Our maiden trip to the Middle East was totally unplanned and quite unexpected. We were invited by Radisson Blu Dubai (UAE) to visit some of their hotels in the region including Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Ajman, which was in the prelaunch stage. Needless to say, we were excited and raring to go. As with all destinations we visit, we had done a fair bit of research on the various places we were scheduled to visit. By the time we were done, we were quite saturated with images of skyscrapers, glass and metal landscapes and dune bashing images we saw of Dubai. To be honest, we had reached a point before leaving where we were confident we had seen everything worth seeing in Dubai, before landing there. The city of Dubai however had other plans for us.
Radisson Blu Dubai (Deira Creek)
As the oldest 5 star hotel in Dubai, it is the big granddaddy of hospitality in Dubai. Bigger names, with bigger frames and taller spires have dominated the Dubai skyline since, but there’s an enigma on being the first, which is unreplaceable. Thankfully, that’s not all this wonderful hotel has to offer. Given that our first introduction to Radisson Blu in the Middle East was its Sharjah Resort which was huge, the smaller size of the Dubai hotel came as a surprise. After all bigger and better is what you generally associate with Dubai isn’t it? However it did have a lot going for it on paper – a prime location near the souks (markets) with a wonderful view of the Dubai Creek and the Dhows, especially at night when they’re all lit up. Add to it the fantastic inhouse culinary options and a private Dhow – Al Mansour, reserved exclusively for guests and you have an enticing proposition. The key ingredient which makes it special is something you have to personally experience. It is the fantastic “Yes we can” service mantra which they embody and something we will expand upon later.
The rooms are average in size. They’re comfy and plush with a lovely décor, but they’re a bit of a tight fit with the arm chairs and table fitted in. However we had a room with a balcony and that made it quite alright for us given that we weren’t planning to spend too much time lounging around in the room anyways. Our room had a king sized bed, two arm chairs, a writing desk/table and a decently sized balcony. The bathrooms were well equipped with toiletries and were again average in size. As with every Radisson hotel we visited, the room had a Nespresso machine with complimentary flavoured coffee capsules (and sachets of flavoured tea) we could use (but never did). The rooms strike a fine balance between a typical 5 star business class hotel and a plush luxury 5 star leisure hotel or indeed between being practical and overtly pampering.
There are 9 onsite restaurants including a 24 hour international cuisine option. We tried most of them, with our personal favourite being Shabestan. It is their Iranian speciality restaurant and one which we’re told is a favourite of the current king (Sheikh) of Dubai as well. Well, as they say, great minds think alike. That is not to say the others aren’t fabulous as well. Being vegetarians we only had the vegetarian options or a vegetarian variation of meat based dishes they had created especially for us, which might limit our review of individual restaurants and hence we won’t be delving into it. We found all the dining options to have a very different ambience to them, despite sharing walls with each other. We had the pleasure of enjoying meals at China Club, Minato, Shabestan, Aseelah, Fish Market and Boulvar and were stunned how well the interiors shaped our experience and indeed curate a near authentic feeling. The low seating traditional table at Minato,the Japanese speciality restaurant or a huge round table with a chandelier surrounded by frames in the China Club, the freshness of blue and white at Fish Market, the golden luxurious interiors at Aseelah, all of them were as unique as their cuisine. Being foodies, we aren’t new to world cuisine, however, we were quite impressed with Shabestan & Aseelah, our first real introduction to Irani & Emirati cuisine.
Apart from the restaurants, there’s a pub called “Up on the Tenth”, which as the name suggests, is on the 10th floor of the hotel providing wonderful views of the Dubai creek from a glass paneled higher vantage point. We visited this lovely Jazz Bar to have some mocktails and snacks as we weren’t too hungry and just wanted to lounge after a long day and we weren’t disappointed. The light was at an optimum level where we weren’t left hunting in the dark for our forks and food, nor was it bright enough to be intrusive. The music was also at a perfect level where we could talk without raising our voices, yet enjoy it even between conversations without straining to hear it. It also helped that the selection of music was great. We would highly recommend a visit if you’re staying at the hotel if you have no other plans to party out.
The defining metric for a hospitality institution is its service. There is no ambiguity when it comes to the level of service we found at the Deira Creek hotel, or for that matter at any Radisson Hotel we stayed at. It’s a 10/10 for us. To be honest, we’ve never expected any luxury chain hotel to match the personal touch and hospitality of some boutique hotels we’ve stayed at, but this one does come very close. There was genuine eagerness in the staff to be of help, right from the doorman to our preferred waiting staff at boulvar to the people at the reception, who made it a personal goal to make us feel right at home. Not one person flinched at any request we made and we were always greeted with a Yes. We are firm believers that every hospitality chain should have this mantra embodied in them and this is a prime example of what happens when it is ingrained in each staff member. We were even more surprised to hear about the low attrition rates this hotel enjoys when it comes to their staff with quite a few of them having risen in ranks after being a part of the Radisson Blu family since the beginning. It does seem like the Yes we can isn’t just a staff to guest mantra but also a top down, HQ to staff mantra as well.
The hotel is not your fancy dubai downtown hotel climbing up to meet the stars or indeed the epitome of luxury as a few hotels in Dubai aspire to be. It is comfortable with its identity of being a business + leisure 5 star hotel with great onsite dining, easy access to markets, exemplary service and all while not breaking the bank for its guests. There’s few hotels which do affordable luxury well and it’s safe to say, Radisson Blu, Deira Creek has perfected the art.
- Radisson Blu Dubai (Deira Creek) is roughly 7 Kms from Dubai International Airport, a small 2 AED Abra ride from the old city (Bur Dubai) and a 2 minute walk to the nearest Metro station (Union)
- 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.
- We stayed in one of the rooms facing the Deira Creek and though we didn’t quite enjoy much time at the hotel, the views were fantastic.
- The restaurants have limited vegetarian options but as in our case, if given prior notice, we’re sure they’ll be able to whip something for you.
- Radisson Blu Dubai (Deira Creek) is great for business and leisure travelers giving its convenient location. You can book a room at their website for the best prices or lookup more reviews at Tripadvisor.
We were guests of Radisson Blu, Deira Creek but as always, all opinions and experiences are unbiased, untarnished and entirely our own!
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