As we crossed the city limits of Dubai, we could see the change. Tall skyscrapers had given way to a more relaxed countryside. Though we slept for most of our journey to Ajman, we could make out the changes, subtle as they were. It seemed we had not done our homework as we turned into the city and not towards the beaches that Ajman was more popular for. We were later told, Radisson Blu Ajman was the first 5 star hotel to be located inside the city.
RADISSON BLUE, AJMAN – FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Our initial impressions of the hotel was that it looked great from the outside and was built wide and flat versus the stacked and tall approach for Dubai hotels. The exterior façade made it look like a palace though the construction and landscaping work was in progress. The entrance and lobby was more on the lines of the Sharjah Radisson with the lobby open to the ceiling, making it look much larger than it was. The liberal use of the colour gold and the freshness of a new hotel gave a luxurious feel altogether. Pretty decent as far as first impressions go.
ROOMS & AMENITIES
The rooms were similar in size to the ones in Dubai which was strange as we had expected them to be a bit bigger given that this was in Ajman. The rooms were however as plush, practical and comfortable as all the other Radisson Hotels we stayed at and a good night’s sleep was never in question.
We were among the first guests in the hotel so most of the amenities weren’t functional. This meant we couldn’t try out the spa or the gym, although we were taken on a tour of the above. The open air swimming pool was temperature controlled while the Spa apart from other International Wellness packages is also scheduled to offer Ayurveda packages and authentic Kerala therapies. We would like to not comment on the service levels given that this was a training phase for most of the staff, that said apart from some rare hiccups, it functioned like a well-oiled machinery at most times throughout our stay.
USP & STRENGTHS
The hotel’s main USP seems to stem from 3 core features. Sports, Location & Design.
To clarify, Radisson Blu, Ajman is not a sports hotel. However it enjoys exclusive partnerships with several sports led organizations in the region designed to make it a hotbed of sports led tourism in the near future. A prime example of the same would be the Al Zorah Golf Course, a relatively new golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus’ Design firm, Nicklaus Design. We saw several golfers who had come to participate in an ongoing tournament at the golf course, at the hotel.
As Ajman’s only 5 star hotel in the city, it enjoys a unique location advantage with access to numerous eating, shopping and entertainment options for which the guests of other hotels would have to travel for. Its location makes it apt for business & MICE events.
Design is another aspect which the hotel excels at. While the exterior looks like a palace, the interiors are no less lavish. Be it traces of modern art, 3D sculptures, chandeliers or indeed the colour tones used, everything comes together remarkably to showcase it as a well-designed hotel.
The two restaurants of note in the hotel are the Kerala cuisine Nalukettu Royale & the Italian speciality restaurant Filini. Nalukettu Royale is the first of its kind upscale variant of the very popular Nalukettu restaurant chain in UAE. The ambiance, right from its heavy wooden doors to the various paintings hanging on its walls successfully stays on track with the theme. The food – we tried everything vegetarian on their menu, was lipsmacking. The only complaint we would have, if any, would be the limited number of vegetarian options. Filini is Radisson Blu’s own chain of Italian speciality restaurants and though we saw it in the Yas Island property as well, this was the first Filini we had a meal at. The restaurant boasts of authentic Italian dishes which are simply cooked and from fresh ingredients. Nothing new there, but the surprising part was the execution. The presentation of the food was spot on and the way the chef described the food while taking the order was remarkable. What was even better was that for a couple of dishes, the chef came out to explain the making of the dish, served it in his own unique way and all with a charm which had us completely besotted with the dish even before having it. Unfortunately the oven wasn’t working when we were there and we couldn’t try their Pizzas but if the dishes we did try were anything to go by, they would be in a class of their own as well.
The experience at Ajman was totally different to what we had expected. We went expecting a beach hotel and found a city hotel. The hotel was brand new and looked the part but in no way were the service levels a reflection of that. You would easily mistake it for a well-established hotel. The restaurants including its all day dining restaurant called Larder were all beyond reproach. We did hit a few hiccups with our dishes on our first day, but that was probably a result of some miscommunication rather than an error on anyone’s part. The food indeed was one of the highlights of the hotel and it’s our sincere belief that it’ll be the thing the hotel will be known for. To be honest we went to the hotel with absolutely no expectations given that we were going there pre-launch, however we ended up impressed with its design & food and can surely see it as a great new success for the Radisson Blu hotels in the coming future.
- Radisson Blu Ajman is situated roughly 5 minutes from the Ajman City Centre and strategically between Ras Al Khaimah & Dubai. In our experience it took less than an hour from Radisson Blu Deira Creek.
- The best time to visit would be in the winters (Post October) till May when the climate allows you to explore more of the surrounding.
- The restaurants have limited vegetarian options but whatever they have tasted amazing. Nalikettu Royale has food a bit on the spicier side but they can tone it down if requested.
- Radisson Blu Ajman is great for business and sports travelers giving its location and tie-ups. You can book a room at their website for the best prices or lookup more reviews at Tripadvisor.
We were guests of Radisson Blu Ajman but as always, all opinions and experiences are unbiased, untarnished and entirely our own!
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