Published on : Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Surrounded by the sparkling night skies of the Arabian desert, with the echoes of vibrant conversations, the notes of the oud and the luscious aromas of ouzi and khameer in the air, Qasr Al Sultan is a destination experience that captures the days of Sultans in contemporary Dubai.
Bringing alive time-honored traditions of Arabian hospitality, Qasr Al Sultan, developed by Dubai Gourmet, is a heritage and lifestyle destination for the whole family that is anchored by culinary delights and cultural treasures. Located in the Dubai desert, close to Dubai Parks and Resorts and The Outlet Village, and easily accessible from Dubai as well as Abu Dhabi, the newly-opened destination features a sweeping layout whose centerpiece is a communal banquet served up in an expansive dining area, much like in the days of Sultans. Accompanied by a series of performances highlighting traditional entertainment styles on a stage with a life-sized Dhow serving as backdrop, the feast offers couples, families and friends the chance to gather and partake in a memorable Arabian experience.
“The Sultans of Arabia have left a deep imprint on the culture of the Middle East, influencing not just our customs but also our cuisine, art, attire and lifestyles. We have used this as an inspiration to fashion Qasr Al Sultan as a family-destination that offers visitors from around the world a window into the past, present and future of the region. Guests to the destinations can savour an awe-inspiring array of flavours and enjoy the famed traditions of Arabian hospitality. Whether you are a visitor or a long-term resident of the UAE, Qasr Al Sultan will be a place of novelties and new experiences,” stated Abdin Nasralla, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Gourmet.
Qasr Al Sultan is home to a number of experiences, from the joys of shopping for traditional ware in the souq, viewing bona fide Arabian customs in Dukan Zaman, to pony rides and play at the Kids Club. The journey starts at the doorstep, as guests, led by the fragrance of bukhoor, make their way to the Arabic Majlis, where a warm Arabian greeting awaits. After being served a hot cup of Arabic coffee and juicy dates, guests are encouraged to take in the traditional setting, complete with an authentic Noria water wheel in the background.
From the Majlis, guests can venture into the bustle of a traditional Arabian souq with its plethora of jewellery, carpets, paintings, textiles in addition to souvenirs, all available to purchase. Guests can also experience traditional craft, such as henna and sand-art – symbols of the strong aesthetic and artistic pedigree of the region.
Leaving behind the sounds of the souk, guests can enter the Spice and Fruit Bazaar, followed by The Food Bazaar, which features an elaborate line-up of dishes made from 500 ingredients and prepared at interactive live cooking stations. The chefs on site demonstrate the crafting of classic delicacies such as shawarmas, roasted chicken dressed in a secret marinade, intricately-prepared lamb shoulders as well as aromatic Arabian bread, freshly baked all evening in an oven suspended above the dining room. For an added measure of drama, guests can witness the making of the traditional Ouzi, with meat cooked in an underground oven for 8-10 hours and then raised out with a winch to be served steaming and succulent to the gathered diners.
The expansive dining area features open seating as well as Majlis-style seating, including a Royal Majlis for groups of 30 or more, but for a more inspired experience, guest can channel their inner monarch at Maedat Al Sultan. An exclusive dining experience with private chefs and butlers, the venue’s top table provides diners a glimpse of the art behind the culinary magic. This al fresco cooking station seats 12 diners with the meal cooked live at the table. Maedat Al Sultan guests can also enjoy valet parking and exclusive gifts, in addition to excellent views of the main stage as well as special, bespoke performances.
Whilst the guests are savoring an assortment of flavours, a trumpet call signals the start of the live entertainment. Predominantly taking place on the central stage, overlooked by a majestic Dhow, the daily set brings together forty performers showcasing dances such as Dabka and belly dance as well as shows of Habriya, the traditional Emirati dance Youla, Oud recitals and other traditional instruments every night. The Middle Eastern entertainment harks back to the days of when pearl drivers scoured the waterways in their dhows in search of treasures.
Guests can also make their way to the beautifully laid-out shisha lounge to relax and socialize to the strains of live music. With the adults enjoying the food and music, the destination’s youngest guests can master new skills at the Qasr Al Sultan Kids Club, where they can enjoy camel and pony rides and learn new crafts under the guidance of the resident child-care specialists.
For culture-vultures, Dukan Zaman is a must-visit blast-from-the-past, which commemorates the heritage of the region through displays charting the evolution of a fishing village into a modern metropolis. The on-site Library, a haven for prolific readers, is composed of tomes on history, Arab culture, geography as well as children’s literature and classics from around the world.
Qasr Al Sultan is open for dinner from 7 pm onwards. Prices start from AED 435 for adults and AED 250 for children, which includes the Food Bazaar buffet, mineral water, soft drinks, coffee, tea, municipality fees, service charge and tax, camel rides, horse and pony rides and visits to Dukan Zaman. Special rates apply for groups of 15 and above.