Some hotels have simply got it, an elusive factor that brings all the disparate strands of the hospitality industry together in a harmonious whole.
Step forward the Ritz-Carlton, Dubai. To win a place on Conde Nast’s Gold List, hotels are considered for the best service, rooms, food, ambience and design, leisure facilities and location.
Let us start with location: this hotel has a private stretch of 350 metres of the pristine white sands of the Jumeirah Beach, and the clear blue water of the Persian Gulf. Behind the hotel are the shops and restaurants of the Dubai Marina, offering a wealth of alternative attractions.
But all 138 rooms and suites overlook the two swimming pools, a river and waterfall pool and a quiet pool for adults only, and the extensive landscaped gardens leading down to the beach. The sunsets are fantastic.
The lower level of the hotel houses an extensive spa, beautifully equipped gymnasium and childcare facilities. AME Info can vouch for the excellent 80-minute signature massage treatment, a multicultural melange of massage styles.
For architectural ambience the low-level combination of Moorish and Islamic design with its terra-cotta roof tiles and Mediterranean charm is deceptively traditional for what is actually a relatively modern hotel. Internally there is a splendid lounge with a roof like a medieval hall, and twin sweeping staircases down from the lobby to access the beach.
The Ritz has three restaurants under the control of executive chef Marcus Dudley, who was the first non-European ever to win a Michelin Star. Seafood devotees will enjoy La Baie and the local catch, while downstairs the Splendido offers superb Italian cuisine. There is also an Asian themed poolside restaurant.
For an even more pampered stay you should try one of the 51 club rooms and suites on the upper floor. Guests have access to an exclusive club room with food and beverage presentations that change during the day from American breakfast through to champagne and cocktails and finally midnight snacks.
All the rooms are furnished in a rich, classical style with some of the most comfortable beds in the world. Bathrooms are the last word in marbled luxury with the rain-head shower cubicle also operating as a steam bath in the club rooms.
But the Ritz-Carlton hotel has long been renowned for good service and the Ladies and Gentlemen as the staff are known, always like to go a step further. It must help that the 350 staff comfortably out number the guests but service culture here is at the cutting edge.
So if you want the ultimate Dubai beach hotel experience then the Ritz-Carlton is the place to stay, and great for business or leisure.