With a façade lighted by what seem like big inert gas pink glow sticks and a pool deck that will build Ibiza jealous, W city – The Palm may be a party palace. Factor in restaurants by world-famous chefs Massimo Bottura and Akira Back and you have a recipe for around-the-clock celebrations.
Palm Jumeirah has become a hotbed of culinary pedigree. Within a three-mile stretch of the hotel’s West Crescent location, Alain Ducasse, Yanick Alléno, Gordon Ramsay and Giorgio Locatelli have outposts at neighboring hotels. The location is also primed for water sports, long walks, jogging and cycling, with six miles of uninterrupted promenade. Despite feeling as remote as the Mexican Riviera, it’s only 30 minutes from Dubai International Airport and 25 minutes from Downtown Dubai.
Achingly cool and historically linked to the music scene, W excels at clubland interiors and this property’s five-story atrium lobby could easily host a rave. A 640-piece glass installation hanging overhead represents a sound wave, edgy golden framework configurations rising from the ground reference Dubai’s modern skyline under construction and curvaceous walls are clad in a rainbow mosaic of Orsoni tiles, the sort Gaudí used to decorate Sagrada Familia.
Pets under 20kg are welcome, so don’t be surprised to see a designer dog there, too. Classified as W Escape, the brand’s resort line, the Wet Deck is this playground’s focal point, with beach-facing balconies overlooking the patchwork of topaz pools colonized by water beds and white wicker tepee-like cabanas called Wet Pods. The biggest tepee houses a bar and there’s also a swim-up one in the adults-only pool. The gym, equipped with Life Fitness kit, has an outdoor terrace and hosts timetable of classes.
At Away Spa towels covering treatment beds feel like they’re made of teddy bears and thick feathery duvets are used to tuck in clients. Staff everywhere are congenially upbeat and familiar, like they’ve met you somewhere before. Some walls undulate, sparkling like inky disco balls with a covering of dark glass tiles, while others are daubed with ‘calligraffiti’ – sprawling Arabic text spelling out the lyrics to a song about love being as vast as the ocean. All 350 rooms and suites have a terrace with a partial or full sea views, a W MixBar, coffee maker and kettle, iPod docking station, sound system, iron and ironing board and hairdryer. Bliss bathing products furnish rain showers and freestanding tubs, some of which are placed in bedrooms rather than in en suites, just to be different.
Epicurean adventures begin at all-day diner Liv, where fuzzy balls dot walls and playful breakfast assortments include a sorbet counter, a porridge station with multi-colored sugar toppings, chocolate- and fruit-flavored butter and hot pots of mac ‘n’ cheese and beef brisket eggs Benedict with satisfyingly soft yolks. Drinks and gourmet bites are served on the Wet Deck and at W Lounge in the lobby.
Take lunch at Torno Subito (the name means ‘I’ll be right back’ and the décor is the manifestation of founder Massimo Bottura’s childhood memories, with beachball lighting and nods to early Italian cinema). Brilliant value for money, a pizza here devised by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants winner costs less than many pizzas on Dubai room service menus elsewhere. Enjoy sundowners at Latino-Miami-styled rooftop bar SoBe (a portmanteau of South Beach), then end the day in the sci-fi setting of Akira Back, the eponymous chef’s first Middle East restaurant and a massive hit.
Double rooms from AED 800 (£165) in low season; and from AED 1,500 (£310) in high. Breakfast included. Free WiFi.There are four wheelchair-accessible rooms.