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Breaking Travel News investigates: Coronavirus on the Palm Jumeirah

Breaking Travel News investigates: Coronavirus on the Palm Jumeirah

Dubai is currently in the middle of a process of containment as the emirate battles the coronavirus pandemic.

While only moderately impacted at this time – with around 200 cases reported so far – authorities have acted to limit any further spread.

Both Etihad and Emirates have grounded the vast majority of flights into the United Arab Emirates, while a number of hospitality restrictions have been put in place.

Earlier this month, the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce ordered the immediate closure of bars, pubs and lounges as a precautionary measure.

Controls are likely to remain in place until at least the end of the month, and potentially a great deal longer.

Officials explained: “Dubai Tourism will continuously evaluate the situation in coordination with health authorities.”

So, what does this mean for the Palm Jumeirah, the epicentre of the hospitality sector in Dubai and the wider Middle East?

Breaking Travel News reached out to a number of hotels on the manmade archipelago to find out.

As of this week, Atlantis, the Palm remains open.

However, as a precautionary measure all parks, entertainment facilities, pools, beaches, bars, restaurants, gyms and spas have been closed.

The move is in line with the aforementioned instructions from the United Arab Emirates government and Dubai authorities.

The affected areas at Atlantis, the Palm include Aquaventure Waterpark, the Lost Chambers Aquarium, he Ambassador Lagoon, Dolphin Bay and Sea Lion Point.

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The Imperial Club Beach, Royal Beach, Aquaventure Beach and White Beach have also all been temporarily closed.

Finally, all restaurants and bars - excluding the Imperial Club Lounge, Bread Street Kitchen and Ronda Locatelli - have suspended operations.

These outlets will only be serving in-house guests.

The measures are likely to remain in place for at least two weeks, or until further directions are issued by the local authorities.

In common with other properties on the Palm, Sofitel Dubai the Palm remains open, but with limited services.

General manager Christophe Schnyder told Breaking Travel News: “We are still operating, strictly adhering to the Dubai government authorities ‘ instructions.

“As a result, we only have our Porterhouse restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, catering only to our in-house guests and residents.”

The hotel offers visitors a chance to discover a warm French-Polynesian welcome on the east crescent of the world-famous Palm Jumeirah – and now could be the ideal time to visit.

“We have some attractive staycations offers available for residents of the United Arab Emirates who want to escape the daily routine of staying at home,” added Schnyder.

While similar restrictions are in place at Emerald Place Kempinski Dubai, the hotel us urging guests to take the plunge with a special offer.

The property – which is inspired by the palaces of Europe – is offering a 30 per cent discount on stays over three nights or more.

With an extra night, guests can immerse themselves in the elegantly curated rooms and suites, while also savouring world-class dining experiences, such as miX by Alain Ducasse.

Visitors will have ample time to relax and explore the myriad of attractions Dubai has to offer.

The deal is on offer until the end of December, excluding New Year’s Eve.

W Dubai – the Palm is also welcoming guests, but has closed its food and beverage offerings.

In order to reassure guests, operator Marriott has amended its cancellation policy in response to changing marketplace conditions.

The hotel giant said it was committed to ensuring customers experience flexibility during these challenging times.

As such, guests with existing reservations for any future arrival date will be allowed any changes or cancellation without charge.

Changes must be made up to 24 hours prior to arrival, and before April 30th.

For guests making new reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates, before April 30th, Marriott will allow the reservation to be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival date.

Travellers can thus rest assured they will not be out of pocket should the situation change.

Following direction from the Dubai department of economic development, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray said it had temporarily suspended operations at its kids’ club, spa, restaurants and fitness centre.

While the hotel remains open, its pools and beach will also be closed until March 31st at the earliest.

The hotel said the decision was part of a commitment to the health and safety of guests and employees.

The situation will be continually re-evaluated with the authorities, Jumeirah Group added in a statement.

Fairmont the Palm, an idyllic five-star resort situated on the most sought-after island community in Dubai, is taking a similar stance.

Guests who booked a non-flexible rate with operator Accor, and are scheduled to arrive prior to April 30th, may modify their reservation for future travel through December 31st without penalty.

Guests are urged to contact the hotel directly.

This could be the ideal team to visit Fairmont the Palm, a luxury beachfront resort with unrivalled views of the Arabian Gulf and glittering Dubai Marina skyline.

Over at Five Palm Jumeirah measures are being put in place to ensure guests can enjoy a safe stay.

“Now more than ever at Five Hotels, we are focused on our guest experience and ensuring and maintaining the highest levels of safety and security,” said Five Hotels chief executive, Aloki Batra.

“We are in constant communication with the relevant United Arab Emirates authorities and continue to exceed protocols set by them during this time period.”

Batra explained all guests and staff will have their body temperature checked when entering the premises, with any abnormality handled as per the protocol established by authorities.

There has been an increased deployment of hand sanitizer at all touch points, while hospital-grade disinfectant cleaners are used in each room.

Five Palm Jumeirah also has a dedicated nurse on call 24/7 on premises to respond swiftly to anyone who may feel ill.

“The well-being of our guests and staff is of paramount importance to us and we continue to ensure these policies remain in place for peace of mind during these unprecedented times,” added Batra.

More Information

For all the latest from Breaking Travel News on the coronavirus pandemic, take a look here.

Or for more from the Palm Jumeirah, take a look at Breaking Travel News’ sister paper Palm Times.