When we say Dubai staycation, you instantly think of a luxurious, Aspen-inspired ski chalet overlooking snow-covered slopes dotted with skiers and snowball-throwing children, right? You will now. In the heart of Dubai, The Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates is a winter escape among the dunes (well, Sheikh Zayed Road, but you get what we were going for). The award-winning hotel is well-known and well-loved by tourists and residents alike; however, there is a hidden gem that can render even long-term residents speechless.
The exclusive Aspen Chalets are nothing short of breath-taking. Our Duplex Ski Chalet had us scrambling to pick our jaws up off the floor as we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves in front of our wonderful butler Meruert, who was assigned to us after we checked in. After Meruert gave us our tour – yes, it is that big – we closed the front door and instantly entered a child-like state; full of glee and exploring every nook and cranny of our new home (and, obviously, playing with the remote-controlled curtains).
An homage to Colorado’s famous skiing destination, every detail of the décor from faux-fur throws to the coffee table books was meticulously chosen to evoke feelings of a holiday spent slope-side; only made better by the view. Ah, the view. Rather than your typical skyscraper-lined sky, the Aspen Chalets overlook Mall of the Emirates’ Ski Dubai and offer a view that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. We spent most of our evening – and the next day – totally captivated by keen skiers slaloming down the man-made slopes. As a long-term resident of the UAE, it was truly an unforgettable experience to watch Ski Dubai by night as the behind-the-scenes upkeep unfolded.
We paused the oohing and aahing temporarily and headed to Aspen by Kempinski for afternoon tea – the oohing and aahing soon continued. Freshly made sweet and savoury treats in the form of finger sandwiches (the best we’ve had at any afternoon tea in the city), macarons, flavoured scones (get the berry one!) and tea hand-picked with the help of the in-house tea sommelier gave us a much-needed afternoon pick-me-up. Alexandra, our super-helpful hostess for the afternoon, informed us that we could take-away the treats we couldn’t finish and we quickly obliged – there is no way we were leaving one of those scones behind.
We returned to our chalet to freshen up – with Hermès amenities, no less – and watch more ski-TV (also known as Ski Dubai) from the sunken living room’s humungous, perfectly nappable sofa and waited for dinner time to arrive. After all, isn’t that what a holiday is all about? While Mall of the Emirates’ proximity offers an abundance of dining options, why leave when you can have five-star cuisine mere steps away from your chalet? We sauntered to Salero Tapas & Bodega for authentic Spanish Tapas and tucked into a ginormous seafood paella as well as – of course – an array of tapas. While every dish we had was delicious, the patatas bravas, shrimp with garlic and chilli and grilled octopus with truffle mashed potato were simply divine. After such a huge meal – you are definitely underestimating the size of the paella – we happily, and slowly, made our way home for the night.
In the morning, after putting a significant dent in Olea’s buffet breakfast spread – which followed strict COVID-19 precautions– we took a dip in the pool and realised that it was the first time we’d seen Dubai’s blue skies since the morning before and, TBH, we didn’t miss it.
Even in a city where five-star hotels are plentiful, you would be hard-pressed to find a more phenomenal staycation than the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates. Not only do the Aspen Chalets offer a unique experience, but its variety of delicious dining options and hospitality that is second-to-none make it a staycation we can’t recommend highly enough. Who’d have thought the best place to escape the city was right in the heart of it?
- To celebrate fifteen years of Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, it is currently offering 15 per cent off room rates and the chance to win prizes in Mall of the Emirates BOOK HERE