Dar Al Masyaf means summer house in Arabic and this is the name given to the 29 spacious villas hidden within the grounds of the Madinat Jumeirah, which are not accessible to the general public or other hotel guests. There is definitely a romantic air to this secret world of high luxury and perfect tranquility.
Few people in Dubai have seen inside the Dar Al Masyaf complex in the Madinat Jumeirah. Tucked away amid the extensive gardens, and some fronting onto the beach, lies a collection of nine to eleven room villas, each one essentially an individual boutique hotel with its own reception area and 24-hour butler service.
The Dar Al Masyaf concept was originally designed for large Arabic families in need of extensive accommodation for wives, children and maids. Indeed, these guests have proven a mainstay of demand. But corporations also book these villas for very private training sessions, and many of the rooms are also let on an individual basis to guests who do not mind paying a premium for this kind of luxury and privacy.
The rooms are furnished in lavish modern Arabic style and at 60 square metres are larger than standard five-star rooms. There is also a spacious terrace with a choice of views over gardens, the sea or the extensive children's water park. The villas also have shared swimming pools for their exclusive use.
A particular mention should be made of the very large bathrooms with a twin-sized bath tub, walk-in shower and separate toilet room. This is a very luxurious bathroom, even by the standards of Dubai, and you need to go to the Burj Al Arab to find better.
However, the type of client that wants to stay in a Dar Al Masyaf villa may not be the sort of person that wants to stay in the Burj Al Arab. When His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, originally briefed the architect of the Madinat Jumeriah it is was to create a traditional Arabic resort not a modern architectural statement, and so the market positioning is completely different.
But the really nice thing about the Dar Al Masyaf villas is their location within the Madinat Jumeirah complex with its abra water taxis and canals. Guests can access its 42 restaurants, the extensive old souk and theatre, the region's only Six Senses Spa as well as extensive beach facilities and three hotels, while at the same time nobody else can enter the Dar Al Masyaf complex. So you have great privacy and luxury and a one-way entrance to the Madinat.
If you want to take this a stage further then there are nine 520 square metre royal Malakiya villas, two with beach fronts that are so exclusive that journalists and photographers are not allowed to visit them. Film stars like Morgan Freeman are accorded access, although visiting GCC heads of state are more typical guests.
Nonetheless, be warned it is presently very difficult to get a room within the Dar Al Masyaf complex. The news of the secret charm of this hidden treasure of the Madinat has spread, despite being a place that few residents of Dubai will ever visit.