Dubai might be a sprawling metropolis of ever expanding hotels, apartments and skyscrapers, each featuring the biggest and best, it’s not always a matter of following the latest and greatest to find a gem of a hotel. Shangri-La Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road might be one of the first luxury hotels in Dubai, but its recent investments are making sure this well located, established 5-star property doesn’t fade in the Arabian sun.
Nestled at the main intersection connecting Downtown Dubai to the main drag of Sheikh Zayed, the hotel is perfectly situated in the Business District, but is also only 15 minutes from the airport, or a short 5-10 minute free shuttle bus ride to the Dubai Mall and its nearby attractions.
The foyer of the hotel is still as impressive as when it was first built. It’s three storey high space featuring the main buffet restaurant with its wide array of delicacies from around the world, and its Lobby Lounge, which is the perfect place to grab a drink before heading out for the evening.
On the Balcony, there are a varierty of food outlets, including Hoi An, a great Vietnamese restaurant, Shang Palace, a chinese restaurant and their connecting Balcony Bar. But the fourth floor is perhaps the crown jewel in the property. It features the hotel’s signature pool, which gets full sun from about 11am onwards, and has one of the most commanding views of the Burj Khalifa you will find in Dubai.
However come the evening, the space is turned into a buzzing poolside bar, with live DJ sets and a variety of Shishas as well as cocktails. It certainly attracts a younger crowd, and is a less showy place to enjoy the night – something that regular Dubai-goers tend to look for.
It’s also connected to the hotel’s Spa, which is a vast space, featuring a well equipped gym, squash court and CHI’s treatment rooms with signature treatments.
Situated on the 41st floor, the Horizon Club is the hotel’s signature ‘hotel in a hotel’ whereby guests who check-in to Horizon Club rooms are able to check in on the 41st floor, enjoy complimentary afternoon teas, pre-dinner cocktails and canapés and a smaller version of the breakfast buffet on the ground floor.
The Horizon club is well worth the additional cost, as the cocktails, breakfast and commanding views of the Burj Khalifa or the coast warrant the little bit extra. The Horizon Club also features its own mini-gym, with fantastic infinity swimming pool on the 42nd floor and a roof top balcony with fantastic views over Downtown Dubai.
The rooms are substantial, and well appointed, and while this may be one of the older properties, it is currently undergoing substantial renovations which are improving the foyer area as well as the rooms.
The new rooms which are being decorated floor by floor have removed some of the wooden veneer finishes and instead appointed the space with luxurious tactile fabrics and ornate wooden panels to soften, smarten and add a contemporary glamour, although the foot print of the rooms won’t change. That’s no issue though, as they are more than spacious enough.
The one stand out element though, as with all Shangri-La hotels is the personal, non-invasive service element. Staff are always on hand, friendly, and efficient, responding to requests quickly. This is one thing that newer hotels will always struggle to master at first, as good service takes time to master, and it’s one thing that the Shangri-La has had. If you haven’t visited this property yet, it’s one to seriously consider. If you have in the past, it might be worth another look, as the property’s latest renovations brings it in line with the other, newer hotels.