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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 July 2018

Executive travel: The Palace Downtown hotel is a taste of luxurious Arab living 

The hotel has always been popular with GCC visitors, who still comprise around 30 per cent of guests

Prices for guest rooms at The Palace Downtown range from Dh1,349 to Dh15,299 per night.
Prices for guest rooms at The Palace Downtown range from Dh1,349 to Dh15,299 per night.

When my wife worked for a huge Japanese multinational her boss from Europe always liked to stay in the Palace Downtown hotel in Dubai on his visits.

It’s exceptional location on an island in the "Old Town" in front of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. It’s ideal for business in the nearby financial district, the many restaurants of this area, and even shopping with the Dubai Mall an easy walk away.

But if you want to enjoy the original Arabesque interior of this lavish property, managed by Emaar’s The Address Hotels + Resorts, then do book your stay soon as it will be undergoing a refurbishment next year after just turning 10 years old.

The hotel has always been popular with GCC visitors, who still comprise around 30 per cent of guests, although in recent years the oil price dip has taken its toll and China is now the fastest-growing source market.

This is not a high-rise hotel. But it is surrounded by the towers of the Dubai Downtown. It feels like an majestic older building left behind by recent development.

However, it is far from being old, of course. I really struggled to find anything that looked in need of renovation. But at this level of hospitality you can never let your game slack.

Top marks for the 87 Mbps complimentary internet connection speed, the fastest I’ve enjoyed in a Dubai hotel, and the large desks in every room category complete with multi-plug adaptor and new LG TVs.

The lavish sprawling lobby is a nice place to meet and greet guests, while almost hidden behind a screen are two large-screen iMacs with a concealed printer behind the concierge.

There are two really outstanding choices for dinner invitations. First, the Thiptara award-winning Thai restaurant with superb close-up views of the Burj Khalifa. A new al fresco terrace opened last November.

Second, the celebrated Asado Argentinian steakhouse that featured in the recent Oscar King novel trilogy, with live entertainment and an excellent terrace right in front of the soaring Burj.

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Read more:

Emaar Hospitality eyes expansion into 20 European cities, CEO says

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For an evening reception the roof-top viewing deck can host around 200 guests while the Palace pool area can handle 500; two other areas also offer serene views of the Burj lagoon for 250-300 guests.

"Our corporate clients are mainly in the financial sector, pharmaceuticals and fashion retailing," general manager David Simon told me. ‘Many fashion retailers seem to prefer to do staff training in a hotel rather than their own premises.’

The hotel can offer a choice of three meeting rooms, Regal, Regent and Palatine for 16 to 20 people, and the Royale Ballroom can host up to 300 or be split into two rooms.

Guest rooms are very spacious from 51 square metres for the standard deluxe, up to 500 square metres for the presidential suite, and range in price from Dh1,349 to Dh15,299 per night.

Room service is listed on a tablet; a Margherita pizza is Dh75, chicken shawarma Dh90, small Evian water Dh25 and Pepsi Dh40, although oddly the menu for Asado was longer on the tablet than at the actual restaurant.

Service standards are very professional in this hotel and always discrete and not intrusive.

The gym is a little disappointing and rather small with four running machines, two steppers and two bicycles in a crowded room.

But the splendidly lavish spa facility is outstanding with separate floors for male and female guests, hammam slabs and nine treatment rooms, several with natural light. It would be hard to think of a better antidote for executive stress.

Limousine transfers to the airport take about 15 minutes from this location and meetings in the Dubai International Financial Centre are less than 10 minutes away; a water taxi to the Dubai Mall from the hotel’s landing is Dh65.

If your business merits the splendour of an Arabian palace in the heart of Downtown Dubai then this is the right place to stay.

The author stayed as a guest of the hotel