by Lulu Hamdan!
Crisp clean, white fluffy pillows… late night seafood dinners with the sounds of waves splashing and retreating against the shore while Bob Marley’s hits play softly in the background… a healthy tan from swimming, jet skiing, and laying out by the beach… Nope – this is NOT the Caribbean!
Sometimes, a staycation in Dubai can be just what you need for a recharge. Which is why when my sister and I needed a vacation but we were limited for travel time, Ritz Carlton JBR checked all the boxes. Access to beach? Check. Luxury spa? Check. Access to shopping, restaurants and clubs? Check. Perfect location? Check.
I had spent the day at Ritz Carlton’s beach before and ate at the different restaurants plenty of times, but staying at the hotel was a whole different ballgame. Think: lavish.
Driving up to JBR on a sunny Wednesday morning with music blaring from our open windows and sunroof started us off in a giddy mood, and it all felt new despite the fact that we’d driven up and down Jumeirah Beach Road a countless number of times before.
As the valet and hotel staff helped us with our luggage, we were immediately guided to the main lobby with freshly squeezed lemon mint juice, so refreshingly cold and tasty I had to hold myself back for asking for another.
Walking towards the dimly lit warm reception, my sister and I stopped and smiled at each other upon noticing the main check-in counter and a separate, smaller one in the corner dedicated to children!
The receptionists from Spain and Switzerland were warm and welcoming, upgrading us and providing us with everything we asked for. What a start! And to think I could have been at work on my desk daydreaming about this.
In honor of my sister’s second mother’s day and all the hard work she does, I put in a request to the hotel to give her a ‘treat’ and left it open to their means. I was as stunned as she was to see the room was filled with bouquets of roses, at least 50 in each, with Arabesque treats with dates and fruits offered as well.
It was hard not to jump up and down on the bed like we used to as children (we jumped everywhere else – the comforters and pillows were too lush to ruin). The room was heavenly in a word.
After getting the hang of controlling the AC, lighting, and curtains with the central iPad, we were taken away by the spaciousness of the room, contemporary design with warm cream colors used in the bathroom, and the gorgeous balcony overlooking a cluster of pools, cabanas, palm trees, and of course – the beach.
Quickly changing into swimwear, I admired the state-of-the-art bathroom – there was a tub on one corner that looked inviting (had there been more time), and a walk-in overhead shower (doesn’t that put the official stamp on ‘vacay vibe?’). The bathroom had a glass separator overlooking the room which let natural light in, or the option of an automated blind for privacy. So. Nice.
The beauty of Ritz Carlton’s location is that after we had enjoyed a full day on the beach with privacy, we walked along JBR when we craved more of a crowd. We strolled into a late afternoon movie at Roxy Cinemas for a VIP viewing of Beauty and the Beast, because what better way to bring it full circle than to watch a Disney movie with your sibling and spoil yourself while at it?
One of the other main reasons I wanted to stay at JBR, as opposed to The Palm or anywhere else in Dubai, was because I loved the restaurant, The Maine at Hilton DoubleTree, and we had a ladies night ahead! When we arrived to find out it was overbooked, we happily strolled back to our hotel, confident we would find a restaurant to our liking.
Back at The Ritz Carlton, it was hard to choose from Italian food at Splendida or an open air dinner at La Baie since they were each alluring in their own way.
This is a popular spot for events, like the fabulous #LaboTransdermic skincare event with some of the loveliest facial products that I still use today!
Drawn to lit torches along the sand leading towards the beach, we stumbled upon Palm Grill and knew we didn’t need to look any further. It was as though we traveled to Bali for dinner.
Right by the seaside, the scent of freshly grilled food weaving through the air, and the fact that nearly every table was bustling with happy and relaxed (albeit somewhat sunburnt) diners made our choice.
I ordered the grilled prawn with a side of sweet potatoes and grilled vegetables, and to say it was mouthwatering and so fresh is an understatement.
Our second dining experience at the hotel was the hotel breakfast at Amaseena. There are few things that top waking up to a hotel breakfast on my ‘happy’ list. And this breakfast set a high bar – fresh fruits, pancakes and waffles, healthy granola mixes, and eggs made to your liking – it was just perfect. I started off with a combination of fruits and worked my way to poached eggs while my sister indulged in hash browns and potatoes, but you can’t go wrong with what you choose here.
Once we settled by the beach after our happy bellies were full, I swam for hours only to find my sister happily reading her latest novel with a half-eaten burger and fries by her side and a tall glass of fresh mango juice. The look on her face was pure delight.
Enjoy a stroll along bustling JBR walk and come back to Ritz Carlton for dinner in this bubbly ensemble!
165 AED – chicwish.com
255 AED – nordstrom.com
685 AED – fratellikarida.com
115 AED – nordstromrack.com
325 AED – shopbop.com
315 AED – selfridges.com
130 AED – net-a-porter.com