I had taken a rental car from Abu Dhabi and driven up to Dubai, a trip of about 140 kilometres. It was virtually one road up before I passed Jumeirah Beach and headed over through the city to the signs pointing to the Airport. I had reviewed the hotel once before, and knew it was near the airport. I eventually found my way to the hotel, and up a drive-way where I parked. A porter was polishing the hotel car and he immediately came over, welcomed me and took my luggage. He then directed me to the reception, which I discovered later was the reception for the Royal Club. It was simply a desk with a receptionist and a computer, who booked me in, and advised I was being upgraded to the Royal Club, without any prompting from me. I knew the hotel was heavily booked as I had at first phoned for a reservations, and was told it was sold out. I then went on to the Metrostar.com Web site and noted they still had rooms listed. I made a booking and received confirmation.
I was checked in at the Metrostar.com rate of 510 dirhams, which I found was the same rate available through the hotel direct. I was awarded Room 1197 on the ground floor. The hotel has only two floors, and is very spread out over a large area of gardens. A representative of the Royal Club then came out to greet me and to show me the location and facilities of the Royal Club Lounge, also on the ground floor. The lounge was excellently laid out, quite luxurious, and very, very spacious. There was a complete bar there, and kitchen. I was told there was a happy hour from 7 to 8pm, and compliimentary breakfast each day from 6:30am to 11:00am. My greeter then took me around to 1197, and showed me the room, and how things worked, and then left, wishing me a pleasant stay. A couple of minutes later the porter arrived with my luggage. The room had a deluxe feel about it, perhaps having been refurbished only recently. There was a hallway with a double wardrobe on the left hand side ,,and a shelf and luggage rack, all covered in carpet. The entrance to the bathroom was on the right. A luxury purple carpet with a major red, yellow and black patterned feature in the bedroom covered the entire area. The furnishings were a rich timber composition, and again very luxurious. There was a large cabinet which contained a mini-bar in the upper level together with a safe, ice bucket and glassware, and underneath a draw, which housed a marble shelf for preparing drinks. Underneath was a large open area which had a basket in which you could leave your shoes to be polished.
Then there was a long desk, which had three large drawers, and an insert-marble top, on which there was a directory of the hotel services, a large phone, which seemed to have a number of features, including a loud speaker facility and a Data Valet port for high speed Internet access, which worked very well. The cost was 15 dirhams for 1 hour, 30 dirhams for 2 hours, 50 dirhams for 6 hours or 70 dirhams for 24 hours. Without prompting at check-in, I had been provided an extended check-out to 6pm, so I opted for the 24 hours facility.
There was a large mirror on the wall facing the desk. Alongside was another table cabinet, on which there was a large screen TV and a video player, with a selection of videos available for rental at 10 dirhams each.
There was also quite a lot of cupboard space, some enclosed, in the cabinet. The TV featured local Dubai and national UAE channels, English and Arabic, CNN, Sky News, Fox Sports, Super Movies, TCM, Cinema City, CNBC, Bloomberg plus a variety of others, including foreign language channels, a total of about 40. There was also a choice of radio channels.
There was a large standing lamp in the corner, a large armchair, a dining table, and another desk in the opposite corner, which had another phone and a vase of fresh flowers. There were chairs provided for each of the desk/tables. There were two large bedisde tables, with marble tops, and substantial lamps. One had a phone and a complimentary bottle of mineral water. The king size bed had a white doona and four pillows, two of which were double the normal size. I found the bed very comfortable through the night. The outlook, by the way, was over grass and a garden decorative backing to the tennis courts. There was also outdoor seating and a table to relax outdoors.
The rich timber furnishings in the room extended to feature panels, and in some cases whole walls. There were also some sections of the walls covered ina shaded green fabric, framed in timber. The bedhead was done the same, and then most of the wall area around it finished in the timber. Leading to the bathroom was a large full size mirror. The bathroom it self was of an adequate size with toilet, bidet, combined shower and bath, the marble finish vanity bench was quite spacious. There was a one-speed hairdryer fixed to the wall. The walls were papered in an off-white pattern wallpaper. It was a little tight between the bidet and the shower, but as I said the bathroom was of an adequate size.
After I settled in I went for a walk around the hotel and the grounds. I found a huge lobby area, absolutely huge, with more (the regular) reception desks, concierge station, shops, bars and restaurants, and plenty of areas for general lounging. The hotel was busy with people everywhere. I walked through the grounds to the pool area, which was packing up for the day, around by the health club, which seemed very well equipped, and found the Meridien Village. A large range of restaurants and bars covering all tastes and budgets. I tried Dubliners, an Irish pub, done in rustic, and housing numerous Irish memorabilia. A number of beers were on tap, and of course Guinness as well. There was pub fare available on the menu, including Irish Stew. The pub was well occupied, and everybody seemed to be having a good time. Interestingly I found most of the restaurants didn't open until 8pm, although the main lobby restaurant, which served international buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a la carte, kicked off at 7pm.
There were seafood, Thai, Chinese, Irish of course, continental and french restaurants, and possibly some I've missed. I decided to try the Meridien Village Terrace. It was all open seating, and had a band which played during the operating hours of 8pm to 11pm. It was one of those all-you-can-eat-and-drink buffets for 99 dirhams per person. Service was prompt, you could order any spirits, beer, soft drinks, or wine that you liked. There was a complete range of starters, soup was minestrone, and main dishes included an array of curries, meat and fish dishes, many of which were being prepared on the spot by chefs in attendance. There was also a carvey of roast lamb with mint sauce, roast potatoes, stir fry vegetables, salads and more. Sweets were also in abundance, there was a rich chocolate cake, um ali (sometimes spelt om ali), bread and butter pudding served warm, Arabic sweets, mouses, fresh cream, and several flavours of ice cream, which you could scoop up yourself. The food was excellent, it was a perfect night, and the music was enjoyable, although there were no main acts, it was basically an orchestra playing dinner music. The fare was billed as a Meditterranean night, with different themes (seafood, German, Hawaiian etc) applying each night.
When I returned to the room I found the bed had been turned down and there was a container of fresh fruit (grapes and sliced melon) with a serviette and cutlery on the table. Next morning I walked through to the Royal Club to look over the breakfast, and sample a little cereal. There was fresh carrot, watermelon, grapefruit, orange and tomato juice, bircher muesli, and a range of other cereals, cold meats, a variety of cheeses, muffins, croissants, and hot dishes were being prepared by chefs on hand. The atmosphere was good, breaking into a number of different sections. Local newspapers (Gulf Times and Khaleej Times were available). The Gulf Times in fact was delivered to the room.
It was difficult to fault this hotel, still one of the best in Dubai, located just a few minutes from the city, and very close to the airport. Definately a hotel I would return to when next in the city.
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