Sofitel Dubai The Palm: A Truly Outstanding Luxury Resort


For those in search of winter sun, seclusion, and luxury without a long-haul flight and the attendant, dreaded jet lag, Dubai is the perfect destination. Just seven hours away from the UK and with virtually guaranteed sunshine and balmy temperatures, it offers the perfect antidote to the long drawn-out British winter. With the recent relaxation of licensing laws in the UAE, and the incredible array of hotels, activities for the whole family to enjoy, and burgeoning cultural scene, there has never been a better time to visit. The only conundrum is deciding where to base oneself in this ultra-modern metropolis: there is simply such an embarrassment of riches when it comes to picking somewhere to stay, and the choice can be daunting.

For those craving a luxury-filled, beach-based, tranquil escape, Palm Jumeirah Island, Dubai’s iconic, man-made archipelago is arguably one of the most exclusive and sought after destinations in the city. Attached to the mainland, but removed from the frenetic pace of the city, and still just a 30-minute drive from Dubai International Airport, the island has become the Emirate’s supreme seaside getaway.

Constructed on reclaimed land, this palm tree-shaped island with its 17 “fronds” is where the affluent set head during high season: it is home to some of Dubai’s snazziest hotels, trendiest beach clubs and hottest dining spots. There are also some luxurious, tranquil nooks that wouldn’t feel out of place in the Indian Ocean or South Pacific.



Enjoying an enviable location near the crown of the island’s Eastern Crescent, Sofitel Dubai the Palm fuses French flair and Polynesian inspired architecture. With verdant vertical gardens, thatched roofs and trickling water features throughout, the luxury hotel has the feel of a private island hideaway with everything you need to cocoon yourself away from the cares of the world: ten restaurants and lounges, six temperature-controlled, glittering pools (indoor and out) and an expansive, quiet 500m stretch of sandy beach.

The resort holds holistic appeal: it’s ideal for couples looking for serenity and seclusion, with an adults-only infinity pool, heavenly spa, and stylish restaurants. It is equally excellent for families, with waterslides, a multi award-winning kids’ club, sports facilities, and more casual dining options. Larger families and groups can opt to stay in a luxury villa for added space and privacy. The three-bedroom beach villa is a perfect, secluded hideaway, with its own private pool, jacuzzi, sundeck, a rooftop terrace with views of both the Palm Jumeirah and the Arabian Gulf, and direct access to the beach. The Eden, Palm, and Riviera villas take luxury and privacy to another level with all the above plus two entertainment rooms complete with bar. All villa guests have a dedicated butler for 24 hours a day, along with access to The Premier Lounge.

Despite the hotel’s large physical footprint, navigating the resort is intuitive and enjoyable thanks to the thoughtfully designed layout of facilities. Golf buggies are readily available for those less keen on traversing the property, but it is entirely manageable on foot, even with young children.



Sofitel the Palm is home to 360 elegant rooms and suites spread across several buildings, each with a modern, sleek feel with Polynesian accents. There are a variety of room types to choose from, but the design of our one-bed apartment was superbly appointed and ideally designed – perfect for our family of four. The flow of the space is exceptional: there is a spacious living room and marble-topped counter, with a variety of utilities, including a fridge, microwave, and (to my delight), a washing machine, which proved extremely useful with two young children and their seemingly endless laundry needs. The focal point of the onyx-laden open bathroom is the standalone circular deep soak tub, which could easily have accommodated all four of us at once. My children were in raptures when they saw it. Amenities are L’Occitane, which are superb, and also, admirably (and unusually) environmentally friendly as full sized bottles of unguents are provided, rather than the usual little disposable bottles. The room contains every creature comfort – from a Bose sound system to a pair of 40-inch TVs. The king-size Sofitel MyBed is supremely comfy.

Food and drink


Sofitel The Palm is home to ten decadent food and drink offerings, ensuring there’s plenty of variety to choose from throughout your stay. We enjoyed breakfast at Manava each morning, where the buffet was quite simply sublime. Centered around international cuisines and presented within a chic space featuring marble, it overlooks the sea, offers indoor and outdoor seating, and is the perfect breakfast spot. There was so much choice that I made it a priority to try something different each morning. The foul madamas and the Shakshuka were favorites, though, and so good I had them multiple times during my two week stay. There were plenty of traditional dishes such as omelets and Eggs Benedict, a special kid’s area (with pancakes and porridge) and a ‘healthy section’, with vibrant, vitality-instilling concoctions such as beetroot and apple juice.

Manava is equally impressive when it comes to the dinner buffet offering, too. The dishes were different nightly, and there was a wide range of creative international dishes available. There is so much choice that you could eat here every day for two weeks (as I did) and still not sample every dish. The salad bar was a special favorite – featuring Arabian delights such as Fattoush and Tabbouleh, along with indulgent burrata and roasted aubergine. There are appetizers, soups, and a rotating roster of main courses – including a superb Indian selection – all rounded off with a tantalizing assortment of sumptuous puddings, if you can find the room. Apple crumble and ludicrously creamy kunafa were notable highlights.

Elsewhere, Hong Loong offers standout pan-Asian style cuisine, with impeccable service. Moana is Sofitel The Palm’s pagoda-style seafood restaurant (although it catered wonderful well to my vegetarian husband. The restaurant offers a mouth-watering selection of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine – from ceviche to sushi. Maui Beach Restaurant and Bar offers a tropical-themed menu by day, morphing into a superb Indian food in the evening. Guests of a more carnivorous persuasion can chow down on chateaubriand and oysters at Porterhouse Steak & Grills. Across the board, the dining options are excellent, and with the quality so universally high, it really was just a question of deciding what type of cuisine we were in the mood for each evening.

Aside from the main dining spots, Laguna Beach Taverna & Lounge, located, as its name suggests, by the beach, is the embodiment of boho chic; the perfect place to enjoy a languorous lunch, serving up an array of salads, sandwiches, and light bites. It is also the perfect spot for sipping sundowners. Watching the sun set over the Palm here whist enjoying a drink from Laguna’s extensive, sophisticated menu, is an experience not to be missed. At night, Laguna comes alive with DJ sets and dancing.



A highlight of any stay at Sofitel The Palm Dubai is a visit to its stunning, award-winning on-site Sofitel SPA with L’Occitane, a haven of relaxation inspired by the herby, natural products from France’s Provence region, which incorporates Arabian influences to create a serene space designed to help guests completely relax and unwind. Featuring 28 singles suites and three couples’ spaces, the spa also boasts 2,500 square meters of luxury beauty and wellness facilities, including a tranquil hydro-therapy area, traditional hammam baths, and an exclusive guests-only recuperation area.

I perused an extensive menu of options designed to assist with restoring balance between body, mind and spirit. I eventually opted for a one-hour couples’ massage, which was nothing short of sheer bliss; over the course of the hour long treatment, my husband and I felt the aches and pains melt away, and we both left our treatment feeling utterly rejuvenated and relaxed.

If massages aren’t your thing, there is also a wide assortment of other outstanding treatments on offer – including detoxifying skin treatments and beauty therapies, so whatever your favourite pampering mode, you’ll almost certainly find something here to suit.

For those keen to maintain their fitness regime whilst at Sofitel The Palm Dubai, there is a fabulous fitness center available. It is unusually large and well-equipped for a hotel gym, and includes state-of-the-art Technogym cardio machines alongside a variety of weights machines. There are also regular scheduled yoga and fitness classes in the resort’s fitness studio.

For parents in need of a little down-time, the multi award-winning Amura Kids Club is a godsend: my children are international kids club connoisseurs and pronounced this their favourite one to date. The soft play apparatus is unusually large for a hotel kids club, there are well-planned and executed activities, and an engaged and dynamic team who will ensure your little darlings have a wonderful, stimulating time. I especially appreciated the fact that parents can specify which activities their children may partake in; it is possible to stipulate, for instance, a no-screen session. Amura welcomes children aged between 4 and 12 from 9am to 7:30pm daily, and there is no need to prebook.

To Do

You might need persuading to wrench yourself away from this blissful beachfront paradise, but it truly is worth it. The hotel hires glass-bottom kayaks, pedalos and paddle boats for guests to explore the calm waters around the island. Or you can up the ante by water-skiing, wakeboarding or zipping out on extreme motorboat rides into the Gulf’s open waters.

The hotel is 700 metres from Atlantis Aquaventure, the largest waterpark in the world, and a 20-minute drive from Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall.

In a nutshell

Sofitel the Palm is a truly unique place to stay in Dubai. I left this enchanting environment feeling entirely relaxed, revived, and restored, and have already booked a return trip for later this year. If you are in search of a dreamy, sun-drenched escape minus the 21-hour flight to the South Pacific, look no further.


Sofitel Dubai The Palm

East - Crescent Rd - The Palm Jumeirah - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

British Airways flies from London Heathrow (LHR) to Dubai (DXB) from £528 return including taxes, fees and carrier charges. The 3x daily flights operate in both the summer and winter seasons. To book, please visit 


Elisabeth Rushton

Elisabeth has over 15 years of experience as a luxury lifestyle and travel writer, and has visited over 70 countries. She has a particular interest in Japan and the Middle East, having travelled extensively around Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, and the UAE. A keen skier, she has visited over fifty ski resorts around the world, from La Grave to Niseko. She writes about a broad spectrum of subjects...(Read More)

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