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 Reethi Rah, Maldives

One&Only Reethi Rah

First things first.  The title of this blog does not contain any typos.  To demonstrate it we need to journey back to your freshman English class with Ms. Pringle and parse this title.  Don’t memories of parsing sentences, declining nouns and conjugating verbs just make you tingle all over?  OK, first you have to stop thinking about the girl who used to sit in the row ahead and two seats over.  She is now twice divorced, sixty pounds overweight and has a drinking problem, so try to get a grip.

Element One:  One&Only

This is an absolutely incredible collection of resorts in some of the most beautiful locationsOne&Only Resort in the world.  We are talking places like Dubai, Mauritius, and Cape Town.  At the risk of contributing to the delinquency of hormonally charged teenage guys around the blogosphere, this is one of the rotating pictures on the One&Only website homepage.  My own hormones, sadly, are a mere shadow of their former selves and yet I confess my opinion of hanging basket chairs has just skyrocketed exponentially.

I also have to admit that to call a resort chain One&Only seems a little incongruous to me. Shouldn’t a chain called “One” & “Only” have only one link?  Aren’t you glad your mind doesn’t work like mine?  At any rate I am very glad this particular chain has several links because every one of their resorts is in a class by itself.  As they like to put it, each of their resorts “delivers a distinctive experience born of its environment and local culture.”

Element Two:   Reethi Rah

I know it sounds like a pep squad cheer from some small Ivy League school (Reethi Rah, Sis Boom Bah)  but it actual means “Beautiful Island” in Dhivehi.  I will take their word for that because, while my English may not be all that stellar, my Dhivehi is non-existent.  Reethi Rah is an all-villa resort with 130 of the “most luxurious and spacious villas in the Indian Ocean.”

Reethi Rah roomAll the One&Only Resorts, Reethi Rah included, are known for their signature Spas by ESPA.   Apparently you can dash from a steamy sauna directly into a stimulating ice fountain which honestly sounds a tad too stimulating for my taste.  I am more of a “tranquil, one-hour, full-body, please don’t hurt me massage”,  kind of guy.

You need not fear that your palate will have to take a back seat to all that pampering.   I know you will love the international cuisine and spectacular wine cellar at The Reethi Restaurant.  The Tapasake serves tapas-style Japanese dishes in an over-the-water setting and Fanditha is a “boho chic” beach restaurant offering Mediterranean cuisine. I have always believed if you are going to be chic, you might as well go the whole nine yards and be boho chic.  Not to sound immodest but I have been told I pull it off fairly well.  Wait, maybe that was bozo chic.

Here is a little insider tip about the property from Nancy Brassem, Destination Specialist at ID Travel Group.  “The courtyard situated before accommodations features a chaise lounge.  At the base of each couch, the resort provides a warmed foot bath and foot massage before your even enter your room.  What a welcoming, relaxing start to your trip!”

Reethi Rah, MaldivesReethi Rah Lap Pool Maldives

Element Three:   The Maldives

The Republic of The Maldives, also called the Maldives Islands, is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean southwest of India.  It is a double chain of twenty-six atolls.  You are probably wondering how the heck does one get there.  One excellent way is to fly Emirates from any one of several US Gateways to Dubai.  Stop off a couple of days and experience the United Arab Emirates.  Next, hop an Emirates non-stop flight to Malé International Airport.  Then comes the fun part.  Take One&Only’s luxury yacht for the 75 minute boat ride to the North Malé Atoll and the Reethi Rah. 

Piece of cake, right!  Come on, where is your sense of adventure? Just think.  When friends ask where you got that glorious tan you can shake your pom poms and shout, “Reethi Rah, Sis Boom Bah!”