Le Meridien is nestled snugly in the Dubai Marina area, wedged between the Westin (also part of the Starwood group) and the Dubai International Marine Club, the home for many a boat, from piddling dinghies to multi-million dollar yachts. The Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah are just down the road, about a five minute drive away, while the Mall of the Emirates is a further five. The airport will take about half an hour in a car.
The rooms are perfectly comfortable - if a little on the small side - but without the usual excess you find in many Dubai five-stars. A bold blue carpet stands out amid some fairly bland light brown furnishings and light flowery wallpaper. Each comes with a private balcony, but make sure you ask for a sea view as it’s far nicer than the inland option.
The lobby is a somewhat dazzling affair, with a few too many lights reflecting off the light marble floor. Outside, however, there’s a lovely grass lawn area, furnished with comfy sunbed and shades, leading down to the outdoor pool and gorgeous beach.
Eating and drinking
Over the past few years, Barasti bar, Le Meridien’s beach outpost, has grown from a relatively small shack to one of Dubai’s biggest bars. It’s enormously popular throughout the week, while at weekends there are often queues to get in during winter months – it’s mix of beach, bar and nightclub understandably proving to be something of a hit with expats and tourists. At weekends, bands and DJs play, sometimes on a makeshift stage on the beach. Last time I checked, Vanilla Ice and SNAP! were giving their creaking joints a good airing. If you just want a bite to eat, Barasti does have a good selection of pub grub, although I recommend getting there early to find a table.
If water sports are you thing, the Le Meridien won’t disappoint, with a huge array of options for splashing about in the Gulf. Sailing, waterskiing, windsurfing, sports fishing, wakeboarding, banana boating – you name it, they’ve got it, alongside a PADI-certified dive centre. Another popular watery choice is to hire a yacht from the marina next door and head out for a day of splashing further out to sea. There’s also a dedicated lap pool for more dedicated swimmers. If getting your hair wet isn’t an option there are four floodlit tennis courts, plus a decent gym. Oh, and while you’re doing all this (or, more likely, sunbathing), there’s the Penguin Kids Club to keep the little one entertained.
Very friendly and attentive.
Who stays there
Le Meridien is hugely popular with Western sun-worshippers, both couples and families, who line the beach each day. The hotel's beach bar, Barasti, is perhaps the city's most popular drinking spot and thousands from around the city flock each weekend.
The rate for a standard Deluxe Room (sea-facing) is inclusive of all charges but doesn't include breakfast.
- Families with teenagers
- Families with younger children
Pros & Cons
- Great beach
- Water sports
- Slightly dated
- Rowdy and noisy beach bar, esp at weekends