Bling it on: Grosvenor House Dubai

Introduction
British Airways Terraces Lounge Seattle
British Airways First Class Seattle to London Heathrow
Emirates Lounge London Heathrow (after a surprise!)
Emirates First Class London Heathrow to Dubai
Grosvenor House Dubai
Afternoon tea in the Skyview Bar at Burj Al Arab
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island
St. Regis Abu Dhabi Saadiyat Island
Qasr Al Sarab
Etihad Airways First Class Lounge Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways First Class Abu Dhabi to New York JFK
British Airways Galleries Lounge New York JFK
Cathay Pacific First Class New York JFK to Vancouver


When I was in Dubai last year I stayed at the Park Hyatt, which was spectacular, easily one of my most pleasant hotel stays ever. When you find a great hotel it’s very tempting to return to it, though I figured a review of the same hotel just a year later probably wouldn’t interest y’all much, so I decided to stay elsewhere.

After comparing rates and reviews, I decided on the Grosvenor House, which is a Starwood Luxury Collection property. It’s generally considered to be the best Starwood property in Dubai, and as luck would have it, earlier in the year the property was downgraded from a category six to a category five property. Cash & Points was available, bringing the rate down to just 4,800 Starpoints plus $90 per night. That’s a rate that’s tough to argue with, so it’s where we decided to spend our two nights.

I also decided to apply two of my Starwood Platinum “Suite Night Awards” to the reservation to confirm a junior suite in tower two (which is the newer of the two towers). One of my main motivations was that suites get you chauffeur service from the airport, so it seemed worth it to confirm the upgrade in advance for this benefit.

Anyway, let’s fast forward to the stay. Originally we were scheduled to land in Dubai at around 8AM, figuring we wouldn’t make it to the hotel much before 10AM. I had emailed the hotel in advance about early check-in, and they said they would do their best to accommodate.

Our check-in situation ended up getting even more extreme, as we were rebooked on Emirates from London to Dubai, landing several hours earlier than scheduled, at around 3AM.

So we had a couple of options. One was to just head straight for the Grosvenor House and hope for the best. I wasn’t expecting them to let us check in at 4AM, though figured they may let us check-in at around 6AM or so. The other option was to just book a cheap hotel near the airport, and crash there for the morning, and then head over to the Grosvenor House in the afternoon.

The added challenge was that we had reservations for afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab at 1PM on our day of arrival. This was the only time I could reserve a table, and frankly I was shocked that I was able to get one at all just a few days in advance.

So as I gave it more thought it just didn’t make sense to get a different hotel, move all our stuff to the Grosvenor House, and then go to afternoon tea. I figured it made more sense to sit in the lobby of the Grosvenor House for as long as it took to check-in, to keep things simple.

Anyway, we made it to the Grosvenor House shortly after 4AM via Emirates’ complimentary chauffeur service, and headed to the check-in desk in tower two.


Hotel exterior


Tower two lobby


Tower two lobby


Tower two lobby

I explained to the agent the situation as apologetically as possible, and mentioned upfront that I realized it would probably be a while before our room was ready. He asked us to take a seat while he spoke to the duty manager, and the duty manager explained that the night audit hadn’t yet been completed, so they couldn’t assign a room, though once that was complete in the next couple of hours they could do so. That being said no suites were available from the previous night, so he said we would first be placed in a temporary room.

In the meantime he invited us to relax at “Level 5,” the hotel’s club lounge, which is open 24 hours a day. The agent escorted us to the club lounge and promised to inform us once a room was ready.


Elevator area in lobby

I thought they were extremely gracious and accommodating, given that they were offering us a temporary holding room at an early hour, which they certainly don’t have to do.

The club lounge was spacious, and as soon as we settled in the night attendant offered us drinks.


Level 5

I spent the next couple of hours getting caught up on work, and at around 6AM the same guy that checked us in appeared in the lounge to inform us that our temporary room was ready. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome, as we’d be able to nap for a few hours before heading to the Burj Al Arab.

Anyway, the first room we were assigned was a deluxe room in tower one on the 25th floor, room 2502.


Room entrance

The room was ~350 square feet and nicely appointed. It featured a bed, desk, and lounge chair with ottoman.


Deluxe room


Deluxe room


Deluxe room

The bathroom was surprisingly nice for a standard room, given that it featured both a tub and walk-in shower.


Bathroom


Toilet


Shower

The room also featured somewhat obstructed views of the Gulf.


View from the room

After napping for a couple of hours and then showering, it was off to the Burj Al Arab for afternoon tea. When we returned at around 1PM we headed to the lobby of tower one to switch to our reserved room, which was quickly processed.


Tower one lobby

Our second room was in tower two, a junior suite on the seventh floor.


Room entrance

The room featured a small living room with two couches facing a flat screen TV.


Living room


Living room


Living room flat screen TV

Below the living room TV was the minibar.


Minibar

Near the entrance of the room was a guest toilet.


Guest toilet


Guest toilet

The bedroom was separated from the living room by a wall, and featured a king size bed.


Bedroom


TV and desk in bedroom

The bedroom was connected to the main bathroom by a hallway, at the end of which was a vanity mirror and desk.


Hallway to bathroom

The bathroom was awesome, with a sink, bathtub, and walk-in shower with Bulgari amenities (my favorite).


Bathroom


Sink


Bathtub


Toilet/bidet


Shower


Bulgari amenities

As far as the views go, while the room was on a lower floor (meaning the views weren’t as great), it did boast a direct view of the Gulf/marina.


View from the room


View from the room

While I had chosen the 500 Starpoints as the Platinum amenity, on the day of arrival a plate with three apples was delivered to the room.


Welcome amenity

Then the second day I was offered another welcome amenity — more fruit!


Second welcome amenity

Overall the room was nice. The design wasn’t anything that I’d consider out of the ordinary, though the room did feel quite “fresh.”

I’d say the highlight of the hotel was Level 5, the hotel’s club lounge. Physically it’s an impressive space, with plenty of seating. But the food spread was even more impressive, easily one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen at a hotel.

The lounge served breakfast from 6AM till noon. Let me stop for a second and say how awesome that is. Everyone is on a different schedule, and it’s always extremely frustrating when a club lounge in a city that’s an international gateway only serves breakfast for two or so hours.

The spread was as extensive as I’ve seen in many hotel restaurants, with everything imaginable. There was also a chef that was happy to prepare just about anything that wasn’t available in the buffet (waffles, pancakes, eggs, etc.).


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread

Then the lounge served afternoon tea from 1PM till 4:30PM, which was again an impressive spread, consisting of scones, finger sandwiches, salad, sweets, cake, and spring rolls.


Afternoon tea


Afternoon tea


Afternoon tea


Afternoon tea


Afternoon tea

The evening spread was available from 6PM till 8PM, and was also extensive.


Evening spread


Evening spread


Evening spread


Evening spread

The hotel’s gym, pool, and spa was located on fourth floor, with a unique Balinese theme (unique in that it’s not present anywhere else in the hotel).


Spa entrance


Gym


Gym


Pool

The building right next to the hotel (most visible from the pool) has to be one of the most interesting buildings I’ve ever seen.


Wow!

 Conclusion

I liked this hotel. The service was good across the board (at least by UAE standards), the rooms nice, and the club lounge was awesome. At the same time I didn’t love the hotel, as it feels really generic for a Luxury Collection property. The way I see it, this is a really solid four star hotel, while the Park Hyatt is a solid five star hotel.

That being said, on cash & points this hotel is a spectacular value, so if I were short on Hyatt points and couldn’t swing the Park Hyatt, or only had elite status with Starwood, I’d certainly consider staying here.

Comments

  1. TravelinWilly says

    Any decent high end hotel will give early arrivals a temporary room if one is available, e.g. The Lanesborough and The Stafford in London; can’t speak to Dubai as I’ve not been telhere (and I like that way :) ).

  2. Carl says

    best executive lounge i have ever been to, even better than Ritz properties. Every serving was a full on meal. We really enjoyed the property.

    Was your C/P rate for tower 1 and did the online suite upgrade offer you tower 2?

  3. Randy says

    You said, you “decided to apply two of my Starwood Platinum “Suite Night Awards” to the reservation to confirm a junior suite. Why did it take 2? If these are the 10 a year you get with staying 50 nights, I would have thought only one was needed to upgrade a stay.

  4. Carl says

    @Heather – Platinum status gains access to the Level 5 executive lounge in Tower 2, even if staying in Tower 1.

  5. says

    Sounds like they handled this nicely. The baseline standards for lounges in the Gulf are higher than anywhere else in the world.

    @Carl – Have you been to a Ritz club in the Gulf?

  6. Brad says

    Ben – did you consider staying at any Hilton properties in Dubai? Was curious any feedback you may have. Thanks.

  7. lucky says

    @ Randy — You need one per night, and it was a two night stay.

    @ Brad — I haven’t yet stayed at a Hilton in Dubai so really couldn’t say. I have top tier status with Starwood, Hyatt, and InterContinental, so I’ll probably try those hotels before I try Hilton (where I have mid-tier status as of now).

  8. Drew says

    Enjoying the trip report. Where do we sign up to be lucky’s travel companion??!! I am curious though – as you often travel with someone – does this person “pay” his/her own way or do you redeem miles for them as well?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *