WHAT’S IT LIKE? In a country obsessed with the glittery, sparkly and lavish, the Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel by Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts is an anomalous time warp that takes guests back to 14th-century Arabia. The entire hotel is themed around the travels of Ibn Battuta – the 14th-century “Marco Polo” of the Middle East – which is seen in the décor and structure. Each floor represents one of the 10 countries that Battuta travelled to: China, India, Persia, Egypt, Russia, Siam, Turkey, Tanzania, Morocco and Andalusia. The airy lobby with high ceilings boasts a 90-metre-long Al Bahoo, or Grand Hall, which is adorned with 88 Moroccan lamps, two large Arabic mosaics, and is lined with seven restaurants and dotted with several stalls displaying art or selling souvenirs from the 10 countries. Occasionally, a man dressed in traditional Arabic attire makes a round of the Grand Hall, serving guests strong Arabic coffee and dates to add to the old-age charm of the hotel.
WHERE IS IT? Though located at least 30 minutes away from Dubai International Airport, the hotel is calculatedly within close proximity of “New Dubai” or Dubai World Central, an up-and-coming planned residential, commercial and industrial area consisting of specialist zones, such as the Internet City and Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ), and the new Al Maktoum International Airport that began operations in June last year. The new airport currently only handles cargo, but plans to soon open up to commercial flights and is poised to be the busiest airport in the world with a capacity to handle 160 million people per year. The hotel is part of the multifunctional Ibn Battuta Square, which consists of the Ibn Battuta Metro Station, the Ibn Battuta Mall and Cineplex, and a building complex of residential and office facilities.
ROOM FACILITIES All of the 361 rooms are infused with an Arabic ambiance, with large windows, dark-wood furniture and Moroccan-styled archways and partitions. The standard rooms measure up to 40sqm and consist of either one king-size bed or two twin beds. All rooms are equipped with 40-inch plasma TVs, Cisco Unified IP phones, a large desk with several power outlets, wifi (available at rates starting from US$13 per hour or US$27 per day), a Nespresso coffee machine, an extensive minibar and personal safes. The bathrooms consist of both tubs and walk-in rain showers.
The hotel has a total of 35 suites of three different types: 13 Executive suites, two Royal suites and 20 Battuta suites. Guests in any of the suites are entitled to executive facilities, which include complimentary wifi, airport transfers, executive lounge access, breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails. The executive suites, located on the executive floor, have an additional bedroom and bathroom. The two royal suites, decorated with a variety of art pieces, measure up to 150sqm – the largest rooms in the hotel. Each has separate living and dining areas, a kitchen and two additional bedrooms and bathrooms. Finally, the Battuta suites are the quirkiest of the lot as each one is decorated uniquely to reflect the culture of the country of the floor they are on, therefore no two Battuta suites are the same. Each one measures up to 85sqm and has its own private balcony with outdoor seating and a separate living room.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS The restaurants are all located around the Al Bahoo and serve cuisine from Batutta’s journeys. In total, the hotel has five restaurants and one lounge: Chor Bazaar (Indian); Sicilia (Italian); Shanghai Chic (Chinese); Mistral (continental); Pastane and Moroc lounge and bar (Moroccan).
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES Ibn Battuta offers 11 meeting rooms, which can seat up to 22 people each, and two large ballrooms. The largest ballroom can accommodate up to 200 guests in theatre format. The hotel also offers the Al Bahoo for a more unique event, which can accommodate up to 1,000 guests. The alfresco spaces around the hotel can also be used for cocktail events.
LEISURE FACILITIES The hotel has one large 24-hour gym and a 20m outdoor rooftop swimming pool. The spa facilities are still under construction but will occupy an entire eight-storey building and feature massage therapies from the different countries, such as Indian Ayurveda, again following the theme of Battuta’s travels.
HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 396 rooms in total – standard rooms are available in superior, executive and deluxe. The 35 suites are categorised as executive, royal and Battuta.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS: The Arabic feel that the standard rooms exude is unique to this hotel, providing guests with a worldlier cultural experience.
PRICE: Rates online start from US$202 for a superior room. Packages are also available.
CONTACT: Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, adjacent to Ibn Battuta Shopping Mall, PO Box 21150, Dubai; tel +971 4 444 0000; www.movenpick-hotels.com
VERDICT: The friendly staff and great service add to the appeal of the place and the lofty structure of the hotel lets in plenty of natural light, creating a refreshing atmosphere.