Heard about The Palm’s new $1 billion hotel?

The Palm’s new Viceroy hotel at Number One, The Palm Jumeirah, oozes Californian cool.

March 19, 2017

How’s this for a five- star address? Number One, The Palm Jumeirah. This exclusive bit of real estate is where you’ll find the new Viceroy hotel, which opens its doors on March 31.

Fittingly, for such a killer address, the $1 billion hotel has sufficient swagger to match. Guests enter the 16-storey hotel via a giant glass cube lobby that features modern, tangled beams of wood and leads impressively out onto a 60-metre infinity pool.

In charge is Mikael Svensson who told EDGAR, “The design is timeless and minimalist. It’s not a cookie cutter hotel. Ten years ago all hotels were opulent and over the top. Now people want to stay somewhere that feels like home.”

Interestingly Svensson, 46, enlisted the help of Dubai theatre company The Courtyard Playhouse to help train his staff using improvisation classes. “A lot of service in Dubai can be very robotic,” says the Swede. “I want our staff to have personality and confidence because when you stay in a cool hotel you remember the service, not the big chandelier; the improv classes help to develop that energy.”

We’re looking forward to meeting the Viceroy’s concierge who’s worked at the St Regis in New York. “He’s such a character,” smiles Svensson. “He lives and breathes and his job – and he looks like Kojak!”

Italian restaurant Quattro Passi looks to be the star of the hotel’s food scene and this Dubai outlet will be the third after Positano and London. A rooftop deck that turns into a DJ party space after dark sounds good, as does the 13th floor wine bar Elevate.

Large sheets of paper covered in complex grids of coloured boxes line the walls of Svensson’s office. “If the boxes are green, that’s good. If they’re pink, that means we still have work to do,” he laughs. Thankfully for him, EDGAR saw quite a lot of green. “Opening a hotel in Dubai means there is definitely more pressure because, in the hotel world, Dubai is the premier league. But I think we’ll be okay.” Just as long as he keeps turning those boxes green.

By the numbers

  • Pools: 3
  • Restaurants & bars: 12 Rooms: 447
  • Party villas: 5 Residences: 221
  • Barber shops: 1
  • Spa: 14 rooms spanning 1,500 square metres 
  • Staff nationalities: 65 
  • Lobby pool: 60 metres 
  • Palm trees surrounding lobby pool: 14