We added a four night stopover in Dubai on our way home to Australia from Europe and decided to stay at the Holiday Inn because of value for money and the fact that we have an Ambassador Status Membership with the IC Chain.
As we were travelling with our two children, we decided that we would book a two bedroom suite so that we had some extra room. We booked 7 months in advance at took the Advance Purchase with Breakfast fate of AED1040 per night (about AUD$330) plus taxes. Pretty good value for two rooms plus living area. I had originally booked three nights, and paid in full upfront, but then added another night a couple of months later. I knew that we'd have to pay this upon check out.
I was impressed with the communication I received prior to coming and we were also advised of a change in tourist tax, which meant that we would pay an extra AED30 per night for the two bedrooms. Love to be pre-warned about this sort of stuff.
It was late when we checked in, about 1am, however our welcome was very warm and Tarak checked us in with no problems. In talking, we found out that there were a lot of conferences on in Dubai and that the hotel was full. Tarak also went out of his way to see whether everything was OK during our stay, which was a nice touch.
Our room was No 151. I think the family suites are usually pretty much at the end of the hotel, so a bit of a walk from the elevators, but I was expecting that. It was on the first floor, so I wasn't expecting much of a view. We had booked non smoking, which was very important and from reading previous reviews, I have gathered that the third, fourth and fifth floors are all smoking, so I'd rather be on level 1 or 2, than be on a smoking floor.
We settled in and finally got to bed at about 2am. It was pretty hot, so having the air-conditioning on was a MUST! It was a little noisy, but we'd get used to it. About 10 minutes after going to bed, the air conditioning ramped up somewhat and became a lot noisier. It was a bit annoying, because I couldn't seem to turn the fan down any further than what I had it without turning it off. In the morning we threw opened the curtains to find.... the world's biggest air conditioning unit right outside our suite. No wonder the air conditioning was noisier than I had expected! I couldn't see exactly how long the unit was, but from what I could see (the windows didn't open), it was at least the length of three rooms. It was HUGE! Given that the hotel was full and that we had to have interconnecting rooms on a non smoking floor, I thought there was little point in trying to get moved to a different room, and in any case we had already unpacked and it wasn't worth the effort.
The rooms themselves, facilities and comfort were all pretty good, the only niggle was the size of the bathroom in comparison to the other rooms - it was pretty small, with the toilet pretty much in the middle of the room, this made it difficult to move and dry yourself.
The reason I gave a four star and not a five star rating was because of the air conditioning and the small bathroom.
Throughout our stay, the staff were lovely. The only morning that we made it down to breakfast, it was what you'd expect of a four star hotel. Not overly fancy, but had most things that you could want, including a fresh egg station. Staff were courteous.
The day before checking out, we booked a transfer to the airport for 7am for the next morning. We specified that we would need either a large car or van, because there were four of us and we had a substantial amount of luggage. We also made sure that we could book it to the hotel room, as we had very little AED left and were on our way home.
Our biggest issue was when we checked out.
I approached the lobby desk and advised that I was checking out for room 151. Mohamed was the person who was at the desk at the time. He did not smile or greet me in any way, which I thought was strange, given the kind and courteous interactions with other staff I had. I cheekily asked if we could use our Priority Club points for the fourth night, but I got a pretty terse 'No'. He printed out the room details and advised me the amount owing. I asked if I could check the bill. He did not hand me the bill, but instead asked for my credit card. Again I asked if I could see the bill, but he seemed to want my credit card before giving me the hotel bill breakdown. WhenI got the breakdown of cost, I noticed that the airport transfer was not on the bill and said that it had been missed. Mohamed then checked with concierge about the booking for transfer. There was a bit of to-ing and fro-iong and it seems that we had too much luggage for a standard size car. We would either have to take two cars or wait for a bigger car (which was currently on the airport run) to arrive. We weren't very happy. We pointed out that we had specifically booked a large car/van because of the luggage we had (four suitcases, four wheely bags). They said that there was no such booking. This was a lie, because we saw the concierge write down our booking. Mohamed was very nonchalant about this whole issue. We had plenty of time... he said. What he didn't know is that we hadn't had breakfast, needed to do some shopping and there was a 30 minute walk from check-in at the airport to the gate area. We didn't have time at all to wait, which is why we pre-booked. He did not want to hear why we needed to go ASAP and again repeated that we had plenty of time. Or perhaps we could take a taxi and pay for it ourselves? No, we don't have any more AED, which is why we pre-booked a transfer in the first place. During this, the concierge and porters were very apologetic and updated us on the no of minutes until the transfer arrived. We waited an extra 15 minutes longer than we should have, which wasn't too bad, but the experience left a sour note. At no stage did Mohamed apologise to us that this had happened.
While this was happening, I was also checking our hotel bill and I noticed that the amount that we prepaid did not cover what had been charged, after adjusting for the AED30 tax per night for the first three nights. I advised Mohamed of this and his only reply is that this is the amount you owe. I again reiterated that the first three nights had been completely prepaid (other than AED30) and we should not have any extra to pay for these nights. At this stage, all we wanted to do was get out to the airport and it seemed pointless to argue with someone who had no empathy at all. We had been charged 1140 AED per night, instead of the rate that we had been quoted and prepaid, which was 1040 per night. 100AED is not a huge deal, but over four nights, it adds up to AED400, which was worth querying. Mohamed was NOT interested in discussing the rate and just insisted that we owed what we owed on the hotel bill. We could not be bothered arguing any more, we were just wasting time, so we paid and moved on.
I need to reiterate that because the check out experience was an issue with one individual, I DID NOT take this into account when giving the rating of four stars, otherwise I may have knocked it down to three stars, but thought that this was not fair on a suitable rating for the hotel overall.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Holiday Inn Dubai - Al Barsha is centrally located on Sheikh Zayed Road next to Mall of the Emirates (Ski Dubai) and Sharaf DG Metro Station. In close proximity to all major business districts and close to Dubai's major leisure and entertainment hubs. The hotel is a 20-minute drive to Dubai International Airport and 45 minutes to Abu Dhabi International Airport and Ferrari World on Yas Island. It offers 309 elegant rooms including 95 spacious suites equipped with the latest facilities keeping in mind the guests comforts and needs. You will be pleasantly surprised with the awe-inspiring atrium of over 6 floors housing the piano lounge and networking facilities offering free WIFI. The hotel features a variety of fabulous dining outlets - Royal Budha - Fine Dining Thai, Gharana - specialty Indian restaurant with live music and The Gem Garden - an all Day dining offering Continental cuisine. Our sophisticated Sports bar, The Q, is designed to deliver a winning blend of entertainment and atmosphere. Indulge in a hearty game of pool or watch a live sporting fixture on massive cinema screens. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Dubai-Al Barsha Hotel Dubai