Mary Gostelow experiences a perfect Dubai resort

Girlahead checks in to One&Only The Palm Dubai

There are many make-you-smile highlights of One&Only The Palm Dubai, and one is the rabbits. Someone brought in one rabbit, and now there are dozens (apparently one regular – human – guest orders extra room service for their breakfast). More important highlights are the aesthetics of the 90-key resort, and thoughtful and unobtrusive service from a team of 300, led by skilled Venetian GM Vincent Smarrella.

This is MY kind of new-look luxury: casual and guest-centric, and, on a peninsula at the far west of Palm Dubai, oh-so-private. I do recommend one of the seven pool villas, say #704. It is compact enough to feel you can ‘get your arms around’ the 84-square-metre main room; but open the French doors to your terrace, and your 40- square-metre heated pool, with pristine sandy beach immediately beyond, and you have all the space in the world.

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Continuous maintenance spend means that this well-tuned resort has passed its first decade in style (anything 10-years-old is generally prehistoric in Dubai). Here, I have soft sand colours, a sumptuous Robeworks robe, flattering bathroom lighting, one of the few toiletries brands – Aqua di Parma – which oozes tubes’ contents easily, and incredibly fast Wi-Fi. What more can today’s international traveller possibly want?

Well, perhaps a lighted tennis court, and the Guerlain Spa and Bastien Gonzalez pedicures, and avocado with the beetroot and coconut water breakfast booster on Zest’s outside terrace. All food here is overseen by Michelin three-starred Yannick Alléno, by the way, and his dinner-only 101 must not be missed.

101 is literally over-the-water: a wood construction cantilevered atop the waves. Dive into the deep with plump oysters, fresh squid-ink pasta and the unique flavour of chargrilled octopus. About 50 per cent of guests that stay at One&Only The Palm Dubai, incidentally, choose a dine-around plan, which means they can charge at a multitude of restaurants, including those at One&Only’s three adjacent resorts across on the mainland, 10 minutes’ away by complimentary boat shuttle.

This marine service also opens the privacy of One&Only The Palm Dubai to the outside world: head out there for golf, or a spot of retail therapy. Personally, I would stay put, luxuriating in an ambience that is not only immaculately maintained and up-to-date, but seriously (and seemingly effortlessly) serene.

Mary Gostelow produces the daily travelogue and the weekly Mary Gostelow Girlahead Podcast.

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