Not too far out of Dubai off the E611 is the new St. Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club. While it’s not actually that far away, you definitely feel like you’ve left behind the hustle and bustle of the big city for this swanky sanctuary in the desert with its unobtrusive low-rise buildings and four verdant polo fields.
It’s only been open since March and they’ve recently launched their Polo Brunch. I guess it makes sense since they bill themselves as the first-ever equestrian-inspired resort worldwide and polo is the hotel chain’s signature sport. Not to mention, we all know how much Dubai loves polo!
The brunch takes place across two restaurants: the all-day dining restaurant, Andalucia, and the fine dining steakhouse, The Grill Pit. You can choose to sit in either location. The Andalucia is the atrium dining room with natural light and high ceilings. There’s a sweeping staircase against one wall at the top of which were a keyboardist and violinist playing live lounge music which add to the Gatsby-esque ambiance. The Grill Pit is a more intimate, clubby affair with booths and dark accents.
The buffet is lavish and sophisticated with its ceviche bar, fois gras cooking station, giant paella, seafood section with oysters and crab legs, and prime meats grilled to order (including the best lamb chops). You’ll also find unique touches like the pasta bar serving five different kinds of homemade ravioli (including a stellar seafood ravioli wrapped in black squid ink pasta) and a digestif trolley serving brandy and rum-based drinks.
It’s also a great place for families since kids under 12 eat for free. Not only that, but they have a separate kiddie buffet, a cotton candy machine (which the adults can enjoy too!), an ice cream counter, and face-painting.
If it all sounds too upmarket, no worries, as you’ll also find the standard buffet fare like roasts and your typical buffet stations serving breads, soups, starters, salads, hot mains and, of course, cheeses and desserts.
And the best part? The polo afterwards! After you’ve eaten as much as you can manage, roll out of the dining room to the terrace overlooking the polo fields, grab another drink, and enjoy the rest of your peaceful Friday afternoon outside of the city.
Brunch takes place every Friday from 12:30 to 4pm. AED 295 with soft drinks, AED 395 with house bevvies, AED 495 with bubbly. Kids under 12 are free!
Verdict: A great way to spend a Friday with the family, especially if there’s a polo match on.
Note to self: If you have a preference of where to sit, reserve in advance as it may be difficult to change on the day if the brunch is full! Rates may vary according to which polo matches are on.
The St. Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club
Wadi Al Safa 6
Emirates Road 611
Tel: 04 435 4444
Chow for now!