Grosvenor House West Marina Beach by Le Méridien– Dubai, UAE: Another grand addition to the vast assortment of lifestyle-and-living luxuries that Dubai has to offer, the Grosvenor House by Le Méridien Hotels is a towering structure of opulence but lacks the substance and warmth that true five star luxury hotels possess. The hotel is equipped with all that is chic and trendy, but like most things that are “chic and trendy,” its charm wears off rather fast. The hotel is fairly new, having opened in 2005, and is thus not entirely hopeless. For aesthetic purposes alone, the Grosvenor House may be worth visiting.
First Impression/Lobby: Free airport transfers (from the Dubai Airport to Grosvenor House Duabi) are included if you book a Club Room, which we did. The driver and a hotel staff picked us up at the airport 10 minutes too late to be classified as first-class service. This little detail irked me because we provided our arrival information to the hotel beforehand expecting that they’ll be waiting for us and not the other way around.
The car was comfortable and spacious—a BMW 740li series, but there was not enough room in the trunk to fit in our luggage. We were very pleased, however, that they were quick to come up with a solution and arranged for a second car to transfer our luggage.
When we got inside the car, we were given a wet cloth and a glass of water—or rather, a plastic cup with the rim covered with tinfoil. Not very classy at all and definitely not five-star level.
From the airport, it was a 25-minute drive to the luxury hotel—a good enough time to take in Dubai’s scenery of buildings, buildings and more buildings; many of which are in various stages of completion.
When we got there, I was bowled over by the hotel’s architecture—a tall structure of pink marble and glass. A short escalator led to the equally spectacular marbled lobby, enclosed by large sandstone columns. The moment we stepped in, the hotel staff, from the doorman to the receptionist, gave us a gracious and friendly welcome; pure five-star service!
Reception: Our check-in was fast, easy, and pleasant. The paperwork was already prepared, and so, we just signed a few things and were escorted to our deluxe suite in no time. Our gracious escort efficiently showed us how to work the light switches, temperature control, safety box, mini-bar, internet wire, and gave us all the essential information we required. It was true five-star service.
Concierge: The concierge service was a bit disappointing. We asked for lunch recommendations and the gentleman hemmed and hawed and finally gave a few weak suggestions. I expected more from a hotel of this caliber.
The Suite: We booked a deluxe suite at the Club Level (18th floor), which faced the sea. Hotel buildings and constructions, however, blocked the sea and ruined our view, making the whole sea view thing. Since we were in the club/concierge floor, we had access to the lounge (on the 44th floor) and free wireless internet access.
The room was nicely and tastefully done, inspired by the desert sands and dunes of Dubai—calm and serene, decorated with mostly brown and beige hues with orange accents. The carpeting had wavy lines that seemed to mimic the patterns that sand make when blown by the wind. A large curved window let the orange light of the sunset fill the room, perfectly blending with the earthy orange color of the curtains. A big let-down, however, was the glare of the windows which completely ruined the view at night.
The deluxe suite felt more like a junior or mini-deluxe suite because of its relatively small size. It had a living room, a small kitchenette, a bedroom and a bathroom. The living room was equipped with designer furniture including a loveseat and chairs, a glass-topped metal table, a work desk and a flat screen TV. Wooden sliding doors separated the bedroom from the living room. The bedroom had a large bed, cramping the space somehow. There is really only space for one piece of luggage and no more.
Just off the bedroom was the master bathroom. It was a divine work of beautiful earth-colored, checkered marble. It had a huge soaking tub, a trendy single sink, toilet, bidet, and a stand-alone shower. It was lavishly equipped with Bvlgari Silver Label amenities and plush towels.
Room Service: The room service menu was basic. They offered a limited selection of Arabic, Indian and Western Dishes. Placing the order was remarkably fast and easy, and delivery time took only under 30 minutes—but only in the evening! They were horribly inconsistent.
While the evening service staff did an amazing job of setting things up on our table and were very efficient and gracious from beginning to end, the morning staff (when we ordered breakfast) seemed to come from a different hotel all together! Our breakfast order took over an hour to be delivered and when it did arrive, the server was in an awful hurry, and simply dropped the tray and left.
The quality of the food was overall mediocre. The best we had was Goat Cheese Salad; other than that, the food was on par with a three star diner.
Concierge Club Lounge: Because we were staying on the Concierge Club Level, we had access to the concierge lounge on the 44th floor. The concierge lounge offered drinks and refreshments throughout the day as well as some of the best views the hotel had to offer. Be warned though, wearing shorts in the lounge is not allowed at any time of the day. Even though it’s not posted anywhere, you will be quickly shown to the door and asked to leave. In our case, we were there at one in the afternoon in dress shorts and rudely told to leave. So much for class and graciousness I guess.
Housekeeping: Housekeeping was excellent and invisible, exactly what you want from a five-star, luxury hotel. I couldn’t ask for more!
Restaurant: Although we didn’t try any of the restaurants, the hotel had a substantial list of bars and restaurants to whet any kind of appetite or craving for entertainment. World-class chef Gary Robinson serves French gourmet in an upscale posh ambiance at the Mezzanine. Authentic Indian cuisine is served at Indego matched by contemporary eastern décor, while Turkish fare is served at the Ottoman Restaurant. Other restaurants include the Buddha Bar, a Chinese tea bar, and a champagne and cocktail bar on the 45th floor. For a luxury hotel, Grosvenor House does offers a great selection of restaurants.
Pool/Spa/Activites: The hotel has a health club on the 4th floor and includes a pool, a sauna, a gym, and extensive spa treatments. The pool is rather small but nicely designed with a Zen-like atmosphere. If you are looking for a pool that gets a lot of sun, however, this is not the place. The surrounding buildings block the sun early in the afternoon and in the heat of the summer—but this could be ideal since the Dubai sun is dreadfully hot. If you want to relax in the shade, albeit, the shade of a high-rise, then, their pool will suit you just fine.
Overall Impression: The hotel is gorgeous and still relatively new, offering something novel for the well-heeled and well-traveled. The stunning architecture and public areas are among the best in Dubai—true class, true five-star. Service on the other hand range from excellent (reception, evening room service) to mediocre (concierge) to poor (morning room service) to downright rude (hostess in the concierge club lounge).
The “sea view” was less than impressive, but that goes with the progress that Dubai is undergoing. Regardless, when you book a sea view room, you have certain expectations.
Finally, the location of Grosvenor is not ideal to anything. If you are planning to spend all your time in the hotel, it is acceptable. If you want to go out, and you probably will want to, then it’s not the hotel to book.
If service was excellent at all levels I could overlook the location and give it a higher rating, but it’s not, so I can’t. Overall, I give the hotel a rating of between bombastic and not.