Someone wise once said, âTwenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didnât do than by the ones you did do.â As we get older, and come face to face with reality and the hardships of life â we tend to put aside dreams and yearnings conjured up during our younger years.
Case in point was my longing to get married on a beach, and not just any beach â had to be on one of the lovely islands in Seychelles. My better half and I wanted to look back and smile at the prospect of jointly ticking an item that figured in both of our bucket lists. But obviously this came at a high cost â involved a lot of sleepless nights, careful budgeting and plain coordination of every aspect of our destination wedding to the T. Needless to say, with the final pieces to the wedding jigsaw puzzle firmly in its place, it left both me and my beau a bit stressed â very relieved, but stressed. And that was no way for a young couple to embark on a fairy tale journey of a lifetime â so using our Starwood points we booked ourselves into a luxurious pad at the Le Royal Club Le Meridien Dubai, for a few days of blissful pampering and rejuvenation. After all, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
I have a soft spot for Starwood properties and most often than not know what to expect out of each brand â for lack of a better term, you can say I live out of a suitcase â an SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest â loyalty programme) branded suitcase. But jokes aside, most Starwood properties usually have a few floors reserved for loyal SPG members or VIP Club level floors. But not Le Royal Club â this is a separate building altogether, with all floors within this luxurious structure housing bespoke VIP Royal Club rooms. Small caveat though â even if you arenât an SPG member you can still avail these rooms.
After pleasantly being attended to during check-in, and post welcome drinks we were escorted to our room on one of the higher floors â and the first thing that strikes you is the colour scheme. The white and purple coloured dÃ©cor is a welcome sight for sore eyes. Very fresh and relaxing it just draws you in. With floor to ceiling windows allowing for natural sunlight to seep in, this ‘smart room’ that I’ve checked into has digital panels everywhere – creature comforts at the touch of a button – epitomizing true modern class.
Not just that, as a valued SPG member you also get a welcome fruit basket, fresh juices and a lovely chocolate/sweet platter – loved loved loved the macarons. Did I say, I loved the macarons?
Now, I donât easily get surprised â but one of the coolest things about our stay was the fact that we had our very own Jacuzzi bath tub in our room. How cool is that? Suffice to say, I spent a lot of time in there â just day dreaming about Seychelles or plain laughing to myself â much to the amusement of my better half.
On another note, all guests staying in the Le Royal wing of Le Meridien have access to the Royal Club lounge, where you can snack on canapÃ©s or indulge yourself in a plethora of drink options throughout the day â all the while socializing with other patrons (you do meet some very interesting people).
Talking about special privileges of checking into a Le Royal Club room â well you get to use the amazing ambient lit rooftop swimming pool in the Royal wing â separate from the one found in the adjacent Le Meridien building. A bit of privacy goes a long way, especially when you have a breath-taking sunset to soak in.
When it comes to dining, you are a bit spoilt for options as the adjacent Meridien Village houses quite a few top notch restaurants. Being Asian, I tend to lean towards Far Eastern cuisine and opted for SukoThai â I was after all craving comfort food.
Authentically Thai in design with dark wood interiors, the restaurant made for a regal feel when I was ushered in for dinner service. The lighting was just right evoking a sense of intimacy, and putting one in a relaxed state. It’s little wonder why this place gets filled up quite fast.
A few of the highlights of the evening were the deep fried king fish cakes – absolutely yum – so much so that I ended up ordered another plate.
The flower shaped chicken dumplings made for a very pretty picture, and I couldn’t bring myself to have them – well almost. Big on flavours, packed in a tiny bite – I can’t recommend this dish enough.
From the soups selection, I opted for tom jued woonsen – which is essentially clear chicken soup served with glass noodles, mushrooms, carrots and a host of other veggies – only to make this very flavoursome. If you’re looking to skip on the curries, then try out the gai yang sa moon phrai (grilled marinated chicken served with aromatic Thai herbs, lemongrass, galangal and lime leaves) – you can thank me later.
Closing notes – romantic ambiance, flavoursome dishes and fantastic service makes this a must visit place for a slice of Thailand, right here in our backyard.
I had the cutest daydream about my beau and our beach wedding….and on that note, didn’t feel like getting out of these super comfy beds. Have you ever felt like this, or is it just me?
So after quickly freshening up, we headed to the Observatory on the Club Lounge level to recharge and renew – after all, happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast and we truly spoilt for choice with an amazing array of breakfast choices at our fingertips. You’ve got to try some of their signature breakfast dishes like Egg ‘Florentine’ style along with croque monsieur and Spanish frittata – morning goodness overload. Worth getting out of bed for!
â¦followed by another round of dipping in the pool. My better half thinks I must have been a mermaid in my previous life.
Immediately after that, we walked into the Natural Elements Spa to book ourselves a pampering retreat. Having been to this spa on multiple occasions prior, I knew what to expect â and to what length the staff go to ensure you have a really relaxing time.
Given that with all the running around attributed that goes hand in hand with personally planning a destination wedding, we were in dire need of some tender loving care â for we were knotted all over. The lovely manager on duty suggested we try out the signature couples massage and post treatment â we would recommend this to anyone in a heartbeat. Our therapists Pattita and Eldo ala magical mavericks, expertly kneaded every muscle knot, and left us feeling rejuvenated after 75mins of pure bliss. Just writing about this now, makes me want to head back to the spa and try out more of their treatments. Case in point is their signature Hammam treatment â maybe I ought to, what do you reckon?
All that kneading and stroking my muscles, left me with a voracious appetite. Luckily my beau had booked us for lunch at their Chinese specialty restaurant LongYin.
I simply adore Chinese food, and dumplings in particular – so just like a cute little bee being drawn to a flower, I was drawn to this restaurant. Itâs a quaint little restaurant, with pleasing dÃ©cor â easy on the eyes. Most importantly, the fine art on the dinnerware along with regal cutlery and friendly atmosphere gets you in the mood for a banquet fit for a queen.
Youâve got to try the shape of autumn leaf seafood dumplings – not only do they look very pretty, they actually taste quite exquisite.
Or if you’re having a massive craving for dumplings – opt for the LongYin platter (offering a choice of either steamed or fried) – I opted for the fried version, and I reckon I was transported to ‘crunch’ heaven.
For mains, I tried the aromatic crispy duck served with pancake and hoi sin sauce – all prepared table side, making it quite a treat.
In the end, all I can say is if you love Chinese cuisine then LongYin has some clear winners in their menu – making it a unique dining experience that will delight your palette. And extra brownie points for the beau for surprising me by opting for this restaurant. He knows, when I am craving certain food â I donât know how he does it, but whoâs complaining? Hehe
…..followed by another stint at the pool. Can’t get enough of this – you can tell.
But like most good things, they all come to an end. After a few days spent rejuvenating the body, mind and soul and feeling very relaxed – it was time for us to pack our bags and head to Seychelles. I can’t single out one particular person to give thanks at Le Meridien Dubai – for everyone we encountered went out of their way toÂ genuinely try to put a smile on our faces, and ensured our experiences were unparalleled –Â and for this reason alone we shall be back to live out yet another stay in the very near future.
In closing, here is a little something I put together â excerpts of my wonderful stay. Enjoy!