palazzo versace

A designer palace

When Palazzo Versace Dubai first opened in 2016, it’s fair to say it was an outlier on the sweeping curve of Dubai Creek. Four years later, it’s the centrepiece of a hitherto unheralded part of Dubai. Now, its next-door neighbour is the new Jameel Arts Centre and gardens. Yachts at Jaddaf Marina frame the view from one of the sumptuous pools, and families ride bicycles around the waterfront path.

Across the road, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, an eye-catching building designed to look like a book, is set to be another cultural destination of note when it opens later this year. Where Palazzo Versace once looked inwards, it now feels comfortable in its space on the Jaddaf Waterfront. Although, comfortable is probably understating it somewhat.

This is, as you’d expect from a place with the Versace name attached to it, an opulent, glitzy experience from the moment you walk into the lobby, with its massive bohemian chandelier, ornate furnishings and – of course – a 1.5m piece mosaic of Gianni Versace himself. The rooms, with more statement Italian furniture and linens, might look ever so slightly renaissance on a flat image, but there’s a sense of space and calm when you’re actually in them that makes everything feel just right, rather than over the top.

That’s the thing about Palazzo Versace. Obviously, there are people here attracted by the brand and grandeur. You might see a Premier League footballer, or Jennifer Lopez – who famously stayed in the “ultra luxurious” Imperial Suite, complete with private pool, terrace and chef. Yet it never feels unfriendly, fussy or indeed prohibitively exclusive. Guests wandering around the hallowed halls and terraces might be dressed in the latest Versace gear purchased in the ground floor shop, or they might be in shorts and a t-shirt on the way to the gym.

They could be meeting friends for high tea to a twinkling piano soundtrack in Mosaico, or heading straight to La Piscina for cocktails at the swim-up bar that’s unafraid to blast out the latest tunes. Speaking of music, storied producer Quincy Jones’ first ever bar is here too. Q’s Bar and Lounge has won Best Live Music Bar in Dubai in the past; a lush, intimate space that currently boasts a residency from singer, artist and dancer Rogelio Douglas Jr. Four years in, there’s a rare balance between luxury and leisure, destination hotel and base for exploration. J.Lo once told us love doesn’t cost a thing… it costs a bit here, admittedly, but it’s easy to fall for Palazzo Versace.

From US$350 per night / palazzoversace.ae

FROM THE CONCIERGE

Persian paradise

When locals hear you’re staying at Palazzo Versace, their next question is without fail, “have you tried Enigma yet?” Michelin-starred executive chef Mansour Memarian offers modern yet authentic dishes inspired by his Iranian origins, and the faludeh created at your table is pure theatre.

Ceremonial hammam

Palazzo Versace’s relatively close proximity to DXB means its spa is an ideal place to recover from a long flight. The hammam follows a traditional ritual, with black soap application, full body exfoliation with Miel d’Ambre scrub, scalp treatments and hair washing – followed by a deep-tissue massage.

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