A haven of family-friendly relaxation…

When a Roman Emperor departed Bluewaters this year, a beautiful Banyan Tree grew in its place, but how much has changed?


In the shadow of a giant wheel that has, for the moment at least, stopped turning – a very different sort of revolution took place along the gorgeous Bluewaters beachfront earlier this year. Banyan Tree, a luxury and earnestly eco-conscious leisure brand took over operations of what used to be Caesars Palace Dubai. And despite being just a few short months into the tenure, it already feels like a completely different resort. The guest-facing glow-up hasn’t been dramatic, but it has been targeted to key impactful elements, that let you know the soul of the place has changed. Cut this hotel, and it bleeds Banyan sap.

Look and Feel

Bluewaters has a gleefully easy, peaceful pace to it – which makes it a fitting foil for Bayan Tree, a brand probably best known for its footprint on Asian islands. And at just 178 rooms/suites, it feels like a community. There’s none of that labyrinthian anxiety you get from mega hotels with unending corridors. Through the main entrance and before you even get to the lobby, your nasal passages are given a soothing massage by the zen scents of spa aromatics. And whilst it has inherited its thoroughly modern fit-out from Caesars, the vast glass frontage looks out over more organic tones. The blue hues of sea and pool, the serene greens of tree and leaf, and terracotta-white candy stripes adorn the textiles of the main pool complex. It subtly communicates unfussy luxury – warmth and family-friendly intention.


We stayed in a Harmony Oceanview Master Suite, large enough to house two adults and two functionally feral under-eight-year-olds more than comfortably. The private space highlights include a sea-facing balcony; a huge bathroom with a walk-in wardrobe and a statement free-standing bath; the dark tree-bark palate of the living room feels like smart branding synergy; and the amenities are all environmentally sensitive. Even the water bottles are refillable vessels for filtered H2O. Not a shred of, turtle-bothering single-use plastic in sight.


Banyan Tree Dubai’s star attraction is undoubtedly the sprawling infinity pool deck – framed by cabanas and with adults-only and kid-friendly options on the side. Because it faces away from much of the familiar Dubai skyline, and has a private beach combed by churning waves, it genuinely feels like an exotic getaway. There’s a luxurious spa here of course, that’s a Banyan Tree essential; an activity-focused kids’ club (with a PS5, my son Maverick insisted on my telling you); there’s a gym, wellness facilities, and watersports.

Food and Drink

You’re probably already aware but, when the previous tenant moved out – they took certain restaurants with them. Still present and serving up a storm is the acclaimed Japanese omakase specialist – TakaHisa, home of the A5 Kobe beef; and Demon Duck form the beautiful mind of multi-Michelin-awarded Alvin Leung (which, for my money has the best duck dish in the whole of Dubai). A new restaurant rushing into the vacuum left by Hell’s Kitchen is Alizée, named after a trade wind, and it really is a breath of fresh air. It serves a Dubai menu (Mediterranean plus Asian), offers a la carte breakfasts for guests, and does a phenomenal turn on the grill.


Rooms start at around Dhs1,300 for the lead-in category (two adults, one night, breakfast included), or about Dhs5,455 per night for a Master Suite (two adults, two kids, breakfast included).


The Banyan Tree feels like it’s always been a Banyan Tree. A shaded, tropical escape with roots that tap right into the essence of great hospitality.

Bluewaters, Dubai. Tel: (0)4 245 2100. banyantree.com

Images: Provided