THE medusa head smiles up at me as I enter the Palazzo Versace Hotel, located on the ancient Dubai Creek, a convenient 10-minute cab hop from Dubai International Airport. On entering into the traditional neo-classical marble columned palazzo, complete with hand-laid Italian marble mosaic floor, I am immediately transported into a world of Versace luxury, where Donatella Versace oversaw every intricate detail of the building which took nine years to create.
The lobby at Palazzo Versace
Portofino pool at Palazzo Versace
Each item, from soft furnishings to crockery and toiletries, are derived from the designer’s studio. The obligatory staff uniforms are emblazoned with Versace Grecian lines synonymous with the brand. Every member of their enthusiastic team, from the omnipresent lifeguards beside the three pristine swimming pools, to the effervescent GM Sandra, are all attired in Versace clothing. Perhaps this is to remind everyone where they are staying, in case they forget; however there’s not much chance of that.
Lobby lounge at Palazzo Versace
Sofas and armchairs fill the oversized lounge area, famed for hosting some of the most extravagant afternoon tea parties in the city. Many of the walls are lined with intricate sketches, highlighting some of the brand’s famous dresses, as worn by some of the world’s most beautiful women. The stunning surroundings of Giardino, the hotel’s all-day dining area, whose interior draws inspiration from the jungle motif as seen on the Versace wallpaper collection, has become the notable destination for Dubai’s famous Friday brunch. The food is as sumptuous as the surroundings and I had to book a table to ensure I didn’t miss out on this weekly culinary extravaganza.
One of the fashion sketches that line the walls of Palazzo Versace
Palazzo Versace’s newly launched Spa offers the ultimate indulgence of a two-hour champagne massage within one of its sublime and spacious black marble and mother-of-pearl treatment rooms where I reluctantly depart with renewed energy and visibly glowing skin. Continuing the indulgence them, I am staying in one of the recently appointed Imperial Suites, a pair of opulent, jaw-droppingly beautiful self-contained duplexes, filled with the most lavish and exclusively designed silk furnishings. My accommodation includes a sweeping marble staircase, a spacious living and cinema area, an outdoor seating space and a heated swimming pool. My only dilemma is where to spend the remainder of the day.
Giardino Restaurant at Palazzo Versace
Dining at the Iranian restaurant Enigma is a treat all in itself, where the talented Michelin-starred Executive Chef Mansour Memarian creates authentic plates inspired by his childhood. I opt for the al fresco option, with a never-ending medley of artistically presented sharing plates. After dinner, I pop into Q’s bar and lounge, a must-visit destination jazz bar, located inside the hotel. An immersive experience, the atmosphere is as electric as the framed Q’s bar neon signage on the walls. Expect a night to remember – talented performing acts here have been handpicked by the legendary producer and musician Quincy Jones himself (hence the name Q’s Bar).
Private_Jacuzzi at The Spa, Palazzo Versace
Many of the rooms and suites at Palazzo Versace’s overlook Dubai Creek in the heart of the Cultural Village, which is central to Dubai’s heritage. It is home to the soon to be completed Mohammed bin Rashid Library, whose exterior cleverly mimics the shape of an open book upon a lectern. But the focal point of this fast-developing area is set to be the tallest building in Dubai (and the world), which is due for completion by 2020.
I ask my tour guide from Orient Tours to take me to one of the largest shopping malls in the world, the Dubai Mall, complete with its enormous shark-filled aquarium. We stop off on the way at the spice and gold souks, which gives me a taste of the more traditional middle-eastern life.
Interior of Enigma restaurant
Lastly, I visit the Dubai Frame, a recently opened 150m high instillation, with views across through one side, of the low-laying old Dubai town, and on the other side, the ultra-modern city skyscrapers of the new Dubai, crowned by the Burj Khalifa. It is the perfect vantage point from which to see how much has been achieved in this remarkable city in only 42 years.
Interior of bedroom overlooking the Dubai Creek
The Dubai Frame
by Amanda Bernstein
A deluxe room at the Palazzo Versace Dubai Hotel & Residences costs from 1,650AED (based on two sharing on a room-only basis excluding taxes). For more information, please call +97145568888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org