Last month on our way to the World Halal Travel Summit we stopped by in Dubai. On this trip I was accompanied by my mum and my aunt which was super awesome since they are both like happy kids and my aunt had never been out of the country. The purpose of this trip was to make it as memorable as possible for them while doing some business for the MTG.
I decided to stay at the Intercontinental Dubai Marina because it is in one of my favourite areas in Dubai and it is so close to the Jumeirah (JBR) walk and beach. On my previous trip, two years ago they were still constructing the JBR walk and this time it was completed. Great to see the before and after; though traffic in the area hasn’t improved much. They now have a tram as well as a long stretch of beach, shops and a relaxing place to walk and spend your day or evening. I will try and put some photos together of the JBR walk for those of you who would like to see it. I love this area of Dubai for this very reason because everything is walking distance and you can enjoy an evening without having to get into a taxi. Distances in Dubai are long, so saving time is important especially if you are there for a relaxing holiday.
I booked the property for two nights, one night on points and I used one of my certificates that I had accumulated through the previous IHG promotion for the second night. The room per night was approximately £200 or 45,000 points so to keep my cost down it seemed like a good choice. Plus I don’t have any planned trips and the IHG certificates expire in December 2015.
The property is brand new and it has been in operation for about 6 months. It is separated in two towers in a way with the hotel rooms are on one side and the apartments or residences are on the other.
The hotel is on a main road, about 5 minutes walk from the JBR walk and Jumeirah beach. You can easily walk to the JBR walk or even around the marina and to the Marina mall which is about a 5min walk. It is also close distance to the metro station which is about 15min walk and the best stop is the Dubai Jumeirah Lake towers. You can also take the tram which is just outside the hotel and then connect to the metro. If you want to keep your costs down then the metro is a great way to see Dubai without spending too much on taxis. Taxis can be cheap but they do add up in the end.
Check in was fast and easy. I am an IHG Gold member so I didn’t expect any privileges however I was given a high floor with a Marina view and a discount for an upgrade to the lounge which cost me £50 for all three of us. Since we didn’t have breakfast included I could have paid for breakfast at £50 for all three but I opted for the lounge since I really wanted to check it out as well and see the view from the 39th floor.
The lobby is grand and they have this nice smell of ‘oud’ (Arabic Traditional Perfume) throughout the property which is not too strong but pleasant. Plenty of seating area as well as a prayer room.
You can see the rooms are new and spacious. We had a Marina view which was great because you can see all the lights as it was a nice view for my mum and aunt. The Marina area kind of reminds me of New York with all the high risers. The finishing touches in the room were great and I like the fact it is a modern property with clean lines. Also extremely happy that even though the bathroom has a glass wall there was a blind you can roll down so you have privacy. I am not very keen on the new glass wall features in the bathrooms, I do prefer my privacy.
The room also had a small balcony where you can sit and enjoy the scenery; even though it was a little hot it was a nice touch and we did spend some time outside. One of my favorite features as a Muslim was the fact they have a Quran and a prayer mat in the hotel. I love this and even though you are in Dubai you don’t see it in many hotels. Great touch for the Muslim traveler.
I had booked the room for three people and I was expecting an extra bed. When I was booking the property didn’t say there is a payment for the extra person and it was one of the factors for booking. At the reception, they told me that it is a twin room and if we need an extra bed they can provide us with it, which in the end is what we requested. When I requested it they said there was a charge which I disputed and they didn’t charge me.
The bathroom was a good size and it had a shower and a big bathtub. Nice and new pieces which you can’t really go wrong. However the shower was leaking onto the bathroom floor and into the room. This made it very slippery and dangerous. I am not talking about a little amount of water, I am talking about two towels soaked in water. I was there for only 2 nights so I didn’t want to ask and move rooms but if I was there for longer I would have requested to move. I almost slipped when getting out of the bathroom. I did let the receptionist know and she assured me they will fix it.
I paid only for one day access to the lounge because I wanted to check it out and since breakfast and lounge where the same price I opted for the lounge. The lounge itself is small in comparison to others and also at night it seems a little dark with the dark wooden walls.
During the day the breakfast buffet is small, you have a station for fresh eggs and a small buffet with cereal, fruit, bread etc. It is a decent buffet even though I found in the morning the service to be relatively slow; they only had one person serving and I really felt sorry for the girl. We did have to wait 15-20 minutes for eggs and they came after we had finished our breakfast.
The view on the other hand is awesome, I mean on the 39th floor in the Marina it ought to be. I believe that upgrading just for the view was worth it. They have a balconies well outside so during a less hot and humid day you can enjoy an evening sunset view while having drinks. I can see myself doing this.
Usually when I travel with my husband we either have lounge access from our status or we upgrade because we spend more time in the hotel. We like to have small doses of exploring and then back for an afternoon in the hotel before we venture out again. With my mum and aunt because we had only a day in Dubai we literally walked and went around most of Dubai in that day so paying for a lounge didn’t make sense. However if you have young children or you know you will spend a decent amount of time in the hotel then you might want to consider having a lounge. It saves you on snacks and drinks as well as having a nice place to relax.
Overall the lounge was decent. A little on the small size and awkward in shape but the view is nice. You get the usual drinks, afternoon snacks and of course for those who drink, alcohol is available.
There is a small pool in the property overlooking the Marina. They have a bar, nice lounges to relax in and when the sun is in the right position you can enjoy some sunbathing. There were women with their clothes on in the pool so they seemed ok if you wanted to swim in a burkini. Another nice touch was that once you sat down they bring you a towel for your lounger as well as a cold class of water with lemon. It is my favourite drink and I love that they offer this without asking. Nice touch.
The staff were excellent and nothing was too much trouble for them. From the receptionist to the concierge and the bell boys it was a great smooth experience. They seemed willing to help you and ask how was your day with a genuine smile. These small touches make the hotel stay much better. After all the experience is created by the people and not the four walls of the hotel.
Overall I really liked this property and I will happily stay here next time I am in Dubai. I like the fact that it is close to the Marina and the JBR for a walk yet it is quieter than being on the JBR walk, which especially on a weekend can be very noisy and busy. It is a great Intercontinental property and for 45,000 points per night I can say it is a good option, especially in peak season when cash prices are even higher.