Le Méridien Hotel – Dubai, UAE: Owned by a French company, the Le Meridien Hotel in Dubai is designed around a European sensibility—a break from the usual over-the-top opulence and lavishness of many five-star luxury hotels in Dubai. This elegantly designed hotel is built on two floors and is surrounded by an expansive landscaped garden. Because it is only minutes away from the Dubai International Airport and commercial and shopping districts, it is the ideal choice for business and transit travelers who prefer luxury accommodations.
First Impression/Lobby: The hotel lobby was huge and swathed with marble, surrounding a busy lounge; surprisingly it had a warm and welcoming feel to it. Live piano music was played to welcome the guests.
Reception, on the other hand, was not that warm and welcoming…
Reception: Upon arrival we went to the main reception desk. Because we booked an ‘Art and Technology’ room, their higher category room, we were escorted to the executive check-in. It turned out to be an office that was small and cramped. The receptionist at the executive check-in was cold, unwelcoming—not at all what I would expect from a luxury hotel, and to think it was their executive check-in.
Since we arrived early, our room was not yet available after check-in. We were thus invited for a complimentary breakfast (remember the old adage though, you get what you pay for), which did a better job of helping us kill time than letting us enjoy a great breakfast.
The Room: Our room, the Art and Technology room, was recently renovated. It was luxuriously designed with rich colors and fabrics, velvety soft furniture, and the latest electronics without being too excessive. Free wireless internet was also available, as well as motion sensor lights and an espresso machine. The (big) problem was that it was too small for two people, especially if you plan on staying here for more than a day or two.
The bathroom seemed to be the masterpiece of the room. It had a single sink, toilet, bathtub and a new “power shower,” which was part of the recent renovation. While it was a nice concept, I found it to be overrated as no one needs as many functions (over-head, at your feet, on the sides or with a spray handle). The wonderful rain-shower shower head in the middle of the shower was enough for me to enjoy a luxurious bath. I was to find out, however, that it was not so perfect after all, as the on/off handle for the rain-shower is behind the shower door, making it difficult to turn on and adjust the temperature before getting in. Again, a nice concept but poorly designed and grossly impractical!
Room Service: Room service was available 24 hours. Their menu was a typical selection of hotel room service food of burgers, salads, soup, sandwiches, and some Indian dishes. Surprisingly, the food was delivered very fast, and not as surprisingly, everything was 100% correct and well prepared. It seemed the hotel prides itself for good service (if not much else).
Housekeeping: Housekeeping did a great job and was ultra-responsive; they followed each request with a phone call to make sure that everything was satisfactory. Now that’s what I call five-star luxury service.
Restaurant: The hotel had over 17 restaurants and bars, I tired two of the restaurants—Antigo, the main dining room, and Kiku, the Japanese restaurant. Both failed to impress. Sometimes more is not actually better.
Pool/Spa/Activities: The hotel had three pools, soon to be a fourth, but none are all that spectacular. However, if you are there for just a day or two, any of the pools would suffice (I don’t recommend the hotel for more than a day or two, especially if you are there for a vacation or holiday).
The hotel also has a spa that provides hydrotherapy and body wraps among other spa treatments. Other amenities include a tennis court, a gym, an aerobics studio, and a hair salon.
Overall Impression The hotel’s location is perfect for travelers who need to stay close to airport. The rooms (or at least the recently remodeled one’s) are comfortable, but for two people or for longer periods of time, it may feel cramped. The restaurants are fair at best and largely forgettable. I can only recommend Le Meridien Hotel in Dubai to those who want something close to the airport; otherwise, just choose from the many stellar luxury and five-star hotels Dubai has to offer. Rating: Somewhere between bombastic and not.