der Keller reflects the atmosphere of a stylish, rustic German restaurant serving traditional food from different parts of Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Alternatively, choose Carnevale – an authentic Italian restaurant offering traditional pastas. And it’s definitely worth trying the innovative Asian fusion menu that combines traditional dishes from Asia with new European cuisine.
Between meals there are plenty of options for amusement. The Sports Club overlooking the beaches is a two-storey building situated on the Marina breakwater between the bay and tennis courts. Downstairs it offers many activities including tennis, squash, water sports and a PADI dive centre. Upstairs features a gymnasium with sixty nautilus machines and a free weights section. In addition, the health suite incorporates all the usual water treatments and spa therapies. Outside there are four swimming pools. The leisure pool, a twenty-five metre training pool, a family pool and a shallow, shaded children’s pool ideally located right next door to Sinbad’s Kids Club, which has a clubhouse designed like a ship. The club offers a programme of activities for children under the supervision of highly trained and qualified staff. Children can come and go throughout the day and take part in the daily activity programme, which includes arts and crafts, nature trails and swimming games. Small children flock to the family adventure playground, consisting of raised walkways with a variety of safety-conscious, padded play features including swings, tunnels and rope walkways. For older children the water sports on offer include sailing, water skiing, parasailing, snorkelling, wind surfing, scuba diving, kayaking, boogie boarding, wake boarding and banana boating. For all guests, other outdoor facilities include seven floodlit competition standard tennis courts, one of which is multipurpose to include volleyball and basketball, a mini putting green and golf driving nets surrounded by three butler-serviced beaches. Last but certainly not least, the next-door Wild Wadi Water Park is an attraction as popular with adults as it is with children. For guests of the hotel, entry is free to the twelve acres of themed water activities that includes twenty-three adrenaline-pumping rides that leave you gasping for more. In a nutshell, the Jumeirah experience is a never-ending kaleidoscope – a fantastic fun factory in the sun for kids of all ages.
IDEAL AGE: 4–16
Holiday Highlight: Along the Marina breakwater is one of Dubai’s most ingenious venues – the circular Seafood Market, elegantly decorated and offering the freshest and finest seafood in the Gulf, displayed on a specially designed ice show table. FYI: Sinbad’s Kids Club for children aged between two and twelve, open daily 9.00 a.m. – 9.00 p.m