Despite having lived in Dubai for over four years once upon a time, in recent years I have been a bit reluctant to visit the metropolis. Yes, the shopping is good and there’s a million things going on, but I just find it all a bit much these days if I’m honest. Still, a change is as good as a rest they say and you know I love a staycation, so we packed our bags and headed off for the weekend to see what the Rixos The Palm Dubai hotel was all about.

Set on the Palm Jumeirah, the world’s largest man-made island, in my opinion, Rixos The Palm Dubai has one of the most enviable positions on the Palm, though I’d had no idea this was the case prior to our stay. Being located at the very end of the East Crescent means that although it feels as though you’ve driven onto the Palm and all the way round and just about back to shore again (the drive seemed to take forever!), this position means the hotel is very well sheltered from its neighbours and of course only has a neighbour on one side, not that you’d even realise this once you’re within the grounds.

Being a Turkish brand, as we walked into the hotel we noticed almost immediately that the protective ‘evil eye’ talisman was set into the walls around the place, watching over us. In Turkey, this is a powerful amulet believed to protect against harm by reflecting any malicious gaze or bad feelings back to the sorcerer.

The reception area being quite green and leafy reminded me of a traditional British conservatory environment, albeit warmer and with perhaps more exotic plant life!

And the toddler loved what we decided to call ‘camel corner’. Every time we took the adjacent lift he couldn’t wait to see the camels!

Despite knowing we were only an hour or so down the road from Abu Dhabi, early on in our stay it was clear that the Rixos Hotel was quite different to other hotels in the city – and that this was a good thing.

One of the biggest differences was the deal we were offered at check-in which was to upgrade our bed and breakfast stay to either half board or what they call ‘ultra-all-inclusive’. We had a look at it and given that the ultra-all-inclusive option meant just about everything was included – lunch, dinner, all drinks (including alcohol), minibar in the room and even ice cream beside the pool for a relatively small fee per adult per day (kids under a certain age eat free anyway), decided to go for it. Apparently they’re the only hotel in Dubai offering this option, and it really worked out pretty good value for us as a family to take it.

The room was the next big surprise. Thanks to being a DISCOVERY Loyalty programme member we received a room upgrade and ended up with this incredible suite!

The view from pretty much anywhere around the room wasn’t half bad either… you choose – from the bed, bath, sofa or balcony!

So after a bit of settling in, it was off to the pool and beach to get stuck in for some serious relaxation time!

There’s actually three pools at the hotel. The main family pool, complete with swim up bar (and who doesn’t love a swim up bar?!), an adults only lap style pool and a kids pool located within the Rixy Kid’s Club area.

We spent most of our time at the main family pool since it had everything we needed nearby, and the toddler was pretty happy either jumping off the edge of the pool into our arms or playing in the shade on the pool steps with his trucks.

The pool area did get quite busy, and there was also music playing which I found quite enjoyable, but if you’re after a more solitary experience then the beach is the place to head. As the largest private hotel beach on the Palm, there’s plenty of space to spread out, although as with any large beach, only the section between the flags is manned by lifeguards.

Although you can eat at your pool or beach side lounger, we wanted a table for lunch with the toddler so headed over to the area between the pool and beach to the I-Chill beach lounge. It’s a beautiful spot to take a break for lunch or snacks and drinks and although the menu was fairly limited, the food was really good and the toddler just about ate his own bodyweight in the homemade chicken nuggets!

There’s a definite resort feel about the place, with heaps of daily scheduled entertainment activities to take part in for those who want to (for both kids and adults), you really wouldn’t need to leave unless you wanted to so it’s a perfect spot for a relaxing break away from the stresses of the city, and despite being able to see the skyscapers of the city beyond the Palm, it really does feel a million miles away from it all. The grounds are also impeccably maintained and there are plenty of places to go for a wander or private nooks to get lost in if you so choose.

Not being familiar with the Rixos brand before this stay I hadn’t really known what to expect, but the whole weekend was really a series of pleasant surprises from start to finish – we thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

For a weekend away from it all (even if you live in Dubai!), I’d definitely recommend checking it out. One of the things that really appealed to me about the hotel was that it felt very welcoming and casual, and although one of the restaurants had a dress code (smart casual), the hotel was never pretentious or over the top. It’s a luxurious hotel with some beautiful design touches, but without any of the affectation that can sometimes come as part of that.

For more information check out the Rixos Palm Dubai website, and don’t forget to sign up for the DISCOVERY Loyalty programme before booking (it’s free) for benefits including 10% off their member properties when you book online through their site (it includes loads of different global hotel brands, not just one like most hotel loyalty cards!), free room upgrades and loads more. If you like to travel and there’s only one loyalty card you want – it should be this one!