1 The floor-to-ceiling views are stunning
There’s a theme running throughout this newly built beach hotel opposite JBR, and that’s one of floor-to-ceiling windows. And we love the light, bright, airy feel this lends to the entire property. It also gives the hotel an ultra-modern slant. With lofty ceilings and those expansive panes of glass, the foyer of Rixos Premium Dubai is, in itself, pretty impressive. The much-anticipated hotel finally threw open its doors on Saturday June 24, after a slight delay (it was originally due to open in mid-May). Located at the site of the old Oasis Beach Hotel opposite The Walk in JBR (that hotel was demolished back in 2008), Rixos Premium Dubai has now welcomed its first guests and is (mostly) all up and running when we’re offered a sneak peek. The large lobby is grand without being stuffy, with splashes of colour delivered by bright cushions and modern sofas and armchairs. Wander down the far end and you’ll be wowed by the panoramic views across the Arabian Gulf (even the most jaded of residents surely can’t tire of that sight) as well as the pool and beach below.
2 Afternoon tea, anyone?
While you’re in the lobby, visit one of only two currently functioning food outlets, Crystal Lobby Lounge. It’s a relaxed spot to sit and have a coffee or to enjoy afternoon tea and admire the vistas across the water to the Palm Jumeirah (especially now that the weather has reached sweltering). There’s also views of the now nearly complete Ain Dubai and of JBR beach, too. We reckon this will be a popular spot for out-of-the-office meetings, as well, due to its central location and casual vibe.
3 A trendy US steakhouse is coming soon
Dubai’s dining scene is renowned and residents of JBR and the surrounding area will be delighted when Rixos adds to it later this year. Granted there are already a plethora of restaurants within a stone’s throw of the hotel, but with new ones as diverse as what Rixos is offering, you need to pay attention. First up is trendy US steakhouse STK. With seating for 240 indoors, there’s also a 100-seater outdoor terrace. Classic US steakhouse ingredients will attract the carnivores out there, and if the menu is anything like the one in London (citrus-marinated burratina followed by fillet steak, anyone?) we can’t wait to try it. We’ve heard that when it opens (which is expected to be in September) the dishes will maintain STK’s signature style, but some “beachside-esque” offerings will also appear on the menu.
4 Shakes, burgers and fine Italian foods are also on the menu
Continuing the US theme, the property will house a second Dubai outlet of popular New York export Black Tap, famous for its burgers, shakes and craft hops. If you haven’t seen the freakshakes, we’re not quite sure where you’ve been, but you’ll want to visit to the new location to try one (we recommend the peanut buttery, chocolatey delight that is the Sweet N’ Salty shake). The menu boasts a range of belt-busting burgers, too, so make sure you bring your appetites. Fine Italian dining will be provided by Luigia Ristorante in the main stretch of the lobby, sitting opposite what will be some upmarket shops including Rodeo Drive. Both of these eateries are also scheduled to open in September. Currently, the only restaurant in operation is Turquoise, the hotel’s all-day-dining eatery, which is light and modern and has pool views. The buffet restaurant offers plenty of international fare, as well as lots of Turkish cuisine – a nod to the hotel chain’s roots.
5 There’s a chic pool area
For the cooler months, there are two dining options set beside the large swimming pool, with its comfy white sun loungers – the casual family-friendly Azure Beach and Riviera Beach Grill, which is billed as “elegant, beach front dining” serving Mediterranean dishes. The hotel has a section of private beach along JBR and offers watersports from Sky & Sea Adventures Dubai and Reef Diving. Activities include flyboarding, waterskiing, stand-up paddleboarding, jet-skiing and more.
6 You can party at two new nightspots
Although JBR isn’t short of choices when it comes to dining (whether you want burgers, pizza or Middle Eastern fare you’ll be in luck) the area isn’t well-known for its upbeat nightlife venues. Although still under construction, by the end of the year, two new nightspots along The Walk should have opened up, thanks to Rixos Premium Dubai. The first, with an opening date pencilled in for within the next month, is a huge new Lock, Stock & Barrel. The Barsha Heights branch is extremely popular among Dubai dwellers, and for good reason. This year, it won Best Bar Food at our Restaurant Awards and Bar of the Year at our Music & Nightlife Awards. The new Lock, Stock & Barrel will be more than twice the size of the original (at around 22,000 sq ft) and set over two floors. It’s expected to have a capacity of around 600, with a bar downstairs and a casual dining area on the upper level. And, like the original, this venue will also host plenty of live musicians. For those who want to dress up and dance there’s going to be a nightclub called Inner City Zoo, which promises live music and stage performances, as well as chart tunes. The club will be set in a 10,000 sq ft area at the hotel and will host up to 400 partygoers.
7 There’s a Turkish spa to relax in
The Turkish hotel brand was set up in 2000 and Rixos is, as expected, famous for its hammam. There’s a luxurious Ottoman-style one to try out at the new Natureland Spa here. The spa is unexpectedly large. Dark and warren-like (as most spas are), but with a calming, warm vibe. Natureland is split into male and female areas (each with six treatment rooms, a Thai massage room and a hammam), plus a combined relaxation area, which offers comfy lounging chairs and good views over the Palm. Each area also has a sauna and steam room, while the ladies’ facility boasts a decent-sized Jacuzzi to relax in once you’ve had your treatment.
8 You can pump some iron at the state-of-the-art gym…
It’s one of the highlights of the hotel if you’re a fitness fan. There are free weights, weights machines, exercise bikes, treadmills and cross trainers to break a sweat on (or just work off that freakshake from Black Tap). Work out while watching one of the personal TVs on the fitness equipment, or get your cardio in with a seaside backdrop.
9 …and then get a very good night’s sleep
Boasting 414 rooms and suites, the 35-storey hotel has nine categories of guest rooms, ranging from deluxe to an expansive two-bedroom Crystal Suite, so there’s plenty of choice depending on your budget. At the time of going to press, prices ranged from around Dhs580 to Dhs665 per night for the least expensive option. All rooms have large windows and neutral tones, with brightly coloured furnishings to lift them. The entire hotel is panelled with glass, and unusually, there are no balconies, but the windows make up for this. It does, however, give the hotel a more business-like feel than the all-inclusive resort vibe that the brand is more commonly known for, but that’s not a bad thing. Expect luxurious bathrooms complete with Chopard toiletries. For the ultimate weekend escape, book into the Crystal Suite, which is set over 150 sq m on the 34th floor of the hotel to ensure you can take in the best views. It has two bedrooms, and a fully equipped kitchenette with microwave and oven (you never know when hunger might strike), and two bathrooms. Check in and relax…
Rixos Premium Dubai, The Walk, JBR, premiumdubai.rixos.com (04 520 0000).
In Numbers: Rixos Premium Dubai
The amount of new bars and restaurants that will be open by the end of the year.
The number of storeys this brand-new, entirely glass-fronted hotel stands. You can’t miss it.
The total number of guest rooms and suites available to book into and rest your head.
The total square footage of the second outlet of Lock, Stock & Barrel, which is sure to be a hotspot.