The Palace Downtown is fresh from a recent facelift…

From the fortress-like exterior to the arabesque detailing within, the Palace Downtown Dubai beats with an Arabian heart. This centrally located hotel, right on the edge of the Burj Lake, has undergone a recent refresh – but the contemporary update has done nothing to diminish its Arabic accent.


Throughout the foyer and communal spaces, carved timber panels, tables inlaid with mother of pearl, tribal textiles and antique knickknacks evoke the souks of old. Within the guest rooms, it’s a more subdued affair, with dim lighting and muted taupe tones, heavy curtains and plush carpet providing a cosy, calm setting.

Our balcony overlooks Burj Lake and, if we crane our next to the right, the full might of the Burj Khalifa. Better still, are the views from the hotel’s restaurants and pool, each capitalising on their lakeside locale.

Palace Downtown - Outdoor Swimming Pool 2

Lined with date palms, sunloungers and billowing cabanas, the sapphire-blue swimming pool sits at the heart of the hotel. During our stay it’s a peaceful spot, with couples quietly sipping drinks, reading books, and taking the occasional dip. If you’re looking for a party hub full of posers, this is not it… but for us, it’s a welcome change of pace in the centre of the city – an opportunity to play tourists in our own town.

After sharing a sundowner on Buhayra Lounge’s floating pontoon (did the earth just move for you?), we wander across to Asado for dinner. There’s no need to follow the signs to the hotel’s Argentinian steakhouse, as the scent of chargrilled meats leads the way through the lantern-lit gardens.

Palace Downtown - Asado Terrace

With its open parrilla (fire pit) and terracotta tiling, the restaurant’s handsome interiors are inviting, but the real money shot is out on the terrace, where the solid timber tables are all angled toward a full-frontal shot of the Burj Khalifa.

Water taxis flit about the lake in front of us, conjuring an ambience that’s more Venice than Dubai, and further adding to that holiday-at-home vibe. We dine on plump little chorizo sausages and hefty, tender steaks, before wandering back through the grounds for a night in the cloud-like bed.

After a tasty buffet breakfast of eggs, falafel and foul at Ewaan the next morning, it’s time to check out of our Arabian sanctuary, back through the pindrop-peaceful courtyard and through the castle-like gates to the bustle of Downtown Dubai.

The Palace Downtown is not the place to head if you’re looking for a hedonistic party scene or a raucous pool day. Instead, it achieves that rare Dubai double-act of privacy and proximity, offering a chance to relax and recharge in the heart of the city.

Palace Downtown, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Downtown Dubai.