Check In: InterContinental Dubai Festival City
Surrounded by the tranquil waters of Dubai Creek yet offering sweeping vistas of the soaring skyscrapers beyond, InterContinental Dubai Festival City is an ideal choice for a chic and friendly hotel stay. The striking structure’s design was inspired by that of a sailboat, and from the moment you cross its threshold your cares will float away. Once you’re in the lobby, doorman Abdul Jabbar is hard to miss – standing seven feet, four inches tall, this gentle giant will offer to carry your luggage for you, saying “It’s too heavy for you and too light for me!”
The InterCon’s home to a bunch of ab fab bars and restaurants, including the totes awesome Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire, so there’s plenty to explore for foodies and party people alike. If you’re the shopaholic kind, everything from Marks & Spencer to Ikea is a connecting passage away. A session in the spa is simply blissful, and if you’re a fitness freak, the high-tech 24/7 gym is sure to impress.
We were wowed by the super-spacious rooms with gorgeous vistas of the Creek, Dubai skyline and all the shopping that awaited in the Festival Centre mall. Enter the bathroom, stocked with Agraria San Francisco’s zesty lemon verbena soap, and you discover that even the bathtub offers the same views! And when we switched on the TV, a personalised welcome message with our names popped up – nice touch!
THE BARS & RESTAURANTS
The steakhouse impresses meat lovers with everything from the choicest cuts to its selection of steak knives and seven different types of salt (we went with the Persian Blue for our rib-eye) to make its pick even more flavoursome. It also does an excellent jumbo shrimp cocktail that gets plenty of bite from the pickled cucumber. Do try the chocolate soup for dessert – it’s totally worth the calories.
Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire
World-famous chef Pierre Gagnaire brings his Michelin starred touch to the table – enough said!
This all-day-dining restaurant serves up faves from around the world for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were happily surprised to find South Indian brekkie staples such as daal vada (lentil fritters) on the buffet tables in the morning, alongside the usual (and nicely prepared) suspects including made-to-order omelettes.
A charming French restaurant offering all the classics (we love the homemade duck liver terrine, Dhs85) in a relaxed, stylish space and without denting your wallet.
This lounge is the place to get your sundowners and some more of those lovely harbour views
Très stylish bar perched on the hotel’s 26th floor. Great for a chic night out.
THE POOL, SPA & FITNESS CENTRE
InterCon’s 25m temperature controlled outdoor pool is one to create a splash in, while the ace gymnasium comes with a free weights Kinesis wall plus steam and sauna rooms. A visit to Spa InterContinental is a true indulgence, particularly if you sample its signature treatments, which come complete with calming post-therapy refreshments.
• Room rate: From Dhs1,550 per night (executive room) plus taxes
• Friday brunch at Anise: 12.45pm to 4pm, Dhs325 (with soft drinks), Dhs425 (with house beverages) and Dhs495 (with bubbly)
• Terra Firma tasting platter (double cuts for two to share): Dhs580
• The InterContinental Experience at Spa InterContinental: (90 minutes, body brushing and signature massage), Dhs625
INFO: InterContinental Dubai Festival City, Festival City, Dubai, 04 701 1111, www.ihg.com