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TRAVEL

Hotel review: The Oberoi Beach Resort at Al Zorah in Ajman

Words by Rob Chilton

A hotel that is so peaceful, it feels like a meditation retreat

Located 45 minutes from the centre of Dubai and its stressed, overworked inhabitants, The Oberoi Beach Resort at Al Zorah in Ajman is perfectly positioned. That’s because just one night here at this blissfully tranquil spot will feel like a week’s holiday. Approaching the lobby, EDGAR was surprised, almost startled, to see what looked like a Japanese water garden. Shallow rectangular pools of water were dotted with single decorative trees in terracotta pots that created an instant feeling of calm.

Reflecting water features at night

It doesn’t feel like a hotel, more like the Zen home of a very tasteful millionaire. Striking pieces of art and sculpture are placed carefully in the lobby, where the welcome is swift and smart. A short walk through the water features across sparkling white stone walkways lead to wooden decking and more minimalist architecture. Italian architect Piero Lissoni has done a magnificent job, especially with the wooden partitions that not only create shade on sunny days but also lovely shadows on the gleaming white floor below.

Pick up a book at the library

This classy design language continues inside, where Scandinavian touches appear – most notably in the mix and match oatmeal patterned rugs that are cosy and rustic. Much of the 29 acres of space at the resort is filled with lush greenery, carefully attended to by a large team of gardeners. Trees, shrubs and flowers increase the peace, as well as providing privacy for guests, especially those who have set up temporary home at one of the luxurious beachfront villas that come with either 7m or 12m private pools.

Deluxe suite with a private garden

Any hotel with a library is always a good thing in our opinion. Books, comfortable chairs and a quiet room is a strong reminder to guests that there is more to travel than a Tik Tok video of you jumping in the pool. However, when the pool is 85m long and lined with gorgeous trees and sunbeds, then – we admit – executing a cannonball is hard to resist.

The pool is 85 metres long

The central restaurant, Vinesse, has sleek furniture and beautiful, flattering lighting. With only Vinesse and a seafood restaurant Aquario on site (closed for refurbishment during EDGAR’s visit), the menu needs variety to keep guests intrigued at lunch and dinner. Across our two-night stay, EDGAR skipped around Malaysian, Italian and Indian foods, plus a juicy tenderloin steak. The food tasted healthy, nothing felt pre-made, salads were crunchy, colours were vibrant, and portions were generous. The butter chicken, a trademark dish in Oberoi’s 23 worldwide hotels, was out of this world.

Cool design in the Kohinoor Suite

With the hustle and bustle of Dubai just down the road, this Ajman gem is the solace that frazzled Dubai folk need.

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