An oasis in between all the skyscrapers

Allister Heath

Like the Atlantis, Dubai’s One & Only Royal Mirage, one of the emirate’s more established luxury resorts, is owned by Sol Kerzner, writes Allister Heath. But its setting and layout provides a very different, more European experience. This is a place for those seeking tranquility and classy relaxation, albeit within a short cab ride of the attractions of the Atlantis or the facilities of the Mall of the Emirates or the new Dubai Mall. Not that you ever need to leave: the resort boasts seven restaurants, a health & beauty institute with an Arabian-style Oriental Hammam, a fitness centre and tennis courts. Guests have access to a generous stretch of sandy beach as well as luxury outdoor pools. And if you do want to leave the resort, you can do so discreetly and in style: the hotel’s private harbour operates a boat that can take you around the new Palm Jumeirah island and Dubai Marina in style and privacy.

The One and Only is made up of three distinct properties: the Palace; the Arabian Court; and the Residence and Spa, all of them set in (by Dubai standards) unusually mature and abundant trees and shrubs. We stayed in the Residence and Spa, which exceeded our expectations: a sanctuary of peace and luxury, it has now become our favourite hotel in Dubai.

There are 18 suites and 32 prestige rooms, each with a private balcony or garden patio and a sea view; the Residence has its own private pool, cut off from the rest of the resort. It is an ideal place for a romantic getaway, though there were also lots of families. Each room is furnished for maximum comfort – though to talk of a “room” is almost an understatement given its size.

The bathroom was outstanding, especially the huge high pressure walk-in rain shower with a bench big enough for two. Our room overlooked a very large private balcony complete with loungers, upholstered benches and outside dining suite. The view was of palm trees and greenery all around, with the sea and skyscrapers in the distance. If you really want to go for it, there is the exclusive Garden Villa within the private part of the resort. And don’t forget Afternoon Tea. A great hotel.

Virgin Holidays is offering seven nights at the One & Only Royal Mirage - Residence & Spa from £2,367 per person. This includes B&B in a Residence Prestige Room, transfers and scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from Heathrow to Dubai. Prices are based on 2 adults travelling on 17 November. See