As a concierge leads me to my suite at Jumeirah Al Qasr – the palatial 294-room property set within the canals of Madinat Jumeirah – we pass three families happily lost in a warren of corridors and water features. Though swiftly redirected by attentive staff, their confusion only seeks to illustrate the sheer breadth of this Dubai mainstay.
First opened in 2004, Al Qasr was known in the city as a bastion of traditional Arabian luxury – its name, after all, a direct translation of ‘the palace’. Undergoing a refurbishment in 2018, that vibe is still very much in place, but with the addition of considerably updated suites.
There are nine categories of room, ranging in size from a cute 55sqm to a 115sqm Royal Suite, which – as my abra captain solemnly informs me – usually hosts celebrities.
As comfortable as the lodging is, the real draw of Al Qasr lies outside. Set in 40 hectares, golf carts will whiz guests across the property to one of a myriad number of options. Families can play a life-size game of chess, head to the Wild Wadi Waterpark for a day or to an impressively diverse kid’s club; whilst couples should check out the three private pools – one is adults only – or the outdoor massage cabanas at Talise Spa, an award-winning, frangipani-scented slice of tranquility set amidst semi-tropical gardens.
All of the activities above are included in the room rate, allowing guests to switch off and enjoy everything the property has to offer. And on a balmy evening, perhaps nothing beats cruising Madinat’s waterways, an abra slowly making ripples in the canal’s inky waterways.
Three dining picks
Khaymat al Bahar
Pick a view – pool or sea – and settle back for an authentic Lebanese feast. Try the kibbeh, lamb makanek and battata harra (fried potatoes).
At this American meatery, guests can select their choice of steak from a glass-fronted cube, where cuts are carefully aged by the chef.
The largest dining space at Al Qasr and the most grand; the Arabian Gulf acting as a backdrop to mosaic fountains and metres of white marble.
Rooms start from AED 900++. jumeirah.com/Jumeirah-Al-Qasr