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Forums Other Destination advice Dubai newbie – hotel advice please!

  • CB4 8 posts

    Morning all, we’ve never been to Dubai but always wanted to go. Thinking about heading there next October.

    So far I’ve found what looks like good value deals at a few different hotels; The Fairmont (palm) and the W (palm).

    Our girls will be 13 and 10 next year so looking for somewhere family / tween friendly.

    Any views on these hotels? Any others we should be considering?

    Is the Palm a good location? We’d be planning a mix of pool / beach time with a bit of sightseeing.

    Any views or recommendations would be great! Thanks

    FH2 78 posts

    We stayed at the Fairmont Palm last October with our 2 girls who were the same age as yours. It is a nice hotel, rooms are spacious and staff friendly, but the pool area was always very crowded – difficult to find a lounger and everyone was packed together like sardines. It is a good location though – it is on the trunk of the Palm so takes less time to travel to the mainland by taxi (traffic can be bad in Dubai). I have also stayed at Sofitel on the Palm about 7 years ago and I think this is a much nicer hotel than the Fairmont. But it is much further around the Palm, so can take up to an hour to get to the mainland in traffic. I don’t know the W but I think it is meant to be more of a “party” hotel. I think the Palm generally is a good place to stay if you don’t plan to leave the hotel much. If you want to get out and about a bit more, consider staying around Jumeirah beach area.

    The real Swiss Tony 633 posts

    If you stay out on the Palm you’re going to be very “isolated” as in it could be anywhere in the world. And as FH2 notes don’t underestimate the traffic.

    I’ve found some very good deals on the Secret Escapes website for Dubai. I normally try to book direct so obviously you forego the status benefits but the discounts at times are immense. I suspect there are other travel agents that do crazy discounts, too.

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,049 posts

    The W aims to be achingly hip and is not for families.

    As per above comment, the Fairmont is on West Beach on the trunk of the Palm. That part includes a beach boardwalk and attracts lots of ex-pat locals walking/eating along it. The hotels there are large but packed tightly and Five is an influencer hotspot that blasts music all day.

    Overall the footprint of the Palm hotels will feel quite tight relative to mainland hotels. I suggest you consider (budget dependent) a few of the following that are Palm-adjacent:
    One & Only Royal Mirage
    Westin Mina Seyahi
    Le Meridien Mina Seyahi
    Grosvenor House (not on a beach but free shuttle or walk to Le Royal Meridien’s ample beach)
    Le Royal Meridien JBR
    Ritz Carlton JBR
    Doubletree JBR

    The JBR hotels will give you a pedestrian-friendly strip to wander for family-friendly eateries if you think you’d like to get out of the hotel. However the atmosphere can be less than family friendly in winter, with prostitutes transacting openly and in abundance.

    You could consider splitting your stay with beach and city if that keeps costs down on days you’re going to not be on the beach anyway. If so I’d suggest pricing up:
    Intercontinental Ras Al Khaimah, in the northern emirate about 70 min drive from Dubai airport, as your beach hotel
    Intercontinental Dubai Festival City, connected to Festival City mall and a short taxi hop to airport and sights, as your sightseeing hotel. It has an ample outdoor pool terrace that is not overshadowed.
    The benefit of both of the above is that by purchasing Intercontinental Ambassador status, you could get one weekend night free and in both hotels benefit from 16.00 check out – which allows you to enjoy a pool and sun day up till say 15.15 before a shower and check out.

    NorthernLass 6,706 posts

    Just jumping on this as it’s timely and may also help the OP! First visit for us next month –

    Best for taxis (is there Uber?) – we have tickets for the Messiah so will need to get from GH to the Dubai Opera (so much for Dubai being a cultural desert lol)

    Is Wifi ubiquitous or should we get an e-sim? Mainly for keeping in touch with the 18-year-old who wanted to stay at home this year!

    Obviously haven’t been yet but the HB deal at GH/LRM does seem a great deal if you don’t want to spend time deciding where to eat. There are more restaurants to choose from than nights we are there!

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,049 posts

    There’s Uber but also Careem which is a bit of an all-in-one app. Careem allows you to order regular cream coloured local taxis too, which are usually cheaper.

    Wifi is ubiquitous in malls and restaurants and hotels. The immigration desk on arrival will hand you a Du SIM card with a metal pin for ooening an iPhone’s SIM tray. It comes with 1Gb or 5Gb; forget which.

    Ensure you check the Marriott More Cravings website so as not to miss any additional dining offers beyond what’s in your HB plan.

    meta 1,406 posts

    Regarding Careem, my advice would be to look for promo codes. On my first trip I had 50% off for first 10 rides. My partner signed up for the same so we practically always had 50% off.

    NorthernLass 6,706 posts

    Brilliant, @meta, thanks!

    executiveclubber 226 posts

    The immigration desk on arrival will hand you a Du SIM card with a metal pin for ooening an iPhone’s SIM tray.

    Though it may be worth buying your own eSIM rather than one issued from a government that unjustly imprisons so many innocent people

    Blair Waldorf Salad 1,049 posts

    The immigration desk on arrival will hand you a Du SIM card with a metal pin for ooening an iPhone’s SIM tray.

    Though it may be worth buying your own eSIM rather than one issued from a government that unjustly imprisons so many innocent people

    Nearly 4hrs till the UN trundled along. That must be a HfP record.

    yorkshireRich 191 posts

    Just jumping on this as it’s timely and may also help the OP! First visit for us next month –

    Best for taxis (is there Uber?) – we have tickets for the Messiah so will need to get from GH to the Dubai Opera (so much for Dubai being a cultural desert lol)

    Is Wifi ubiquitous or should we get an e-sim? Mainly for keeping in touch with the 18-year-old who wanted to stay at home this year!

    Obviously haven’t been yet but the HB deal at GH/LRM does seem a great deal if you don’t want to spend time deciding where to eat. There are more restaurants to choose from than nights we are there!

    Hi Northern lass. Out of interest did you post on the GH thread on flyer talk yesterday?

    Having stayed at GH on the half board deal twice in a year, I think I could give you some fairly sound advice on certain restaurants etc.

    Aston100 1,365 posts

    The immigration desk on arrival will hand you a Du SIM card with a metal pin for ooening an iPhone’s SIM tray.

    Though it may be worth buying your own eSIM rather than one issued from a government that unjustly imprisons so many innocent people

    Maybe you should advise people to altogether avoid a country run by “a government that unjustly imprisons so many innocent people”?
    Seems odd to boycott only their sim cards.

    Actually, even better – how about leaving politics out of this altogether?

    iamlost 110 posts

    I usually stay on the Palm – the first few times just for the novelty, but I found I like the separation from Downtown Dubai and the drive is not as bad as others are making it out to be. I have a soft spot for Sofitel The Palm as it’s got the least Middle East-esque vibe of any Dubai property, but the other Palm properties suggested here are solid (particularly the One&Only).

    executiveclubber 226 posts

    The immigration desk on arrival will hand you a Du SIM card with a metal pin for ooening an iPhone’s SIM tray.

    Though it may be worth buying your own eSIM rather than one issued from a government that unjustly imprisons so many innocent people

    Maybe you should advise people to altogether avoid a country run by “a government that unjustly imprisons so many innocent people”?
    Seems odd to boycott only their sim cards.

    Actually, even better – how about leaving politics out of this altogether?

    A country that has no minimum wage, people imprisoned unfairly and tourists being tortured – personally I’d want to know about the reality before booking flights for my family, but yeah, let’s conveniently just ignore “politics” so you can enjoy your luxury break without the guilt 🙂

    NorthernLass 6,706 posts

    There’s an actual virtue-signalling thread somewhere (though @executiveclubber might want to look at the link between their handle and one QR airways if we’re going to get judgemental). But I take it you never visit Mexico, India, China, or other countries with equally dodgy human rights records?


    @yorkshireRich
    – yes, any tips gratefully received. I did get it confirmed by GH that you can have lunch instead of dinner!

    The real Swiss Tony 633 posts

    Where an e-sim is invaluable is if you’re trying to get a Careem (or Uber) at the airport on arrival. Admittedly that has been in Abu Dhabi as the last twice I went to DXB I was on EK but if relying on wifi you risk running in and out the airport to find where the driver has actually stopped.

    memesweeper 1,177 posts

    I’ve used Uber and Careem a lot in recently in the UAE ( 🙄 thanks to a misplaced driving licence) and they are not really more convenient than local taxis. Local taxis are everywhere and cheap. However, local taxis may drive too fast and be a bit shabby — Uber and Careem are smarter and calmer in my (limited) experience.

    IC Festival City is lovely for a couple of days, I just left there, going to pop over to tripadvisor later to drop an unreserved 5*s. Sign up for Ambassador while you are there and you might snag the upgrade of a lifetime (I did). And they might honor it again if you return! The main pool is closed and you have to pop next door to CP and use there’s. It’s OK. Breakfast is the kind that kids will adore. It’s not on a beach though, as suggested above, go somewhere else as well.

    If you do find yourself unjustly imprisoned and tortured in the UAE try these specialist lawyers https://www.detainedindubai.org/ ; also these people run a charity helping those worldwide who are behind bars in foreign gaols: https://www.prisonersabroad.org.uk/

    NigelHamilton 134 posts

    If you stay out on the Palm you’re going to be very “isolated” as in it could be anywhere in the world. And as FH2 notes don’t underestimate the traffic.

    I’ve found some very good deals on the Secret Escapes website for Dubai. I normally try to book direct so obviously you forego the status benefits but the discounts at times are immense. I suspect there are other travel agents that do crazy discounts, too.

    There are some very substantial discounts available in Dubai if you’re happy not to be collecting points for a direct booking. I’ve never said this on here before (and Rob, please delete if not allowed) but if you let me know where and what dates you want to stay, I’m 99% confident I could beat any price you found!

    nectar collector 277 posts

    If you stay out on the Palm you’re going to be very “isolated” as in it could be anywhere in the world. And as FH2 notes don’t underestimate the traffic.

    I’ve found some very good deals on the Secret Escapes website for Dubai. I normally try to book direct so obviously you forego the status benefits but the discounts at times are immense. I suspect there are other travel agents that do crazy discounts, too.

    +1 for checking out offers on Secret Escapes – we went to the Grand Hyatt with them, half board, club room, for around £100 per night. Admittedly this was in July last year, so silly hot temperatures, but had a fantastic stay.

    iplaypoker 23 posts

    For a trip global village is nice. We really enjoyed it in terms of value in Dubai it’s good only a few pounds to get in and the free shows are pretty good. You can then just pay as you go for food and rides if you want. Compared to everything else it was a cheap thing to do.

    Carlos 767 posts

    Though it may be worth buying your own eSIM rather than one issued from a government that unjustly imprisons so many innocent people

    personally I’d want to know about the reality before booking flights for my family, but yeah, let’s conveniently just ignore “politics” so you can enjoy your luxury break without the guilt 🙂

    A bit strange when only in August you were asking how to churn your 80k EK points, which is of course as you already know but try to hide to enjoy F class flights is an airline is a subsidiary of The Emirates Group, which is owned by the government of Dubai’s Investment Corporation of Dubai.

    The real Swiss Tony 633 posts

    +1 for checking out offers on Secret Escapes – we went to the Grand Hyatt with them, half board, club room, for around £100 per night. Admittedly this was in July last year, so silly hot temperatures, but had a fantastic stay.

    I saw that offer and wondered how they were delivering that sort of deal/whether there was an impact on quality. I assume not? I went for the Sofitel Obelisk for my September trip. Again about £100 incl club floor access which was very well put together. Incredibly quiet lounge all day but got busy for cocktail hour. Used taxis to get everywhere so the stupid temperature wasn’t too much of an issue.

    nectar collector 277 posts

    +1 for checking out offers on Secret Escapes – we went to the Grand Hyatt with them, half board, club room, for around £100 per night. Admittedly this was in July last year, so silly hot temperatures, but had a fantastic stay.

    I saw that offer and wondered how they were delivering that sort of deal/whether there was an impact on quality. I assume not? I went for the Sofitel Obelisk for my September trip. Again about £100 incl club floor access which was very well put together. Incredibly quiet lounge all day but got busy for cocktail hour. Used taxis to get everywhere so the stupid temperature wasn’t too much of an issue.

    We thought the hotel facilities and service were great, large outdoor pool, walking distance of metro station (even in silly hot temperatures) – they are building a water park as well, but not sure when that’s due to open. The food and drink offering was very good for the price and we’d happily stay there again.

    eshaq786 20 posts

    Anyone recommend a cheap and no nonsense(read no scam) car hire provider at DXB?

    Thegasman 200 posts

    For the OP, just be aware that October 1/2 term is very much peak season in Dubai so the deals will be harder to come by & less impressive than some of the July steals quoted here (July being very much lowest of low season).

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