You’d almost miss the Park Regis Boutique Jumeirah Hotel as you drive along Jumeirah Beach Road. Tucked away on a prime corner of the Umm Suqeim Beach, at first sight it melds unassumingly into the area’s low-rise skyline. But once you catch a glimpse of the whitewashed building, there’s no way you can get its latticed walls and dark wooden wind-catcher-style windows out of your range of vision.
To weave itself into the neighbourhood it’s part of, and still stand out without the flash and fanfare of a luxury property, is exactly what the Park Regis Boutique Jumeirah Hotel aims to do. It’s not just sticking to the main ethos of what a boutique hotel should be, it’s also sticking to the numbers: It has just 21 rooms and an airy little Balkan bistro called 21 Grams.
It’s a conscious effort on the hotel’s part, says director of sales and marketing, Jane Frazer. ‘We’re targeting more of a traveller than a tourist; someone who’s looking for a different kind of experience. Dubai is full of very luxurious, upmarket hotels, whereas this has got a slightly different, multinational appeal.’
And a ‘traveller’ has no interest in being cooped up in a spa or a gym when the entire city lies waiting for them to explore – which is why the hotel has no additional leisure facilities.
To the average Dubai vacationer that might seem astonishing – does it even fall into the hotel category with only 21 keys? As we found out during our weekend staycation at the property, yes, it does. We didn’t mind the fact that there was no pool or sauna – the open beach is a three-minute walk away and no spa therapy or organised cultural tour can match up to the multinational babble you soak up walking through the beach as the soothing waves relax you.
It’s a far cry from its plush neighbours, the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the Burj Al Arab, but Park Regis Boutique’s charm lies in the fact that it is contained and compact, which allows the staff to pay guests individual attention. From check-in to check-out and everything in between, front desk made us feel like welcome, like we were spending the night at a friend’s place. ‘The team are very well trained and can explain the different things to do in the city; one of their passions is making sure that people make the most of their stay. They’ll can help you with all the details, from what’s the best time to go to the beach, or which attractions you need to visit and how.’ Jane explains.
It’s that friendly atmosphere that translates into the rooms, too (there are six room types). The Regis Family Suite that was our abode for the night was anything but intimidating. Done up in modern Arabic style with warm neutrals and rustic elements such as a wooden ladder instead of a clothes hanger and rope-strung lights and woven baskets, the rooms feel like the stylish yet understated home of a friend; a friend who has a minibar stocked with healthy and organic snacks that have a local flavour (dates) and wardrobes containing fluffy bathrobes, slippers, towels and a Nespresso machine and a spacious balcony that overlooks a mosque on one side and the hustle and bustle of the city on the other. It’s a great spot for people watching.
While the décor, architecture and overall location of the hotel root it in the Jumeirah area’s blend of old and new, modern and Arabic elements, its F&B outlet 21 Grams adds the hint of cosmopolitanism that defines the area. Breakfast at the quaint little establishment (named after the latitude of the Balkan peninsula and the hypothetical weight of the human soul) feels like dining in a café in Europe – it’s at once both removed and rooted in Dubai; the floor-to-ceiling windows offered great views of Jumeirah waking up to Friday morning but the scrummy polenta we tucked into was soul food derived from centuries of homemade Balkan recipes handed down through generations. The independent eatery has already cultivated a steady stream of regulars.
While visitors and international travellers might find the hotel a whimsical and different experience, what’s in it for local residents?
It’s an opportunity to rediscover your city through fresh eyes – without the din and clamour of spas or myriad activities or a fancy room that you’d loathe to leave there’s a lot of time to disconnect from daily life and enjoy nearby attractions such as Jumeirah Mosque, artsy Al Quoz and the beach. For the international traveller, the boutique mid-market range allows to focus on what’s important – a good night’s sleep and great food in a top location – and spend the rest on exploring the destination they’re visiting.
What Park Regis has done is tap into Dubai’s growing demand for a midmarket sector. ‘Midmarket is where [the future] is, hotels with an intimate yet contemporary feel. Travellers are more discerning now,’ Jane says. It’s one of the reasons why the Park Regis brand decided to launch a boutique offering in Jumeirah instead of a more conventional hotel like the existing Park Regis Kris Krin in Bur Dubai. ‘We’re not a cookie-cutter brand. To have a boutique that could combine the area’s tradition, history, culture and art, that’s why we wanted to bring the boutique brand as opposed to just a soulless entity,’ she adds.
If our one-night stay at this chic beachside property was anything to go by it has a lot more soul than just 21 grams.
Classic double rooms from Dh356 per night; visit parkregisboutiquedubai.ae.
Note: Parking can be an issue in the area, so while the concierge will always find you a spot, we suggest ditching the car at home and exploring the area on foot.