Review: St. Regis Dubai

Introduction: Flying With Royalty (Or Not)
Review: Air Canada Premium Rouge 767 Tampa To Toronto
Review: Sheraton Gateway Toronto Airport
Review: EgyptAir Business Class 777 Toronto To Cairo
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Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class Embraer 175 Cairo To Amman
Review: Grand Hyatt Amman
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Review: Royal Jordanian Business Class 787 Amman To Kuala Lumpur
Review: St. Regis Kuala Lumpur
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Review: Royal Brunei Business Class A320 Kuala Lumpur To Bandar Seri Begawan
Review: Radisson Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei
Review: Royal Brunei Lounge Bandar Seri Begawan
Review: Royal Brunei Business Class 787 Bandar Seri Begawan To Dubai
Review: W Dubai Al Habtoor City
Review: St. Regis Dubai
Review: Emirates Business Class Lounge Dubai
Review: Emirates Business Class A380 Dubai To Los Angeles


After spending a night at the W Dubai, I decided to check out the St. Regis Dubai next, which is just a short walk away. As I wrote about a bit over a year ago, the St. Regis Dubai is a Category 7 SPG property, which is Starwood’s highest category. That means a free night here costs 35,000 Starpoints, which is insanely overpriced. That’s not a reflection of the quality of the hotel, but rather it’s just totally off base for Dubai as a hotel market.

As I expected, paid rates at the St. Regis have dropped significantly since the hotel opened, though. Much like with my stay at the W, I booked the St. Regis through Starwood Luxury Privileges. The cost for booking through Luxury Privileges is the same as the flexible rate, and it comes with the following perks:

  • One 100 USD food and beverage credit per room, per stay
  • Daily full breakfast for two guests
  • Complimentary standard in-room internet access
  • Upgrade on arrival, early check-in and late check-out which are all subject to availability

The rate for my one night stay was ~350USD. While not cheap, I thought it was a pretty good value when you consider the benefits I was getting, and also in comparison to the points cost.

As I explained in the previous installment, the St. Regis is located in the same “compound” as the W and Westin, so it was just a very short walk from the W to the St. Regis.

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St. Regis Dubai exterior

The exterior of the St. Regis can best be described as palatial. It looks like some sort of a royal compound, rather than a hotel. It looks especially out of place with the backdrop of a handful of sky scrapers.

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St. Regis Dubai exterior

The St. Regis’ lobby is gorgeous, and feels classic and grand. It reminds me a lot of the St. Regis Abu Dhabi lobby, actually.

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St. Regis Dubai lobby

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St. Regis Dubai lobby

Reception was located at the far end of the lobby, and there were a few stations for sit-down check-in. There was a bit of a wait, so I was offered Arabic coffee and a cold towel while waiting.

Within a few minutes I was assisted by Giorgio, who couldn’t have been nicer. He processed my check-in quickly, and then his associate escorted me up to my room.

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St. Regis Dubai reception

The elevators are located just to the right of reception. The hotel only has five floors plus the rooftop, so there was never much of a wait for an elevator.

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St. Regis Dubai elevators

I was assigned a suite on the fourth floor — the hallway was stunning.

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St. Regis Dubai hallway

Upon exiting the elevator I turned right, and then my room was on the left.

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St. Regis Dubai room entrance

I got lucky and was upgraded to an Empire Suite (the hotel seemed to be really empty, and I’ve heard they treat Platinums well).

The room had an entryway with a half bathroom immediately on the right.

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite entryway

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite guest bathroom

Then there was the huge living room.

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite living room

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite living room

Near the entrance was a dining area with a table and four chairs.

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite dining area

Next to that was the minibar, which featured two fridges (one for wine, and one for other drinks), a kettle, and a Nespresso machine.

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite minibar

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite coffee machine & kettle

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite minibar

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite minibar

Past that was the living area, which had a couch and two cool chairs facing a TV on a console.

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite living room

Then past that was the desk area, which had a comfortable leather chair and conveniently placed outlets.

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite desk

On the living room table was a very nice welcome amenity, including a cheese plate, a bottle of white wine, and a fruit plate.

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St. Regis Dubai welcome amenity

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St. Regis Dubai welcome amenity

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St. Regis Dubai welcome amenity

It’s not often I specifically get called out by a hotel for my blog, though they did here. I loved the paper airplane — how cute!

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St. Regis Dubai welcome amenity

The living room was separated from the bedroom by double doors.

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite bedroom

The bedroom had a comfortable king size bed, a chair with ottoman, and a chaise lounge at the base of the bed.

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite bedroom

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite bedroom sitting area

Then there was a partition, and past that was a vanity.

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite vanity

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite vanity

Then there were sliding doors leading to the bathroom. The bathroom had two sinks on opposite sides of the room, and then a beautiful soaking tub between them.

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite bathroom

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite bathtub

Then on the right was the fully enclosed shower, and on the left was the toilet and bidet.

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite shower

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite Remede toiletries

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite toilet & bidet

Given that this hotel isn’t in a high-rise, views are relatively limited — I was mostly looking out over the hotel’s driveway, though in the very distance could see the Burj Al Arab.

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St. Regis Dubai Empire Suite view

Moments after getting to the room the butler, Nirmal, came by to introduce himself and explain the typical St. Regis butler service amenities. I ordered some coffee since I was starting to get exhausted but wanted to stay awake, which he quickly delivered.

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St. Regis Dubai complimentary coffee

After working for a while I eventually headed to the St. Regis Bar for a drink. The St. Regis Bar is gorgeous, and I was the only guest there for the 90 minutes I spent there. That worked for me, as I could bring down my laptop and work in peace.

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St. Regis Bar Dubai

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St. Regis Bar Dubai

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St. Regis Bar Dubai

I make a habit of trying the signature St. Regis bloody mary at each property, as each hotel has their own local “take” on it. Here’s the bloody mary menu at the St. Regis Dubai:

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As you can see, the signature bloody mary here is the gold mary, which has gold dust on top of it. It was spicy and delicious, and served with great bar snacks.

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St. Regis Bar Dubai — gold mary

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St. Regis Bar Dubai — gold mary

After that I headed up to the Champagne Lounge, located on the second floor. The lounge has a nice design, and was once again completely empty.

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St. Regis Dubai Champagne Lounge

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St. Regis Dubai Champagne Lounge

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St. Regis Dubai Champagne Lounge

The St. Regis offers Platinum members complimentary evening cocktails in the Champagne Lounge, including the choice between the following drinks:

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One of the St. Regis rituals is a nightly champagne sabering, which at the St. Regis Dubai takes place at 7PM.

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St. Regis Dubai champagne sabering

If you’ve never seen it, it’s quite a cool thing to watch. The free glass of champagne doesn’t suck either.

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St. Regis Dubai champagne sabering

Here’s a video I took a couple of years ago at the St. Regis Deer Valley of their champagne sabering:

I got a good night of sleep, and then the next morning met a friend for breakfast at Brasserie Quartier, which is the hotel’s all day dining restaurant located on the second floor. Once again, I was among the only people there.

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St. Regis Dubai Brasserie Quartier restaurant

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St. Regis Dubai Brasserie Quartier restaurant

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St. Regis Dubai Brasserie Quartier restaurant

As a Platinum member I had access to the full breakfast, which included the buffet as well as something off the menu. The menu read as follows:

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I’ll let the pictures of the buffet speak for themselves, other than to say that all the food was high quality and flavorful.

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast buffet

My friend ordered the eggs benedict as his main.

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast — eggs benedict

Meanwhile I had the granola, which was excellent.

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St. Regis Dubai breakfast — granola

In terms of the hotel’s other facilities, there’s a nice gym located on the second floor. The only downside is that it has an interior view, so there’s not much natural light.

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St. Regis Dubai gym

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St. Regis Dubai gym

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St. Regis Dubai gym

Just outside the gym was a beautiful courtyard. The weather in Dubai was perfect when I was there, so I’m sad I didn’t sit outside for a bit and enjoy the weather.

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St. Regis Dubai terrace

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St. Regis Dubai terrace

While I didn’t use it, I also checked out the rooftop pool. There weren’t any guests up there, though there were probably a dozen staff members working there. There were a couple of different pools, as well as some cabanas, etc.

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St. Regis Dubai pool

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St. Regis Dubai pool

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St. Regis Dubai pool

The next day I headed to Dubai Airport at around 11AM, plenty early for my 3PM flight to Los Angeles.

St. Regis Dubai bottom line

I really enjoyed my stay at the St. Regis Dubai. The property is stunning, the food & beverage venues are great, and the service was impeccable across the board. All things considered this might be my new favorite chain property in Dubai.

If I had any critiques, I’d say it’s that the hotel lacks views, given that it’s only five floors. Furthermore, Al Habtoor City is still being developed, so it will be a while before there’s anything to do in the immediate area other than visit the three hotels.

Regardless, this is a top notch hotel, and if the price is right I’d highly recommend it.

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Comments

  1. Hey Lucky – great review. I noticed on your Luxury Privileges page you had promos up (that are now expired). Any chance you can update with current promos?

    Thanks <3

  2. @Lucky, i know usually you avoid taking pictures of other guests or staff out of respect for their privacy. in this case, was it really as empty as the photos appear?

  3. I’m a bloody mary purist so the idea of plopping a glob of date paste into one just makes me cringe.

    Beyond that, the hotel looks really lovely. The lobby is sort of tacky but the bars & lounges are gorgeous.

    Two specific notes:

    1) A great bar is the heart and soul of a great hotel. I am so glad that the St. Regis has a proper hotel bar and not some afterthought crammed into the corner of the lobby.

    2) So many otherwise beautiful hotels have dreary, bland hallways. I’ve been in hotels where I’ve felt like I was heading to my hospital room. So kudos to the St Regis’ designers for creating such gorgeous hallways.

    I’ve only recently have had sufficient reason to stay in Dubai; and, I’m still in search of my “go-to” hotel. The St. Regis does look beautiful, but its location is such an isolated wasteland. I’ll stick with the “too cool for school” Armani until I find something more to my liking.

  4. The paper airplane is incredible. Do you think your identity is noted on your SPG profile, or is the hotel staff googling you?

  5. Mr lucky,

    We hope you had a nice stay with us. I told all the staff to go out of their way to accommodate your every need. I am very pleased to see that you enjoyed your stay and gave us a good review. Please ask your readers to stay with us next time they visit dubai.

    His highness sultan urf durf hakam Salam Mohammed
    General manager
    Ps: please tell the poor schmucks reading this not to expect the same service. That was a one time thing.

  6. While I appreciate the reviews I think we should take them with a grain of salt. Having worked in luxury hotels when a blogger/critic/VIP comes the difference of treatment is different. The airplane was cute but not doubt the welcome amenity/ room upgrade are probably not typical. And without a doubt its on his SPG profile with probably copious in house notes.

  7. I know everyone is going to jump on this “special treatment” train.

    I can confirm that over the years, no SPG hotel featured on Garys or Bens blogs have provided “special” room upgrades. The non-standard thing here was the amenity and welcome pack.

    If they have Empire suites available and heavy “ordinary” Plats come in, they get the same room. Same for W Habtoor, same for pretty much every other SPG hotel he has reviewed in UAE.

    Of course I expect these upgrades to be “locked” for them, however the room category being offered is always usually the best one also offered to other heavy plats if and when available (just that I’m sure its more subject to availability for the rest).

  8. I’m sorry but Lucky needs to start reviewing under an alias. This just isn’t representative of what me, as a SPG platinum, is going to receive.

  9. Actually that can play in your favor. Once just for kicks I booked a St. Regis(i will not provide the location due to security concerns) in Benjamin Schlappig and called to add myself as a second guest. My colleague checked in the same hotel for the same duration(we were there during a work stint), and I received a much better treatment than he did. While I will not repeat this it was an interesting experience that proved to me that being a blogger will get you the special treatment.

  10. Looks like a fabulous hotel, but I have to imagine it’s a bit lonely not to have other people in the bar, restaurant, pool area, etc. I know for me, people watching is half the fun. I’d’ feel really uncomfortable being in the hotel on my own, which is about what it seemed it was like.

  11. @Ben. Great pictures of the hotel. However, as has been noted by many people, the service comes of as less than a genuine interpretation of what would be the reality of a normal visitor. I now kind of see your reviews as being in a similar vein to the 1980s tv show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. In a way, you have the over the top experiences that Robin Leach received because it was always great PR for the hotel. Nonetheless, I do like living vicariously through your travels and I do appreciate when you post travel tips. Thanks to you, I’ve got great biz class flights from Cairo as well as award bookings on AC FRA-YVR on the 787. Thanks 🙂

  12. Hmm.. from this post/review, I do agree with the others that commented that because now hotels know who you are, the treatment you get will certainy be top notch vs just someone with status.

    In my opinion, the St Regis deco is just not my cup of tea – it’s just way too old world. I would happily take the W or Westin anyday over the St Regis. The same goes for those older Ritz-Carltons which to me looks so tacky and stuck in the Roman times, the newer Ritz Carltons are much better especially the one @ Kyoto – nice modern but yet at the same time traditional deco.

    Loved the Namu restaurant back in your W Dubai review. Would not mind trying it as the presentation looks so much better than that of Nobu.

  13. Great review. Hotel looks amazing. After seeing this review and the lovely photos this is the hotel I will stay at next time when in Dubai. Thanks again Lucky.

  14. I think the hotel is stunning, anyways Im a hugh fan of the St. Régis brand. My favourite of them is in Singapore where you also stayed once.

    Anyhow this one I wouldn`t book ever! It is located terribly between a highway and the metro of Dubai! The hotel itself is beautiful but the location is rather bad.

  15. This ‘Ben is getting special treatment’ insinuation has gotten tiresome.

    There are very many hotels which deliver exemplary service to everyone, even to social media nobodies like myself. I remember so well the first time I walked into the Connaught. I was a geeky twenty-something graduate student. I loved (and still love) those great, classic hotels like the Connaught and I had saved for over a year just to spend two nights in an entry level room. I felt so intimidated walking into that lobby but within minutes the Connaught’s staff made me feel so very welcome and comfortable.

    That is what makes a luxury hotel.

    What a lot of you are calling “special treatment” is what I would call loyalty recognition. Of course Starwood has a file on Ben. Just like Mandarin Oriental has on a file on me. As a good customer of MO, I’m showered with a bunch of little extra niceties whenever I visit one of the company’s properties; not at all unlike how the St Regis Dubai made a concerted effort to personalize the stay of a loyal Starwood customer like Ben.

    A cute little paper airplane does not constitute “special treatment.” The St. Regis staff treated Ben really well. I suspect that I would get similar, though less personalized, treatment should I ever check-in.

    As for Ben traveling under an alias: how would he do this? I’m sure Ben has to present his passport and/or other form of government issued identification when checking into an overseas hotel. That would sort of blow his cover rather quickly.

  16. Yes, the back and forth over special treatment; alas, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

    While I suspect it is quite likely that this property would have otherwise provided good-to-exceptional service, it’s clear that management knew who he was, knew what he does for a living, and played up on that. It’s cute. It’s making things personal. And all of the extra little attention to detail is probably a heightened version of what they already do. It would be completely naive to think that they didn’t go just a LITTLE bit over the top for a travel blogger in the hopes of getting a better review. I mean, what harm did it do for the hotel considering the place was seemingly empty?

    That said, as an average customer — platinum or not — I wouldn’t walk into the place thinking I was going to get *that* experience. Pretty sure I’d leave a tad disappointed in that case. lol

  17. Is it possible if Ben writes negatively about SPG properties, they would permit his extensive photography? Think he would continue to get upgrades?

  18. @Lucky, here’s an idea; why don’t you have quarterly contests on your blog, to get more “unbiased” reviews of flights/hotels.
    – Readers provide sample writeups of trips they have already taken
    – You choose those with writing styles/content that appeal to you (including type of traveller, destination, type of trip, etc)
    – Reader takes their “dream trip.” You help them with their booking; they initially pay for the trip
    – Updates are provided throughout the trip, with last report due within 10 days of the trip
    – Finally, you reimburse them for the trip. The cost of the trip becomes a business expense to you

    You continue to travel/write as usual, but this gives an opportunity for “normal” trips to get documented (including economy fares, etc) as well; introduce the readership to a greater group of travellers/travel style

    You’ve done a great job of building the blog; this will only increase your content. In addition, judging by the comments, there’s a significant portion of your readership that cares most about the trip reports, and this would cater exclusively to their needs

  19. @RS — I really like that idea. Maybe not so extreme as to reimburse the trip but perhaps give out a travel voucher like TPG does. Although, the overabundance of really shitty writers drove me away from TPG, so it might become annoying to change away from Lucky’s writing style that we all enjoy.

  20. Hi Ben,
    Next time in Dubai, forget your usual point-givers and those who give you the
    best upgrade, and try the 4 Seasons Jumeriah or even the Polozzo Versace.
    Mark

  21. Ben,
    I have said it before – The reviews are getting increasing pointless as they are aware who you are and that you are staying. You are not being treating as an average member with status. They clearly know you have a blog and you will write a review so the whole thing is pointless as a representation of what the experience would look like for the average business or leisure travel.

    Come on Ben, you are much better than SFO777 who uses his blog/FT threads to get huge discounts or free service as confirmed by one of the GM of a hotel he reviewed.

  22. How does Ben’s special treatment change what matters? The food is the food. The gym is the gym. The (empty) pool, bar, and champagne lounge are the same with or without blogger status.

    So you don’t get a paper airplane. Get over it.

    The hotel is still the hotel otherwise, and if you can’t extract useful information from the review, then you need to quit the internet.

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