Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City

Umm Ramool Rd Dubai Festival City, Dubai United Arab Emirates
5 star hotel

Overview

Ratings summary

Brilliant
1163
Good
426
Average
65
Poor
13
Awful
6
 

11 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

Just Fabulous

5
Brilliant
by

"We stayed at the Crowne Plaza on our first visit to Dubai. The hotel was fantastic with great facilities. We loved our deluxe room especially loved the en-suite. The view was great albeit with some construction still going on around festival city.

The pool facilities were great especially with the use of Intercontinental Hotel's pool which was located adjacent to our hotel. It is a great place for children as our three year old daughter loved every moment of it. She also loved the ride on the canal taxi which can be found at Festival City.

The staff were wonderful and provided a great service. A truly great stay which exceeded our expectations."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 21st of August 2008

What a Wonderful Experience

5
Brilliant
by

"We stayed at The Crown Plaza Festival City for two amazing nights as a stop over flying Emirates on our way to London from Australia. What a wonderfully fabulous hotel. Sure there is still construction going on all around, but that's Dubai.

We found the staff not only very friendly but highly professional and truely dedicated to their hotel. Nothing was too much for them, they all wanted to help and assist where ever they could. They even remembered our names for our whole stay.

The hotel is interconnected with the Intercontinental Hotel then onto the amazing new Festival City Shopping Centre via a airconditioned walk way. With hundreds of shops and food outlets to choose from there is no need to move away from the hotel complex at all over your stay. It was 48C while we were there but apart from the small walk from the taxi to the hotel doors we never felt the heat at all.

We can not recommend this hotel highly enough, the rooms are out of this world and the staff are the best in the world."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 5th of August 2008

Is this the best in the world???

5
Brilliant
by

"During 11th to 17th July 2008 my wife and I visited Dubai on a package holiday arranged by Virgin Atlantic. We stayed at the CROWNE PLAZA DUBAI FESTIVAL CITY
on the eastern shore of Dubai Creek, UAE.

Travel:
Flights:- The outbound flight was overnight, leaving Heathrow at 21:25 (local time), arriving in Dubai at 06:25 (local time). It had been recommended by Virgin that we booked an extra night at the hotel although we would be flying for most of the night so that we could book into our room on our early morning arrival, rather than wait around until normal Dubai check-in time of 15:00. The flight was uneventful, the cabin crew attentive and (for a change compared with some airlines) the food very edible. The same applied to the return flight. The only negative comments are about the comprehensive entertainment system in that it was very slow in responding to the passenger controls (the Captain apologised over the tannoy that the entertainment system was overloading due to excessive passenger demands) and that the flight wasn’t long enough to watch each of the 40 or so films, let alone the TV programmes and music channels!

Transfers:- On arrival at Dubai we were met by a local Virgin agent who arranged for a taxi to take us to our hotel (as opposed to a coach as stated in the paperwork). Everyone was very courteous and helpful. However, we were taken to the wrong hotel – the Crown Plaza on Sheikh Zayed Road, which is the business district located on the other side of the creek. We had confirmed to the agent at the airport that we were booked in at the Crown Plaza Festival City and as we approached the Crown Plaza commented to the taxi driver that this was the wrong hotel according to the pictures and map in the brochure, but there were communication barriers (I don’t speak Arabic). On arrival at this hotel the hotel staff unloaded the taxi for us, opened the hotel doors and escorted us to reception. The receptionist agreed that we were not booked at this hotel. He kindly phoned the Crown Plaza Festival City and confirmed that we were booked in there and arranged for another taxi to transport us to the correct hotel and the hotel staff wheeled our 2 cases back to the new taxi and loaded them for us. And so having made a mini tour of Dubai, we arrived at the Crown Plaza Festival City ………

<photo 1>

The Hotel:
The hotel is on the Eastern bank of Dubai Creek and is part of a new interconnected complex. Next door is a sister hotel, (the Intercontinental), and joined to this is the Festival Mall (currently about 300 shops together with a small marina and the mall incorporates a decorative canal) and a conference/ business centre.

Arrival:
On approaching the hotel we were slightly concerned by the amount of construction work around the rear and to the side of the hotel and later found out that this area is still being developed with a further hotel and landscaping. I must emphasise that we were not disturbed at any time by noise or dust, unlike hotels in Mediterranean countries in the past.
The taxi doors were opened for us, the luggage removed and we were escorted into the reception lobby. The staff were profusely apologetic that we had been taken to the wrong hotel (not their fault and certainly out of their control) and the Front Office Manager was called to the reception desk to apologise again! Having completed the signing in processes we were escorted to our room and the various comprehensive control systems for lights, TV and other equipment explained.

The Room:
Each floor has a single curved corridor with rooms on both sides making it simple to find each room. Emergency escape routes are clearly marked.
Our room was on the top floor overlooking the creek, with Dubai as a skyline. A splendid view, especially at night. Unfortunately during our stay, until our last day, a humidity haze during the daytime reduced visibility to about 1½ miles.

<photo 2>
<photo 3>

The room was light coloured, spacious and extremely well appointed with lots of storage space and our own iron and board. Fresh linen and towels were supplied every day, as were the bottles of water and toiletries. An interesting feature was the full wall internal window alongside the bath (with an electrically operated internal blind if required for privacy) that allowed you to see the Dubai skyline across the room whilst soaking in the bath! The mini bar was well stocked and was reasonably priced. Ethernet connections to the web were available, but not used (we were on holiday) and only once did we use both phone lines simultaneously. The large screen LCD TV had a wide variety of channels, both local and international and always had a good clear picture and sound. The BOSE alarm radio was also useful. The room servicing comprised at least 2 visits per day, one to impeccably clean the room and replenish supplies and then later in the evening to turn down the bed and arrange the slippers! There was never any noise of other guests.

<photo 4>
<photo 5>

Dining:
We were staying half board and ate mostly in the Zaytoun restaurant. What a positive experience! The range of foods catered for every palate. It was freshly prepared and was presented as a buffet where you identify which food you want and it is served onto your plate by the waiter and brought to your table. I have never been more looked after in any of the hotels I have stayed in worldwide, including those used by foreign royalty. Examples: one night my wife, having selected a variety of dishes wanted rice. The rice on offer was with prawns. My wife is allergic to shellfish and asked if they had any plain boiled rice. The answer was “Yes, in about 10 minutes. Would you mind returning to your table. We will bring your selection from the buffet.” They did. Another night we were discussing the different styles of cooking rice in India with our waiter. A short while later came back to our table and presented us with a sample that he had asked the chef to prepare to show us, apologizing that it was not authentic as the rice should have been soaked overnight before grinding and cooking, and it should have been filled. The next night he brought the chef with him with correctly prepared samples – just so that we could see what it should look and taste like! And presented us with a printout of the recipe and method!!

<photo 6>

As well as the Zaytoun restaurant on the fifth floor there was the Maza lounge bar in the lobby that served drinks throughout the day, either in the spacious and comfortable lobby (do try their strawberry milk shake made to order from fresh strawberries, ice cream and milk – delicious.) or on a secluded balcony overlooking the creek and for the evenings there was also the Belgian Bar (very popular), specializing in Belgian food and drinks. The mussels are flown in from Belgium because they taste better, as was the chef because he knows how to prepare Belgian food properly!

Exercise options:
The facilities of the Crown Plaza and the Intercontinental are available to all guests. I did not investigate the inside facilities at the Intercontinental. Inside the Crown Plaza there is a well equipped gymnasium and in each of the inside changing rooms there is a sauna and a steam room. Outside, each hotel has a swimming pool, a childrens pool and 3 jacuzzis. These facilities are effectively on the fifth floor and provide a pleasant view across the creek. The Jacuzzis are positioned near to the edge of the roof and have ‘infinity’ edges towards Dubai providing a magical experience. The Crown Plaza main pool is 25m long and half the width is laned for serious swimming and the remainder is free swimming. All of the pool areas were very clean and tidy and the (fresh) water was always clean and clear. It was observed that the water was sampled and analysed daily. The plentiful teak sun loungers (with thick mattresses) were extremely comfortable, spread with fresh towels each day and provided with a separate towel for drying off. Lifeguards were on duty all day and supported by other poolside attendants. All were continuously attentive to what was going on.

Staffing:
The 1200 staff comprises 54 nationalities, all having some English. On each and every occasion that we passed near any we were greeted with a genuine smile and a ‘Good Morning/Afternoon sir/madam”. Other than the door to our room, we were not allowed to open any door if there was a member of staff nearby, even if they were doing something else! On commenting to the hotel management about the positive attitude of the staff, we were told that their prime consideration in selecting staff was attitude not capability – capability can be trained (and had been). It was also observed that the staff are a happy, integrated team that helped each other.

Complaints:
There were only 2 very minor complaints(?). These were:

1. When using the massive overhead shower above the bath, some water dripped from the edge of the bath onto the tiled floor, making the bath mat wet.

and being ultra finicky,

2. The feet on the chairs in Zaytoun restaurant were not felt padded and could ‘screetch’ when dragged across the tiled area of the floor.

Neither of these caused any serious discomfort. As a Health and Safety Assessor, I found no instances of any hazards, actual or potential.
Other Notes:
During the first day the ‘Virgin’ rep from Alpha Tours arrived at the hotel to apologise about the confusion with the transfer and refund the cost of the second taxi (~£4.50 for a 15 minute drive) and to offer us a selection of tours and activities. We chose the ‘City Tour’. We were collected from our hotel in an air conditioned minibus and then, having collected the other 6 passengers from their hotels spread out around Dubai, we started our 4 hour tour. This took us to see Burj Al Arab (from shoreside as casual visitors are no longer permitted access), the Palm, the Jumeirah Mosque, the local harbour area, the Dubai Museum, a trip across the Creek on an abra (water taxi), and finally shopping in the Spice souk and the Gold souk before being returned to our respective hotels. All entrance fees and fares were included in the tour price. This tour I consider was very good value and well hosted by KJ (no-one could pronounce his Japanese name!).
Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive (especially if taken from outside a mall).

Summary:
Would we go there again?
Most certainly (but not until its cooler – 50’C in the shade was a bit warm!).
Marks out of 10?
11 all round (except for the misdirection at the airport).
Most outstanding?
The feeling of warmth and friendliness from all the hotel staff.
Most Memorable?
Sipping coffee on the lawn after the evening meal with the sky lit by the lights of Dubai and my wife not being eaten by mosquitoes.

<photo 7>

David Mann"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 28th of July 2008

one of the best ever been

4
Good
by

"I've been there only staying one night, but I really was impressed about the hospitality and the quality of rooms.
The personal was friendly, competent and has always supported as quick as possible.
Belgian bar is quite nice, easy to find comunication partners.
Next time I'm in Dubai, I will join in again."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Fri 18th of July 2008

Service with a smile

5
Brilliant
by

"Stayed at the CP Festival City in late June 08. It's a beautiful modern hotel - just opened in March 08- and close proximity to the int'l airport. Arrived knackered from o/n flight from LHR ( Gulf Air - cheap and good service). Upgraded room was ready
(although maybe because I'm a PC member) and receptionist showed me to the room with minimum delay and fuss- excellent!
The room was great - king bed, workspace, sofa, minibar and a bathroom to die for!! Hotel is next to the IC ( connect thr' walkway to shopping mall - everything you need including a supermarket - but no booze on sale - TIP - if you want it but haven't got any on arrival at Dubai, buy it at the baggage reclaim hall in the airport).
Festival City is really like shopping at the Traff - same big brands and prices no different from home - but half the pleasure of shopping is the excitment of stumbling on something you've just gotta have - right girls?!

All CP staff were exceptionally friendly - all spoke good english and acknowledged you without exception on every occasion you passed by them - a nice touch! Beds very comfy but then they haven't had ten thousand bodies lie on them yet!!

Belgian Beer bar a good place to meet ex-pats and locals and the beer was good although obv. expensive compared to Joseph Holts. My view - a great hotel in a good location. Just GO!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 9th of July 2008

Wonderful Stay

5
Brilliant
by

"My husband and I recently stayed at this location (June 2008) and had a wonderful stay. The hotel is brand new along with its adjoined sister property, Intercontinental Hotel. Also nearby is a new shopping mall, Festival City Mall, with plenty of great stores and restaurants.

The hotel staff was very pleasant and attentive. The hotel room was pristine as well as all the facilities. The hotel had 1 restaurant which we only utilized for breakfast (no specific reason for not eating there for lunch/dinner, we were always on the go). Additionally, Intercontinental does have a few restaurants and the mall has plenty to choose from.

We were also satisfied with the location of the hotel, as it's in close proximity to the airport (my cab fare was 36Dhs or $10US). The beaches, however, were not nearby but you could easily catch a taxi or arrange trips through the hotel drivers. I'd also like to note that both properties have separate pool areas however guests of each hotel can utilize both areas. This was not a problem for us because it gave us the chance to enjoy different views.

During this trip we also spent time at a beach hotel (Jumeirah Beach Hotel) which I reviewed under that section. Overall, we had an excellent stay at the Crowne Plaza Festival City and I would definitely recommend this hotel to others."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 2nd of July 2008

Very Enjoyable

5
Brilliant
by

"I stayed here three times over a two week period using it as a hub while travelling to other areas of the Gulf.

First it advertises itself as the first non-smoking hotel in Dubai, a fact being a non-smoker I enjoyed, but I guess for some of you it would be a problem.

Because it is new my taxi drivers had to be told by me where it was, so don't be surprised in the very short term if you are asked the same question.

The staff are outstanding, if they can help you they will, although this may be because it is a new hotel.

On all three occasions I had a room overlooking the creek and I would recommend this to anyone. The room itself could not be faulted, everything you wanted was available, the television choice, for those of us who find Dubai boring was very good.

I only had breakfast in the hotel so could not really comment, although unlike its sister hotel it does not serve pork at breakfast.

A shopping mall was close by, which as previously commented, could be reached by walking through the Intercon and conference centre.

I will definitely stay here again."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 9th of June 2008

Not quite open yet?

5
Brilliant
by

"We travelled to Dubai for a fantastic value weekend offer with Virgin last weekend (half price, £350 each) which was too tempting to miss.
We were booked in the Crowne Plaza, though having been held outside the hotel for 5 mins ("There's a photoshoot going on") we were then told to walk across to the sister hotel - The Intercontinental.
We had a great stay (see Intercontinental review for more) but beware that these two new hotels are clearly under capacity so are shifting guests around. It wasn't a big problem at all and shouldn't impact your holiday. The initial impression on arrival wasn't great though given the high quality of service on display thereafter."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 8th of March 2008

"Great Start"

5
Brilliant
by

"Stayed at the Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City for 5 days during the end of February, booked through Virgin Holidays.

My wife's and my expectations for the hotel were optimistic at first due to it be being a new hotel in a recent development (It had only been operational for 5 days when we arrived). However to our pleasant surprise the worries soon vanished.

We arrived around 5 hours early to there normal check in times of 2pm and they had no problem accomodating us and all the other guests within 15 minutes. The staff were all extremely helpful (over sometimes) and efficient whilst maintaining a smile.

The room itself is a very modern designer inspired affair. We had a room overlooking the creek and parts of the marina, duing the day construction can be seen in the near distance but during the night the view was beautiful. The bright lights reflecting off the creek, frequent fireworks displays and what I can only describe as a gigantic rotating disco light coming from the marina is food for the eyes.

The kingsize bed was very comfortable and the bathroom unique. There is a glass partition that separates the bedroom and the bathroom so everything is visible. (For those that may deem this inappropriate there is an electronic blind that will cover the entire window) The main shower head is mounted from the ceiling which is quite unique but quite messy as well.

Other amenities include movable LCD TV, lights controlled via a central handheld unit that you can take anywhere in the room, compliemntary internet access and phonecalls within Dubai up to a certain amount (Could be an introductory offer though)

There is only one restaurant operating in the hotel for the moment with a bar and coffee lounge. The breakfast in the restaurant was fantastic with a huge choice of continental and mediteranean food. However the lack of restaurants is not a problem due to all customers of this hotel being able to use the restaurants of its sister hotel next door the Intercontinental. Also the fact that the hotel is interconnected to the Festival City mall means there are numerous yummy places to eat. (We recommend the Black Canyon (Thai food), excellent value and delicious).

The outdoor pool and sunbathing facilities seemed complete and pleasant enough (there was some work still being done to these) For those wanting to mainly frequent the Jumeirah district and all its attractions this may not be the ideal hotel as on average it will take around 40 minutes to get there (Over an hour when there is traffic) Saying that though taxis are reasonably cheap (around £8/9 GBP for the trip between our hotel and Mall of the Emirates)

Overall I would say a very good first impression with fantastic service for those looking for a hotel close to the airport, creek and city centre with shopping facilities on your doorstep."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 6th of March 2008

First visit to Dubai

4
Good
by

"Visited 21st Feb to 25th Feb 2008

Following e-mail from Virgin with an offer for Dubai at a very reasonable cost, my daughter and I decided to try it out.
Hotel staff on arrival were very welcoming and despite us arriving early morning after a night flight, thankfully the room was ready.
The rooms are spacious with a glass wall between the bathroom and bedroom (blind available when privacy required) with a view over the muddy creek! Unfortuantely there is still a lot of building work at the hotel and Festival City which was not mentioned when we booked.
The building work does not affect the bedrooms but if you want to sit outside on the terrace for a coffee then there are several generators underneath. The hotel outdoor pool was not in use yet but we were offered all the facilities of the Intercontinental next door.
Overall the hotel staff were lovely and could'nt do enough to make our stay pleasant and the fact that you could walk through our hotel into the Intercontinental and then straight through to the shopping mall was a big plus. On the down side is all the construction going on, so unless like us you get it at a very reasonable cost then stay away from here until construction is finished."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 28th of February 2008

During 11th to 17th July 2008 my wife an...

5
Brilliant
by

"During 11th to 17th July 2008 my wife and I visited Dubai on a package holiday arranged by Virgin Atlantic. We stayed at the CROWNE PLAZA DUBAI FESTIVAL CITY

on the eastern shore of Dubai Creek, UAE.

Travel:

Flights:- The outbound flight was overnight, leaving Heathrow at 21:25 (local time), arriving in Dubai at 06:25 (local time). It had been recommended by Virgin that we booked an extra night at the hotel although we would be flying for most of the night so that we could book into our room on our early morning arrival, rather than wait around until normal Dubai check-in time of 15:00. The flight was uneventful, the cabin crew attentive and (for a change compared with some airlines) the food very edible. The same applied to the return flight. The only negative comments are about the comprehensive entertainment system in that it was very slow in responding to the passenger controls (the Captain apologised over the tannoy that the entertainment system was overloading due to excessive passenger demands) and that the flight wasn’t long enough to watch each of the 40 or so films, let alone the TV programmes and music channels!

Transfers:- On arrival at Dubai we were met by a local Virgin agent who arranged for a taxi to take us to our hotel (as opposed to a coach as stated in the paperwork). Everyone was very courteous and helpful. However, we were taken to the wrong hotel – the Crown Plaza on Sheikh Zayed Road, which is the business district located on the other side of the creek. We had confirmed to the agent at the airport that we were booked in at the Crown Plaza Festival City and as we approached the Crown Plaza commented to the taxi driver that this was the wrong hotel according to the pictures and map in the brochure, but there were communication barriers (I don’t speak Arabic). On arrival at this hotel the hotel staff unloaded the taxi for us, opened the hotel doors and escorted us to reception. The receptionist agreed that we were not booked at this hotel. He kindly phoned the Crown Plaza Festival City and confirmed that we were booked in there and arranged for another taxi to transport us to the correct hotel and the hotel staff wheeled our 2 cases back to the new taxi and loaded them for us. And so having made a mini tour of Dubai, we arrived at the Crown Plaza Festival City ………

The Hotel:

The hotel is on the Eastern bank of Dubai Creek and is part of a new interconnected complex. Next door is a sister hotel, (the Intercontinental), and joined to this is the Festival Mall (currently about 300 shops together with a small marina and the mall incorporates a decorative canal) and a conference/ business centre.

Arrival:

On approaching the hotel we were slightly concerned by the amount of construction work around the rear and to the side of the hotel and later found out that this area is still being developed with a further hotel and landscaping. I must emphasise that we were not disturbed at any time by noise or dust, unlike hotels in Mediterranean countries in the past.

The taxi doors were opened for us, the luggage removed and we were escorted into the reception lobby. The staff were profusely apologetic that we had been taken to the wrong hotel (not their fault and certainly out of their control) and the Front Office Manager was called to the reception desk to apologise again! Having completed the signing in processes we were escorted to our room and the various comprehensive control systems for lights, TV and other equipment explained.

The Room:

Each floor has a single curved corridor with rooms on both sides making it simple to find each room. Emergency escape routes are clearly marked.

Our room was on the top floor overlooking the creek, with Dubai as a skyline. A splendid view, especially at night. Unfortunately during our stay, until our last day, a humidity haze during the daytime reduced visibility to about 1½ miles.

The room was light coloured, spacious and extremely well appointed with lots of storage space and our own iron and board. Fresh linen and towels were supplied every day, as were the bottles of water and toiletries. An interesting feature was the full wall internal window alongside the bath (with an electrically operated internal blind if required for privacy) that allowed you to see the Dubai skyline across the room whilst soaking in the bath! The mini bar was well stocked and was reasonably priced. Ethernet connections to the web were available, but not used (we were on holiday) and only once did we use both phone lines simultaneously. The large screen LCD TV had a wide variety of channels, both local and international and always had a good clear picture and sound. The BOSE alarm radio was also useful. The room servicing comprised at least 2 visits per day, one to impeccably clean the room and replenish supplies and then later in the evening to turn down the bed and arrange the slippers! There was never any noise of other guests.

Dining:

We were staying half board and ate mostly in the Zaytoun restaurant. What a positive experience! The range of foods catered for every palate. It was freshly prepared and was presented as a buffet where you identify which food you want and it is served onto your plate by the waiter and brought to your table. I have never been more looked after in any of the hotels I have stayed in worldwide, including those used by foreign royalty. Examples: one night my wife, having selected a variety of dishes wanted rice. The rice on offer was with prawns. My wife is allergic to shellfish and asked if they had any plain boiled rice. The answer was “Yes, in about 10 minutes. Would you mind returning to your table. We will bring your selection from the buffet.” They did. Another night we were discussing the different styles of cooking rice in India with our waiter. A short while later came back to our table and presented us with a sample that he had asked the chef to prepare to show us, apologizing that it was not authentic as the rice should have been soaked overnight before grinding and cooking, and it should have been filled. The next night he brought the chef with him with correctly prepared samples – just so that we could see what it should look and taste like! And presented us with a printout of the recipe and method!!

As well as the Zaytoun restaurant on the fifth floor there was the Maza lounge bar in the lobby that served drinks throughout the day, either in the spacious and comfortable lobby (do try their strawberry milk shake made to order from fresh strawberries, ice cream and milk – delicious.) or on a secluded balcony overlooking the creek and for the evenings there was also the Belgian Bar (very popular), specializing in Belgian food and drinks. The mussels are flown in from Belgium because they taste better, as was the chef because he knows how to prepare Belgian food properly!

Exercise options:

The facilities of the Crown Plaza and the Intercontinental are available to all guests. I did not investigate the inside facilities at the Intercontinental. Inside the Crown Plaza there is a well equipped gymnasium and in each of the inside changing rooms there is a sauna and a steam room. Outside, each hotel has a swimming pool, a childrens pool and 3 jacuzzis. These facilities are effectively on the fifth floor and provide a pleasant view across the creek. The Jacuzzis are positioned near to the edge of the roof and have ‘infinity’ edges towards Dubai providing a magical experience. The Crown Plaza main pool is 25m long and half the width is laned for serious swimming and the remainder is free swimming. All of the pool areas were very clean and tidy and the (fresh) water was always clean and clear. It was observed that the water was sampled and analysed daily. The plentiful teak sun loungers (with thick mattresses) were extremely comfortable, spread with fresh towels each day and provided with a separate towel for drying off. Lifeguards were on duty all day and supported by other poolside attendants. All were continuously attentive to what was going on.

Staffing:

The 1200 staff comprises 54 nationalities, all having some English. On each and every occasion that we passed near any we were greeted with a genuine smile and a ‘Good Morning/Afternoon sir/madam”. Other than the door to our room, we were not allowed to open any door if there was a member of staff nearby, even if they were doing something else! On commenting to the hotel management about the positive attitude of the staff, we were told that their prime consideration in selecting staff was attitude not capability – capability can be trained (and had been). It was also observed that the staff are a happy, integrated team that helped each other.

Complaints:

There were only 2 very minor complaints(?). These were:

1. When using the massive overhead shower above the bath, some water dripped from the edge of the bath onto the tiled floor, making the bath mat wet.

and being ultra finicky,

2. The feet on the chairs in Zaytoun restaurant were not felt padded and could ‘screetch’ when dragged across the tiled area of the floor.

Neither of these caused any serious discomfort. As a Health and Safety Assessor, I found no instances of any hazards, actual or potential.

Other Notes:

During the first day the ‘Virgin’ rep from Alpha Tours arrived at the hotel to apologise about the confusion with the transfer and refund the cost of the second taxi (~£4.50 for a 15 minute drive) and to offer us a selection of tours and activities. We chose the ‘City Tour’. We were collected from our hotel in an air conditioned minibus and then, having collected the other 6 passengers from their hotels spread out around Dubai, we started our 4 hour tour. This took us to see Burj Al Arab (from shoreside as casual visitors are no longer permitted access), the Palm, the Jumeirah Mosque, the local harbour area, the Dubai Museum, a trip across the Creek on an abra (water taxi), and finally shopping in the Spice souk and the Gold souk before being returned to our respective hotels. All entrance fees and fares were included in the tour price. This tour I consider was very good value and well hosted by KJ (no-one could pronounce his Japanese name!).

Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive (especially if taken from outside a mall).

Summary:

Would we go there again?

Most certainly (but not until its cooler – 50’C in the shade was a bit warm!).

Marks out of 10?

11 all round (except for the misdirection at the airport).

Most outstanding?

The feeling of warmth and friendliness from all the hotel staff.

Most Memorable?

Sipping coffee on the lawn after the evening meal with the sky lit by the lights of Dubai and my wife not being eaten by mosquitoes.

David Mann

"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 23rd of July 2008
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