Dubai: Residents of the city have just as much reason to take interest in the opening of the Conrad Dubai, a 555-room luxury hotel on Shaikh Zayed Road, as those travelling here looking for a place to stay. With a 5,500-square-metre “urban pool oasis”, a soon-to-open Latin American supperclub to rival Cavalli Club and a Marco Pierre White steakhouse, the amenities available to residents add a serious boost to those looking to party or relax in the centre of town.
And for those staying in the hotel, the vast size means there’s a danger they’ll never need to actually leave.
The Hilton property is the first Conrad in the region, and sits opposite the Dubai World Trade Centre metro stop — meaning conference visitors can walk over the air conditioned crossing straight to the front of the hotel — although the metro entrance does block off some of the hotel frontage.
So what’s inside? Get beyond the acres of backlit marble, towering columns and “masharabia” patterned carpet in the lobby, and there’s Cave, a French bar and lounge that is cosy — the walls are like that of a winery cave — with large lounging beds (pashminas included!) and fireside armchairs. Next door is Marco Pierre White Grill, where several hundred LED bulbs hover over a baby grand piano (live music will be an element in most, if not all F&B outlets) and you can dine on triple-fried chips, Australian grass-fed steak and seafood (also on the menu: A salad of lambs’ tongue).
The sixth floor holds the spa and hammam, an extensive gym, a yoga pavilion and the Italian all-day-dining restaurant Ballaro, inspired by the Sicilian market of the same name and created by two-Michelen star chef Massimo Mantarro. What’s for breakfast, you ask? How about coffee granita in a brioche bun — a classic Sicilian way to start the day. Brunch will start there soon.
What’s likely to be a new star in Dubai’s constellation of club-restaurant hybrids is on the seventh floor. Izel, due to open mid-October, is a Latin American restaurant — think whole roasted lamb and beef, ceviche and some out-of-this-world corn and chicken-chipotle quesadillas — with live bands flown in from South America every month and a cigar room with lockers, where your finest Cubans can be stored until next time.
Finally, the pool deck, run by PuroBeach, a Spanish beach club group, is so green and peaceful, it’s hard to believe it’s just a few floors away from a 12-lane highway. It’s currently open to the public.
Rooms — all on higher floors, as the middle floors are offices — include 300-count bedding (700 in the royal suite), a choice of three toiletry brands and an app to order said toiletries via a smartphone or tablet.