It’s location? Unrivalled. It’s design? Intoxicating. It’s facilities? Extensive? It’s dining? Among the best in Dubai, in short, Taj Dubai is a serious contender in a saturated UAE hotel market.
Nestled in a prime position in Business Bay, five minutes to the vibrant Downtown are with attractions such as the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa are on the doorstep and only a short taxi ride away from the airport and Dubai’s financial district, it’s no wonder Taj Dubai is a favorite with business travelers.
However, I went to visit to see what the Dubai location of the world renowned Taj Hotels & Resorts has to offer leisure travelers alongside those visiting the emirate for work.
Something you might not know about Taj Dubai is that it is achingly cool. An eclectic fusion of traditional Indian artistry and contemporary design, the hotel manages to pay homage to its heritage whilst maintaining a sleek, minimalist design that sets it apart from many of the glitzy hotels in Dubai. What appears to be a relatively non-descript building by Dubai’s standards from the outside, blossoms into a vibrant melting pot of east meets west inside. From the focal low-hanging modern twist of a traditional chandelier taking center stage in the lobby to the sculptures and artwork that adorn communal areas, your eyes are constantly darting towards the next interesting feature.
With 296 rooms, each boasting spectacular views of the majestic Burj Khalifa, the hotel makes the most of its enviable location and for first time visitors to Dubai, and residents alike, we challenge you not to gasp in sheer wonder as you pull back the curtains to be greeted by the tallest building in the world, its shiny structure gleaming under the Arabian sun. Was there ever such a sight as this magnificent feat of architecture? Taj Dubai clearly doesn’t think so.
With 9 different category of rooms, every taste and budget is catered for, each decorated in the same blend of traditional influence and contemporary touches.
The Luxury Rooms are exactly that, luxurious; At 484 sq. ft., they are perhaps on the small side for a city where big is considered better, but the comfortable décor and brilliant view more than make up for the space. Highlights such as artefacts give a welcoming Indian touch and give the unique flair that Taj is known for.
For families and couples, the Luxury Family Rooms offer appreciated extra space and include a sofa bed for extra occupancy.
We opted for a Junior Suite with offer beautiful extravagance, further exaggerated through the floor-to-ceiling windows where you can watch the Dubai fountains dance in the shadow of the Khalifa, after dark. With plush soft furnishings and a tastefully appointed bathroom, the suite has everything you could need for a luxurious stay, providing a comfortable base for which to explore the city.
A special mention has to go to the hotel’s Maharaja Suite which is something truly spectacular, competing only with the view itself. At 2,422 sq. ft. this one bed suite is reminiscent of an Indian palace’s interior, perfect for those who fancy living the life of royalty for their stay. It’s best feature? The dramatic roof terrace with views out across the awe-inspiring city for your own private vista of Dubai.
If you want to make the most of the weather and take a break from the shopping malls, Taj Dubai’s swimming pool is one of the cities’ best kept secrets. With large, comfortable sun loungers and a swim up pool bar, it’s a little sanctuary of calm amidst the hustle and bustle, sheltered by the sun.
Of course, to further your holiday relaxation the Jiva Spa is worth a visit. A relaxing retreat that offers a different take on wellbeing. Its ethos draws on the rich, ancient wellness heritage of its hometown in India, using healing therapies that embrace Indian spirituality, bringing a true holistic experience to Dubai. Each treatment on the menu, from massage to facials, has been meticulously designed to initiate physical, mental and spiritual equilibrium. You can rest assure that all the products here are natural, developed from Indian herbs, essential oils and special ingredients. I plumped for a traditional all over body massage to knead away the pressures of daily routine and treat my tired body to some down time. The spa has four treatment rooms which include a luxury couple’s suite, great for special treats, alongside a sauna and steam for both men and women. After a few hours at the Jiva Spa you’ll feel refreshed and revitalized and ready to see what else the hotel has to offer.
Whilst the hotel is excellent during the day, at night is when it really comes into itself. There is a reason Dubai residents in-the-know flock in their droves to Taj on a weekend, it’s the city’s beating heart du jour.
Such is the excellence of the culinary offerings at Taj Dubai, I have been back twice since my recent stay to sample all the delights that the menus have to offer at the various f&b outlets.
For international cuisine, Tesoro is the place to take breakfast, lunch or dinner where the attentive staff cater to your every whim and dietary preference. “How would you like your eggs in the morning?” is the only decision you’ll have to make here.
Having visited the London branch of Bombay Brasserie more than a handful of times, I opted to dine here during my stay to experience the exquisite Indian cuisine that has had foodies from the region stampeding to sample since it opened. Located at the base of the hotel, this open plan signature restaurant and lounge bar still manages to offer diners amazing views out towards Downtown Dubai giving a true city feel. Beach? What beach? With a central live open kitchen and a general buzz in the air, it’s a fantastic place to dine with friends for an atmospheric evening. The walls are laden with oversized art and the interior possesses a vibrancy set off by low-level lighting, in fact it’s so chic you could well be in any of the world’s culinary capitals.
The menu is a delight of traditional Indian flavours and contemporary cooking techniques that result in dishes that are alive with colour and flavor. Opting for a set menu to experience the very best that Bombay Brasserie had to offer, I wasn’t disappointed. Starting with a selection of appetizers from crispy falafel to sweet & sour chicken served on a black granite board, the dish was too good not to photograph and (almost) too good to eat.
The mains were a carefully arranged selection of key dishes such as original Chicken Tikka Masala, Martabaan Ka Meat (Lamb curry with pickling spice jar) and Jhinga allepy curry (tangy prawns with green mango), accompanied by Basmati rice and seasonal vegetables, each dish more delicious than the next. If you still have room and even if you don’t, you must try the desert sampler which is an eye-opening concoction of signature dishes such as Lychee Rabdi, Matka phirini and assorted ice creams.
Of course, a trip to Bombay Brasserie wouldn’t be complete without having one of their famed cocktails and who was I to disagree? For the pure theatrical element, the signature ‘Bombay Blazer’ is a conversation starter indeed. A flambé cocktail that draws its inspiration from all things Bombay such as the fiery heat in the summer and its love for seasonal fruits, it’s a tropical refresher consisting of Tanqueray No.10 gin and the sweet nectar of pink guava that makes for a truly fun and drink.
For slightly less formal dining, The Eloquent Elephant, the hotels lively gastro pub on the lobby level is a vintage inspired eatery that offers an uncomplicated menu of well-crafted British and International dishes with quirky touches.
Perhaps the hotel’s piece de resistance, and yes there is more, is Treehouse. An urban rooftop oasis looks directly overlooks the Khalifa with a huge outdoor patio (covered in the Summer months) and Mediterranean inspired menu. This trendy open-air night spot is best enjoyed at night when resident DJs provide the backdrop to the perfect setting for cocktails in a panoramic setting. It’s the perfect vantage point to watch the city below (and above), a glamorous hotspot that gives Taj Dubai it’s edge.
All in all, Taj Dubai is so much more than just another business hotel, it’s a property that evolves with the ticking of the clock, a haven of peace in the day and an energetic place to see-and-be-seen at night. It manages to seamlessly blend its cultural roots with the modern aesthetics that Dubai is known and loved for and if you add in it’s perfect location, it’s arguably one of, if not the best city hotel that the emirate has to offer.