The Intercontinental, along with the more budget-friendly [node:121940] next door, are part of the Festival City complex, set by the side of the Dubai Creek on the other side from the city’s main activity. Despite the name, Festival City, while host for the occasional concert, is not a mini Glastonbury or Woodstock, but instead a vast yet rather stylish shopping, dining and entertainment complex (a far more Dubai-style ‘Festival’). Being away from the main hub of Dubai, it’s a lot calmer than much of city, but via the Business Bay Bridge (which glows a rather nice blue at night) you can be in the centre of things in under 15 minutes. Sadly, the nearest public beach is around 25 minutes away, but the airport is just around the corner, about 10 minutes away by cab.
There’s a smart, contemporary design running through the Intercontinental’s rooms and suites, with soft, neutral shades in brown and cream. The standard rooms are reasonably-sized and offer views across the creek, along with an impressive free-standing bathtub. If possible, it’s worth upgrading to the Executive Club Level, which offers breakfast, lunch snacks, Afternoon Tea and even a cocktail hour in the dedicated lounge.
Executive Club guests get a smart and comfortable lounge to relax, but there's also a dedicated business centre, plus charming walkways by the side of the creek.
Eating and drinking
While the hotel is just pleasant waterside stroll from an array of excellent dining options in Festival City, within its walls is perhaps Dubai’s most celebrated restaurants. For gastro-types, Reflets by Pierre Gagnaire is simply incredible, the three-Michelin starred Parisian chef having brought his culinary alchemy to the shores Dubai with great effect, blending unexpected tastes and textures that will bemuse and tickle the palate like nothing else. It’s not cheap, but there’s no other place like it in Dubai. Alternatively, Al Sultan Brahim Beirut – already a well-established Lebanese restaurant before it came to Dubai – serves a fine selection of Arabic seafood dishes, while Bistro Madeleine offers French Brasserie options by the waterfront.
The InterContinental’s Spa has received rave reviews for its indulgent Arabian treats, particularly the massages. There’s also a charming, and well-shaded 25-metre temperature-controlled outdoor pool on the leisure deck. Just next door sits the 18-hole, par-72 Al Badia golf course, designed by none other than Robert Trent Jones II, who I understand is renowned in golfing design circles.
Spot on - friendly and extremely helpful.
Who stays there
Its proximity to the airport means that it attracts a business crowd, but Western tourists - drawn by the InterContinental's brand - are also regulars.
- Business travellers
- Escaping the crowds
- Great views / scenery
- Chilling out
Pros & Cons
- Relaxed location
- Far from beach