Can the sky-high venue live up to expectations?

Aura Skypool stands out as one of the biggest openings in Dubai of 2021. Creating its own genre somewhere between a pool club, restaurant and tourist attraction, Aura’s appeal is undeniable. Its 360-degree infinity pool is something we’ve never come across, and the one thing Dubai never knew it needed.

Sitting pretty atop The St. Regis Palm Jumeirah, guests can use the hotel’s valet, but enter through a separate entrance, into a lift that flies straight to the top – 51 floors high.

A chic welcome area greets us as we enter, and we’re taken to an island pool bed, which faces the top of the Palm, with Atlantis taking centre stage in the view.

There’s a chill in the air, so we swiftly dunk ourselves into the precisely 32-degrees pool water. Before booking, you can choose your bed location (and view), with different packages depending on your proximity to the pool. You can swim the entire building without stopping though, so you can enjoy the full breadth of views from any side.

We choose to sit inside for lunch, as the floor-to-ceiling windows still help convey a picture-perfect vision of the city and sea beyond. The menu is a pan-Asian situation, with international favourites thrown in for good measure. The wagyu beef sliders (Dhs145) are a perfect example – each burger is carefully considered and surprisingly moreish.

The glazed miso salmon (Dhs145) is another home-run, cooked to perfection and topped with a deliciously sweet pineapple relish – although we do wish that we’d known that the mains don’t come with any sides. Wagyu striploin (Dhs185) pieces arrive on a small dish, accompanied by a ginger soy sauce for pouring or dipping as you wish. The meat is super tender and flavourful but not quite as pink as we’d like.

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♬ FUTURE HOUSE – Sergey Wednesday

Service is sometimes slow but always enthusiastic, with staff keen to chat and make recommendations. As desserts go, the palm sugar marinated pineapple (Dhs60) tops them all. A flavour explosion of sweet and creamy ingredients from passion fruit gel to mango yoghurt ice cream come together to create something we’ve never seen, or tasted, before.

The afternoon slot of arrivals begin to find their beds and, with a little help from the DJ and saxophonist, the vibe starts to pick up. Aura offers three timings: morning, afternoon or full day, and we’d definitely recommend picking one of the latter two as you’ll want to be in prime position for the sunset (a bucket list-must!).

Aura SkyPool Lounge, 50th Floor, Palm Tower, Palm Jumeirah, daily 10am to sunset, from Dhs170.