BACKGROUND It was about 46 years ago when Shangri-La launched in Singapore, in 1971. Since then its portfolio has expanded worldwide, which comprises of Shangri-La Hotels, Shangri-La Resorts, Traders Hotels, Kerry Hotels and Hotel Jen. The hospitality group made its debut in Dubai in 2003 with Shangri-La Hotels.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Golden chandeliers hang like halos over the lobby lounge. This aesthetic sparkle continues to show on its concierge, plus two reception desks, and the large painting that stretches behind them. To the far left is a simple, yet imposing design element — golden-wooden textured panels that are also partitions between the lobby and the water closets.
Visit during the day and you will find this space drenched in golden sunlight that enters through large windows facing the main road. A high ceiling makes the small lobby look larger than what it is. To the right of the entrance is Dunes Café. Walk straight and you’ll arrive at lifts that take you to the rooms, Lobby Lounge (open round the clock), and Balcony Bar.
WHERE IS IT? It is a 16-minute drive from Dubai International Airport and within proximity to Dubai’s Convention Centre, Financial Centre, Downtown Dubai and Burj Khalifa.
ROOM FACILITIES Spread across levels 29 to 42 means all suites and guest rooms have a view of Sheikh Zayed Road, Burj Khalifa or the Arabian Sea. They receive plenty of natural light through floor-to-ceiling windows. Rooms are influenced by Asian designs, have wooden fixtures and are furnished in white, blush, and pastel blue. Room sizes start from 45 sqm and include free wifi, free water bottles, minibar, electronic safe, LED television, tea/coffee making facilities, work desk of a good size, and a deep soaking tub with a powerful shower head. Except for the base category (Superior room), all other accommodation have a separate bathtub and rain shower cubicle.
Earlier this year, the property launched a Bluetooth technology that gives the option of syncing Android phones with the in-room media hub panel to stream your music and photos on the room’s television screen.
Making the most of the views it enjoys, the hotel has laid out its rooms such that the work desk faces the window or is placed near it. This panorama is best enjoyed from the 42nd floor of Shangri-La Dubai that holds the Presidential suites; or the floor below it that has a gym, swimming pool and Jacuzzi exclusive to guests of Horizon Club rooms (upwards of level 39) and suites. They also have a daily two-hour free access to the boardroom and the cocktail hour, all-day non-alcoholic drinks and breakfast buffet at the Horizon Club lounge. For a business traveller this would make more sense because it allows late check-out, giving us enough time to finish morning meetings and freshen up before catching the evening flight back home.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS Balcony Bar on the first floor overlooks the hotel’s lobby. It is most crowded in the evenings. Breakfast is served at Dunes Café. Hoi An serves authentic Vietnamese cuisine, Shang Palace is Shangri-La’s signature Chinese restaurant worldwide, iKandy, the pool bar is ideal for drinks post working hours, and Lobby Lounge is a blend of Arabic and Asian hospitality where one can hold quick impromptu meetings. Drama Nightclub on the 42nd floor is a party venue.
MEETING FACILITIES The meeting spaces here also receive plenty of natural light. There are two ballrooms and seven meeting rooms, equipped with LCD projectors, projection screens, and free internet access. The business centre has three computers attached to the printer. Photocopying and scanning facilities are available too.
LEISURE FACILITIES Apart from those on the 41st floor, there is an additional gym, and a swimming pool that can be accessed by all hotel guests. Chi, The Spa is where guests can receive relaxing treatments. The squash and tennis courts are open from 6am to midnight, daily.
VERDICT It’s a luxurious property that can please a business and leisure traveller, both. The staff is friendly and chatty, and the service is prompt.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in November for a Superior room started from AED 1,000/₹17,445.
CONTACT Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, P.O. Box 75880, Dubai; tel: +971 4 343 8888; shangri-la.com.