Need to know
38, including six pool villas, 13 pool residences and three-bedroom villa Layali.
Noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Later check-outs are subject to availability and, up to 6pm, incur a cost of 50 per cent of the room rate. After 6pm, you will be charged the full room rate.
Double rooms from $156.20 (AED574), excluding tax at 22.5 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of AED15.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates exclude breakfast.
Staff can arrange hair stylists, personal shoppers and chefs, and private tours – just ask. Staff can also set up a proposal-popping meal on request (or a gathering with your nearest and dearest); dine under a secluded pergola, by a gentle waterfall, in a candlelit gazebo, or a private garden accessible through a flower-strewn walkway.
At the hotel
Tennis/squash courts, polo pitches, riding school, swimming pool, gardens, spa, sauna, steam room, fitness centre, shop, DVD library, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: LCD TV/DVD, Bang & Olufsen stereo, minibar, Nespresso coffee machine, Ren toiletries. The villas have private pools, and the Pool Residences and Villa Layali have a kitchen too.
Our favourite rooms
All the Palm Suites have the same facilities and gizmos galore, but we like seven with views of the polo field best. Three of the Palm Deluxe Rooms overlook the gardens, and the others have pool views; all benefit from bathrooms with natural light (a rarity in Dubai), are reasonably priced and the perfect size for a couple. Pool Villas are great for partners who are more interested in 'alone time' than sightseeing, with private plunge pools and plenty of room to play in; and Pool Residences are ideal for families or small groups, with huge fitted kitchens and living areas. Villa Layali is the spectacular three-bedroom presidential villa.
The outdoor infinity pool stretches along the terrace in front of Epicure restaurant, with designer sunloungers and views across the polo fields. Occasional distant traffic noise, depending on wind direction.
Book your holistic spa treatments at Lime well in advance to avoid disappointment. Indulgent treatments include Turkish salt scrubs, 'intuitive' massages, Eminence facials, and a chamomile-scented body polish, carried out in six well-appointed treatment rooms (including one for couples). Cool off in the ice room and lift your mood in one of two chromotherapy showers before settling on to a polo-field-facing heated spa bed. There are dedicated menus for mums-to-be and men, perfumed baths to soak in and finishing touches to ensure you leave looking as sleek and glossy as the surroundings. The Technogym-enhanced Stables Fitness Centre caters to gym bunnies.
Riding gear and a bikini for sunbathing; that’s about it – everything else you can buy or borrow, if it’s not already in your room (umbrellas, robes, slippers, hairdryers, stationery and ironing boards all tucked away in your room).
There are no departures allowed on 31 December and 1 January. Cooking and wine-tasting tutorials can be arranged on site.
Welcome, although this is more of an adult getaway. Under-twos stay free in Palm Suites and Polo Suites. Over-twos accommodated in Pool Residences only; extra beds cost AED 200. Child-minders/children's menus available.
Melia Desert Palm Dubai works with a UK-based carbon-offsetting company and its grounds are home to a number of bird species not found anywhere else in Dubai.