I love the Habtoor. I've visited Dubai four times now and comparisons suggest to me that it is either the cheapest of the true luxury hotels in Dubai, or alternatively the best of the mid-range 5-stars hotels. This is a family orientated resort, so be prepared for some concessions. The assumption is that one is visiting in search of relaxation, not connectivity (more to follow).
The Habtoor is conveniently situated for Sheikh Zayed Road, Jumeirah Beach, the Marina and the Palm, and the development of the Dubai Metro means a couple is only 25 Dirhams away from just about any station in the city. The Habtoor's beach undoubtedly has the best view of the Dubai skyline anywhere, and is a must see even if one is just visiting for a meal or a drink.
I stayed in the Habtoor for the second time in Nov 2013, having stayed previously in 2009, and found the hotel to have improved tremendously from an already very high standard.
I was relieved to find the Tower Rooms as spacious and tastefully decorated as I remembered. The views are spectacular, and the beds are massive. I would happily live in the bathroom, come to that, with its mosaic decoration and endless space. Plus the room was kept very clean by intelligent, articulate staff, who even obligingly popped in to clean again on request when I foolishly dragged my muddy shoes all over the bathroom.
Even back in 2009, I had found the facilities to be excellent. It was possible to never leave the hotel if one prefers not to, and five days will fly by without boredom setting in. But between my two stays, significant work was done to improve the grounds. The beach is now very natural looking, and has always been clean and safe. It supposedly caters to watersport enthusiasts, but I don't think many were staying at the Habtoor this November. A club is now available, playing what I thought was very good music. The infinity pool area has been turned into an extremely tasteful lounge. The range of leisure and sport activities on offer is very impressive, and the owner's love of tennis is plain to see in the two (!) immaculate tennis courts and signed collection of raquettes.
All restaurants are brilliant if pricey (meals for two won't really go below AED200), and the South African grill in particular is truly amazing, In most cases, portions are very generous so it's up to guests to rein themselves in. The breakfast buffet is varied and generally fresher and healthier than most. Bars are overpriced (certainly when it comes to anything non-alcoholic) but consistently good, and great quality shisha is available pretty much everywhere.
The Habtoor was mostly let down by concierge this time - a strange departure from its otherwise high standards. I understand that this hotel is not meant for business people but rather for families, and hence Wifi is not standard - in fact it's incredibly expensive. This makes a competent concierge service crucial. Our questions were always answered quickly, with unwavering confidence, and yet completely *incorrectly.* Reluctance to use the phone (unless guests clearly request this) is a problem.
First concierge told me off the top of their heads that the nearby Royal Mirage's club would be open at 7. In fact it opened at 9. A simple call would have sorted that. Then two members of staff tried hard to convince me the Dubai Miracle garden was not going to be open till December, despite the Garden's own website saying it was opening in a day's time. They would not initially call the venue itself, but rather the clueless Dubai Tourism Authority. Finally, when arranging our airport transfer, concierge managed to almost pick a fight with the travel agent because they were not used to dealing with Lastminute.com and could not identify the correct reference code (i did this eventually).
I know from looking at comments prior to my second booking that some guests dislike the huge number of Russian guests at the hotel and judging from the number of suspiciously aesthetically mismatched couples I'd say there was certainly a strong whiff of Oligarch, or at least Minigarch, money at the Habtoor. Still, no guests were discourteous to me or acted inappropriately where I could see, and that's the only evidence I've got to go on. Other guests have complained about the number of families at the resort and I agree that if you strongly object to sharing your pool or breakfast lounge with toddlers, you should not consider this.
Little tip for the non-oligarchs out there: if you should over-indulge and find yourself having to save a little money, food and transport are key. Make a point of having a good breakfast and pop into the nearby mini-market for sandwich ingredients. It's still not possible to walk to the Marina Metro station and may not be for some time (maybe years), but it only costs AED15 to take a taxi (beware drivers from the Marina to the hotel though, they will try the old 'meter is broken' trick, which I didn't expect in 2013 Dubai!). Then you are connected to pretty much everywhere.
Tower rooms - even without sea views they are very good. With sea views, they are amazing.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.