The One&Only Time A Royal Mirage Is A Real Oasis

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines a mirage this way. “Something (such as a pool of water in the middle of a desert) that is seen and appears to be real but that is not actually there; something that you hope for or want but that is not possible or real.”  With apologies to the famous lexicographer, quite obviously Mr. Webster has never vacationed in Dubai.  (Being dead for some 170 years, Noah, is hardly an excuse.)  It may be the One&Only example of this phenomenon but I am about to tell you about a mirage that really is an oasis.

One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai

One&Only Royal Mirage lobbyOne of the first things you need to understand about this sprawling 65 acre resort is that it is very much three experiences in one setting.  The three very distinct environments are named The Palace, Arabian Court and Residence & Spa.  The overview page on their website does a masterful job of describing the unique characteristics of each section.

There are few hotel lobbies that literally stop you in your tracks when you enter.  This, however, is Lobby of the One&Only Royal Miragecertainly one of them.  I am thinking seriously of reworking the entry way to my tract home with a similar skylight.

Speaking of my own humble domicile, I may have to get my attorneys involved with the architects of this property who shamelessly stole the landscape plans to my own back yard even down to the bullseye fountain in the foreground.  Surely they realized the first reaction people were going to have is “Wow, just like Terry’s yard”?Royal MIrage viewTo say the accommodations are stunning doesn’t even begin to do them justice.  I was shown this room just before the guest arrivedRoyal Mirage accommodations.  Let’s be honest.  How would you like to arrive from a long journey to this?

I would love to tell you whether this is a picture of a Prestige room in the Residence, a Prince suite in the Arabian Court or a Superior Gold in the Palace but to be perfectly honest, after seeing so many spectacular rooms in all three sections and with hunger pains beginning to nip, my little gray cells had started taking an early Qaylulah, the Arabic version of a siesta.

Perhaps detecting the famished look in my eyes, my delightful guide Vanessa Thodda, Senior Sales Manager at the resort, suggested we pause for a brief repast.  A twist of the arm being wholly superfluous at this point, Vanessa (who reminds me of Cheryl Lobo, one of our top agents), Susan Joehri from Desert Adventures (more about this great company in the next post) and I found our way to the Eauzone in the Arabian Court section shown below.  The sumptuous fare and elegant surroundings were only surpassed by the convivial company.

Eauzone Restaurant at One&Only Royal MirageThe formula for a world-class property is not that complicated even if it is not easily duplicated.  You take a stunning setting, add elegant accommodations, include delicious cuisine served in a variety of stellar venues, throw in a world-renowned spa and add a pinch of gracious service and warm hospitality. Voilà!  You have the oasis in the desert you have always dreamed about.  And, despite its name, it is no mirage!

Check back in soon to learn why Dubai is must see destination.  After that final Dubai post, we will board Emirates for the next leg of our journey.  Next stop, Rome.  Actually, Ladispoli but more about that later.

One&Only X 2 = Double Delight

We can’t all be Issac Newton I suppose (although, I must say, I do love his fig bars) but here Fmaous mathematician Isaac Newtonis an equation so rudimentary that even I can grasp it.  If a single One&Only Resort is  magnificent, then ipso facto two One&Only Resorts are twice as delightful, right?  Unless, that is, you insist on dragging out that confusing expression “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts” in which case you have me totally lost.

Setting mathematics quickly aside for something I do understand, let’s talk a little travel.  As I trust you have noticed, I have been writing lately about my latest junket, the first stop of which was Dubai.  While I was there, it was my privilege to visit not one but two amazing gems of the Middle East.


To give you a feel for the opulence, the picture below is me standing in my bathroom in the Presidential Suite drawing my bath.  Just kidding!  This is actually the lobby but you do have to admit it is quite breathtaking.  (In point of fact, the sumptuous bathrooms do feature oversized freestanding bathtubs as you will learn below.)  If you need a sense of perspective, I am six feet six inches tall and exquisitely sculpted not unlike the iron lattice-work in the background.

The lobby of the One&Only The Palm, DubaiEvery square inch of this property oozes stylish luxury.  This is especially true of the public areas such as the dining rooms and bars.  The resort features a marina (of course) and one of my favorite spots is the 101 Dining Lounge and Bar pictured below with a panoramic view of the marina and the Dubai skyline.  When they told me the dress code was “smart casual”, I was a little concerned about flunking the entrance exam but they graciously let me in with a provisional pass.

101 Dining Lounge and BarThe other two elegant dining venues are called Stay and Zest.  Said together they sound to me a little like a command you might issue to an over-exuberant puppy, “Stay, Zest!  Down Stay at the One&Only Palm, Dubaiboy!”.   Setting aside the bizarre way my mind works, these are two extraordinary restaurants.  To cite their website, “Different seating arrangements including a sharing table area as well as a unique Pastry Library concept are key to the restaurant’s DNA.”   That works out extremely well for me since it appears consuming pastries in obscene quantities is deeply imbedded in my personal DNA.  Zest is the primary dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I particularly like the outdoor seating by the pool in the midst of beautiful Moorish style gardens.

This amazing resort offers you your choice of accommodations in three locales: the Manor House, Palm Beach Mansions and Beach Front Villas with various categories within each.  I started this post with one of my lame little jokes about the lobby.  Just to prove that I was indulging in only a slight exaggeration, here are pictures of The Grand Palm Suite with its sumptuous bathroom in the Mansion section.

Typical Manor room Bathroom in One&Only The Palm, Dubai

Be sure and spend some quality time in the world-famous One&Only Private Spa featuring every amenity you can imagine and several you probably couldn’t!  I will return shortly for the second part of this post that will describe the One&Only Royal Mirage.

Before I go, however, I would like to invite you to visit this site where I have posted over 300 pictures from my Golden Circle 2013 travels.   There will not be a test at the end so don’t feel obliged to look at all of them.  The first link in this paragraph will take you to the picture album and the second link to all the posts in this category in case you would like to catch up with my most devoted (some might say, demented) followers who slavishly read every word I write.

Fond Of The Frond: Dubai’s Iconic Palm Island

Most people who know anything at all about Dubai have heard of or seen pictures of the iconic Palm Jumeirah Island.  If not, you should watch this fascinating YouTube video about its construction.  I find the accomplishment mind-boggling even taking into consideration that my mind stays boggled a fair portion of the time anyway.

Palm Island, Dubai UAEThe entire structure is an engineering marvel but considering my occupation (you know, travel savant) you won’t be surprised to learn that my favorite portion is the outer ring called The Crescent.  As you look at this picture, the structure in the middle of the Crescent and dominating the landscape is Atlantis.  I published a post about the resort a few days ago which can be read here.

On the extreme right (eastern end) of the Crescent is another great resort, Anantara, which I will tell you about in this post.  On the extreme left (western end) of the Crescent is the One&Only, The Palm and at just south of The Palm is the One&Only Royal Mirage.  I will tell you about the latter two in a subsequent post.

Whew!  Now that we have north, south, east and west pretty much covered, let’s take a brief visit to the incomparable Anantara.  As you will soon discover, I like pretty much everything about this hotel but among my favorite features are the villas out over the water.

Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa.If you can pry your eyes off all the “beautiful people” in the foreground (and I use that term in the loosest possible way), you can see the majestic over-the-water villas in the background.  In case you care to do a quick reality check on my judgment in this regard (never a bad idea), I direct your attention to a post on The New York Times Travel blog that was published just two days ago, can you believe it, on the very same subject.  Those shameless bugggers over at the Times have spies everywhere trying to scoop me!   (Note to Shivani Vora.  I just linked to your post.  A reciprocal link would be nice.  Just sayin’.)

Now I want you to close your eyes (never mind, that won’t work unless you are a camel, and a literate one at that, and can read this post through your eyelids).  OK, just imagine yourself floating aimlessly on a pool float in front of your swim up bungalow when you suddenly feel the need to slake your thirst.  Do you paddle over to your domicile, clamber out and retrieve a drink?

Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & SpaDon’t be silly my pampered friend!  You are on vacation and this is the Anantara, after all.  See this little boat with the ice chest?Beverage boat at the Anantara  Your boat butler will simply paddle over to you and offer you the refreshing beverage of your choice.  How cool is that?

Another thing you are going to enjoy about this luxury property is the dining options.  Crescendo offers international cuisine in a dazzling open air setting.  According to their website, Mekong “evokes a feeling of the Far East with a melange of traditional Oriental ingredients . . .”  It sounds inviting.  It seems like forever since I had a really good melange.   Perhaps most surprising of all is Bushman’s Australian Restaurant And Bar.  This venue even features a Salt Guru (no, really) to help you select the perfect salt variety to compliment your meal.  I don’t know about you but I have had a Salt Guru on retainer for years. 

Night falls on the Anantara DubaiSadly, the sun is setting, not only on another glorious day at Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, but also on another of these masterful posts.  Wipe away that tear little buckaroo.  I will return very soon with another thralling installment.   That is sort of like thrilling but more captivating!