Palatial Paradise: Inside Dubai’s Ottoman-inspired Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

06 Mar 2020 | Updated on: 27 Sep 2022 |By Natasha Afxentiou

In a city lined with skyscrapers, modern life can be difficult to escape, a fact the hotel has based its whole mantra around

Synonymous with wealth and opulence, Dubai is home to some of the finest hotels in the world. The Jumeirah Group, owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, set the blueprint for luxury accommodation in the city when it opened its flagship Burj Al Arab hotel in 1999. Famous for its sail-inspired shape and often referred to as the world’s first seven-star hotel, the Burj Al Arab also made headlines as the tallest all-suite hotel in the world and for its staff-to-suite ratio of 8:1.

A polar opposite in terms of architecture, the Jumeirah Group’s Jumeirah Zabeel Saray brought a touch of Ottoman-inspired glamour to the island’s West Crescent when it opened in 2011. The walls of the hotel are adorned with hand-painted murals and spaces are accented with opulent gold fixtures, both characteristic of Ottoman palaces. Despite the resort’s location on the world’s largest man-made island, the hotel manages to feel authentic rather than artificial.

The lobby within the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
Inside the hotel’s Grand Imperial Suite

An impressive 30,000 sq m of natural marble features throughout the resort, while chandeliers are finished with red and turquoise crystals – a colour combination that was also commonly found in Ottoman palaces. The palatial resort might be vast, but friendly staff help create a sense of intimacy. Pool attendants appear as if from nowhere, offering towels before you’ve even asked for them.

The hotel boasts 405 rooms and suites, alongside 38 royal residences, all of which overlook either the palm-shaped island, the Arabian Gulf or Dubai Marina. Rooms are a harmonious blend of European and Arabic styles. Bed covers are made from traditional Ottoman kemha fabrics and velvet-topped furniture features intricate Arabic latticework. Bathrooms include both rain showers and separate marble Turkish baths. In a city lined with skyscrapers, modern life can be difficult to escape – a fact the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray has based its whole mantra around, with the tagline ‘The world can wait’. Guests are encouraged to live in the moment, whether they’re taking a stroll along the hotel’s private beach or swimming in its stylish outdoor infinity pool.

One of the Beachview Royal Residences
The Thalassotherapy pool at the Talise Ottoman Spa

The hotel’s Talise Ottoman Spa was awarded Favourite Spa Retreat at the 2019 Condé Nast Traveller Middle East Readers’ Choice Awards. The space is decorated with dark wood, elaborate mosaics and colourful murals. Turkish hammams form the heart of the spa, surrounded by steam rooms, saunas and snow rooms. There’s also a gym, complete with performance-tracking Technogym equipment that’s programmed with virtual coaches.

With 10 restaurants and bars to choose from, picking a dinner spot might be the hardest part of your stay at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. The Rib Room offers steaks and premium cuts of meat, including Irish wagyu beef, while the beachside Plaj offers relaxed Mediterranean dining.

The Ottoman Empire is renowned for its longevity and a grand yet harmonious aesthetic that elevated existing architectural traditions. With its blend of European and Arabic styles, traditional design and cutting-edge facilities, the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray celebrates this heritage and is sure to offer visitors the most memorable of luxury experiences.

Prices start from £160 for a Superior King Room,