Travel: 24-Hour Room Service: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai

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AS YOU drive up to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, a vast glass wave appears to be break on the beach in front of you. A closer look reveals that everything about the hotel is designed to reflect the sea-going heritage of Dubai: the conference centre looks like a traditional dhow, the children's pool area is shaped like a sailing boat, water flows freely through the lobby. The effect, particularly from the outside, is spectacular.

The hotel complex is so large that Jeeps buzz backwards and forwards taking diners out to the Marina restaurant at the end of the long causeway. Oddly, though, the beach area is cramped, and by the middle of the day, sun-beds are lined upalmost within touching distance.

But there are plenty of attractions apart from the beach - shady lawns, sports facilities, shops, as well as 18 restaurants. For a light snack, walk along the avenue, to the right of the reception, for the caviare bar, soda fountain, Viennese tea shop, Chinese restaurant or French bistro.

It all seems completely over the top. People don't really live like this, do they? And if they do, can they possibly enjoy it? The Jumeirah Beach is a great place if you want a hermetically sealed holiday; there is no need to leave the hotel compound, even if you stay for a month. And it is nice to be pampered.


Jumeirah Beach Hotel, PO Box 11416, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (00 971 4 480 000; fax 00 971 4 482 273; e-mail jbh@ The hotel is about 25 minutes by road from the city centre, and there is an occasional free shuttle bus service. The only way you can get to the airport is by limousine, or by ordinary taxi - there is no helipad - and the journey takes about 35 minutes.


The view from every room is an uninterrupted panorama of blue sky and darker blue sea. The rooms are all vast. The question is how many you want - penthouses have one bedroom and two floors. The suites are all on the corners of the building, and the rooms with balconies are on the first nine floors.

There are radios, televisions, telephones and personalised fax machines (for added security) in all the rooms. There is also a business centre, although facilities can be brought to your room if you prefer. Neutrogena cosmetics are provided, plus bathrobes and slippers.

If these facilities seem less than adequate, don't worry. By the beginning of next year, another hotel, under the same management, will be opening at the end of the causeway. The hotels will share some facilities - though as each suite will have its own swimming-pool, it sounds as if tourists will not be spend too much time switching locations.


According to the manager thefacilities are "very suitable for families - particularly royal families". The Saudi royals were in residence when I was there. The former US president George Bush had just left. Heads of multinationals, internationally famous sports people, actors and government ministers blend into the crowd.

But don't let all that fame and fortune intimidate you - dress is casual and, because of the temperature, minimalist (unless you are a Saudi). Take your favourite sports gear; whatever your sport they are bound to have somewhere for you to practise it. Tennis, sailing, golf, squash, diving - if they don't have the facilities you need, they will probably build them for you.


Rooms start at 1,100 dirhams (about pounds 190) nightly for a single, and 1200Dhs (pounds 210) for a double. Top of the range is the three-bedroom suite at 5,200Dhs (pounds 900) - but you have to add 15 per cent service charge and 10 per cent tax. This does not include breakfast.

However, between 17 June and 9 September, when the climate can be extremely humid, single and double rooms go for 400Dhs (about pounds 70) including taxes, transfer to and from the airport, and transport into the city. It may be so hot that you don't want to venture outside for too long at a time - but with facilities like this, who cares?