Palace Downtown Near+Far rating: 8/10
Why stay at Palace Downtown
To stay at Palace Downtown is to experience a mix of old and new Dubai, simultaneously. It’s to be right in the shadows of the world’s tallest building and a short walk from Dubai Mall, but to be cocooned by low-rise Arabesque buildings reminiscent of the complex of an Arabian Palace and shaded by Palm Trees. The Palace Downtown takes the best of Emaar’s hospitality brand, Address, and elevates It, creating an almost boutique-like, Arabian-themed experience in arguably the most exciting and energetic part of Dubai. This unique positioning, plus a palm-fringed swimming pool with Burj Khalifa views, a spa and the award-winning Thai restaurant (with arguably the best views of the Dubai fountains) makes it one of Downtown Dubai’s best hotel offerings. Make sure to watch the dancing Dubai fountains from your private terrace or take a short stroll to neighbouring Souk Al Bahar, home to one of Dubai’s buzziest drinking and dining spots, Time Out Market
As a relatively new city, Dubai’s hotel scene is a young one when compared to other metropolises, but the Palace Downtown sits in a small category of respected, almost grande dame-like establishments. There’s a feeling of old-world Arabian glamour upon entering the serene lobby, accessed via a long plan-lined driveway: the cool signature Address scent envelops the senses and a trickling fountain provides a tranquil soundtrack. The mix of supercars and SUVs in the driveway sets the tone, and inside genteel families or well-to-do couples float around. This is not the space for a boisterous, party-focused group stay.
Rooms and suites: 7/10
Palace Downtown is one of the most established hotels in the Downtown Development – built before hotels were clamouring for a few hundred square metres – and as a result, rooms are some of the most spacious in the area. There’s the same old-meets-new aesthetic found in the wider hotel: plush carpets, marble bathrooms (with powerful rainfall showers and toiletries by Lorenzo Villoresi) dark wood touches and orange and red accents (which can feel a little tired in some of the rooms). All rooms come with balconies onto either Downtown or the Dubai Fountains, but make sure to request a room on the ground floor for epic view of the fountains.
Drinking and dining: 7/10
Palace Downtown’s outlets are something of an institution in Dubai. Breakfast in the hotel’s Ewan restaurant is a seriously impressive affair – a soaring banquet bursting with tiered buffet tables, and live cooking stations serving everything from traditional Arabic and Sri Lankan to vegan and health-conscious dishes (think green juices, chia puddings and an acai bowl station). On weekends Ewan also hosts its famously decadent seafood brunch. For a casual lunch of shawarma or salads there’s the poolside lounge, while casual drinks and evening bites can be had at the Buhyara lounge and bar – set around the swimming pool with shisha available and a great happy hour. For a mid-afternoon treat, head to the ornate lobby for an elegant Arabian-themed afternoon tea. Dinner-wise, Thiptara is unmissable – the award-winning Thai restaurant right on the water with the best views of the fountains – and Argentinian steakhouse Asado.
Spa and facilities: 8/10
Palace Downtown’s spa is spacious and traditionally luxurious. Separate ladies and gentlemen’s entrance areas ensure comfort for many travellers, but there is the option for couples’ massages – a sublime experience with all the frills like choices of oils, a foot bath and a post-massage tea ritual. Guests can carry on the experience at the sauna, steam or hammam or opt for a dip in the main hotel swimming pool. There’s also a kids’ club and a large and well-equipped fitness suite stocked with chilled water, scented cold towels and juicy green apples.
Palace Downtown employees are Emaar Hospitality’s cream of the crop. Check-in is a breeze with all smiles and (most) requests met, while you’ll never have to look far around the pool or in an outlet to have your order taken. Couples are greeted with rose petal-covered beds and welcome amenities like fresh macaroons and juicy dates. This is a hotel team which feels particularly switched on.
Palace Downtown offers everything one could want from a Dubai stay: to experience a touch of Arabian heritage but also to be wowed by the city’s futuristic sights and ultra-modern offerings. The low-rise complex creates an oasis-like feeling, instantly melting any troubles away, and the location is second to none.
Price: Doubles from AED825
Location: Downtown Dubai