Bab Al Qasr brings a full-fledged Moroccan experience to the capital’s hospitality industry

Bab Al Qasr, the newest five-star property to open its doors in the capital, is one of the most Arabesque hotels in the UAE. Located next door to Jumeirah Etihad Towers, directly opposite Emirates Palace, and within close proximity to one of the city’s best private beaches, the welcome is attentive, check-in swift, and staff incredibly helpful.

The awe-inspiring lobby with vaulted ceilings has full-sized palm trees set into the marble floors alongside a water body – akin to an oasis in the desert. As for the rooms itself, I checked into the Junior Suite King room that’s set in contemporary Arabian style with a hint of Moroccan spirit. The room has an open-plan living area, spacious bathroom and an unbeatable view of Emirates Palace.

All the hotel rooms at Bab Al Qasr, 677 of them, boast views of either the palace or the sea – it’s a win-win situation for every guest who won’t be complaining of the view from their floor-to-ceiling windows. The spacious rooms feature necessary mod-cons including a coffee machine and a touchscreen control panel. The windows can be opened to feel the sea breeze – a welcome addition to those who check-in during winter. A handwritten welcome note, apart from the TV screen already displaying my full name by the time I reached my room, satisfyingly personalizes the entire experience of checking into the hotel.

There’s a year-round outdoor pool and sun terrace. If the mood strikes, there’s the private beach too that’s ideal for a quick dip or lazy day spent perfecting your tan by the ocean. The beach, as is the pool, is fully serviced – the staff are always on the ready with fresh towels or a mocktail. If you must feel the need to connect to the internet, if only to post a humblebrag about your stay in the five-star property on social media, it’s good to know that there’s free WiFi throughout the property.bab al qasrEat

When it’s time to eat at Bab Al Qasr, there are plenty of restaurants. Fine-dining options include a Peruvian and Latin American experience at Limo, which is unique as it has no menu. Diners choose from cold starters, hot mains and sweet desserts served on a trolley. Our waiter impressed us with his knowledge on each dish (and their lengthy names). The head chef makes it a point to meet all the guests in his restaurant. That is where the muddle and confusion ends. The chef is from Peru, with an Asian background and heritage. We start our meal with seafood ceviche – beautifully presented octopus and prawns worked well with some cancha (toasted corn) that lent a satisfying crunch to the dish. The second starter, a mixture of pan-seared scallop and apple, was presented within the shell of an oyster and served on top of a collection of sands and rocks as if it had just washed up on a beach.

The main hot plates include Jalea de Marisco, lightly battered seafood full of flavour. For carnivores, there’s the Beef Anticucho, beautifully tender skewers of meaty pieces of heart with rustic mashed potatoes, smoked anticuchera sauce and quail egg. To finish, there was a choice of Cacao mousse and Peruvian bavarois – a cream based dessert and rice pudding with lychee and chica morada in oyster shells. Apart from Limo, there’s also the Moroccan-themed Artisan Kitchen if you’re searching for an experience that’s characteristic of the region. You’ll find freshly-baked croissants and a wide selection of juices for breakfast, oven-cooked Italian pizzas for lunch or grilled-fish for dinner, among other standouts, throughout the day.

Breakfast is presented with a diverse selection that includes the usual eggs cooked to your specifications, pastry stations, saj, Asian noodles, sausage, salads, cheeses, fresh waffles, pancakes and fruit. Lunch is served buffet style in the Artisan kitchen, with an abundance of desserts, salads and vegetables that complement the main protein dishes of braised beef, baked fish, curries, Moroccan tagine chicken, apart from grilled chicken and pasta dishes made to order.

bab al qasrBusiness + Pleasure

There are several spaces for events geared towards business or leisure. There are a number of large event rooms for conferences, while the Executive Lounge is a more informal, yet sophisticated, space for smaller gatherings. The events team can also create a customized dream wedding experience held in the spacious Al Dana ballroom with mesmerizing sea views and stunning décor.

The Treatments

There’s a state-of-the-art gym at Bab Al Qasr with all the latest Technogym equipment from free weights to strength machines which will bring out the Hercules in you. After the workout, hit Ayana Spa. The Moroccan-inspired spa located on the fourth- and fifth-floor comprises of separate male and female sections. The spa includes six treatment rooms, a sauna, steam bath, Jacuzzi, ice bucket and a relaxation area for ultimate comfort and rejuvenation prior to or after the treatment. Guests are spoilt for choice with an extensive menu including treatment massages – Thai, Hot Stone, and Moroccan among others, as well as an assortment of body scrubs and facials.

I indulged in a 60-minute medium (that felt like maximum) pressure hot stone full-body massage. From the scented oils to the machine-like hand deep tissue massage, all my stress, aches, pains were forced out of me whilst detoxifying, invigorating and rendering me a restored, rested and rejuvenated person. The therapist was professional, knowledgeable and pleasant. The touch of hot stones paled in comparison to the deep tissue massage on my back and legs.

Need to know: Room rates from Dhs675 per night. The hotel also offers a Presidential Suite. Visit millenniumhotels.com