Escape on a ski holiday without the hassle or cost of air travel at Aspen Ski Chalets by Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates. From sipping on hot cocoa overlooking the slopes, to indulging on international cuisines from various on-site eateries, BBC Good Food Middle East takes a look inside one of Dubai’s most exclusive staycation spots.
What’s it like?
It could be 40°C outside, but you’d never know once inside Kempinski Hotel MOE’s Aspen Chalet lobby, where the air feels almost icy, crisp and refreshing as you enter, and the light white and blue interiors add to the welcoming experience. It’s a ‘hotel within a hotel’ concept that offers 15 impressive Aspen Ski Chalets overlooking Ski Dubai (as pictured above), plus five Aspen Pool Chalets, that face out onto a private pool deck. There’s a range of room options available, including a breathtaking three-bedroom ski chalet, the two bedroom ski chalet, duplex ski chalet, plus the single room ski chalet – catering to the needs of families and couples alike, and all equally as cosy as the other. Inside, you’re greeted with exciting views of the ski slope and a warm cup of cinnamon-infused fruity tea, which reminded me of mulled wine – a perfect accompaniment for enjoying next to the fire (well, ‘fake’ fire, but nonetheless, it gives the room a lovely warm, wintry feel – it even makes crackling noises like a real log fire would). The dark wood interiors are complemented by grey stone walls, furry rugs, huggable pillows and soft throws – it’s all very charming and instantly transports you to a scene from Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
What’s to eat?
Kempinski Hotel offers a range of culinary options, including a lively Spanish eatery called Salero Tapas & Bodega that serves up authentic bites from Spain, there’s a lovely Levantine restaurant, Olea, plus a European-style lobby restaurant named Aspen by Kempinski – not forgetting room service, which is perfect for ordering and enjoying at the dining room table which overlooks the slope from the larger chalets. Every Thursday at Olea, the Levantine dinner event sees the restaurant come alive with cooking stations and street food trolleys. For Dhs195 per person (non-alcoholic), Dhs245 (house beverages) or Dhs325 (sparkling), you can indulge on authentic bites from the saj corner or shwarma stand. There’s also vibrant live music every night (except Mondays) at Olea from 8 – 11pm, and shisha available on the outdoor terrace. Meanwhile, down at Salero Tapas & Bodega, the party gets going on Wednesdays at flamenco night between 8 and 10pm when the restaurant shakes things up with a guitarist and traditional Spanish singer. Or, visit on a Friday for the fiesta brunch that sees fiery flamenco dancers entertain the restaurant while tapas and sangria are served. The brunch is priced at Dhs295 (unlimited Spanish beverages and soft drinks), or Dhs350 (house beverages), and children from five to 12 years dine for Dhs125, while children under five are free. In terms of ‘must-try’ dishes, the gambas al ajillo (sautéed shrimps in garlic and chilli), paella, and the Iberian delicatessen platter were deliciously cooked. And if you’re heading for a drink, don’t miss the 50% off selected drinks Happy Hour every day at Salero from 4 – 7pm and from Saturday to Wednesday from 11pm to 12am. For breakfast and lunch, Aspen café has multiple promotions on offer. For just Dhs48 per person, enjoy a Parisian breakfast of coffee or tea with a wide selection fresh bakes. Or, head down for a pristine Afternoon Tea experience that’s served 3 – 6pm daily. For Dhs150 each or Dhs280 per couple, the package includes two hot beverages each, accompanied by a menu that goes from savoury – baby shrimp cocktail and avocado tarts – to sweet – praline chocolate éclairs and berry cheesecake. As a guest of the Aspen Ski Chalets, you’ll also be granted access to the Executive Lounge, where you can delight in breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea options, plus more.
An extremely unique offering – not just in Dubai, but worldwide. Service is second to none and the experience leaves you feeling refreshed and as if you’ve travelled to cooler climates. It’s a special staycation to enjoy with your loved one or the family. And, I don’t know about you, but I know where I’m hoping to check-in to this Christmas….