By Michelle Chaplow.
The Palm, The World – the manmade islands of the Emirates. My next hotel overnight venture had one of the world’s most famous addresses: The Palm, Dubai – the world’s largest manmade island shaped like a palm tree.
As I took the taxi out to The Palm, I didn’t really know what to expect. We climbed a hill and before I could say Jack Robinson (whoever he was) we were pulling up to the door of the luxurious Fairmont The Palm.
It seemed like any other building in Dubai with its marble-floored palatial entrance, huge columns reaching up to the sky, until you saw the view – looking out over the Arabian Gulf to the line of architectural dreams of old Dubai in the distance.
This was to be a short stay and I wanted to get a feel of The Palm living straight away. The Fairmont President’s Club provides a swift priority check-in, and my room had all the mod cons, comforts and amenities that a woman would need. Fairmont sets high standards and they really know hospitality, so you feel at home from the minute you walk in the door.
With time at a premium, my first stop was a hot stone massage. This was August, it was 45-plus outside, and I chose a hot stone massage. Am I crazy? Nope – it was delightful. From the reception area, with their healthy aperitifs and relaxing teas, to complementary spectacles for those who had left theirs in the room (what a great idea for browsing the spa menus!).
The black volcanic stones retain their heat well, and are carefully placed on the body with a combination of massage techniques; as the stones cool a little, they are replaced. The larger stones are used for larger muscles and the small ones for smaller areas. Willow Stream Spas always have heated massage beds and white cotton cloud-like duvets; I love how they carry that signature style throughout the world. I have been fortunate enough to have had treatments in their spas in Beijing, Durban and now here in Duabi. According to the Willow Stream spa team this massage “uses specific stress-relief techniques, such as the use of hot volcanic stones to release deep-rooted tension, loosen tight muscles and improve muscle mobility”. Just perfect for an anti-jetlag or pre-flight treatment.
My massage bliss was followed later that evening by dinner that evening at Frevo with my friend Catherine, who teaches French and Spanish in Abu Dhabi. For five nights we dined out in Dubai style at Lebansese, Japanese, Spanish, and Thai restaurants – this was to be our first Brazilian.
Frevo is an authentic Brazilian churrascaria experience – slices of sizzling meat straight from the barbeque are brought to the table. You have buttons to press: red is for more meat please; green means, we are just fine. If you aren’t a meat eater, don’t be put off, because they provide a salad selection and selection to die for and in the dessert line don´t miss out of the fresh seasonal fruit flambes.
With caipirinhas in hand and live music, we were transported from The Palm to the shores of Ipanema. It was great night and I just can’t resist posting the menu for you all to see.
Assorted Bread Basket, Cheese Breads (Pan de Queso)
Traditional Paulista Soup
Full Brazilian Experience, Salad Bar Station
Wild Baby Spinach
Buffet salad station
Hearts of palm Pesto Coriander
Roasted Pumpkin salad and grilled red onion
Paulista Couscous & Hydrated fruits salad
Pineapple Gelle Carpaccio, pepper sauce
Red Potato& Tuna salad, Green peas and Carrots, eggs
Chickpea & Eggplant salad
Mozzarella Cheese, Basil, Red and yellow Cherry Tomato
Grilled Asparagus & wild Mushrooms, Sherry Vinaigrette
Tropical Exotic lettuces and fruits Salad
Carrot & Coconut , Honey Passion fruit Dressing
Marinated grilled Root Vegetables Salad
Brazilian Style Tubule
PASADORE’S CORNER MEAT CUTS
Beef Rib Eye
Rum Beef (Picanha)
Boneless Short Ribs
Leg of Lamb
Biro Biro rice/Brazilian mixed fried Rice
Brazilian Farofa/Sauté Corn meal and Beef Bacon
Black bean stew
Spicy Gaucho Beef jus, Chimichurri, Pepper Corn jus
Brazilian Macae Chocolate Cake
Signature Churros, Nutella Tamarind, Anglaise Sauce
This trip was short but memorable, and in the limo on the way back to the airport, I made a mental note to return.