The entrance to Grosvenor House is always busy, but my car is valeted and my bags taken inside with speed and efficiency. There’s a pleasant sense of drama at this hotel, despite a rather dull lobby in Tower One. I’m checked in quickly.
Grosvenor House is situated at the north-western end of Dubai Marina. With the opening of Tower Two, the hotel now has two 45-storey blocks containing rooms, serviced apartments, two spas and a total of 16 bars, restaurants and cafes. Thankfully, most of the building work in the area has now been completed.
My room is a deluxe (standard) room on the 35th floor of Tower One, which affords a good view out to sea. Unfortunately, there’s a sandstorm when I’m there, so I can’t use the balcony. It’s spacious, but there’s nothing special about the decor, which is on the bland side of luxurious. However, I like the fact that all basic comforts are there - quiet air con, great beds, a large bathroom - and it’s quiet.
Unusually enthusiastic and motivated, the staff at Grosvenor House are a change from the bland obsequiousness so often experienced in hotels. Phones were answered quickly and my requests were fulfilled without fuss. The only problem I had was when I left my bikini in the changing room of the health club at Le Royal Meridien, which Grosvenor House guests can use for free access to the beach. Several messages to send it to Grosvenor House were not acted upon. I had to go and retrieve the item myself. I tried an hour-long massage at the b/attitude spa, which is very Asian in decor. My massage, which cost Dh420, was mediocre.
Various parts of this hotel have a buzz about them, while others are deadly quiet. The large restaurant Sloane’s, where an appetising breakfast is served, is full with a mix of businesspeople, holidaymakers and weekending couples. With public venues such as nightclub-restaurant combo Embassy Dubai, the giant Buddha Bar, the Latin-themed lounge-restaurant Toro Toro, and the Asian fusion Siddhartha Lounge packed at weekends, this is a fun place to be.
For lunch I tried the spicy crab salad (Dh60) at the Siddhartha Lounge, which was fresh and zingy. At Embassy, at the top of Tower Two, the views are great but the menu wasn’t very extensive. The prawn cocktail (Dh85) was fresh and the veal and cured tuna loin carpaccio (Dh90) was generously-sized, but neither were outstanding. The pan-fried red mullet with chick-pea puree and bresaola and artichoke barigoule was tasty but somewhat overpowered by the sweet taste of pickled onions and raisins. Our favourite was the delicious smoked pumpkin risotto (Dh100), which was so good I’d go back for it.
The positive attitude of the staff, the peacefulness of the room and the sense of being at the centre of things.
If you are staying in one tower but eating in another, it can be a bit of a trek to get between the two.
Hotel guests aren’t allowed to get in taxis which have just dropped off guests, but instead are told to wait for one to be called from a queue.
A comfortable and fun retreat.
The bottom line
Until September 15, Grosvenor House has a weekend package including one night’s accommodation in Tower One, breakfast, a meal in Embassy, afternoon tea in Rhodes in Residence, use of the beach at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa and a late check out for Dh900 per person, per night, including taxes (www.grosvenorhouse-dubai.com; 04 399 8444).