The Crowne Plaza, along with the more luxurious InterContinental next door, is part of the Festival City complex, set by the side of the Dubai Creek on the other side from the city’s main activity. While it does host the occasional concert, Festival City, despite its name, is not a mini Glastonbury or Woodstock, but rather a vast yet stylishly designed shopping, dining and entertainment complex (a much more Dubai-style ‘Festival’). Its location means that it’s a lot calmer than much of Dubai, but the Business Bay Bridge (which glows a rather cool blue at night) can take you to attractions such as the Burj Khalifa in under 15 minutes, while the nearest public beach is around 25 minutes away. The airport is about 10 minutes away in cab.
The standard Superior Room is warm and inviting, offering either views over the creek or out inland (it’s worth trying to get the creek view). There’s a rather cool-looking sofa by the window, plus cosy cream carpet and well-designed bathroom. It's worth noting that the Crowne Plaza has banned smoking in all of its rooms and public spaces.
Aside from the marble-heavy lobby, there isn’t a great deal in the way of public areas, although, with the charming creekside walkway to one side, this isn’t really a great concern.
Eating and drinking
On the ground foor, the Belgian Beer Café is among the city’s best bars, serving a fine selection of fruity ales, bowls of mussels and Flemish pub grub. Try to get a table outside at night for a chilled view of the creek. Festival City, which is laden with dining options, is just a pleasant waterside stroll away.
The hotel has a well-stocked 24-hour gym, with steam and sauna rooms. Out on the ‘leisure deck’, there’s a 25-metre temperature-controlled outdoor swimming pool, plus three spa pools. Crowne Plaza guests have access to the Spa in the InterContinental next door. The 18-hole, par-72 Al Badia golf course – designed Robert Trent Jones II (apparently renowned in golfing design circles) – is just next door.
Extremely efficient and helpful.
Who stays there
It’s location near the airport does mean that it attracts a sizable business clientele. However with a golf course just around the corner and a vast multi-faceted shopping centre close enough to lob a handbag, it's also popular with tourists who might want to avoid Dubai's more expensive options.
If breakfast isn't included in the room rate, it costs 125 dirhams extra.
- Business travellers
- Chilling out
Pros & Cons
- Great value
- Vibrant vicinity
- Away from centre