Downtown Dubai is certainly not short on choices when it comes to five star luxury, but for the discerning traveller it’s often difficult to narrow down the overwhelming options available. Ideal for both the business and leisure traveller, the Sofitel Dubai Downtown is situated in the thriving heartbeat of Downtown Dubai, adjacent to the Sheikh Zayed Road and a short walk from the metro and The Dubai Mall.
As frequent visitors to the Sofitel for work, we were excited to have the opportunity to spend a night in a hotel we’ve spent countless hours in without ever having seen the rooms. One thing that stands out on each occasion we’ve visited is the valet team, as the first impression of the hotel, these guys do a commendable job of initiating the personable service style of the Sofitel brand. As far as hotel lobbies go, the Sofitel Dubai Downtown is bound to impress with a literal ribbon of crystals suspended from the ceiling which is instantly mesmerising.
Check-in was a smooth process with the cubic shaped reception desks foreshadowing the modernity that we were about to experience in the rooms themselves. Greeted with a cheery “Bonsoir” from the front desk team (Sofitel is a French owned brand after all), it’s a warm welcome with plenty of pleasantries offered, though we did find the wealth of information provided (which included the opening hours of all the F&B outlets) to be a little overwhelming. To be honest, we were more transfixed with the intricate, almost hieroglyphic-like patterning adorning the walls behind the reception desk.
The Sofitel is a luxury brand that’s held in high regard due to its associations with sophisticated elegance and beauty. These factors are exactly what guests are treated to during a stay at the Sofitel Dubai Downtown. Granted this city centre property goes for a very cosmopolitan slant, providing a boutique feel via the use of ultra-modern space-age furnishings and vibrant bursts of colour. The carpeting in the hallways are a prime example, as if rainbows are tracing the route to the rooms.
One of the things we appreciated most was the seamless transition from the public areas into the rooms. With 350 rooms and suites spread over 31 floors, design elements such as the embossed wall panels and the ambient soundtrack carry effortlessly between the elevators, corridors and rooms. Each room is generously sized, offering views of either the Burj Khalifa or the Arabian Gulf, neither of which are likely to cause disappointment. In all honesty, a Burj view will take our breath away and though the view may not be an unobstructed as places like the Manzil or soon-to-open Renaissance DXB, it’s a beautiful vantage point of the world’s tallest tower.
We enter into a 46 m² luxury premium room of light wood juxtaposed against a colour scheme of sunshine yellow and lime green. An interesting choice and one that not only works but makes an appealing change from the expected neutral tones and Arabic motifs so often associated with hotels in the UAE. These rooms are not afraid to show personality, in the form of a revolving love-seat (strategically positioned in line with those stunning Burj views), free-standing bath tub, chunky bathroom ceramics and curved lines — suggestive of sand dunes and the undulations of the sea.
The comfort levels of the bed itself are make or break when it comes to any hotel stay and we’re pleased to note that comfort reigns supreme at the Sofitel, thanks to the soft down of the Sofitel’s trademark ‘MyBed.’ Other features of the room include a glass writing desk, Nespresso machine and a media hub, allowing devices to be easily connected to the wall mounted television. Our only gripe relates to the lack of plug sockets in close proximity to the bed.
The bathroom represents a narrow corridor with separate frosted glass partitions for the WC and the rainfall shower and boasts an appealing modernity via the use of frosted sleek black tiling. Robes, slippers and towels are all new and help to add to the sense of comfort displayed throughout the rest of the room.
When it comes to recreation the Sofitel’s facilities include the So SPA, specialising in beauty treatments, massages, and reflexology, with a sauna and hammam to boot. There’s also a twenty-four hour fitness centre So Fit, featuring the latest gymnasium equipment, a gents salon, an abundance of meeting rooms, and our favourite part of any hotel… the pool.
Located on the fifth floor of the hotel and accessible via an elevated walkway, the expansive swimming pool at the Sofitel Dubai Downtown may not look like much from the rooms, but upon reaching the pool deck guests are treated to a mixed use area that includes grass, a bar and a number of seating areas. The pool itself is infinity style and looks out towards the skyline of Downtown Dubai over which the Burj Khalifa towers. The pool itself is dotted with palm trees and cabanas, while a shallow ledge runs the entire length with in-water sun loungers. The cocktails available poolside are some of the cheapest you’re likely to find in a hotel in Dubai with selected drinks at AED 29 between the hours of 12pm and 8pm.
The pool is ideally positioned to ensure an oasis of calm is provided for guests as they gaze out over the ever-evolving metropolis that is Dubai and again the trend of white geometric furniture is revisited. Aside from the pool, there’s also a kids club that is complimentary for those staying in the hotel.
When it comes to F&B the Sofitel Dubai Downtown has quite a remarkable repertoire of restaurants that will take guests on a culinary journey around the globe. From the progressive Indian cuisine of Jaan at the penthouse to the on trend Inka, one of the first Peruvian restaurants to open in the city. If these aren’t enough to insatiate your appetite, the Sofitel is also home to Al Mayaas specialising in the finest Lebanese cuisine and Pan-Asian favourite Wakame (full review here).
During our stay we only had the opportunity to venture into Les Cuisines, the colourful all-day-dining restaurant serving up a variety of international cuisines from a number of open show-kitchens. The breakfast offering covers all expected favourites of eggs, waffles, pancakes and fresh fruits while showcasing some exciting (and unexpected) choices such as churros, a frozen yogurt machine and detox smoothies. Le Cuisines is also home to the Sofitel’s new Thursday night Disco Brunch, which we found tended to focus more on drinking and having a good time than on the quality of food.
The Sofitel Dubai Downtown is ideally positioned close to Dubai Mall (the worlds biggest shopping mall) to which it is connected via an air-conditioned walkway, the Burj Khalifa and its beautiful dancing fountains. Within walking distance you’ll also find the metro, the Dubai Opera and the retail and dining destinations flanking the picturesque Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard. The marketing campaign for the area affectionately refers to Downtown Dubai as “the centre of now” and with the Sofitel sitting right in the middle of this rapidly modernising district, it’s a worthy choice for those looking to stay in the beating heart of new Dubai.
At times the Sofitel Dubai Downtown feels more like a business hotel than leisure and a high staff to guest ratio (in fact we’ve not seen so many staff in one hotel) ensures that premium levels of professional and unobtrusive service are displayed at all times. There are a number of things that those staying in Downtown Dubai will be looking for – location, convinience, comfort and luxury – and we’re pleased to report that the Sofitel Dubai Downtown delivers on all four.
Location: Sofitel Dubai Downtown, Sheikh Zayed Road, Downtown Dubai, Dubai
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Phone: 04 503 6666
We were invited to stay at the Sofitel Dubai Downtown. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE. Some interior images provided courtesy of Sofitel.