Set within Jumeirah Zabeel Saray’s lush landscaped gardens, lie 38 exclusive Royal Residences. These hidden gems play host to the world’s elite who regularly fly in from all corners of the globe. We take a sneak peek behind the scenes…
From unpacking guests’ luggage to creating the perfect marriage proposals and tracking down the most elusive items, it’s all in a day’s work for Rahul Gupta, the Royal Residences villa manager. His team ensures the needs of every guest are met from the second they step off the plane to the moment they leave to return home – and they are always standing by ready to go above and beyond.
Priced between $2,000 – $7,000 a night (depending on the season) guests enjoy exclusive privacy and impeccably high standards. “As soon as guests arrive to the Royal Residences, they are taken directly to their villa for a private check-in,” Rahul explains. And from that point on, his team is on hand 24/7 to cater to their every need.
Guests can choose from three different types of villas – beach, lagoon or seafront – each has its own style and special features. Once inside, they will find private pools, a shared swimming pool (which is one of the largest in the UAE at 4,400m2), a kitchen, 4 or 5 en-suite bedrooms, a gym, maid’s quarters, garage, walk-in wardrobes, luxuriously appointed Jacuzzi baths, the list goes on – the largest villas even have an elevator.
The beautiful interiors are adorned with elegant furniture, (inspired by the Ottoman empire) Turkish motifs, rich dark wood parquet flooring, opulent fabrics, with splendid shades of gold and ivory featured throughout.
Guest requests range from the mundane to the magnificent and Rahul recalls some fascinating anecdotes from his 6.5 years working at the villas. “I remember once rushing off to a sports shop to purchase a treadmill for one of our guests. Another time I remember being asked by a guest to refurbish an entire villa with brand new furniture on the day they checked in.” Rahul and his team (with the help of the engineering department) also built and decorated a stunning gazebo on the beach for the ultimate marriage proposal and once found themselves searching the length and breadth of Dubai to find a guest’s favourite Uzbek cuisine.
“The guests and butlers form quite special bonds and money is no object, so when a guest makes a request, we never say no. I remember once during bad weather, a guest’s husband had just arrived at Dubai airport and she was waiting for him at the villas. The Palm Jumeirah roads had been shut due to flooding therefore making it impossible for her husband to get to the hotel. The lady in question called her butler, (who had actually finished his shift and gone home) and just said ‘see what you can do.’
Determined to make it happen, the butler came up with a cunning plan. First he took a taxi to the airport to collect the guest and brought him to the Palm Jumeirah entrance (where they found the road was still closed). They then took the Palm Monorail service along the trunk. Once at the station, they walked for over an hour, until they reached the Royal Residence and the guest’s astonished wife – a remarkable example of one butler on a mission to go the extra mile.