As the scorching Summer temps begin to leave us, we’ve decided to start venturing out every weekend to spend a day relaxing and making use of the amazing hotel facilities in Dubai. This is one of my favourite ways to spend a weekend with hubby and the family, as it gives everyone a chance to unwind before getting back into the swing of work. Lounging pool and beach days are far from possible in London, so we’d be stupid not to make the most of this in our Dubai life!
Majority of the hotels in Dubai offer some kind of a pool and beach access package, so that you are able to use the hotel facilities, for a small fee, without paying the additional cost for a room. However, this week we went one better – we found a deal on Groupon for 50% off! That’s right we found a cheap way to spend a day using 5* hotel facilities! (Click here to view the deal).
Kempinski Hotel and Residences is located on the West Crescent of the Palm Jumeirah (just before Zabeel Saray hotel). It is quite an iconic building with it’s illuminated green domes and unique architecture – that can be spotted from various spots on the mainland. Having experienced a few other hotels on the Palm, our expectations and standards were set extremely high!
After what was quite a grand entrance, we began to think this is definitely following suit with other Palm Jumeirah hotels. We nodded thanks to the keen valet guys and made our way into the grand, luxurious…. Wait what? Where is the grand and luxurious hotel lobby?! Where are the overly friendly 5* hotel staff rushing to unnecessarily walk us to our desired location?! Where are the free drinks we receive for entering such an iconic hotel?! Okay on a serious note though, Kempinski Hotel on the Palm has one of the most underwhelming lobby areas ever! You walk straight in to a scaled model of the new Kempinski Palace hotel – plonked in the middle of the entrance, and as we scooted around this display not a single member of staff came to greet us or ask us if we needed any help. We managed to figure out our own way to the pool following the makeshift paper signs pointing us in the right direction – immediately we all began to feel a little deflated. Nonetheless, we were glad we were only here for pool day and were going to make the most of it!
Prior to arriving at the hotel, I was informed by the nice lady on the phone that we must show our Groupon voucher at the pool and beach counter on the lower ground floor, however as we followed the signs to the pool and beach, we stumbled upon a gift shop and coincidentally, the gift shop served as a pool and beach counter too lol. They informed us that the male changing rooms were right next to the gift shop – however the female changing area was back through the lobby and to the left. So we awkwardly said ‘See you later’ to the men and walked a little bewildered towards the inconveniently located female changing rooms.
Changing rooms were decent – it was a mix of a luxury meets budget travel; they had grand lockers with electronic keypads but then the toilets had this off-putting stench of urine, which reminded me of a public rest room! – I just want to highlight at this point that I’m in no way a snob at all – but I am writing this review based on the fact this is a 5* hotel on the Palm not far from the luxurious Zabeel Saray hotel… I mean c’mon this is Kempinski Hotel! Who wouldn’t have high expectations?!
So we changed into our swimwear, walked out of another door (not the one we came in as I refused to walk through the unwelcoming lobby in my swimwear), and luckily we worked our way out to the pool area.
I was a tad confused – when I called the hotel to book using the Groupon voucher, I was politely informed that the spaces are allocated on first come first serve basis and as it’s a busy period we should arrive early. Well when I looked around the empty sunbeds around the pool, I was relieved we didn’t rush to come to the hotel lol. I mean there were a handful of families scattered around and in the pool, but let’s not kid ourselves, it was no way packed out in the way hotels like Dukes Dubai, Fairmont the Palm and Zabeel Saray were. Our whole group felt a little underwhelmed at this point but none the less we came for a pool day, and a pool day is what we were going to have.
We grabbed some towels and chose our chairs. I really don’t want to moan but the worst thing anyone wants is to walk on to a dirty pool area – there were dishes with left over food and drinks all over several of the chairs where we wanted to lay. There was one lifeguard, one security guard and one pool boy, but not one of them used their initiative to clean the mess up, until we requested it and then on top of that the pool boy said he has to call the guy responsible for cleaning it, instead of doing it himself. Charming!
Not to waste anymore time, we ordered some food and then all jumped into the pool! This was the best part about the whole day – the pool in Kempinski hotel is really nice. They have an open area swimming space, as well as a kiddies pool that is sheltered, there is a section with some beautiful fountains, and the bonus was they have included sunbed like seats built into the pool with jacuzzi jets. It’s safe to say I spent majority of my time in this area lol! They also have an in pool bar area, so you can enjoy a drink whilst chilling in the pool.
Food arrived quite quickly and generally when we have poolside food, I always opt for something from the kids menu lol – it’s just lighter to digest when you’re spending most of your time in water – so I chose the Margarita Pizza. However the men decided to go big and get a juicy Cajun burger – both of them raved about how this is one of the best burgers they have ever had! Their food definitely was a plus point. (Oh and also if you use the Groupon voucher you get a percentage off the food bill – I think it was around 20% off).
One thing we love about other hotels on the Palm, is that the pools are always located in a way where you can see the beach and sea from inside the pool. However, at Kempinski, they’ve decided to separate the pool and beach area with huge green bushes, so you don’t get the amazing palm and sea views from the pool – you have to walk around the bushes to walk on to the beach, where you can see the stunning Palm Island. I think it’s safe to assume when you’re paying big bucks to stay on the Palm, you would want to be able to relax in the pool whilst taking in the amazing views!
Okay I think I need to wrap this up… Overall it was an average pool day – it was disappointing considering the location of the hotel and the experiences we’ve had with other hotels on the Palm so far. The only consolation was that we didn’t pay the full wack for the pool and beach access, so it was 50% off using the Groupon voucher, plus the discounted food bill.
In all honesty, if you’re looking for a good pool day on the Palm, I would highly recommend Zabeel Saray (click here to read about our stay) or Fairmont the Palm. We will be aiming to check out others in and around Dubai, and share our reviews with you guys! But sadly Kempinski Hotel on the Palm will not be a place we will be visiting again any time soon!