We stayed here last year and enjoyed it enough to repeat the experience.
At the airport our pre-booked car was there to meet us. The driver was courteous and helpful and the car was very comfortable.
On checking-in it was a little disappointing that no reference was made to our previous visit. In all other hotels we have visited in Dubai, repeat custom is valued and acknowledged. A "welcome back" would have been nice.
Our room was actually next door to the one we had last year on the fourth floor. It was a panoramic suite. Last year I complained that some of the fixtures were damaged, the bathroom tv was broken and the shower appeared to leak. This year we had no such problems, but sadly this room was a lot grubbier than the standard of cleanliness the year before. All the toilets, baths, sinks were spotless, but there were loads of ring marks over bathroom surfaces, the coffee table in the lounge and some curious stains on the glass toilet door and on the side of one of the armchairs. I don't want you to think it was filthy - it was "OK" but the standard was not in keeping with the luxury of our surroundings. There also seemed to be lots of dried plaster drips on the main entrance to the suite as well.
Last year I mentioned that housekeeping is the area this hotel really needs to get to grips with. They never cleaned our room until about 5pm unless we asked and it was the same again this year - despite the "Please make up the room" sign going on no later than 9.30 each day.
On a positive note the suites here are huge and well-appointed,. I am a real horse-racing fan so the balcony overlooking the racecourse and access to Dubai racing channel and SIS for English racing just about put me on cloud nine. In the morning, the horses do their workouts on the track and it's great to climb straight out of bed and watch them.
In the restaurants service at the hotel was patchy. The lounge bar was very friendly and efficient. Farriers for breakfast was fine except that on only 1 day in 5 were we given napkins for the table and flagging down a second cup of coffee was often quite a challenge. Having said that, the buffet breakfast was extensive and the food itself of excellent quality.
We were most impressed with out visit to Shiba bar. It is very smart and comfortable, but I couldn't choose between a seat by the window or a seat by the tv showing English racing. In the end I chose the window at which point the staff put the racing on the tv nearest me without anyone even mentioning it to them - we were most impressed with their attentiveness.
Dinner, on the other hand was not the best of experiences. We ate at the hotel twice and both times there were significant errors. At Bel Pasta we were served with the wrong order but still enjoyed the experience. The manager was aware of the error and made suitable recompense without us being put through the embarrassment of making a complaint. Actually we quite liked what we ate and were impressed by how "on the ball" the manger was!
I am less forgiving about our experience in Farriers where we ordered starter and main course from a waiter who was clearly having difficulties understanding English. When our starter hadn't arrived after 45 minutes I began to suspect he was going to serve it with our main course, so we explained our order to him again. We then explained it to another waiter who appeared to speak more English, but they still served everything together. We then sent back the main course whilst we had the starter, which was re- served to us, dried out, some 25 minutes later.
My husband complained to the manager who appeared completely unaware of what was going on and then blamed his staff for not telling him. Not at all the quality of the management at Bel Pasta - surely he should keep an eye on inexperienced staff?
I'd like to finish on a positive note because we received some really hospitable gestures from the hotel, such as the free golf buggies which took us to and from the racecourse, and also the sports bar, through to the day we were supposed to get a shuttle to Bab Al Shams and were offered a free journey in the hotel car instead because we were the only people going.
In summary, I would recommend you come here if you love horses and are prepared to eat dinner away from the hotel. We will certainly be back, although any further deterioration in housekeeping standards would decide me against it. Actually, this really does have the potential to be a top-notch hotel if they could just get to grips with the standard of housekeeping. We're hoping to be pleasantly surprised next year, third time lucky...
I like the fourth floor - it's close enough to see the horses but not so close to all the noise...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
March 6, 2013
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Thank you for your in-depth feedback of our hotel’s services. I assure you that I am going to work on resolving all of these issues as soon as possible with my team, most especially the Housekeeping Department. I am glad that you liked Shiba and Bas Pasta Restaurants and I will discuss the points which you raised with regards to our Farriers Restaurant. I definitely agree with you that there should have been close supervision where it is needed. Hopefully, upon your next return, you will see the improvements.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.