Pages Navigation Menu

Now you can ski, shop and spa in Dubai! Elisabeth Rushton shares her sixth visit to Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates - Dubai's luxury ski resort in the desert.

Dubai’s luxury ski resort

Competition amongst Dubai hotels to outclass one another in the luxury stakes is fierce. Outside the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates you will find the usual gaggle of gleaming Lamborghinis and Ferraris that are scattered outside all the premier addresses in Dubai, but this hotel boasts a real USP: Ski Dubai – the world’s third largest indoor ski resort complete with one of the world’s longest indoor ski slopes and the biggest covered snow park. No mean feat for a hotel built in a desert. With cosy chalets overlooking Ski Dubai, this five-star hotel deluxe hotel offers one of Dubai’s most unique sleeps. In addition to the ski slopes, there is direct access to the city’s second-largest shopping mall, with cafés, cinemas and more than 560 stores.

I have stayed at this hotel on no less than five separate occasions. I first visited in 2009, and have been back every couple of years, most recently visiting with my husband and nine month old baby daughter. I have stayed in over a dozen hotels in Dubai, and this is my favourite, for four main reasons: location, amenities, food and staff.


Located between Downtown Dubai and Dubai Marina, and adjacent to the Mall of the Emirates with ready access to its metro station, the hotel is ideal for both sightseeing and shopping. Mall of the Emirates is slightly smaller than Dubai Mall (the largest mall in Dubai, and indeed, the world), but I prefer it; there is less hustle and bustle, and the restaurants are typically less crowded. For many, the attraction of Dubai lies in the sandy beaches of the resorts on and around Palm Jumeirah or Jebel Ali, but with a young baby, the prospect of sand was not appealing. The spacious rooftop pool area at Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, replete with two large swimming pools, one of which is designated for families, was perfect – not least because a large segment of the pool area remains shaded for most of the day, so it was easy to keep my daughter out of the sun.


Spa at Kempinski, Dubai

Softouch Spa

The hotel is a destination in itself, offering a complete leisure experience with state-of-the-art health club, Ayurveda wellness centre, pools and tennis court. Both my husband and I went to the well-equipped gym on a daily basis. The Softouch Spa, which is overseen by Dr Sheloob, is the perfect place to get pampered. I decided to go for an ‘Arabian Journey’ (given my location), which comprised a polishing treatment, massage and a yogurt wrap, before a final, blissful scalp massage. The massage oil consisted of an elixir infused with olive oil and beeswax, which, my masseuse explained, was designed to warm and relax the body, and to increase hydration lost from the desert heat.

One of the most appealing aspects of the hotel is the interior design. The recently refurbished marble-clad lobby features soaring ceilings, velvet sofas and Arabic accents. Elsewhere, interiors are cool and contemporary with textured white walls and plush grey carpet. All the hotel’s 393 rooms (85 of which are suites) are exquisitely appointed with a contemporary decor exuding a warm and residential feel. With a dozen different room types, ranging from sleek suites with Executive Lounge access to breezy pool chalets, the hotel has something to suit all tastes. Spacious standard rooms feature Arabesque headboards, high thread-count linens and marble bathrooms, but the sophisticated ski chalets – think earthy tones, wooden floors, antler chandeliers and crackling faux fireplaces – are worth the splurge. Order an aperitif from your white-gloved butler, snuggle up on the chaise lounge by the floor-to-ceiling window, and watch the skiers swish down the slopes – it will feel more like Davos than Dubai. On this trip, we stayed in an Executive Junior Suite, which consisted of a large bedroom, sitting room, marble bathroom and separate guest loo. One of the benefits conferred by staying in an Executive room is that guests may access the Executive Lounge, where canapés and alcoholic drinks are served during the evening.

There are two excellent casual restaurants to choose from, along with the glamorous Noir cocktail bar, swim-up pool bar and lobby lounge. Salero Tapas & Bodega has quirky décor, Spanish staff and authentic food, while the buzzy central bar is perfect for a pre-dinner drink. Levantine restaurant Olea is really excellent, with a team of chefs from Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Palestine preparing hot and cold mezze and traditional favourites like musakhan (roasted chicken with sumac). Our visit coincided with UAE day, so dinner was buffet-style. Every dish was superb, from the smoky moutabal (eggplant dip) and succulent grilled lamb to the super sweet kunafa (cheese and pastry dessert). The breakfast spread is just as good, with hot and cold options, and thoughtful details such as gluten-free bread and seven types of honey. Service in the restaurants, and indeed throughout the hotel, is efficient and friendly, with an experienced concierge team and 24-hour room service.

salero-tapas-bodega-2 Kempinski Mall Dubai

At the end of our ten day stay, we were on first name terms with many of the staff, and were already planning our next visit for the following year. This is a superb hotel – whether you are travelling with or without children – and I cannot recommend it more highly.


For further details and to book visit:

Sheikh Zayed Rd – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Tel: +971 4 341 0000





Pin It

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.