On Thursday night, we stayed in the Meydan Hotel, a hotel in Dubai attached a horse race track. We could see the track from our balcony and feel the excitement in the air. In actuality, it was a good excuse to drink beer on our balcony. We chose this hotel because as a member of the Jumeirah Group, guests are given complimentary passes to a great water park in Dubai called Wild Wadi. The night we were staying coincided with a horse racing festival on the track. Also, it was the cheapest hotel in the Jumeriah group, which we found out the reason why quickly.
First of all, I would like to say that the hotel itself was pure elegance and the staff were extremely courteous. I have very little negative to say in those regards. I felt welcome from the moment that the person doing the valet parking took the keys to my beat up Jeep and parked it 50 feet away across from the entrance of the hotel. The staff member who checked me in was very courteous, as was the woman who took us up to our room, the man who brought our luggage to our rooms and all the staff who greeted us with a smile.
There was a beautiful rooftop infinity pool which you can see me enjoying in the picture on the left. Our balcony was one of the ones in the background overlooking the race track. You can see the view of the balcony below the rooftop infinity pool through its glass bottom in the picture below. Our issues came with the cracks in the facade of elegance and the way that problems were dealt with.
On approaching the hotel, we noticed that all the exits to the various parts of the hotel were barricaded off. We had to actually pass the hotel and make a U-turn to get back. This wouldn't have been a big problem if there were signs stating this, but nothing was clearly marked.
When we got to reception and asked about the shuttle bus to Wild Wadi, the man checking us in informed us that the Meydan hotel is no longer part of the Jumeirah Group and passes to the water park are no longer complimentary. We had to show a printed out copy of the email I received to prove that it was part of the Jumeirah Group when we made our booking and that we wanted our passes. They quickly changed their position and arranged entry for us, but I resent that the onus was on us to prove our booking date.
When I booked the hotel, I spoke to someone and clearly stated that I wanted the rooms to be next to each other so the balconies would be touching. The room numbers were adjacent, but there was a stairwell in between our rooms and the balconies were 50 feet from each other. We asked them to move us and kept getting the response that they would call us. Since we were anxious to get to the water park, we asked my wife who was staying back with my son to take care of it. She called several times and was told that they would call her. She sat in her room for several hours waiting. Finally when we arrived, I demanded that we be moved right away. The staff offered no explanation and only gave a series of very polite apologies. We were offered nothing. Keep in mind that at the Intercontinental when staying in a room paid for by hotel priority club points, we got an upgrade to a suite because the room they put us in hadn't been cleaned.
Lest you think that I'm being picky, this is a five-star hotel and all I was asking for was to be moved to an empty room that was "almost ready" when I talked to the staff at 12:30. This was to complete a request that I made over a month prior and in a hotel that was almost empty on what should have been one of the biggest nights of the year. There were the telltale signs of a hotel in trouble: the uncompleted bridge to the hotel, the fixtures in the bathrooms coming loose, no mention of the Imax screen that was touted in the hotel literature prior to opening. This is less than a year after its opening. Clearly, this place was conceived in the Dubai building boom and almost reached completion around the time the money ran out.
My feeling on why it was so difficult to move my friends and I into adjacent rooms? The rooms aren't completed. I think that this hotel, miles from Jumeirah beach and in the middle of nowhere, was kicked out of the Jumeirah Group. I recommend that you visit and have a meal in one of their fine restaurants so you can see the hotel and track up close before the owner files for bankruptcy. Just don't wast your money on a room.