Al Naseem: First look at Dubai's new hotel
The final part of the Madinat Jumeirah jigsaw, the luxury hotel boasts 11 restaurants, three pools and a turtle rehab lagoon.November 24, 2016
In February last year, we told you about the phase 4 development in Dubai's Madinat Jumeirah. Now, 21 months later, it's finally been officially unveiled.
Of course 'phase 4' was just a stage name, recognising it as the fourth and final hotel piece in the Madinat jigsaw. It's also the final part of a 19-year process by Jumeirah to transform Al Sufouh's two kilometre-long coastline into a tourist hub, which started with Jumeirah Beach Hotel back in 1997.
The new hotel's actual title is Jumeirah Al Naseem, which has been public for a while, as has its external appearance. But despite sitting boldly road-side outside the entrance to Burj Al Arab for most of this year, we actually knew very little about what's inside. Until now.
Starting December 1, Al Naseem will be open for business and with the UAE National Day just 24 hours later, the opening could not have been timed better.
Let's address the elephant in the room: Al Naseem looks nothing like the other 5-star hotels that is linked to. Where Al Qasr and Mina A'Salam are sand coloured, colossal and full of classic Arabian charm, the new sibling is sparkling white and contemporary. But that is by no means a bad thing; Al Naseem's nods to Arabia are shown in other ways.
It would seem the change of architecture and design was a very conscious decision. Richard Alexander, general manager at the hotel, said: "In being given the challenge of writing the final chapter in the story of Madinat Jumeirah, we didn’t just want to create a 430-room beachfront hotel – we wanted to bring a wave of vibrancy that matches the energy of Dubai.
“We have been given a wonderful opportunity to marry a spectacular beach front location with a contemporary architectural twist on our sister properties and Jumeirah’s legendary service, and to showcase the best that this dynamic, energetic and visionary city has to offer."
It may look contemporary and not dissimilar from a modern European hotel, but Al Naseem certainly has its local touches. The hotel's entrance features a sculpture of a caravan of camels running on water, made from polished stainless steel by Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej. The artist has other work featured in the hotel including a sculpture displayed at the reception of a poem written in calligraphy by Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The hotel's female Emirati staff will wear specially commissioned abayas created by local brand Slouchy'z, while guests will find chocolates in their rooms by Dubai company Mizram and cosmetics in the bathrooms by the luxury Omani brand Amouage.
Al Naseem, which means ‘sea breeze’ in Arabic, will feature 430 rooms with interiors inspired by sand dunes, pearl diving and Bedouin traditions and finished in pale pinks and creams.
The rooms in the M-shaped complex have walk-in rain showers inspired by Arabic hammams, floor-to-ceiling windows and private outdoor terraces that overlook the resort's landscaped gardens, swimming pools and the Burj Al Arab.
Speaking of pools, the resort has three, one of which is reserved solely for adults. There’s also a purpose built, 150-metre turtle lagoon that will be monitored by the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project. Turtle feeding sessions will operate from early 2017 onwards.
As well as the standard rooms there are 43 suites broken down into 12 family suites, 28 ocean suites, two presidential suites and one royal suite - which is a 500 square metre penthouse complete with its own 14-seat cinema.
The F&B situation
A new Dubai hotel of course means new additions to the city's dining scene, and Al Naseem does not drop the ball. The hotel features a total of 11 restaurants and bars, seven of which are internal and will be serving from day one. They are as follows:
- Al Mandhar Lounge - meaning 'amazing views' this is the classic lobby lounge with local tea and coffee on offer
- Ambar - a rooftop bar that should be perfect for sundowners, with Arabic mezze and cocktails on offer
- Rockfish - seafood restaurant designed by world-famous architect Bill Bensley, sit outside with your toes in the sand
- The Palmery - the hotel's buffet restaurant, expect breakfast to be served here
- Sugarmash - the adult only island bar
- Kalsa - for poolside dining
- Summersalt - a new beach club
Take a breath. The four externally-managed restaurants will open over the coming weeks and go like so:
- Black Tap - all the way from New York City, expect huge burgers and thick shakes
- Il Borro Tuscan Bistro Dubai - the first outpost of the Il Borro estate in Tuscany, owned by the fashion-famous Ferragamo family
- Katsuya - a Japanese restaurant designed by Philippe Starck
- Flamingos by Tasha’s - a Dubai-grown brand
Of course if none of those venues do the trick, remember Al Naseem is just another part of the Madinat, so a short buggy or stroll alongside the beachfront will put you in Mina A'Salam, Al Qasr, Dar Al Masyaf and of course the Souk Madinat itself.
So there you have it, the Madinat's puzzle is complete and we all have a new hotel to explore. See you there for sundowners.
Rates start from AED 1,200 (plus tax) on a half board basis. Visit jumeirah.com for more.