“How do I turn off the lights?” I said on the phone to room service, “They are electronic Madam. You need to operate them from the keypad on your bedside table,” said the nice man on the end of the line. “Don’t worry we’ll come up and show you how it works.”
Now, I’ve been in a lot of hotel rooms, but never have I experienced this level of technological wizardry. Only in Dubai would they implement a device that saves you flexing your finger muscles when turning on and off a light switch. In the Middle East’s playground for the rich, holidaymakers literally don’t have to lift a finger. Unless, of course, they want to – there are dozens of preposterously decadent activities to choose from (buying gold bars from a vending machine and skiing in giant fridge in the desert to name just two).
Just like the bold, brash nature of this city, every facet of the Grosvenor House Hotel is designed to impress. Some countries have smaller airports in their capital cities than the Grosvenor’s grand, high ceilinged lobby – complete with marble floors, columns and a giant red and silver jewelled falcon, the UAE’s national bird.
In the UK’s hotels, pokey box rooms are the norm; they pack you in like commuters on the Central Line in rush hour, and it’s no joke that you can often put one foot in the bath while your head’s on the pillow. So arriving in our ginormous premier junior suite was a wonderful surprise. There was a three-piece suite, desk, king-sized bed and utterly superfluous, yet extravagantly brilliant dressing room (complete with a vanity mirror and wardrobes). Not to mention the bathroom with its giant tub, separate rain shower and speakers in the loo’s walls, so you can listen to what you’re missing on the TV while doing your business.
Just in case we were still wondering if the Grosvenor House Hotel Dubai was a world player, we opened the curtains to a view over shimmering water and yachts in the marina. Really, luxury hotels don’t get much better than this.
Eating and drinking: Dining here isn’t done by halves; the monster breakfast room mirrors the enormity of the surroundings and has half a dozen stations to satisfy the most bizarre and naughty early morning cravings – from Arabic pickles and baba ganoush to eggs Benedict and sinful pork (separated on a station of its own). The sinful theme doesn’t stop there, either – Embassy bar and restaurant on the top floor of Tower Two hosts ‘Sinful Saturdays’ and ‘Sinful Supper’, a decadent affair where they ply you with beautiful cocktails and let you loose on a 10 to 15 course meal – and any of the dishes can be ordered again, unlimited times (from £49 per person). The hotel also houses a Buddha Bar, headed up by a Michelin star chef, naturally. Plus, there’s an Arabic restaurant named Ottomans, which is themed with oil lamps and overlooks the marina, and a special eatery for the Europeans – the [Gary] Rhodes Mezzanine.
Facilities: Extras include two spas and fitness centre, including a pool, Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.
Price: Rooms from £219 per night.
Address: Dubai Marina, www.grosvenorhouse-dubai.com
Radio Times Travel rating: 9/10
Jade was hosted by Grosvenor House Dubai. All of our contributors maintain editorial independence at all times and conduct first-hand research.