When UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second lockdown, I decided to pack my laptop, my cases and book a flight to Dubai to live out the lockdown with some sunshine.
Previously I had never thought the life of a digital nomad was one that I could accomplish, with many of my clients needing me to deliver talks and mentoring face to face, this resulted in me travelling around the world to deliver for my clients. Which sounds luxurious but in reality is often a luxury stop in a country without seeing much of the territory other than the hotel, the office and the conference room.
Working from abroad is such a different concept and is one that the pandemic and technology have made very possible for speakers, mentors, coaches and entrepreneurs like myself. If the pandemic has caused you to think about the possibility of working abroad, you may well have considered Dubai for its city feel, strong wifi and even stronger weather conditions.
If you have been to or looked at Dubai you will know there are numerous hotels to choose from, but the Five hotel group comes very well recommended as one of the most ‘happening’ places to stay. Which begs the question, does a vibrant hotel also allow for efficient business and work travel? I decided to take a look.
FIVE Jumeirah Village Dubai
My first stop was the FIVE Jumeirah Village, a new chic lifestyle resort based in the
Jumeirah Village Circle. The building is an unusual circle shape which ensures every room has an extraordinary view of the city. With 247 luxurious rooms and 254 one, two and four-bedroom residential apartments with spectacular panoramic views, landscape terraces and private floating pools, this hotel offers something quite unique. We stayed in a two-bedroom apartment with spectacular floor to ceiling panoramic views and a private pool; with a room like that it was hard to want to leave. Luckily from a business and work perspective, with ample lounge space and a sizeable dining table there was sufficient space to work from. Although with enviable outdoor space it was difficult not to find oneself on the deck or in the pool working.
The beauty of having an apartment meant that when necessary you could cocoon yourself away and focus on work and not feel locked away.
When the work is done the hotel had a variety of entertainment options including Italian restaurant, “Trattoria by Cinque” by award-winning chef Giuseppe Pezzella, who dazzled us with a chefs menu that incorporated everything one could want from meal and a variety of courses that could send you rolling back to your room. Amongst other things, because every dish was lovely, I would encourage you to try the chocolate espresso martini!
If you feel like you actually want to leave your private pool (or if you have a room without), the social pool overlooks the Dubai skyline and has a fun vibe, with music and pool snacks. It certainly helped to aid my work life balance by taking a short lunch break or two down there. If you feel like something different of an evening, the Soul Street restaurant provided delectable gourmet street food, with a DJ pumping popular music out nice and loud to provide a party ambience. Oh and there is a state of the art gym to work it all off.
Guests at FIVE Jumeirah Village Dubai also get to access the restaurants and beach facilities at sister property FIVE Palm Jumeirah. Which is a great advantage from a value for money perspective, the accommodation is less expensive at FIVE JV with the opportunity to indulge in the more vibrant Palm location when work is less hectic.
As I had booked to stay at both hotels in the Five brand, the team coordinated my move from one to the other sending a chauffeur driven Tesla to take us over and straight into the new room.
FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai
Dubbed the hottest hotel on Palm Jumeirah, FIVE Palm Jumeirah is self proclaimed as the “No1 Party/ dare-to-be-different hotel that captures the glamour and vibe of Dubai”. On entrance to the foyer you can feel the difference, you are hit with a luxury aesthetic immediately mixed with a view straight into a very busy social pool area with party vibes. You cannot help but feel you have ‘arrived’ when you walk into the foyer, although I had intentionally chosen to stay here for 4 days including the weekend, I did think, will I get any work done here?
On entrance to the hotel room we were met with a lovely welcome note, personalised robe and cushions. The room was a lot smaller than what we had experienced at the FIVE JV but not without all of the amenities we needed; a desk to work from, a sofa to relax on and a balcony that overlooked a stunning view of the beach, pool and Dubai
Marina skyline. For a comparable price point, it was evident why someone might choose the 2 bed apartment with private pool at the FIVE JV instead but you wouldn’t have the full FIVE Palm experience.
The FIVE Palm has a lot to offer, from the social pool with great music and food all day to the gourmet Chinese restaurant Maiden Shanghai; Italian ristorante Cinque and beachside coastal restaurant Praia perfect for a late night shisha with a sea and city scape backdrop. I experienced them all and they each had so much to offer. I went with the chefs menu at both the restaurants and the array of dishes Italian and Chinese were stunning.
In line with the agenda of ‘is it feasible to work from Dubai’. I broke my day up into segments, the morning shift, afternoon shift and late night shift to allow me to experience all that the FIVE had to offer and work the UK time zone for clients and staff. The time zone also meant that I had the opportunity to attend The Penthouse, a roof top bar with exceptional views of the beach and skyline and an envious Japanese menu including black cod, a favourite of mine. With the penthouse open until 3am, you might think that would be enough entertainment, that is until I found the ‘Secret Room’ an intimate Hip Hop and RnB nightclub in the basement.
After an eventful few days, I was delighted to have some me-time (or rather us time), we booked into a couples deep tissue massage and I would have to say it was one of the best hotel massages I’ve had. The spa was absolutely stunning which added to the enjoyment of the spa and steam room experience.
The FIVE group are known for being a party and culinary hotspot, which means if you are partial to loud music, the odd apartment party, a roof top bar, underground club and mouth-watering cuisine this is the hotel for you. As I am partial to those things as well as having a conducive working environment when I need it, it worked for me.
The FIVE is ideal for young (at heart or in age), well-to-do entrepreneurs who want to embrace the perfect combination of fun and luxury in a modern environment, they have everything you need, so long as you can focus and pull yourself away from the fun for long enough to do the work you need to do to pay the bill!