Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Forums Other Destination advice Dubai hotels advice

  • ns 41 posts

    Morning All

    I know there are a few threads on here about Dubai hotels but we’re visiting Dubai for the first time in February and would appreciate any advice specific to what we’re looking for.

    We’re focusing on Marriot and/or Hilton as we have gold in both (though I appreciate Marriot Gold doesn’t get you much). We do, however, have a free Marriot night up to 35,000 points (which from looking doesn’t get you much in Dubai either!).

    We’re thinking of spending a few nights in the old part of the city to explore the souks etc. We’re happy with a cheaper hotel for that though ideally one with a decent pool area. We’re then looking to spend a few nights at a more luxy hotel near (but not necessarily on) the Palm again with a decent pool area being a priority.

    I’ve been looking at Hilton Canopy or one of the Marriot Le Meridiens near the airport for the first part of the stay and the Grosvenor Hotel (Marriot) or new Hilton Palm Jumeirah for the latter part of the stay. Does anyone have any recent experience of these?

    We’re also undecided whether to go half board or just breakfast. From what I can see the Grosvenor Hotel has Dine Around which you can use at other Marriot hotels and the Hilton Jumeirah has a half board option which I assume is limited to restaurants at the hotel. Does anyone have any experience of eateries at those hotels and whether half board is worth it?

    Any advice very much welcome! Thanks so much.

    NorthernLass 7,531 posts

    We stayed at Grosvenor House last month on the HB package which was excellent value – we were there for 5 nights and didn’t get round all the restaurants on offer! You can also use the facilities at Le Royal Meridien, which is on the beach, and this proved to be really handy as the pool at GH doesn’t get much sun due to being surrounded by all the other tall buildings. If we did go back, we’d probably stay at LRM, it’s a lovely property and we thought the Lebanese restaurant was particularly good (albeit we are not connoisseurs of Lebanese food).

    The breakfast buffet was superb (you can sit outside overlooking the marina, which was very pleasant) and we ended up not even needing lunch. They were also very accommodating at GH and allowed us to use our HB for lunch on our last day, as we arrived too late on the first night to have dinner.

    Hbommie 192 posts

    My knowledge of Marriot status isn’t good, I’ve stayed at The Grosvenor and LR Meridien Beach and would definitely go HB and club access if you can. The dine around works well with a credit or HB menu at a good variety of places…… I don’t usually book HB but Dubai is an exception.

    You can think of these 2 hotels as one as the leisure facilities can be shared.

    Both hotels are pretty solid and Rhys did a review of LRM a while back.

    NorthernLass 7,531 posts

    I’m only Bonvoy Silver so don’t think we got an upgrade but our room was gorgeous and with the HB package it worked out about £280 per night. Thinking about what you get in London for that money these days there’s no comparison!

    bungalow 178 posts

    If you only plan to spend a couple of nights at the start of your trip exploring the souks and old town then I wouldn’t go past the Sheraton Dubai Creek. I’ve stayed there twice now for the very same reasons as you and although it’s an older hotel, it is still spotlessly clean, excellent breakfast, small but perfectly acceptable pool, close to the airport, and best of all reasonably cheap – you might even get to use your 35k Marriott voucher!
    The hotel is right on Deira side of Dubai Creek, you can walk along the creek to the Gold and Spice Souks in about 20 minutes, or take an Abra across the creek for just a few pence to the Bur Dubai Souk on the other side.
    The trip across is an experience in itself, as is being able to watch the working Dhows arrive from Iran unloading everything from Camels to tractor tyres and fridge freezers!
    I’m Marriott Platinum so get access to the fairly modest Executive Lounge, where there are ample free drinks for a few hours each night and some hot food options. However I always dine at the Radisson across the street where there are plenty of very reasonable walk in dining options.

    I like my high end hotels, but the Sheraton Dubai Creek is perfectly fine for a few days exploring the old town, definitely worth a couple of days to begin anyone’s trip to Dubai, you can lie on a beach later!

    One tip though. If you do decide to book, do so at a refundable rate and check the prices daily, the fluctuations can be huge.

    On the second part of your trip, I’m a regular visitor to Grosvenor House, and also stayed at Hilton Palm last year. If I get more time later I’ll try to do an update on those…

    BBbetter 634 posts

    also stayed at Hilton Palm last year. If I get more time later I’ll try to do an update on those…

    Id be interested in your review of Hilton Palm.

    Venturelog 16 posts

    I have recently come back from Dubai and stayed at both Grosvenor House and The Dubai Palm.
    They were miles apart in terms of quality and importantly customer service.
    GH was one of the best if not best hotel I have ever stayed at (3 nights in the suite\apartment). From the moment you arrive, check in everything was top-notch. I wish I had extended it.
    The Dubai Palm was a big let down. Think of the resort hotels in Antalya Lara Beach and it’s that type. I had Gold with GH and diamond with Hilton, but was treated far better at the Marriot property. Dubai Palm Jumeira has an identity crisis. Can’t decide if it’s catering to be classy, for families, or club bars crowd. There were a few good staff there but generally they couldn’t wait to kick us out. If you only have Gold then stay at a Marriott place for HB. None of the Hilton’s would be worth it just for the breakfast benefit.

    NorthernLass 7,531 posts

    GH is lovely – just a shame about the pool area. That said, if you were there in the height of summer it would probably be quite nice to be able to swim in the shade without being incinerated!

    bungalow 178 posts

    Grosvenor House Dubai is our favourite hotel on earth, unmatched in my view in its consistent service and quality, beautiful hotel. The pool/s though, despite the wonderful poolside service, are becoming increasingly harder to get a tan at. Buildings are going up around there all the time and it is fast becoming a game of musical chairs to find more than an hour in the sun, such a pity, and the only downside of a wonderful hotel – and I just don’t like LRM.
    Won’t stop me going back though, could never go to Dubai without even a short visit to the GH.

    As for Hilton Palm…
    I was sad to read and hear of such a negative experience from Venturelog above. I have fond memories of my only stay at Hilton Palm in November 2022. The hotel had just opened a month or so earlier and we were doing 5 nights (5for4), but expended it to 10 such was our experience. I’m Hilton Diamond and called into the hotel the day before my arrival just to have a look around and hopefully use the beach, they were going to charge us for doing so before I found a much more receptive member of staff who arranged free access and escorted us to the towel collection and beach itself. On that, the beach is extensive and south facing, so sunny all day – and free for guests.
    When I turned up for check in next day my friendly staff member spotted me and came over to explain he had given us a nice upgrade (I had booked an entry room), to one the only 16 or so one bedroom suites on the front corner wings of the hotel, it was fabulous! Corner balconys, 2 bathrooms, living room, and unrivalled views of the resort and ocean. As Diamonds we also had Lounge access, with choice of breakfast either there or at the main downstairs buffet. We tried the main buffet first day, and whilst it was huge and plentiful, it was like a zoo, we never went back. Breakfast in the lounge was a much more sedate affair, less extensive, but eggs to order, and everything else you could ever need.
    The lounge also offered afternoon tea and of course an evening “happy hour”, drinks to be fair were slow at first, but once you got more familiar with the staff your favourite tipple landed down without ordering. There are 4 or 5 eateries at the hotel, so as well as other food options in the lounge, they also provided a signature dish from one of the hotel restaurants each evening.
    The lounge, whilst very nice (new), is/was not the biggest, so didn’t take that many guests in it to feel a bit crowded, and once I got a bit more familiar with one of the head staff I was told they were considering halting access for some Hilton Elite members, as the number of suite guests almost exceeded lounge capacity alone! All of which sounded a bit strange to me given it was a brand new hotel and it wouldn’t have taken a genius to work out what sort of occupancy you may need!
    Another thing that struck me as odd was that I only seen the loyalty ambassador in the lounge 3 times during my 10 night stay, and I only know she was the loyalty ambassador as I saw her sitting at her desk down in the hotel foyer. I don’t particularly want to be bothered too much by “suits” when I’m on my happy hour, but for a brand new hotel she never once came over to say hello or attempt to introduce herself, all she seemed interested in was inspecting the food.
    I believe the Marriott Palm next door, a replica of the Hilton, has branded itself as a resort, so elites in there don’t even get breakfast never mind access to the lounge!

    Anyway, the peculiarities of the lounge aside, the suite we had made more than up for it and we settled in very well. I put a lot of other odd stuff down to teething problems, like the towel hut and pool staff seemed to be totally unaccountable to the actual hotel management, argumentative even. There were just little things happening you noticed all over the hotel, if you are an experienced traveller, that just seemed… well, not what you would expect from a brand new Hilton.

    I guess that’s where Venturelog above comes in, maybe all those little teething problems weren’t little teething problems at all, and something about this hotel just isn’t right.

    None of those things would ever happen at Grosvenor House, sacré bleu!

    What a pity, easy to get on and off the palm, private beach, lovely rooms, the hotel has so much potential. Thankfully I got in early and had a pretty good experience, hearing the above has certainly put some doubt in my head now about returning.

    ns 41 posts

    Thank you all for your exceptionally helpful responses. I’m certainly leaning towards GH after reading all of the above though the lack of sun might be an issue for my partner (what she’d like most is to get some good sun by a pool/beach). Personally I’ve always been a sucker for excellent service and value that a lot – it sounds like GH has that in abundance!

    Is accessing LRM for its pool/beach problematic or burdensome when staying at GH?

    And thank you @bungalow for your suggestion of the Sheraton Dubai Creek – having taken a look I can indeed use my free night topped up with 5,000 points so I may just do that!

    NorthernLass 7,531 posts

    @ns – it’s very easy to get to LRM, there are regular shuttle buses between the 2 hotels, takes about 10 minutes. Just give your GH room number on arrival and they will find you a sun lounger, towels etc. The grounds are lovely, with a resident menagerie of peacocks and other birds! You can eat in their restaurants as well on the HB/dine around packages, so on 2 days we spent the day at their pool/beach, then used the very splendid changing facilities to get ready for dinner, then got the shuttle back to GH.

    Have to say there wasn’t really anything about Dubai itself that would tempt me back, but I would go for the hotel and service!

    *You can watch the sunset on the beach at LRM to the sounds of the beach club next door, and there are great night time views of the wheel and the skyscrapers all lit up. We were amused to see a couple of camels, which prompted predictable comparisons with Blackpool 😂

    NorthernLass 7,531 posts

    Actually I would go back just for GH. The crepes with poached pear at breakfast, the Byredo toiletries, the insanely comfortable beds, and so on.

    And, as mentioned, the service! It was impeccable; on our last evening we were sitting in the lobby for half an hour until it was time to leave for the airport and they insisted on bringing us complimentary coffee and biscuits!

    ns 41 posts

    Thank you @NorthernLass – that’s very helpful to know! It looks like LRM may be a good option for the sun issue then!

    Venturelog 16 posts

    To be honest, if I had been upgraded to a suite maybe my opinion would be different!
    But it highlights the room class issue. There were at almost 10 levels of rooms between the standard and the suite. Redeeming a standard room at 70k per night they would upgrade you to the next level which may be beach facing, or in the corner. That’s a lot of points for what is essentially an average sized room. For us, we weren’t happy that they upgraded us to a connecting room with single beds with the sound from the neighbours coming through. We asked to be moved to another room which was a little bigger but had to sacrifice the view of the beach. As I said some staff were helpful, but nothing about the hotel screamed luxury. We only picked it above Waldorf due to location getting into the main area and diamond giving me lounge access. The lounge is nothing special. The absolute basic amenities (which seems to be getting more common). And like bungalow mentioned it’s not big enough. The main breakfast we tried once and was brilliant with their sheer amount of selection. However the next day there was a long queue to get in. The beach isn’t helped by the view of a new skyscraper being built in front of you. Not sure what the point of this hotel was. If it was a Double tree resort fair enough, and it may well end up being one!
    There’s a small mall across the road which is handy.
    But my trip was fruitful as GH lived up to its hype. Like you Bungalow, I would always go back to stay there now. I’m not bothered by the pool issues highlighted here, as I would just go to the LR Meridians beach.

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,091 posts

    As a rent-an-opinion on Dubai, I too would plump for Grosvenor House. The Hilton Palm is just not somewhere that appeals to me – I won’t rake over old ground but my views on it are widespread here. I had a stay booked there, went to dinner there on an earlier trip to get a feel for the place, and knew it would not suit me.

    I agree with NorthernLass re the GH breakfast buffet. I had club lounge access but the morning spread there was disappointing. Whereas the main buffet was great, with pork bacon and pork sausages freely available to self-serve (same in Le Royal Meridien). The afternoon tea and evening canapes in GH are more ‘mature’ for sure, with fewer kids, a specific kid-free area and a more genteel feel. However the spread on offer is nowhere near as good as LRM.

    pauline 43 posts

    If you can get a decent price the RC Dubai in club is in my opinion still the best. Food and drink all day so a very classy AI . If you don’t drink much and like to eat out GH ( with shuttle to the beach) royal meridian. Fairmont the palm or raffles (no beach) would be my choice

    Hbommie 192 posts

    However the spread on offer is nowhere near as good as LRM.

    Totally agree, the LRM lounge is excellent, great cocktails, good food options and very good service and lounges aren’t usually my thing.

    As mentioned above the pool area at LRM is accessible to GH guests and is vast, no trouble with getting a spot around a pool or on the beach.

    A friend stayed at the RC and said that you had to go to the lounge for drinks, which negated the all day aspect, but it is a nice touch.

    ns 41 posts

    Thanks everyone for the additional comments and suggestions!

    TGLoyalty 512 posts

    Havent seen all the recommendations but will throw my hat in for GH its a great hotel and pretty well located to take a cheap uber anywhere. It might not be the newest but the staff, the bars, the restaurants and the rooms are perfect. a Gem of understated luxury and the lounge is pretty good too

    I’ve also stayed at the Hilton the Palm and its a nice enough property, got a lovely suite upgrade as Diamond from night 2 to 5, nice enough pool etc but it’s a bit more cookie cutter than GH – If the rate was right I’d absolutely stay again

    ns 41 posts

    Thanks @TGLoyalty

    jamesturk 49 posts

    I’m not long home from staying in the Rixos JBR. Ideal location and hotel was very good. We went to Toro Toro at GH on Sunday night for dinner; steak was phenomenal. I would definitely stay again at JBR/ Dubai Marina. The Palm feels very far away and not really in walking distance to anything.

  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.