Could this be Dubai’s best hotel deal?
There are several things one doesn’t expect to find in Dubai. Cheap, widely available alcohol is top of the list, closely followed by non-expat locals obeying the speed limit. Comfortable, affordable hotels in desirable locations are about as scarce as green meadows in the desert.
As if the extortionate cost of a hotel bed isn’t sufficient insult, one adds the injury of taxes and additional charges that come to 20%. Yes, you read right, twenty per cent!
Well, I think I may have found the best hotel deal in Dubai (next stop will be Ireland to find a four-leafed clover), in the form of the Radisson Blu in Media City. I booked it on Otel (excellent site for discounted hotel bookings, by the way), at a rate of less than $200 per night, including all taxes and breakfast, which is a saving of over one-third off the official rate quoted on the Radisson website. Bear in mind, also, that hotel rates in excess of $500 are not uncommon in Dubai.
OK, so what’s great about this hotel? While the rooms are not large, they’re big enough, with a modern design-y feel. Bed linen is good, the bed is comfortable, and the desk spans a corner, which makes it more roomy. A huge plus, in my view, is the fast wireless internet, which is free.
The bathroom is bright, marble-tiled from floor to ceiling, with more than enough space to do what one needs to. For those that are that way inclined, the bathroom also boasts a bidet. But the biggest plus of all in the bathrooms are the towels, which are soft and very generously proportioned. I’ve lost count of the number of hotels I’ve stayed in which have midget-sized towels that do double-duty as exfoliators.
Right, so Radisson Blu ticks the boxes of price, comfort and work amenities. They didn’t start off well, by putting me into a smoking room. I’d arrived late in the evening, so I was tired and easily grumped. They quite quickly moved me to another room, and by way of apology gave me a voucher for a free drink at their roof terrace bar, which I made use of last night.
Despite being on my own I had a most pleasant evening looking out on the Dubai skyline. The free beer was followed by a couple of glasses of Soave. I was enjoying the selection of music being played and generally having an evening of quiet, but happy reflection. I was having such a good time I even contemplated having Soave and bar snacks for dinner (apparently nuts are very nutritious). When the live music started it turned out to be very bluesy, late night jazz that I wasn’t in the mood for. The guitarist, to his credit, was fantastic, but the drummer sounded as if he was bashing away on his pencil case.
I moved on to the hotel’s Italian restaurant, Certo, for my second meal of the stay. Both meals were simple – a plate of pasta on the first night, and a risotto last night – but well-prepared and delicious. The red wine by the glass (only a single glass both nights) was enjoyable.
The breakfast buffet was good, too, which gave the hotel’s F&B department a full house.
I’ve stayed in many hotels where I’ve stared at the ceiling and thought of the expenses budget. Unless one is accustomed to super-luxury, the Radisson Blue in Media City does not involve a compromise. Unlike the veal bacon on their breakfast buffet, it’s the real deal.