There is a reason that wherever you travel in the world, when you hear the name Mandarin Oriental, you can expect luxury, elegance, sophistication, and high-end touches around every corner. The Mandarin Oriental Jumeira is no exception to this rule. From the first moment you walk in to the palatial lobby adorned with small pools that reflect the light that glistens off the decorous glass trees, you feel at once as if you have entered an exclusive retreat far removed from the bustling city behind you.
With expansive grounds that sit on one of the most enviable stretches of Dubai’s beautiful beaches, the Mandarin Oriental Jumeira offers guests the exclusivity, privacy, and escape that they seek. Whether you are coming from abroad to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea of Dubai, or you are a resident looking for a place to hideaway for a special celebration, to unplug, or recharge, the Mandarin Oriental will never disappoint.
The openness, light, and space you are met with upon your first introduction into the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental Jumeira are worth noting because it is a literal metaphor for what it actually feels like to transition from the hustle and business of everyday life into a tranquil sanctuary once you walk through the doors.
Even waiting for check-in on the lovely divans is a quick moment of reprieve as you literally feel the stress melt away into the marble floor. That weight resting on your shoulders seems to take flight into the canopy of light as you take in the calming atmosphere, chic surroundings, and peace that envelops you. Such is the power of that first atrium.
If you are celebrating a special occasion, like a birthday or an anniversary, do let them know ahead of time. Each and every staff member you meet will make it that much more special. It’s these little touches, these gestures by staff, that truly make you feel that you are indeed in a special place.
Is there another word besides “WOW” we could use to describe the room? Probably, but “WOW” is the only one that comes to our mind. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the first thing you will notice when you walk in the room are the pristine waters of the Gulf shining right in front of you. The spacious suite reflects the expanse of the endless sea before you. The serenity and peace that comes from a well-appointed room soon follows. No expense has been spared in the decor, which boasts modern furnishings with touches of sophistication and sophistication not seen anywhere else.
The bed is positioned so that when you wake up, you are greeted by a sea of endless blue. The mattress itself is softer than anything we’ve ever slept on, and if it wasn’t for our total desire to jump in the waves, we might have spent the whole time in complete heaven on that singular piece of furniture.
The bathroom features a large soaking tub that is just as delicious to experience as it is beautiful to look at, but the walk-in rain shower that could easily fit a family of five takes the proverbial cake. The balcony has a cozy couch tucked into the corner, as well as a table and chairs, and is the definitive spot to take in the unobstructed views of the setting sun as it melts like gold into the water. Just put on the plush robes and slippers they provide and cozy up with your spouse while you watch nature weave her magic with nothing but the sound of the crashing waves as a backing track. If it wasn’t for the delicious bed, you could probably live on that balcony.
Location, Location, Location
The Mandarin Oriental Jumeira sits on one of the most beautiful beaches in the city. Gentle waves lap the shore of an unhindered view of the blue horizon, stretching out as far as the eye can see. Whether you want to take a walk down the shore or go for a run on the running path directly in front of the hotel that curves with the coastline, everything you could need or imagine for a relaxing beach holiday is right there just waiting to be enjoyed.
Of course, lounging on the sand on a private beach with a good book is one of our preferred methods of relaxation, and the lounges and canopied beds that occupy the beach are perfect for just that. You will find yourself going for a dip in the crystal clear waters, and then coming back to dry off, and then going back in again for a never-ending cycle of beach bliss. The water is such a gorgeous, clear color of turquoise that turns to a deep, jewel blue, you really shouldn’t forget to take a few snaps for Instagram.
Fun little pools spread out in front of the beach in a seemingly box-like grid make for private swimming and splashing. With different levels and sizes of pools to explore, the opportunity for boredom will never arise. The rich, wooden decks add that touch of luxury while relaxing by the pool that you only get in a Mandarin Oriental hotel. All of the muted colors of the hotel help to enhance the vibrant green of the palm trees swaying above the brilliant blue of the sea and pools. For the little ones, a large, shallow, shaded pool is the perfect place for them to safely splash about to their heart’s content.
For the Kids
Speaking of kids, we would be remiss if we did not point out that the children that reviewed the hotel with Savoir Flair did not want to leave and have been asking to return ever since. This might have to do with the adorable his/her toys that were put in the room just for them, the sweet treats that tempted at almost turn, the staff who continually went out of their way to treat them as if they were kings and queens, or it could very well be the enormous bouncy castle to beat all bouncy castles sitting right there on the beach waiting for them every morning.
Excited little feet would run towards the balloon-like palace from the first minute they got downstairs, and joyful laughter would ride on the wind as the little explorers discovered all of the tiny hiding places and fun mazes within this children’s paradise. Finish that off with a turn down the monstrous slide, and we are pretty sure they would have slept in it if we’d let them.
There is also an incredible kid’s place, complete with toys, games, childcare, and an outdoor obstacle course for every adventurer. For the more discerning teen or even adult, games sit outside by the pools waiting to be played: billiards, foosball, and an enormous chess board where you and your rook are basically the same size.
Breakfast at the beachside brasserie, The Bay, is not just a treat visually, but has literally every kind of food you could want, all cooked to perfection. The made-to-order breakfast menu is so scrumptious, we never even made it over to the buffet. Special mention should go to the team of highly efficient servers who made sure we had fresh squeezed juices, plenty of coffee, and all the eggs made our way to keep us filled for the rest of the day. The incredible food and the attentive service made it such a pleasant way to start our day.
Tasca by José Avillez was also a feast for our tastebuds. We managed to catch the Friday brunch of Portuguese fare with a contemporary twist. It is the perfect introduction for anyone who is new to Portuguese food. Flavorful and exotic, the food was perfectly complimented by the best view in the resort. Tasca’s terrace opens up onto an infinity pool of blue that melts into the horizon on the gulf making it the quintessential photo opportunity.
Performing live just in front of the world’s most beautiful pool was a charismatic, talented, and magnetic musical duo. Tito on the guitar was masterful with all of our favorites from Gypsy Kings, to bolero, to even some Bossa Nova. Even if the food hadn’t been delicious, we don’t think we would have minded simply because we got the chance to hear them play as we moved our feet to the Latin rhythms and beat.
Netsu by Ross Shonhan
There was one restaurant, however, that stood out among all the other delicious offerings and that is Netsu, the Japanese steakhouse by Chef Ross Shonhan. Hands down one of the best dining experiences we’ve had in Dubai, Netsu’s warayaki grill – a Japanese cooking technique that uses rice straw to grill – is the extravagant centerpiece of its open kitchen. We sat at the bar and were treated to an almost Kabuki-esque theatrical show with dramatic bursts of flames, intense heat hitting our faces, the smoky scent of sizzling meat as the grill reached 900 degrees, and the precision with which the chefs worked to ensure everyone’s order was made just right.
Which, to their credit, they got one hundred percent right. There was not one weak link in the entire meal. From the first, irresistible bite of the yellowfin with lemon, to the sushi, sashimi, sukiyaki, and finally the mouth-watering wagyu beef, it was heaven from beginning to end. The wagyu was exceptionally tender, and the flavor erupted on our tongues for the perfect harmonious party where every taste bud was invited.
As luck would have it, after we had tasted of the divine Chef’s menu, we were fortunate enough to snag an interview with Chef Ross Shonhan himself. His personable and amiable demeanor had us laughing and joking, and it was clear that we not only loved his food, but he was easily the type of person we wanted to be friends with.
For a chef hailing from the bush of Queensland – or “the middle of nowhere,” as he joked with us – his chef’s journey started when he moved to the big city to begin a four-year chef’s apprenticeship in fine-dining European restaurants. But it was on his days off where he would find himself working for free in the “intriguing and exciting” kitchens of restaurants with Asian cuisines: Thai, Chinese, and of course, Japanese. “I remember to this day the taste of my first sushi, because where I grew up there wasn’t even a restaurant, let alone a Japanese one,” he told us. “You could spend a lifetime just exploring Japanese food. It’s an endless pursuit of discovery.”
He waited seven years to open up Netsu. His vision for the first (and only) warayaki grill outside of Japan needed to be done just right, and because of the necessity of the grill and the enormity of the “bonfire” he wanted to have, Shonhan needed to come in from the ground up in order to build the perfect restaurant to share his expertise without sacrificing anything. He finally found his opportunity when plans were being made for the newest Mandarin Oriental in Dubai, and he was able to build the restaurant – with all of its requirements – just as he wanted from start to finish. The result is a culinary masterpiece where no matter what you order, you literally cannot go wrong.