Tales from the Presidential Suite of the Ritz-Carlton Dubai
We check-in to review the best suite in the house at this popular JBR hotel.Peter Iantorno September 13, 2015
"Welcome to your new home, sir”.
These are the reassuring words that greet us as we are ushered through a large set of heavy mahogany doors to our Presidential Suite. The open door reveals a space so expansive and opulent that we are left rather embarrassingly open-mouthed at the mere sight of it.
The awe quickly turns into excitement, as our smiling porter, Bishwa, walks us through our resplendent weekend accommodation. Most normal hotel rooms do not require an extensive walkthrough tour, but the premier suite at the Ritz-Carlton Dubai is far from any normal room.
The suite’s cavernous dining area is as big as most hotel rooms in itself and comes complete with a large dark wooden dining table adorned with a bountiful bouquet of flowers, a bottle of champagne chilling on ice and the most elaborate display of exotic fruit we have ever seen. The living area is fit for entertaining royalty, with armchairs and sofas crammed with a plethora of particularly plush-looking cushions, and the enormous bedroom is comfortably large enough to swallow up a king-sized, four-poster bed and a mini living area of its own and still look spacious.
As we delve into ‘our new pad’ yet further, through the walk-in wardrobe/dressing room and into the bathroom, our excitement soon turns into sheer disbelief. Another massive area, it features not only a large, free-standing tub, his and hers sinks, rain shower and separate toilet with bidet, but it also boasts a private spa area, complete with chaise longue, steam room and – most impressive of all – a fully equipped hammam room. All in all, the Presidential Suite measures 220sqm, and every centimetre of it is fit for a king – or president.
There’s no doubt that for pure palatial opulence, the Presidential Suite has no rival, but even for those who aren’t lucky enough to be staying in the top suite, no room is smaller than 50sqm and every one of the 294 rooms and suites in the Ritz-Carlton comes with a private balcony or patio overlooking the pool, garden and Arabian Gulf.
As Bishwa bids us an enthusiastic farewell and leaves us to our own devices in our extravagant lodgings, we immediately set about the not insignificant task of testing every possible sitting place to find the most comfortable spot. After a lengthy decision-making procedure that makes Goldilocks’ fairytale antics at the Three Bears’ house pale in comparison, we finally settle on the extremely plush-looking couch in the living room. With a cold glass of fizz in one hand and the rather clever touchscreen gadget that controls the TV, music, air conditioning and curtains in the other, we sit back and take in our superb surroundings. Hotel rooms simply do not get any better than this.
While it is tempting to spend the whole day luxuriating in the opulence of our suite, watching films on one of the two giant LCD TVs or perhaps enjoying a private steam and hammam, to do so would be a terrible waste of the other facilities the hotel has to offer.
Found on the prime real estate that is Dubai’s perennially popular Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), the assumption many would make of the Ritz-Carlton is that, like most JBR hotels, it comes hand in hand with a soundtrack of car horns and building works. However, with the Ritz-Carlton, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as the hotel is set within some 35,000 square metres of landscaped gardens, insulating it completely from any element of chaos that may be going on across the road or down the beach.
Amid the lush grounds, the hotel boasts not one, not two, but four outdoor swimming pools. Now, four pools may sound like overkill, but the benefit to having so many aquatic options is that each can serve a different purpose. Among the Ritz-Carlton's offerings, one pool, which is shaded and comes equipped with its own water slide, is tailored especially for children. While we're probably slightly too big to enjoy the waterslide, the presence of the children’s pool is good news for us peace-loving adults, as while the children are occupied, we are free to enjoy the adults-only pool, complete with swim-up bar, Jacuzzi and plenty of shady poolside cabanas and hammocks. We’re not saying we don’t like children, but it’s certainly nice to have an option where they are strictly not allowed.
Located alongside the adults-only pool in a picturesque tree-lined enclave, is the hotel's beach bar, La Baie Lounge. A large canvas sail casts shade over the light wooden decking, comfortable wicker chairs and welcoming daybeds, making this an ideal spot to grab a bite to eat and a cool drink without having to leave the peaceful confines of the pool area.
If you hadn't guessed already, relaxation is something that is high on our list of priorities when checking into a luxury hotel, and the Ritz-Carlton most certainly delivers in that regard. Contributing to the chill-out factor, the hotel's spa is another haven of serenity. It features nine multi-purpose treatment rooms, three private rooms (each with its own private outdoor terrace), separate relaxation lounges, a dedicated hammam area (if you're not lucky enough to have one in your room, of course) as well as indoor hot and cold plunge pools and an outdoor lap pool.
But while there’s an undoubted appeal to spending an entire day lazing around the pool, at the spa or at the beach bar, for those who require a bit more action in their holiday agenda, the resort has a whole host of activities on offer, including four floodlit tennis courts, beach football and volleyball, and watersports in the Arabian Gulf. The hotel’s concierge is also on hand to offers guests advice on everything from the city’s best golf courses and shopping destinations to waterparks and sightseeing tours.
Of course, being outside in the Dubai sun for a whole day can get too much – even with the frequent icy refreshments provided by the swim-up bar – so for a bit of respite, the third-floor Club Level Lounge, which serves breakfast, light snacks throughout the day and canapés and drinks in the evening, is the perfect hideaway from the heat. Make sure not to fill up too much in the lounge, though, because when it comes to dining, there’s no shortage of options at the Ritz-Carlton.
From the Far Eastern cuisine of Blue Jade, to the Italian specialities of Splendido, and the Middle Eastern offerings of Caravan (where the breakfast is served), there’s a restaurant to suit all tastes. It’s almost impossible to pick which venue to eat at, but we are swayed by the stunning beachside location of the resort’s seafood restaurant, Palm Grill.
With the flaming torches that line the walkway down to the restaurant, the catch of the day on ice at the entrance, the sound of reggae music playing in the background, the smoky smell of fresh lobsters being grilled on the beach barbecue and the panoramic views of the azure ocean, one could easily mistake it for a secluded hideaway on a remote Caribbean island.
After a laid-back night of sumptuous seafood by the beach, the natural way to end the evening is with a nightcap in the hotel’s snug lounge bar, Library Bar. Tucked away in a quiet corner of the lobby, the newly refurbished venue oozes class. As we sink into in the impossibly comfortable chairs and leaf through the extensive menu of premium malts, cognacs and cigars, the atmosphere is so peaceful we could happily stay there all night.
However, the key to the Presidential Suite sits heavy in my pocket, reminding me of the pure, unadulterated luxury awaiting us upstairs. When we open those heavy mahogany doors to our beautifully turned-down room, the words of our friendly porter, Bishwa, seem more apt than ever. It’s good to be home.
For more than 15 years now, the Ritz-Carlton has sparkled on Dubai’s JBR coastline, and thanks to its wonderful location, peaceful atmosphere, excellent facilities and flawless service, this stunning hotel has certainly not lost any of its shine.
Details: for more visit ritzcarlton.com/dubai