Background Expectations for this new property which opened in June this year were soaring from day one given that its sister property – The First Collection at Jumeirah Village Circle – was the only hotel from the region to make it onto the TripAdvisor’s list of the Top 25 Hottest New Hotels in the World last year. Fortunately, as we found out during our recent stay there, the Business Bay property has hit the ground running.
What’s it like? The lobby with a muted grey and brown colour palette isn’t expansive or imposing. It immediately feels like it wraps itself around you, though the triple-height ceiling and full-length windows make this a brightly lit and airy space. While you complete your check-in formalities, there’s Risen café just across the floor where you can grab a quick smoothie or doughnut.
Location Located across the road from the Godolphin stables, you can access the property from either Al Khail Road or Sheikh Zayed Road. It’s very well connected to Downtown-centred leisure and business locations including DIFC, Dubai Mall and City Walk. Should you wish to reach locations further away, such as Dubai South or Dubai Marina, you can easily slip onto Al Khail Road and conveniently skip Downtown traffic as you head out.
Rooms There are 437 rooms and suites across 16 floors. There are three primary rooms – Deluxe, Premium, and Club – and two kinds of suites – Executive and Collection. Each has views of either the stables and the racecourse, or the Canal and the Burj Khalifa. We stayed in the one-bedroom Executive suite. It had a lounge area with a sofa and large-screen TV. The bedroom had a king-size bed, a large writing desk, a closet with plenty of space within it. The bathroom had a tub as well as a standing-shower space.
Food and drink First off, there’s a 24-hour in-room dining facility. In the morning, the buffet breakfast is served at Vyne. Breakfast had all the essentials – eggs to order, a cheese board and selection of cold cuts, as well as a fruit- and salad-bar. You can step back into Vyne for lunch too where you can pick from an a la carte menu – we’d recommend the Prawnacado pizza and the antipasto platter which is a great sharing option. For dinner, head to The Blacksmith Bar & Eatery on the ground floor to fully satisfy carnivorous cravings. It’s the second Blacksmith restaurant in the city, and unlike its sibling, has an on-site butcher’s shop from where you can select your meat with a little help from the resident butcher. His recommendations of the boerewors sausage from South Africa and wagyu beef from Australia were spot on. There’s a wine cellar and a large screen that streams sports channels – you don’t have to step out of the hotel to catch a game during your stay. Before you leave Blacksmith, you can purchase some raw meat from the butcher’s shop to take back home too.
Business When we visited, a business centre was still being built in the basement. It will feature two meeting rooms. For guests who want a space immediately, there’s a smaller boardroom in the basement that they can currently book.
Leisure The gym is open 24 hours a day. There’s an outdoor terrace area to work out too. There’s a 25-metre swimming pool on the same floor and a shisha bar is currently being built alongside the pool that will also stream sports events. The Rayya Wellness Spa meanwhile is open from 10am-10pm daily, with the last booking accepted for 8pm.
Verdict It might be positioned as a four-star luxury property, but the design and décor of the rooms, the quality of its culinary establishments and overall levels of service suggest this could well hold its own among the city’s five-star majors.
Great value for money considering the price points of the rooms
The butcher’s shop at The Blacksmith Bar & Eatery
Internet prices start at Dhs400 for a Deluxe room in October and Dhs850 for an Executive suite
Al Amal Street, Business Bay, Dubai; +971 4873 4444; thefirstcollection.ae/business-bay/