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Madinat Jumeriah - Dubai, U.A.E.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011 JumeriahThe Madinat Jumeriah (muh-dee-nuh ju-mi-ruh) is a magnificent tribute to Dubai's heritage and is styled to resemble an ancient Arabian citadel. It is one of three properties owned and operated by Jumeriah Hotels along Dubai’s beachfront: the Jumeriah Beach Resort, the Madinat and the crown jewel of the collection, the world famous Burj Al Arab. Like Vegas, everything is Dubai is “over the top” and the Madinat Jumeriah is no exception. Al Qsar, the centerpiece of the Resort, is designed to reflect a Sheik's summer residence and huge palm trees, manicured lawns, incredible fountains and golden statues of Arabian horses greet you when you enter the property. Service staff meet your taxi on the beautiful tiled driveway, take your luggage and whisk you to reception where you are offered a cold towel, tea and stuffed dates. We arrived early in the morning, way before check-in time, so the hotel offers to store luggage and suggests a host of activities for you while your room is readied. You can hang on the beach, visit the hotel’s world-class spa, have breakfast or lunch in one of over 40 restaurants on the property, or head to the Souk Madinat, the hotel’s own shopping mall with a bazaar-like atmosphere. We opted for the complimentary shuttle bus to the Mall of the Emirates, the largest and most modern shopping mall in the world. It is definitely something to see!

When we returned to Al Qasr later that afternoon, we were escorted to the lower level of this beautiful hotel to the area where the "buggy" would pick us up and transport us to Dar Al Masyaf and our Arabian Summer House villa. The lush and beautiful grounds of this complex are so vast and spread out that they have two means of transporting guests from place to place. One I have already mentioned, by buggy (golf cart) and the other is by "abra" (traditional water taxi) along the canals that meander throughout the property. In addition to Al Qasr, the other hotel in this particular complex is the Mina A' Salam. Staying in any of these properties gives you access to the amenities of the others such as restaurants and beaches. You also get a discounted rate at the nearby water park, Wild Wadi.

The villa was like a small apartment building with eight "apartments" built on two levels around a central courtyard complete with fountain and patio furniture. Each villa has a butler on duty in the lobby who can Jumeriahmake reservations for you at the restaurant of your choice, set up tours and call the buggy for you. He or she also serves as host for the daily "happy hour" where free cocktails and light appetizers are served. In our entire stay, we were the only ones who ever went to happy hour! Wonderful Arabic music played over the intercom system in the villa lobby and the CDs could be purchased at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah.

Madinat JumeriahThe decor of our suite in the villa was definitely Arabic with lots of carved wood adorned with metal studs. The light fixtures were metal and ornate with a Moroccan feel. A large rug with Arabic patterns was hung from a dowel above the bed. A separate sitting area with couch, table and chairs, a desk, and a large piece of furniture containing the mini-bar and refrigerator completed the room. The colors were the warm reds, browns and beiges of the desert. We had a patio overlooking one of the canals with a table and chairs in case you wanted to dine outside. The bathroom was very large with a nice vanity with two sinks and a separate walk-in shower and tub. The tile work on the bathroom floor was amazing! There were two closets with lots of built-in drawer space. A separate chest-of-drawers in the bathroom gave us even more storage. A safe was provided for valuables and there was also a hair dryer. Complimentary bottled water was placed in the suite each evening at turndown along with a "pillow gift". The first night, we received lavender-scented massage oil. One night it was lip balm and the last night it was wrist bands to wear while jogging or playing tennis.

Madinat JumeriahEach villa had its own large swimming pool and a lifeguard was always on duty. You could have food and drink delivered to the pool area if you wanted. The lounge chairs around the pool were padded and even had a pillow and neck support. The towels the pool attendant provided were actually large enough to cover the entire lounger! One day while I was at the pool, I overheard a couple sending the butler to the Souk to buy them each a hat to wear in the sun. Now that's service! JumeriahThe hotel, with its Arabian architecture, furnishings and decor, was spectacular as were the grounds. We particularly enjoyed the whimsically painted camel statues dispersed throughout the property. The employees were dressed in traditional Arabic attire and were always willing to offer directions or answer questions. Everyone we came in contact with spoke English well. We would have liked to have visited the hotel's Talise Spa, but there was just not enough time. Guests can spend time at Quay Health Club and there is also a kids' club. The hotel complex offers more than a half mile of beautiful beaches.

There are over forty restaurants to choose from in this complex found both in the hotels and in the Souk Madinat Jumeirah. The Arboretum breakfast buffet at Al Qasr was enormous and costs $150AED (about $50 US$) per person. We learned this the hard way and it was our only unpleasant experience at the hotel. The first morning, I went to the Arboretum for a cup of coffee and to read the newspaper. The hostess asked me for my room number, looked it up on a list and confirmed my last name. This is a common practice in European hotels and many other parts of the world when breakfast is included in the room rate. I asked the hostess if breakfast was included in our room rate to which she replied, "yes, of course." She seated me and I enjoyed a delicious cup of coffee. I should point out that because of the diet I am currently on, I do not eat breakfast. On the second morning, I was able to coax Rickee into going to breakfast with me and she ate some fruit and had juice while I had my coffee. On our last evening, we received a copy of our bill and I noticed a charge for $450AED for breakfast! That's $150 for two days of coffee and one plate of fruit. I took the bill to Concierge and discussed with the manager that the hostess had informed me that breakfast was included in my room rate and that all I had was coffee. I also pointed out that nowhere in the restaurant was the price of the buffet posted and no menu was offered for a la carte ordering. He was sympathetic, and even called the Food and Beverage Manager to discuss the situation. In the end, they were unyielding and I ended up paying the $150. The appropriate thing for the hotel to do would have been to, at the very least, split the difference and discount my bill $75, especially on a food and beverage item. Having stayed at 5-star properties all over the world, I have never experienced this lack of customer service. Given the excellent experience we had throughout the rest of the property, I was truly shocked by this lack of customer service.

Notwithstanding the experience with breakfast, everything about Madinat Jumeriah is first-rate. It is truly a 5-star property in every way. The staff are pleasant and the surroundings are second-to-none. If you plan to visit Dubai and you want a truly Arabian experience, you could not do better than Madinat Jumeriah.
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One Comment
We spent three night here based on your recommendation. Wow, what an excellent hotel. We will definitely return. Thanks.
Saturday, March 30, 2013 12:00 AM  
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