BACKGROUND A member of Starwood’s Luxury Collection, Grosvenor House has been open since July 2005, but last year a second tower opened, increasing the room count by 327 to 749. The new tower looks almost identical to the first from the outside, at 45 storeys, but rather than just adding more rooms, the intention is for it to have a more residential feel.
WHAT'S IT LIKE? Entering the reception area of Tower Two, it feels more like you are entering an apartment building, with its small concierge desk and large sculpture of a horse, but if you take the escalators to the left you will find yourself at the main reception desk, which has a Gary Rhodes restaurant – Rhodes in Residence – next to it. As you’d expect from a five-star hotel in Dubai, there are marble floors, elaborate flower arrangements on giant polished tables and warm golden lighting, but it’s tastefully done and there’s a luxurious hush to the spaces. This isn’t the sort of lobby where you’d find yourself waiting to check in behind a coach party.
The clever bit is that the hotel combines this high-end residential feel with a vibrant local social scene courtesy of the restaurants, Embassy nightclub – a sister venue to the London club – and Buddha Bar in the original tower opposite. It means you can enjoy tranquillity in the spa, pool area or your room, or have a night out at one of the fashionable bars or eateries.
Where is it? In Dubai Marina. The traffic in Dubai isn’t as bad as it once was, but the drive from the airport can take anything from 30 to 90 minutes depending on the time of day. If it’s not too hot, you can also walk to the nearest metro station in about ten minutes.
ROOMS The 327 rooms come in several types – Premier rooms (34 sqm-43 sqm), five different categories of suite (54 sqm-105 sqm), one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments (71 sqm-177 sqm) and Premier villas (373 sqm). All have free wifi and two-pin and three-pin sockets, and come with an excellent combination of curtains and blackout blinds – essential with Dubai’s bright morning sunshine.
Service is exemplary – when the staff saw I liked a particular type of Jing tea in the room, they brought more. The bathroom has a separate tub and shower and for once there were plenty of places to hang towels to stop them from being laundered. Each night there was a turndown gift of a different type of fruit with a note about it, and the twice-daily service kept the place looking new. The Club lounge is a vast space divided into several areas. Every time I went in, there was a new food offering, and as well as free soft drinks during the day, alcohol was served for a couple of hours in the evening along with yet more food.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS It was a strain making it to the restaurants, partly because of the Club lounge and partly because there are so many options in the local area. I tried Toro Toro, which is billed as a “Pan Latin American dining concept” from South American celebrity chef Richard Sandoval, with cuisine from Brazil, Peru, Argentina and Colombia. I found the menu baffling, but the staff guided me through it brilliantly and the food was delicious.
Other options include Embassy Dubai on the top three floors of the hotel, which as well as having several bars also has a standalone modern European restaurant, and the Rhodes restaurant on the lobby level. Guests also have the choice of all the food and beverage outlets in Tower One – these include an Indian restaurant, Indego, run by Michelin-starred chef Vineet Bhatia – as well as in sister hotel Le Royal Méridien, a five-minute courtesy bus away (guests can sign bills to their room).
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The Club lounge has a meeting room and a computer, and staff can help with printing documents. The main business centre and
seven meeting rooms are in Tower One.
LEISURE FACILITIES The gym, pool and spa are fabulous – in particular B’attitude, the Tibetan-style spa. Created by the people behind Buddha Bar, it has 12 treatment rooms, hammam pools and Turkish baths. The open-air pool has brilliant views along the coast road. The hotel is not set on the shore, so guests must take the bus to enjoy Le Royal Méridien’s private beach.
VERDICT A fabulous hotel. Trendy but with great service, luxurious without being over the top.
HOW MANY ROOMS? The new tower has 327 in total – 42 Premier rooms,
64 suites across five categories, 216 apartments and five Premier villas. Tower One has 422 rooms.
ROOM HIGHLIGHS The coffee maker, the Jing teas and the free fruit every day.
PRICE Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in mid-October starts from US$394.75 for a Premier room.
CONTACT Grosvenor House, Al Sufouh Road; tel +971 4399 8888; grosvenorhouse-dubai.com