It can be difficult to reach the hotel through Dubai's traffic, despite its rather central location – less than half an hour from the airport and 10 minutes to the beach. The lobby does a good job of making you forget you’ve booked budget with its sumptuous marble and gold decor, but the fairly standard rooms will, unfortunately, remind you. There’s a good selection of bars and restaurants here – the Korean restaurant Dae Jang Kum is worth a visit, but we’d steer clear of Planet Bollywood. as their idea of entertainment involves really loud music. Staff here are polite enough and thankfully the check-in process is swift. If you like a bargains all round, head to nearby Karama Shopping complex – where you’ll find salesmen asking if you want ‘Rolex, Gucci, Prada…’. It's fake central here and definitely an experience. If you’re more about the (real) labels though, head to the BurJuman shopping mall for high-end fashion, all under one pink roof, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Chanel.
The essentials • If you’re after a decent curry, try out Aangan at the nearby Dhow Palace hotel, Time Out’s Best Indian winner this year.
• You're close to BurJuman, Karama Shopping complex, Dubai Creek and the historic Bastakiya district.
• For a spot of Middle Eastern culture, get a taxi to the gold and spice souks at Dubai Creek.
• Head over to Irish bar Waxy’s at the neighbouring Royal Ascot Hotel for their Friday brunch, where you get a full English breakfast with extras and five drinks for less than Dhs100.
• To see more malls, jump on the Metro and head towards Jebel Ali – you’ll stop at three or four others.
Royal Ascot Hotel