What a strange place (both Dubai and the Nihal Hotel). This was our first visit to the UAE, transiting in Dubai with Emirates Airline we decided to stop for a few days and see the city. Not giving a toot about shopping malls or expensive hotels, we wanted a convenient base in the centre of the city to see the old town on foot. We found the Nihal Hotel through HostelWorld.com, through which we reserved two en suite triple bed rooms, allowing us to stay for about GBP £18 per person per night. At that rate, this was a bargain.
The hotel is located in the blocks between Al Maktoom and Al Rigga Streets (and not, as some addresses place it, on Al Maktoom itself, or as the Time Out Dubai guide puts it, north of Al Rigga). It is in a neighbourhood with plenty of mid-range hotels, mostly in dull office-block style buildings - although few match the surreal eighties cuboid shininess of the Nihal. There are plenty of taxis passing by and the new metro station at Al Rigga is five minutes walk away. A cab from the airport will cost about 30 - 35 dirhams, and one back will cost 15 - 20 dirhams (because of the additional flag fall travelling from the airport). There are also plenty of local shops and cheap places to eat near-by, from quick kebab joints to mid-range restaurants on Al Rigga. Dubai Creek has an attractive pedestrian walkway along the Deira shore, and it's nearest point is less than 15 minutes walk away. In less than 30 minutes you can walk to the Spice Souk of Deira. The location is perfect for budget travellers keen to avoid the big distances of the new Dubai to the south.
Check-in was slow and complicated. Admittedly, we arrived early and were quite happy with not being able to check-in until the agreed time. However, on our return one of the HostelWorld bookings was missing from the hotel's paperwork, and some time was spent trying to locate it, despite the deposit we'd already paid on the room. The triple rooms we had booked turned out to be twin rooms with an additional (reasonably sturdy and comfortable) folding bed. They were spacious, with clean and reasonable en-suite bathroom. However, the ventilation shaft beside the bathroom brought kitchen smells, cigarette smoke and noise from the nightclub right into our room. The nightclub is lively most nights, so not ideal for light sleepers. Likewise the room suffered a lot of noise from the landing - all hard materials and unintentionally noisy neighbours talking in the hallway.
There's a small pool out back, and two mediocre and expensive restaurants off the lobby. We did not avail ourselves of the breakfast buffet (25 dirhams per person) but did succumb to an hour's wireless internet access (18 dirhams for a continuous 60 minutes or 20MB, whichever is used up first). We caught a bit of TV in our room, but the signal suffered a lot of digital interference, with Dubai, Emirati, Russian and Indian channels. Additional useful services include the hotel's minibus, which runs a number of circuits each day, allowing you to visit Dubai Mall, Deira City Centre and the public beach at Al Mamzar. We'd particularly recommend the latter, with a bus out at 9am and back at 1pm, for cheap (5 dirhams) access to attractive and well maintained sandy beaches.
Downsides were minor, but memorable. The Indian restaurant off the lobby is a joke, with overpriced food and awful service. The reception staff are friendly and well intentioned, but seemingly hampered by unreliable administrative problems. The room was comfortable, but noise pollution from the club, traffic and other guests were big downers. This could be a much nicer hotel if they just closed the nightclub on the first floor.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Travel Republic (UK), LoveHolidays, HostelWorld, TripOnline SA, Evoline ltd and Cancelon so you can book your Nihal Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Nihal Hotel Dubai