Review: Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach, Dubai
General Info and Location
It took Four Seasons Hotels until the end of 2014 to open its first property in Dubai, waiting for the right opportunity in a hotel market that seems without limits if the occupancy levels and construction in the emirate are anything to go by.
A sprawling Arabian-style beach resort, Four Seasons Dubai at Jumeirah Beach has 237 rooms and suites surrounding a large garden with two freeform pools facing a private, white sand beach. It’s understated in its design compared to most Dubai hotels, with some beautiful artwork and intricate geometric patterns in the public spaces. Walking in, two long corridors with simple arches stretch to the left and right, with a massive glass wall straight ahead giving a clear view towards the water. Overhead is a gold leaf, octagonal ceiling with vibrant blue core, flanked by hanging lanterns.
Dubai is perhaps more spread out than you might think as a first-time visitor, but you have relatively easy access to downtown (the area surrounding Burj Kalifa) and to Burj Al Arab, the Palm, and the Marina a little further away.
Four Seasons will open a second Dubai hotel in April at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). With the business traveller in mind, it’s a conversion of a former office block at just 106 rooms and suites, with a rooftop restaurant, bar, and pool.
The resort looks and is much bigger than the 237 rooms would suggest on paper, but once you know that starting room size is 70 square meters (753 sq ft), it all makes sense.
I stayed in a Premier Sea View King, which was indeed very large. Entering the room, there was a spacious foyer, with to the right double sliding doors to the bathroom. Straight ahead was a small walk-in wardrobe. The bathroom had a separate rain shower and standalone bathtub in front of a striking mosaic wall, as well as a double vanity set in dark marble. Toiletries are by Etro.
Turning left, the main bedroom had a king-size bed dressed in typical Four Seasons linen against a pale blue headboard, a circular table that did double duty as a desk, a flatscreen TV, and arm chair in the corner. A floor-to-ceiling glass door gives access to a large covered terrace, sheltering the room from direct sun light – a blessing I’m sure during the blazing heat of the summer.
The room overlooked the main resort gardens and two pools, with the beach just beyond. Construction is never far away in Dubai, and so it wasn’t here: cranes just offshore were working on a man-made island in the shape of a seahorse, which will house the Bulgari Hotel and Residences.
Eating and Drinking
There are five restaurants and bars within the hotel grounds, but right out front is a restaurant pavilion with another five options to choose from. I had breakfast at restaurant Suq, which was an extensive spread, with both a self-service buffet and cook-to-order omelettes and the like. I thought the food was of very high quality and appreciated the range of healthy options, including green vegetable juices.
I had a chicken and kale salad at the pool one day which was delicious. Lucky or unlucky, depending on your point of view, I also experienced Dubai in the rain. When it did, I rushed into beachside restaurant Sea Fu, which serves a mix of Mediterranean and Asian dishes with a focus on seafood. Here as well, the food was of a very good standard, if undeniably pricey – in line with anywhere upscale and / or tourist-oriented in Dubai.
Mercury lounge is a rooftop bar, which has views of both the sea and the skyline, including Burj Kalifa. Shai Salon is the main lobby lounge, also with an outdoor terrace, and Hendricks is a clubby bar.
The hotel has extensive facilities, which mean you could spend an entire holiday just on the grounds if you wanted to. There are the two freeform pools (one adult-only, one for families) and the beach, with at the latter a range of (non-)motorised water sports to choose from. I used the fitness centre, which was one of the best-equipped I had seen in a while in a hotel.
There is an extensive spa, with a range of treatment rooms, a beauty salon and men’s grooming lounge, locker rooms with steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi, and an indoor pool.
Standard WiFi is free throughout the resort and worked across multiple devices without problem. Premium WiFi, which upgrades bandwidth if you want to stream movies for instance, is available for a fee, but I didn’t use this.
Service and Status Benefits
Service lived up to the expectations of the brand’s reputation (and the rooms’ price tag). I thought poolside service was good, with attendants always being around to set up a chair, bring you fresh water (in small cooler bags) or ask if you needed anything. I hadn’t seen the little service hubs next to each lounge chair before, allowing you to call for someone or put on a ‘do not disturb’ sign, while providing a power point at the same time.
Fans of Four Seasons will feel at home here. All the elements of the brand are there, and if you’re looking for a Dubai hotel that isn’t as, let’s say, loud, as some tend to be, the Four Seasons is worth considering. The frantic hotel construction you see everywhere would seem justified if you look at occupancy levels around town, which are very, very high. The hotel was full while I stayed, which I had never guessed based on how calm it felt. High occupancy rates do result in high prices, with entry-level room rates easily coming in around £650 / €840 / $940, depending on the season.
With its hotel at the International Financial Centre opening in a few months, Four Seasons will have both types of Dubai travellers covered. No matter which you choose, you will have signing privileges at both hotels.