A Celebration of Arabic Heritage Through Design

Resting on a kilometre of private coast overlooking The Palm and nestled within 65 acres of lush landscaped gardens, One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai is a legendary beachfront oasis evoking the splendour and opulence an Arabian palace. The folklore and symbolism of Middle Eastern culture is at the heart of the resort’s inspiration, celebrating Arabic design, heritage and warm hospitality. The resort juxtaposes the legends of old Arabia with the modern backdrop of the spectacular Dubai Marina skyline, effortlessly encompassing the traditional with the contemporary.

Guests are welcomed at the grand entrance courtyard of The Palace by an evocative bronze by famous South African sculptor, De Jager. Depicting the fable of the famed Palace of the Royal Mirage after which the resort is named, a bronze train of eight camels and their riders find ‘Water at Last’ over a shale waterhole. Highly skilled craftsman carefully created the detailed piece, cast in bronze and finished in gold lustre to represent Dubai’s reputation as a centre of trade for gold. Each with their own individual character, the camels and riders are brought vividly to life in their elation at finding water at Royal Mirage. The sculptor’s vision is realised in the iconic masterpiece, telling the story of an Arabian fortress destined to offer a wandering caravan of camel riders true hospitality and shelter from the unpredictable desert. This is not only the first sight of water at One&Only Royal Mirage but also the first sound of it. The presence of water is a recurring design feature throughout the resort, through a series of water features, fountains and pools.

One&Only worked with a team of design and architecture professionals including American interior design agency, Wilson & Associates, to create the palatial design of the resort. Starting with the exterior, the team created a façade inspired by ancient Arabian fortresses. Mirroring the beautiful sandy domes and low-rise architecture of old Dubai, the exterior is grand but deliberately unassuming in direct contrast to the sumptuous interiors once guests cross the threshold.

One&Only Royal Mirage is arranged into three experiences: The Palace, Arabian Court and Residence & Spa, each with its own distinct identity and design. Evoking the grandeur and mystique of Old Arabia, the vast curved arches and lofty corridors of The Palace create an effortless splendour with jewel colours and sumptuous textures such as gilt edges and precious inlays. Internal walls are left simple to highlight the richness of the carpets, the plush fabrics and elaborate tapestries. Artefacts and paintings are traditional in design, a spectacular example in the Grand Lobby being the soaring dome painted from a fragment of ancient patchwork. Another key design note is the Lobby floor, made from a mixture Red Alicante, Amarillo Negris and Indian Green marble. Enchanting views of the Arabian Gulf creating a natural focal point and a reminder of the beauty of the beach beyond.

Built with attractive symmetry and a palate of natural tones, Arabian Court celebrates the dramatic architecture of the Orient and tells the story of the formation of the United Arab Emirates through symbols and motifs. As is characteristic of Islamic design, water is used to enhance the feeling of space, shown to great effect at the Arabian Court entrance courtyard, where a gleaming pool draws the eye to the horizon and to an enticing glimpse of the sea beyond. The entrance leads directly to the impressive Grand Gallery, that links the two wings of accommodation. Wide sun-bathed corridors rise into seven magnificent hand-painted domes, each representing one of the seven Emirates. The intricate tile floor is embossed with seven-pointed mosaic stars, and the earthy colour scheme was cleverly selected to represent the seven differing shades of the seven sands of the Emirates.

Reflecting the recurring appearance of life-giving water and offsetting the warm tones of the desert, cool blue is found in luxuriant velvet cushions and soft furnishings. Bright walkways and inner courtyards inspired by ancient Islamic palaces, are given decorative flourishes such as traditional metal lanterns, contemporary cascading glass chandeliers, custom-made carved wooden furniture and iron chairs finished with pearlescent mosaics. Flashes of colour are found in floor tiles of jewel-like hues and dark wood lanterns with panels of orange glass, softened by giant urns filled with kentia palms.

The most intimate experience of One&Only Royal Mirage, with just 49 guest rooms and suites and a two-bedroom Beach Garden Villa is the Residence & Spa, offering an exclusive hideaway. Luxury meets the comforts of the most upscale home with opulent rooms offering views across the Arabian Gulf from outdoor balconies above sweetly scented gardens. At the heart are The Library Lounge and The Dining Room, accessed via a magnificent wooden dual staircase. Floor-to-ceiling arched glass doors, leading out to the Residence & Spa’s abundant gardens, fill the space in a natural light while large plants add to the distinctive feel of a grand conservatory. Conceived as a place for guests to take daily afternoon tea, peruse the morning papers or recline before dinner, The Library Lounge exudes comfortable elegance – with plush sofas and high-backed upholstered chairs for maximum style. A vaulted wooden book cabinet serves as the room’s focal point, the shelves stocked with classics sourced from the oldest bookstore in Dubai. The Dining Room offers a dining space that offers all the charm of the finest boutique hotel and the comforts of home.

As much a part of the design story as the interiors, 65 acres of verdant gardens offer a quietude and serenity for guests, with winding pathways flanked with blooming Bougainvillea and fragrant frangipani trees leading to the resort’s three swimming pools and expansive stretch of private beach. Imagined by US landscape architects EDSA, water remains at the visual and symbolic heart of the design. A spectacular example is the impressive esplanade bordered with flowers leading down from the central steps of Residence & Spa. Typical in Islamic gardens, the theme of water and shade runs through the resort – with various covered areas offering guests a space for rest and contemplation.

For reservations or more information, please visit oneandonlyresorts.com