As a self-proclaimed “upscale hotel for business travellers”, The Pullman may not be as instantly associated with leisure pursuits as its counterpart at the other side of the Mall of the Emirates (the famous ski-lodge-themed Kempinski hotel), but it’s slowly making a name for itself with Dubai residents thanks to its reasonably priced brunch. Further Ahlan! investigations have uncovered a gorgeous little vintage-style diner, our new favourite masseuse and a pool bar with a view. Read on to find out more...
The Gym, Pool and Spa
The rooftop pool, lined with sun loungers, is big enough to do laps, and the Sanctuary Pool Bar with its shaded seating area is a tranquil spot to while away a few hours far above the mayhem of Dubai. Inside on the same floor, there’s a well-equipped fitness centre (with jars of complimentary dates – thanks!) and a spa lounge with views out to Downtown Dubai. Chillax here after a spa treatment or admire the vista with a post-workout brew. Day passes for the gym cost Dhs150, while monthly gym membership costs from Dhs600; pool access is restricted to gym members and hotel guests.
The spa, while not as deluxe as some five-star establishments (The Pullman is four-star), is manned by absolute pros. Following a firm, oh-oh-so effective full-body massage, we left the place feeling two inches taller.
The Bars and Restaurants
VANTAGE: Created for vino-lovers, this bar with indoor and outdoor seating offers a discreet location and top views of Dubai. Open from 5pm to 2am, with 50 per cent off for ladies on Thursdays.
SANABEL: Open from 6am to 11pm serving up a buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch, the restaurant is perhaps best known among residents for the last. The popular Sanabel brunch costs just Dhs275 with house bevs and offers an ample spread of Med dishes with some Arabic and international specialities thrown in. Served in an informal open-plan canteen setting with some cosy cordoned off booths (best for bigger groups), there’s also a private dining room and an outdoor terrace for cooler days. Sanabel means “yeast” and bread is a bit of theme, present in the wheat-patterned tableware, so be sure to indulge in a basket of buns while here. At night, you can dive into a buffet starter and then order a la carte dishes such as the grilled catch of the day.
SODA BOX: Being big fans of a good old-fashioned burger, we were so excited when we discovered this hot spot that we wanted to do the bee-bop. Kitsch, cute, Fifties-style Soda Box is the perfect antidote to the mall’s noisy, kid-packed fast food joints. Minus wailing brats (unless you’ve brought your own – in which case the insanely good ice cream counter will silence them), this burger haven serves up both classic and quirky burgers (we heart the Mushroom Swiss), alongside thick and creamy shakes served in traditional metal urns. The decor is adorable – if you’ve ever fancied doing your pad out with a Fifties Americana flavour, come here for inspiration. Best of all, not many people know about it so you’re guaranteed a seat and a bit of peace, which can be a saving grace amid shopping trips to the mall. Open 24 hours a day apparently, too!
Inside this huge hotel with two receptions (one on the ground floor and one on the fifth next to the restaurants and bars), there are 481 rooms and 94 suites. Ahlan! got to tour one of the huge suites with a kitchenette, a lounge with six-seater dinner table, a guest WC, a bedroom and a separate bathroom. The walk-in wardrobe was a room all of its own. We loved the views: Media City skyline dominated one side and the Burj al Arab could be seen on the other from the bathtub. And don’t worry if you’re not into views – there’s a telly in the bathroom, too!
Check out our through-the-keyhole tour of the Pullman right here
Rack rate: from Dhs1,400*
Gym membership: from Dhs600
One-hour massage: from Dhs325
Brunch at Sanabel: Dhs175 with soft drinks; Dhs275 with house bevs; Dhs380 with bubbles
INFO: Hotel Pullman Dubai Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Barsha 1, 04 702 8000, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.pullmanhotels.com.
*Room rates are subject to change