Sprawled across a superlative slice of the Persian Gulf, Dubai’s three beachfront Jumeirah resorts comprise a veritable empire. A diverse one, at that, with an overwhelming array of lavish eateries—from Japanese and Italian to Mexican and Arabian—chic bars and lounges, extravagant swimming pools and iconic architecture, including the Burj Al Arab’s sailboat design, a Dubai skyline gem. The opening of Jumeirah Al Naseem last December was a kind of declaration that the empire-building continues: Behold the final chapter of the lavish story that is Madinat Jumeirah, Arabic for, aptly enough, “the country of Jumeirah.
“Al Naseem,” meanwhile, is Arabic for “sea breeze,” a name that perfectly captures the feel of the impressive 430-room resort. Swathed in delightfully soothing shades of brown, cream and blue, it represents the region in a nutshell: desert sand dunes, pearl diving, the sea. The property lives up to the brand standard in all the obvious ways, but here are the features that give the newest Jumeirah that special touch:
ART The hotel’s grand entrance features an enthralling stainless steel sculpture of a caravan of camels running on water, by Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej. His original work is featured throughout Jumeirah Al Naseem, lending the place a nobility that’s unusual for a big beach resort. The art here is wearable, too; female staff members looked as if they were ethereally floating through the cream-colored lobby—thanks to their elegant, gossamer abayas, specially commissioned by local brand Slouchy’z. I tried one on in the hotel shop and after its silk loveliness simply melted onto my body, it slid right into my suitcase.
CUISINE Options, options, options—all of them worth eating. The spice-themed menu at Summersalt Beach Club is creative and delicious; dishes are categorized as “earthy spice” (lemon salt and tahini), “sweet spice” (crispy soft shell crab or Mauritian chicken) or “warm spice” (the seafood a la plancha with eggplant moussaka was delightful), and there’s even a lengthy burger menu organized the same way. At Al Mandhar Lounge in the lobby I sipped Chai and Karak tea and snacked on French-Moroccan snacks and Arabian spreads (Hummus: a cliché but a must). The poolside deck Sugarmash boasts an impressive pan-Asian selection, including seafood ceviche with coconut milk, char sui buns and a skewers and slider menu. Jumeirah Al Naseem’s crown jewel is Rockfish, a beachfront homage to seafood where Mediterranean classics include jumbo oysters, a range of crudo and freshly grilled seafood of all varieties.
SHOWERS Yes, showers—in a category unto themselves. Inspired by Arabic hammams and resembling glittering sanctuaries, they’re the best part of the hotel’s lovely open-plan rooms. I didn’t fully appreciate mine until I showered in it as the sun was setting and the sky was showing off the way a Middle East sunset is wont to do and—thanks to my ocean-view 7th-floor window and my open shower—I felt right in the midst of it all. Amouage products, a delicious Omani brand I discovered while visiting that neighboring country earlier this year, are the perfect accompaniment to this heavenly shower ritual.
BEACH CLUB If big resorts aren’t your thing—truth be told, they’re rarely mine—you’ll make friends with Summersalt Beach Club. It’s Jumeirah Al Naseem’s charming boutique-resort-within-a-resort, with personalized service and a private pool. On weekends it turns into a chic beach party, with DJs playing until sundown.
SHEESHA All Dubai resorts have sheesha, in dozens of flavors. Jumeirah Al Nasem, though, has Ambar, a sexy lounge in which to smoke it. The trellaced layout creates nooks and crannies from which to sip, smoke and ogle views of the sea and Burj Al Arab. I ordered a Qataban Quaff, made from Belvedere, frankincense oil and fresh grapes, and snacked on lobster and crabmeat kibbeh and baba ganoush fritters.