Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 6 December 2019

Executive Travel: Sheraton Dubai Creek — a hotel with history to share

The property was one of the first five-star hotels in Dubai, checking in its first guests 41 years ago

The Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers is a hospitality landmark on the banks of Dubai’s birthplace waterway. Courtesy Sheraton
The Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers is a hospitality landmark on the banks of Dubai’s birthplace waterway. Courtesy Sheraton

There is rarely a time when Dubai doesn’t have a fresh hotel name or a branded newcomer vying for the city’s business or tourism travel dirhams.

The Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers, however, has one major attribute in its armoury that most millennial-targeting properties struggle to tout — history.

As the city’s debut five-star hotel it is something of a hospitality landmark on the banks of Dubai’s birthplace waterway.

Yet this vintage address more than holds its own in a city hotel portfolio that has expanded beyond even the wildest Dubai expectations since checking in its first guests 41 years ago.

The Sheraton does not rest on its historic laurels, even if management lays claim to some ultra loyal guests who’ve clocked up more than 1,200 nights in the property.

The hotel underwent a facelift in 2015, including refreshing its 268 rooms to expected standards, such as plentiful USB and regular charging points demanded by the modern traveller along with strong free Wi-Fi.

Junior suites offer the usual traditional comforts and decor that is fairly timeless and generic, with warm tones. Dark wood furniture and rich fabrics give a homely feel with wall art acknowledging location.

A generous bathroom includes a stand-alone tub and spacious walk-in cubicle with a reviving rain shower.

Junior suites feature a king bed, extensive storage, with a safe, hairdryer, ironing board and robes. In a connected second room you’ll find a practical work desk with lamp, USB and HDMI connections, and Ethernet or LAN cables available on request. A second large screen TV with several seating options allows this to become a work venue or lounge.

Both rooms offer a view of the Creek and Downtown. Easily accessed from a gate beyond the pool area, the quayside is suitable for early morning runs, post-work walks or cycling — the hotel rents bicycles from beside the hotel’s gym, which is modestly sized but well stocked with on-trend aerobic equipment and free weights.

The hotel underwent a facelift in 2015, including refreshing its 268 rooms to expected standards. Courtesy Sheraton
The hotel underwent a facelift in 2015, including refreshing its 268 rooms to expected standards. Courtesy Sheraton

Depending on your room type — a junior suite costs Dh677 per night (including taxes) based on one adult staying on November 17. You can access the Sheraton Club lounge beside main reception with the option to check-in at either.

You’ll likely meet Jocelyn, the VIP guests manager and one of four staff members who between them have clocked up 100 years of service at the hotel — another rarity in a famously transient sector and city.

The Club Lounge is a comfortable quiet area that serves drinks and refreshments, offers a calm place to catch muted TV news as well as the location for afternoon tea.

There are also two desktop terminals in a discreet workspace, and plenty of comfortable seat clusters for informal meetings.

Management hosts a weekly guest cocktail gathering here, enabling regular business or leisure clientele to socialise or network.

Handily placed, The Lobby Cafe is another working area with two raised desks served by Lenovo desktop computers, and a regular level desk with six chairs, internet connections for laptops and a phone, again suited to casual meetings.

Formal conference rooms are available close to the main hotel entrance. The hotel offers nearly 14,000 square feet of events space including a flexible, full service executive conference centre. Planners can choose from six meeting suites flanked by four breakout rooms and a huge ballroom for larger gatherings.

Dubai International Airport is just 10 minutes away from the hotel. Courtesy Sheraton
Dubai International Airport is just 10 minutes away from the hotel. Courtesy Sheraton

These are catered, but guests also have five regular dining options, including authentic Indian outlet Ashiana and Creekside Japanese Restaurant. The setting of stylish Italian outlet Vivaldi steals the show, however, with extensive glass walls allowing sweeping views of Dubai Creek and relaxed client exchanges.

While the Creek occupies the old part of Dubai, it remains easily accessible from Dubai International Airport — just 10 minutes away from the Sheraton by car given favourable traffic lights.

The hotel cites a “solid base of corporate customers”, possibly aided by its location beside Emirates NBD head office and Dubai Chamber of Commerce.

Several companies related to logistics also operate in the area, alongside major government offices including the Roads & Traffic Authority and Dubai Health Authority.

Among the corporate guests in evidence during my stay were several internationals in town to exhibit at GITEX at Dubai World Trade Centre.

If they fancied swapping tarmac for waves, water taxis operate from nearby Creek terminals, including to Dubai Marina which takes 45 minutes.

Several floating restaurants also pickup creekside, offering reasonably priced night cruises for potential client entertaining.

Sheraton Dubai Creek general manager Ronan Fearon confirms the hotel business and leisure guest split as approximately 50/50.

“Dubai Creek has always been a central place for both types of visitor,” he says.

“Walking down the Creek you can see the trading ships unloading, which indicates there is plenty of business going on in this part of town.”

Updated: November 21, 2019 05:33 PM

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