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A Taste of Ancient Arabia

TRIED & TESTED
Dar Al Masyaf Villas, Madinat Jumeirah
Set on a private beach, Madinat Jumeirah resort is an authentic recreation of ancient Arabia, capturing the natural beauty of the region. Madinat Jumeirah features two grand boutique hotels, Al Qasr and Mina A’ Salam, in addition to clusters of 29 traditional summer houses in Dar Al Masyaf and seven Malakiya Villas, which are the resort’s hidden gems.

The resort offers an impressive range of facilities, which include: conference and banqueting facilities including two grand ballrooms and a 1000-seat Amphitheatre (the region’s only dedicated entertainment centre and multi-purpose venue), Madinat Arena; extensive leisure and health facilities including Talise Spa and Talise Fitness; and Souk Madinat Jumeirah, a traditional retail and dining experience showcasing the best of Arabia. The Souk is also home to Madinat Theatre – a 442 seat luxury venue, which hosts productions by internationally acclaimed groups ranging from dram and dance to comedy and film. All areas of the resort are interconnected by 3km of intricate waterways and landscaped gardens. The waterways are serviced by abras (water taxis) offering guests alternative transportation and a great way to view the resort.

We visited a traditional Summer House in Dar Al Masyaf to experience the ‘Madinat Magic’.

Inspired by the traditional Arabian courtyard Summer Houses, the stand-alone, two-storey residential retreats of Dar Al Masyaf, which represent the premium accommodation within the resort, suit guests seeking a more intimate hideaway. Dar Al Masyaf offers two villa types: Gulf and Arabian, each with a minimum space of 60m2 per room. Each villa houses a number of luxurious self-contained guest rooms and suites, each with their own personal butler and discreet in-suite check-in service. All villas benefit from privileged locations within the resort, with the Gulf Villas located along the beach. A shared traditional Arabic courtyard is at the centre of each villa and gives guests privileged access to a private pool, located in the centre of each cluster.

The Experience

If you’re in need of taking a breather, regaining perspective and appreciating what’s really important in life, this is the perfect place to do all of that. Get ready to fall in love all over again as everywhere you turn, a feast for the eyes awaits and much more beyond that. The butler service is a cut above the rest with each villa coming complete with its own butler who is entirely at the disposition of a mere 11 rooms, the highlight of the day being ‘Sundowner’ time when from 6-8pm, the villa bar is open to guests who can enjoy complimentary service in the Majlis or courtyard with other guests, or if you require a little privacy, the butler will bring you bubbles – or beverages of your choice – to your door where you can enjoy them on your private balcony or in the comfort of your room.

For someone who usually feels the pressure of trying to fit it all in when staying such a vast resort with so many facilities to be enjoyed, the fact that everything is either within walking distance, or a mere few minutes buggy or abra ride away (both of which can be called on demand by the butler), gives a feeling that time is definitely on your side. We were able to enjoy a leisurely start, a later than usual breakfast – there are three breakfast restaurants on offer across the resort and the one by the main pool is open until 11.30am – swimming, a significant time in the Sinbads Kids Club with our 2 year old, beach fun, a trip to the Souk by Abra and we still found that we had time to kill in the afternoon before heading back for an early wash down ready for that all important ‘Sundowner’ time.

If rest and relaxation are the order of the day, a long hot soak in the deep oval terrazzo bath tub is highly recommended before a spot of room service and a movie in your palatial room or suite, but for those looking for the buzz of Dubai’s infamous night scene, a few minutes’ abra ride will take you to the heart of the action. You will find yourself spoilt for choice, as just about every international cuisine is available in the impressive array of restaurants and bars across Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Mina A’Salam and Al Qasr.

We opted for the newly opened Tortuga restaurant in Mina A’Salam with its promise of a vibrant atmosphere with live entertainment, warm hospitality and most importantly, truly authentic Mexican cuisine. We were far from disappointed. Overlooking the tranquil waters of Mina A’Salam, with views of the Arabian Gulf, Tortuga’s authentic Mexican dining experience includes a Tortilla live cooking station and the traditional Molcajete (melted cheese in a hot volcanic bowl) – a family recipe of award-winning Head Chef, Carlos Hannon.

As we relaxed enjoying the romantic al fresco setting of the outdoor terrace – which offers views of the Mina A’Salam waterways, the Arabian Gulf and the Burj Al Arab – we were treated to the warmest of hospitality and were guided through the menu by Restaurant Manager, Lorena Guerrero, and her welcoming team as they recommended the very best of traditional Mexican dishes for us to try. We also needed a little help when studying the detailed Margharita menu and discovered a new favourite: Tamarind Margharita, which was refreshingly sweeter than the traditional recipe. We ended the meal with the traditional Churros (crunchy fried choux pastry) and a selection of exotic ice creams including creamy Coconut and Mango.

Surrounded by shimmering waters, the romantic setting coupled with the uplifting atmosphere and almost tangible excitement of weekend fun makes Madinat Jumeirah a truly memorable place to have fun with family and friends whether just visiting for an evening, or staying in the resort itself. Returning to our villa on the abra, we were filled with excited anticipation at the thought of one more day in this beautiful place.

Whether it’s splashing around, face painting, playing sports, watching movies or doing crafts, your kids will have the time of their lives at Sinbad’s Kids Club. With over 1,000 square metres of play areas and pools, it really is a dream world for children.

You can come along with your kids anytime, from early morning to late at night. Alternatively, book in with the childcare and babysitting service to leave your children in the expert care of the fully-trained staff while you head off for a well-earned break. Opening hours: 8am-7pm (Tel: +971 4 3666822)

Madinat Info:

For more information or to make a reservation, visit:
https://www.jumeirah.com/en/hotels-resorts/dubai/madinat-jumeirah/dar-al-masyaf/
For Reservations at Tortuga, visit: www.tortuga.ae or Tel: +971 4 366 6730