With an abundance of luxury hotels in and around the UAE making a decision based on how many swimming pools, square footage of the suites or Michelin star restaurants that a property has can be somewhat overwhelming. Kempinski Ajman boasts none of those things instead it relies on the reputation of the Kempinski brand, its impeccable service and spectacular stretch of coastline to lure in tourists and residents of the UAE for short and long breaks time and time again.
Ajman itself might not be your first thought when deciding where to go for a weekend break but this tiny emirate located along the Gulf between Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah is actually a cultural hub where tourism is growing at a rapid rate. Many local tourist attractions such as the Ajman National Museum, Ajman Fort, Sheikh Zayed Ajman Mosque and the expansive fish market make for interesting alternatives to high-rise skyscrapers and run-of-the-mill water parks. That isn’t to say that Ajman is without its skyscrapers, the city casts a shadow on the beautiful Corniche beachfront as it stands glistening in the Arabian sun.
Kempinski Hotel Ajman is a luxury 5 star property situated on the end of the corniche, a mere 50 minutes away from Dubai international airport. It’s enviable location is one of the draws to this notable hotel with a stunning private beach boasting pure white sands and clear turquoise waters. Palm trees line the coast and one of the best things about this property is when you can relax on your balcony listening to the water gently lap at the shore, the palm trees swaying in the breeze and the sun slowly setting on the horizon, one word of advice, make sure you take a camera, you’ll need it.
One of the more established hotels in the region being almost 20 years old, the decor can seem a little understated compared to many of Dubai’s über glitzy hotels but what it lacks in interior design it more than makes up for in service.
Having stayed at many 5 star resorts in the GCC I can honestly say the service received in Kempinski Hotel Ajman was without a doubt some of the best. From check-in to turn-down, dining to check-out the friendly, attentiveness of hotel staff was consistent throughout the entire stay staying true to Kempinski’s luxury brand values. This is what makes this hotel a true 5 star property.
The interior of the hotel is in traditional Arabic style with the lobby being its piece-de-resistance. A large fountain takes centre stage with decorative palm trees and ornate lighting hanging from the impossibly high ceilings, it’s all very grand, very traditional and completely unlike other hotels in the region.
Whether you opt for a room or one of the suites, each is tastefully decorated in a mix of modern and traditional style with lashings of mahogany, each room has its own unique character. Each consists of creature comforts including complimentary wi-fi, blackout curtains and amazing views over the Persian Gulf.
I stayed in a grand junior suite with oversized king size bed complete with traditional canopy and Moorish inspired lanterns and it was all furnished in richly hued soft furnishings. There is a sofa, desk and separate dressing room complete with obligatory white robes and slippers. The bathroom is light and stocked with an abundance of Kempinski toiletries. It’s all very tasteful, understated and comfortable, cores of the Kempinski name, it’s easy to see why some guests stay for long periods of time at this hotel, it’s a home away from home.
Beyond the rooms, the hotel not only features the beautiful beach with hammocks, day beds and lots of shade but also a large family friendly swimming pool which is a welcome respite in the scorching Summer sun, complete with swim-up bar.
The sun loungers around the pool area are noticeably newer than those on the beach and the large, circular beds make for sunbathing a deux easy and fun. There is also a small separate children’s pool to ensure adults can enjoy the main swimming area at their leisure.
But Kempinski Hotel Ajman doesn’t stop there, in order to make it a destination in itself it possesses some fantastic restaurants, most notably Bukara, the resident Indian eatery where there is a delicious a la carte menu alongside a small buffet of favourite options.
The authentic crafted interior will transport you to the Indian peninsula and the open kitchen adds a feeling of warmth to the venue. The rich heritage of the cuisine is lovingly prepared by the expert chefs and the chicken biryani is a wonderfully dry traditional dish that will suit every palette. If you’re feeling hungry share the Tandoori lobster, a monster 2 pound lobster marinated with garlic, peppercorns and tandoori masala, all cooked together in a clay pot oven. It is accompanied by Dai bukhara and fluffy garlic naan.
For casual all-day dining Cafe Kranzler is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is a relaxed atmosphere with a wide range of cuisines, something for every taste. Although the interior looks a little like you have stepped back in time, the food really is something to write home about. For breakfast a mouth-watering array of pastries and hot foods are offered with that all important pork breakfast for the expats. Lunch is served a la carte and the tuna nicoise salad is my personal recommendation. Large chunks of grilled tuna steak nestled on a mixture of quails egg, broad beans, olives and capers making for a delicious light but substantial mid-day snack. The range of food on offer in the evening covers everything from Middle Eastern delights to Italian food.
If you’re feeling a little romantic then the hotel can even arrange a private dinner on the beach for you and your loved one, where you’d be hard pushed for a better setting in the UAE.
For some after dinner entertainment why not try your hand to a game of bowling in the Cosmic Bowling bar, a chic lounge bar set next to a six-lane bowling alley. Alternatively, when the weather cools Zanzi Bar, an idyllic beachfront hideout is a perfect way to spend an evening either dining al fresco or sipping one of the many cocktails on offer.
The K Spa is a welcome retreat for the ladies whilst the men can take in all the sport action at the aptly named world-cup bar.
Kempinski Hotel Ajman tries to be many things to many people and it succeeds. The quality of the food, efficiency of service and the fantastic location make this hotel a regional favourite, it doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not but it certainly lives up to the respected Kempinski name.
Would I visit again? I’ve already booked to next month.
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