InterContinental Dubai, Dubai, UAE

This is the “real” InterContinental hotel in Dubai. Like the InterContinental Residence Suites, the InterContinental Dubai is at Dubai Festival City and is attached to the adjacent Festival City shopping centre via an air conditioned walkway.

As soon as you walk into this hotel you can see and feel the class. It just exudes quality. From the moment I checked in at the Ambassador Priority Club check in desk until the moment I left the staff were attentive and knowledgeable while being unobtrusive.

Being a Platinum Ambassador I get an automatic room upgrade when I check in and I ended up in a superb suite on the 22nd floor with a view of Dubai Creek and the airport a couple of kms away.

The suite was spacious and well appointed.

I’ve slept in enough hotel beds to pick a good one from the bad ones, and I just knew from the first glimpse that this was going to be a comfy bed and it was. I had 2 nights of magnificent sleep.

After arriving from Abu Dhabi I decided that I needed to refuel so went to the hotel’s Vista Lounge that offers a relaxed atmosphere and views  across the creek waterfront. Along with a couple of beers I had the chef’s special curry of the day which was chicken curry and I need to say it was one of the best hotel curries that I’ve had in my years on the road. Highly recommended.

On the evening before I flew out of Dubai I decided to give the Belgian Beer Cafe, at the InterContinental’s sister hotel the Crowne Plaza also at Festival City, a try and again I was astounded with the quality of the food – in this case veal sausages washed down with a couple of Leffe Bruins.

In all an outstanding hotel and I’ll be staying here next time I head to Dubai.

Yas Viceroy, Abu Dhabi, UAE

After the weekend in Dubai we were off to Abu Dhabi. We were to stay at the Yas Viceroy on Yas Island.

Yas Island is the home of the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 racing circuit and is about 35 kms out of Abu Dhabi itself. It takes about 35 minutes in a taxi to get into Abu Dhabi city, and about 90 minutes to get to/from Dubai. Yas Island is also directly under the flight path for Abu Dhabi International Airport which is a quite busy airport so expect to hear planes landing or taking off every couple of minutes during peak hours.

The hotel itself is built over, yes over, the F1 track, and probably 75% of the rooms have a view of the track. The welcome was friendly and the check-in efficient and I’d say I was on my room 15 minutes after getting out of the cab.

My room was huge with a modern, racing feel. I had a really comfortable king bed. The wet area had a large bath, separate shower and separate toilet & bidet.

This was the view from my room (through the non opening balcony door – see below)

The hotel was built around 2009 and so was around 4 years old by the time I’d visited but it was already showing its age a little in the rooms. A couple of examples

  1. While I had a balcony I was unable to open the door as there was no door handle
  2. There was free wi-fi but you had to stand by the door of your room to use it. If you sat on the bed or sofa you lost the wi-fi signal
  3. The TV was huge and modern but the TV signal faded in and out making the picture break up regularly

While the room was comfortable my major peeve was how random and un-intuitive the controls for things like the lights, do not disturb and make up room buttons worked. For example, the do not disturb indicator was illuminated when the button said it was off and the red LED was on, but for the make up room indicator it was illuminated when the button said it was on along with the green LED. That just seems wrong to me.

There were a good number, and variety, of restaurants in the hotel itself and they weren’t too expensive (but more expensive than if you’d trekked into Abu Dhabi for a feed).

The hotel looked very impressive at night when it was lit up.

There’s also a plethora of things to do on the Island. From the race track itself, Ferrari World & Waterworld theme parks and an Ikea.

One thing I had the opportunity to do was 3 hot laps around the circuit in a Yas Supersport SST. Totally exhilarating! More info here

Here’s me dressed up for the drive.

I look a little like the Michelin Man 🙂

It was an alright hotel for the week, but if I went back to Abu Dhabi I’d probably stay at a hotel in Abu Dhabi city itself rather than so far out in the middle on nowhere though.

InterContinental Residence Suites, Dubai, UAE

This was my first time in the UAE so I’d decided to stop a couple of days in Dubai on my way to Abu Dhabi.

We’d arrived around midnight after a long flight from Melbourne. UAE customs and immigration were no problems and around 20 minutes after walking off our Qantas A380 flight we were on our way to our hotel.

We’d decided to camp at the InterContinental Residence Suites in Festival City close to the airport and Dubai Creek.

A word of warning though – don’t turn up at an InterContinental Hotel with my colleague Lynn after a 14 hour flight and tell her that

  1. There’s no free mini-bar at this InterContinental for Royal Ambassador members
  2. There’s no upgrades for Royal Ambassador members at this InterContinental
  3. You booked at NON-smoking room but you’ve been given a smoking room

She was grumpy, and she let the poor night checkin staff know, but we both ended up getting our non-smoking rooms 🙂

The InterContinental Residence Suites are around 500 meters from the “proper” Dubai InterContinental hotel (also at Festival City) and the all important shopping center, and there’s a shuttle bus that regularly travels between the 2 venues.

Onto the rooms. Being designed for medium to long term occupancy the InterContinental Residence Suites offers more convenience than a traditional hotel room. My room had a galley kitchen with the all important (and well used) Nespresso coffee machine.

The bed was pretty comfy as was the bathroom though the shower was extremely inconvenient to use due to the size of the surrounds around the bath… I felt like I had to do the splits (on one occasion involuntary) to get out!

I did have breakfast at the hotel one morning and it was  pretty good choice of a buffet or a cooked breakfast. I chose both for a reasonable cost.

The only real minor hassle I had was that I’d thought that I’d booked a hotel car to drive me to Abu Dhabi but my request seemed to have been lost in translation as there was a local taxi ordered. However, after the hotel recognised their mistake we were soon motoring our way (at >140 km/h) towards Abu Dhabi.

Was the place nice? Yes

Would I stay there again? If I can’t get into the real InterContinental then yes, otherwise I’d stay at the “real” InterContinental.