Situated at the furthest reaches of the man-made palm shaped island, the Palm Jumeirah, Anantara the Palm is a little bit of Thailand in Dubai. Water is everywhere: from the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf which lap the resort, to the three huge lagoon pools spread throughout the property and the infinity pool by the beach.
Built in Thai style with on-demand tuk tuks to ferry guests around the resort, Anantara merges Thai architecture with traditional Arabian hospitality – including a unique welcome in the lobby from the hotel’s resident falconer. He is in the lobby every day greeting guests with his stunning Peregrine falcon perched on his arm. To see this beautiful bird, the emblem of the UAE, and the get the chance to hold her and take photos was a huge thrill.
There are a variety of rooms from those with direct access to the lagoon pools, to villas with private infinity pools right on the beach. I was staying in one of the Middle East’s first over water bungalows (the only others being at the yet to open sister resort, Anantara Banana Island, in Qatar). With lots of wood and warm, earthy colours contrasting with the blue of the surrounding sea, the villa was private, large (106m²) and had with a bathroom bigger than many hotel rooms, complete with a huge bathtub built for two. There was also a balcony with shaded double day bed and sun loungers. With glass panel on floor giving views of any passing sea life this villa was luxury defined and truly romantic. Perfect for honeymooners or a getaway a deux.
There is plenty to do at the resort from a variety of water sports to a wonderful spa, to a gym and tennis courts. The on-site restaurants are excellent and I was particularly impressed with Bushman’s, the Australian restaurant which, despite specialising in meat and seafood, still managed to delight my vegetarian palate. And who knew so many types of salt existed?! The salt guru will give you samples and stories and advise on the best salt to accompany your meal.
The resort is ideal for those looking for a get-away-from-it all break. The city is a cab ride away if you need it but you may well find that you really don’t want to leave this beautiful resort at all.