With ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland still causing havoc with flights across Europe tens of thousands of travelers scheduled to travel out of Dubai airport are facing long delays.
For many that means a welcomed if unexpected stay with family and friends.
For others it means finding a hotel, and quick. Time Out selects 10 of the best hotels within a five to ten minute drive of Dubai Airport.
Hotel name: Le Meridien Dubai
What is it like: A large, low-lying, two-storey hotel situated near the airport, but away from the flight path, the Meridien caters mainly to shotgun visitors in Dubai for a quick shop or on an en-route layover. Peer out of your window you’ll be greeted with some surprisingly pleasant views of the gardens and pool area; add the health club, terrace balcony rooms and swim-up bar, and this hotel is a popular choice with older American and European tourists and businessmen.
Where should you eat: If you’re in the market for beautifully executed, classical French fare, then Cafe Chic is the obvious choice. The food is exceptional at every turn, even if the chef does rely at times a bit too heavily on foam.
For more information: Call 04 217 0000.
Hotel name: Millennium Airport Hotel
What is it like: As you’d expect from the name, this comfortable crash pad is within spitting distance of Dubai’s main airport terminal and usually attracts a great deal of fleeting business from European suits and crew. The marble-heavy hotel foyer is elegant and inviting, while the small gardens make it a low-key family favourite. Rooms are large (a twin share could easily sleep four cosy adults), airy and have pleasant views.
Where should you eat: You can’t help to be (slightly) endeared by the faux-rustic ambience of Da Vinci’s, and we certainly give a thumbs up for effort. The aesthetics of the food doesn’t quite match that of the venue, but taste goes some way to compensate.
For more information: Call 04 282 3464.
Hotel name: Al Bustan Rotana
What is it like: Located within easy striking distance of Dubai’s airport, the Al Bustan Rotana has positioned itself as a predominantly business hotel. Not that it’s all work and no play – far from it: the Al Bustan offers a vast amount of leisure facilities for when the ties are loosened, including a spacious swimming pool, a popular nightclub and a well equipped, if poorly attended, gym.
Where should you eat: Any restaurant with a small pond, miniature rock pools and a family of koi fish living in it deserves extra marks for opulence. The food doesn’t quite live up to the surroundings but regular meal deals and good service mean it should always be considered.
For more information: Call 04 282 0000.
Hotel name: Le Meridien Fairway
What is it like: Location trumps all other concerns at this low key business hotel. Just a few minutes from the airport it is a decent short term destination for stop overs and flying visits. The restaurants, outdoor pool and gym tend to be empty but functional. Get a room facing away from the airport and you will be treated to good views of the Dubai Creek and golf course that would not be out of place in a premium rate hotels.
Where should you eat: There’s more to the Garhoud side of town than bridges, roads and intersections. Case in point: The Spice Club. Kick-start your appetite with an aperitif at the cute adjoining bar then order some of the great hors d’oeuvres like aloo khaas tikki (thick potato patties with peas and ginger) or the kebab platter that will whet the appetite for yet more Indian fare. A staple amongst the Indian community, especially on weekends, eating here feels like coming to dinner at an old friend’s place; comfortingly familiar and reliable.
For more information: Call 04 608 5000.
Hotel name: Premier Inn: Dubai International Airport
What is it like: Premier Inn hotels are the same the world over. They offer basic accommodation at good rates to travelers and tourists that don’t dare stray too far from the airport. You won’t find many surprises with the Dubai International Airport branch but with a rooftop pool, good meeting facilities and wi-fi in every room it is more than serviceable of travelers in the UAE. Especially considering the rock bottom prices.
Where should you eat: Time Out hasn’t actually eaten in this hotel yet but the website advertises an international restaurant called Bedouinn’s Bistro and a sports bar called The Retreat.
For more information: Call 04 885 0999.
Hotel name: Intercontinental Festival City/Crowne Plaza Festival City
What is it like: Actually this is two different hotels which are joined by a walkway and common interest. Whichever of the two you opt for you can expect chic, modern rooms, unbeatable creek views and a good
level of service. Still only minutes away from the airport if you have to make a sudden dash for it but also worthy of a visit for holidaymakers as well as business travelers.
Where should you eat: Dining at Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire is more than eating out, it’s an experience. You will indulge in dishes you’ve likely never tried before, in unique combinations you will likely have never thought of. With numerous amuse bouches tantalising your palette with light yet sharp flavours of foie gras, frozen fruits, chocolate and marzipan. The staff have a near-intimidating knowledgeable about the dishes and are avowedly enthusiastic about the fresh produce imported from around the world.
For more information: Call Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City on 04 701 2222 and speak to the Intercontinental Festival City team on 04 701 1111.
Hotel name: Park Hyatt Dubai
What is it like: You don’t have to fly out of Dubai to escape the city. In fact you don’t even have to drive more than 5 minutes away from the airport to feel like you’re a million miles away from work and stress. Check in here if your flights are delayed and you don’t care about your budget while you stay in Dubai. Too good to leave only to golfers, this is also the destination hotel of choice for fashionistas; it’s rumoured that Elle Macpherson, Tommy Hilfiger, Giorgio Armani and Diane von Furstenberg have all stayed at this drop-dead gorgeous hotel.
Where should you eat: Traiteur is an achingly romantic restaurant at the Park Hyatt that recently relaunched, shifting its focus from vaguely European to strictly French. The space is expansive, the lighting low and the colour theme all soft creams and mahogany. But no single detail can do justice to the overall effect. Though even the most effusive adjective shrivels at the door of Traiteur’s majestic entrance, for the time being let’s just say the setting is splendid. And the food is good.
For more information: Call 04 602 1234.
Hotel name: City Centre Hotel
What is it like: A five star hotel built into a shopping mall may be some people’s idea of heaven. The fact that there are more attractive malls and more impressive hotels in Dubai should not put you off if you’ve got just a few hours in Dubai and need to cram in as much mall time as you can. It is minutes away from the airport, beach, creek, metro station and even a golf course – you’d be hard pushed to find a hotel with such ready connections to any type of hotel in Dubai.
Where should you eat: There are a few restaurants within the hotel itself but if you’re really looking for a wide variety take the stairs through to the mall and check out dozens more options.
For more information: Call 04 294 1222.
Hotel name: Holiday Inn Express
What is it like: Another globally recognised hotel chain that puts the emphasis on getting the basics right and keeping costs low. There are a few Holiday Inns dotted around Dubai but this one is right next to the airport.
Where should you eat: We've yet to enjoy a breakfast in the grandly named Great Room so we can't comment on quality. But we do know the price is great - it comes free with a night stay.
For more information: Call 04 290 0111.
Hotel name: Ibis Deira City Centre
What is it like: One of Dubai's newer hotels and evidence that the emirate is taking the requests of budget business travellers seriously. 365 rooms are in line from what you would expect of the Ibis brand around the world. Just a minutes walk away from the City Centre mall and only five minutes away from the airport it is a convenient hub for flight delays or short stopovers.
Where should you eat: Bistro Domino, the Ibis City Centre's traditional French bistro may not be situated in a five-star hotel, and the drinks menu may not include overpriced bottle of Voss water, but this is to its merit. The restaurant fills a rare niche: it offers well-prepared Parisian classics in a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere at a reasonable price.
For more information: Call 04 292 5000.