by Ed Hahn
Hong Kong, China
January 12, 2006
This hotel is part of a group of eight hotels in Abu Dhabi and Fujairah. They are owned by a private corporation with strong government ties.
Pam and I chose this hotel because we couldn’t get into the Meridien Resort Hotel, it being high season. Quite frankly, in light of the recent bombings in Amman, Jordan, we decided to avoid US-managed hotels. In retrospect, this was, most likely, an unnecessary precaution.
It is primarily a business hotel, situated next to the Fujairah Trade Center on Ahmad Bin Abdullah Road. It has an executive floor with the usual amenities and an excellent business center, which we had occasion to use. It offers reasonably priced personal computer and Internet access, about US$3 per hour. Staff members were eager to help but not always as knowledgeable as in most business hotels, I’ve stayed in. The rest of the hotel staff were excellent, particularly at the front desk and in the dining rooms.
The location was not ideal for tourists like us. It is a 30- to 40-minute walk to the waterfront, a 30-minute walk to the Fujairah Museum, and a 10-minute taxi ride to the Fujairah Gardens and Heritage Area. The hotel website plays this down of course.
It does have an excellent Lebanese restaurant, the Al Meshwar, right across the street, along with a KFC and a Pizza Hut. Next door is a shopping mall with fairly nice shops and more restaurants.
The hotel restaurants are quite good. The Diwan serves excellent reasonably priced buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can also order from the menu. We ate there twice. The Asmak seafood restaurant did not appeal to us, as they seem to be trying to be all things to all people. We liked the coffee lounge in the lobby and stopped there after a hard day of touring. The Zorba Lounge was a bit of a disappointment. The service was very slow and the ambiance and décor was from the 1950s. There's also an Arabic Shisha Corner that serves Arabic snacks and features water pipes. We skipped that.
The hotel has all the other amenities you would expect in a five-star establishment: a pool and pool bar, a fitness center, a state-of-the-art conference room, etc. One thing I didn’t expect was the six-lane bowling alley.
Overall I was impressed but not overwhelmed. Compared to other five-star hotels in the UAE, its rates were very competitive. Given the low occupancy when we arrived, I suspect we might have done even better if I had bargained on arrival, but we had pre-paid for our stay off the Internet.
From journal Dubious Dubai