It’s hard to imagine sometimes that there are veritable oases within busy cities, but just 20 minutes away from Downtown Dubai lies the Meliá Desert Palm resort, a boutique five-star hotel nestled alongside an equestrian school and polo fields.

Secluded from the outer world’s hustle and bustle, the interior design of the Spanish-inspired resort mirrors its locale with saddles displayed across the property and equestrian-themed artwork dotting the resort. With rooms and suites as well as private pool villas, the hotel caters to everyone’s needs.

The bedrooms are decidedly old-school yet with a contemporary flair – with emperor-sized mattresses and a dark brown colour palette across the rooms. Rain showers with a skylight allowing natural light to stream in are a highlight.

Palm deluxe room
Palm deluxe room


The boutique resort offers a variety of food and beverage options, whatever the mood. Start off the day with breakfast at the brasserie, Epicure, by perching on one of the tables alongside the infinity pool. Later in the day, pop over to the al fresco Polo Bar where the sunset can be enjoyed in a tranquil setting.

The star attraction, however, is the steakhouse, Rare, which is where couples can indulge in the special menu that forms part of the hotel’s romantic experience in September. Couples who book the full package, which includes a stay, will arrive at the restaurant to find red roses arranged artfully on the table alongside ruby-red heart-shaped napkins. The three-course intimate dinner starts with either smoked burrata with basil, roasted tomatoes and microgreens or grilled lobster with Spanish vinaigrette, soft garlic purée and roasted carrot mousseline. The decadence continues with the main course: choose between a tenderloin with quinoa and truffle potato foam or black cod served with asparagus citric risotto and sauce Vierge. Both are grilled to perfection on the restaurant’s oakwood-fired grill. Dessert options include a heart-shaped chocolate lava cake with sesame ice cream or a large bowl of crème brûlée with fresh berries. Sit either by the window or outside while overlooking the stunning polo grounds; either way, it’s a meal with a romantic view.

The menu has been curated by Argentinean head chef Gaston Herrera, who says that since moving to the Meliá Desert Palm Dubai more than two years ago, he has tried to create an identity with the traditional Argentinian Asado.

He says: “I always say that for having the best food in your plate, you need to have the best product.” Chef Gaston reveals that he took a year to find the right charcoal and wood for his grill and proudly claims that he can always tell whenever suppliers change the quality of these items. “You use fire all your life in Argentina; my first Asado was when I was 8 years old,” he explains.

The signature restaurant stays true to its roots and only serves Angus Argentinean beef, which is also allowed to stay true to its character.

“We don’t marinate or season [the steaks] too much – we only use Maldon sea salt. The secret is in the fire.”

Head to Rare for a romantic meal this September

Head to Rare for a romantic meal this September


A sense of calm and escape pervades the entire resort, no matter where you go. To completely unwind, head to the Samana Spa where two couple spa suites and seven spa suites await weary residents. Treatments aside, there are heated stone beds and a relaxation room for tranquility, along with experience showers.

Nature is an important element of the resort: the grounds are beautifully manicured, with pathways along the private villas dripping with green shade and equestrian-themed sculptures. Walking along these shaded paths will lead guests to the large Stables Fitness Centre, where ceiling-to-floor glass windows overlook the green fields – work out alongside your partner while taking in the scenery.

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