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“Didn't live up to expectations”

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Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa
Ranked #49 of 556 Hotels in Dubai
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 April 2012

We stayed one night at Bab Al Shams at the halfway point in our Dubai holiday and we were disappointed with the experience.

The overall review is no doubt tainted by the nightmarish check in procedure we had to endure. The customer service we received was really terrible, definitely not what you expect from a 'luxury resort'. The problem seemed to be that they had no record of our booking. Despite us showing them a confirmation evidencing the fact that we had a booking for the relevant night and that it had been paid in full upfront, they made us sit and wait in reception for around an hour while they apparently called their reservations team elsewhere and tried to work out what on earth to do. None of the staff at reception would take responsibility for the issue and despite our request to speak to the manager, she only made an appearance after we had already been waiting around an hour. Thankfully, she did give us an apology and a room (an upgrade, apparently), but no explanation as to why we had been treated so badly. Surely they could have sorted out their internal reservations issues separately, on the basis that we clearly had a booking and they clearly had rooms available. During most of the waiting time, we were simply ignored and not given any explanation as to why everything was taking so long. Needless to say, we were very angry about this ridiculous process, and also disappointed that we had to miss an hour of our afternoon in the desert. We would like to think that this was a 'one off' mistake but unfortunately there was another guest in reception having exactly the same issue (except we overheard him saying he had been waiting 2.5 hours) therefore I'm not sure we can give them the benefit of the doubt...

Apart from the issue above, our stay was fine, and obviously the desert location was special and relaxing. Generally though, the resort was a bit too rustic for our liking - we had expected it to feel like a really premium desert hideaway but it seemed a little tired. Our room was ok, not particularly luxurious and we definitely weren't wowed by the bathroom. The pool area was nice enough but nothing special.

Watching the sunset from the rooftop lounge was great; the highlight of our day. The service here was also excellent; the waiter was friendly and attentive and we enjoyed some cocktails and snacks as the sun went down. Once it was dark, it was great to look at the stars - there's also a telescope to help you see a bit more!

We ate in the pizzeria, where the food and service was also good. We also enjoyed breakfast on the terrace.

All in all, we had an ok stay but we definitely wouldn't rush back if we visit Dubai again.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank TrufflesSmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,268 - 1,274 of 2,072 reviews

Reviewed 31 March 2012

We arrived during/just after the biggest sandstorm of this season and because of this the hotel looked a bit spooky. The second day the sky was clear and the hotel looked beautiful.
Staff was very friendly. The room was beautiful with a nice bathroom.
We had breakfast (sumptuous) on the terrace.
Our dinner in the desert restaurant was joyful with excellent food, but a bit overpriced.
Near the swimming pool it was a bit difficult to attract attention of staff for ordering of drinks.
Internet in the room was free, but extremely slow.
Some places had free wifi.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank YvonneMoscow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2012

We stayed at this hotel with friends for 2 nights which was part of our Dubai experience. We wanted to stay in the heart of the desert which is something different to what we have done before. It is a long way out of Dubai city but that is what we expected as it is a desert retreat. We enjoyed 2 very enjoyable and relaxing days at this resort. We found the staff to be very friendly and most professional. The food was excellent., and we loved watching the sunset from the cocktail bar at around 6.00 p.m. The Falconry was superb to watch and we loved the Arabic show which is a must to see.The bedrooms although well appointed were looking rather "tired" so a refurb would be nice.
A real experience in the heart of the desert.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank BarbadosJaguar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2012

Stayed at this hotel for 2 nights, and thank God they were only 2 nights ! Not that the hotel had bad service or bad food, not at all. Actually the service wasn't bad, and the food was quite good. But believe you me, this hotel is painfully far away from all the attractions in Dubai, except the dessert sand ! This hotel was built as an old arabian traditional style, and I think the designer took this too seriously and built it literally 'OLD STYLE'. A quick example would be the room flooring, its cement ! I got lost every single time I was walking to my room, and every single time I left my room; too many alleys and pathways, and the signs are too small to follow ! The hotel is too far away from everything, that you need to call a taxi an hour before you plan to leave. It takes atleast 50 minutes to Emirates Mall, and thats with no traffic, and costing you no less than AED 120 for one trip. I don't recommend this hotel for the casual or business traveller, its just in the middle of nowhere ! The Hardcore travelers, might find this hotel to their likings !

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank SalmanShakeeb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2012

We enjoyed 2 nights at this wonderful hotel which provides a serene experience,a prefect contrast to the hustle and bustle of Dubai.The accommodation is superb, we enjoyed a room with a balcony tastefully furnished in the old Arab style. The choice at breakfast was outstanding and the quality of service from management and staff at the hotel was excellent. We enjoyed the Al Hadheera dining experience and live show. The extensive range of delicious Arab food on offer was superb, however the live show was not as good as others we have seen in the area. There was too much emphasis of photo opportunities for the hotel photographer which meant that everything went on for ages while everyone in the venue had to have a picture taken! The spa experience was a delight, treatments, while expensive, were delivered in lovely surroundings in keeping with the overall serenity of the hotel.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank mopo58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 March 2012

we, a retired couple, stayed here for 3 nights.
we had a wonderful time, and fully recommend bab al shams,
when visiting the emirates.
upon arriving, on a friday,we booked dinner in the desert restaurant,
al hadheerah. what a fantastic experience! the buffet offered all
we needed, and more....a very wide choice, and during the evening
there was lively arabic entertainment, horses, camels, bands and
belly-dancers, and a firework display, under a star-lit sky. highly
recommendable!
we spent an enjoyable time out in the desert, and felt
very at home here, the pool area being just right for relaxing.
breakfast buffet was also excellent, offering a very wide variety.
al sarab, rooftop lounge, was where we spent our first sunset
in the desert, a very romantic way to start the evening.
one evening we ate in le dune pizzeria, and one evening,
we ate in al forsan restaurant. great choices for eating.
we would certainly visit this hotel again!

Room Tip: i was informed, upon arrival, that very few 1st floor rooms have a balcony, and there were no balco...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank jonny-patty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2012

Last month we were lucky enough to visit the hotel with my mother, sister and niece. It had previoulsy been recommended to me by other friends. My family was over in Dubai for a short visit and I wanted them to experience a little of the Arab culture.

Well...nothing prepared us for the magnificient level of customer service that we experienced through out our stay. The attention to detail given by 'Hakem' and Mr Renton was beyond anything I had been accustomed to.

The setting of the hotel is fantastic! You find yourself right in the middle of the desert, yet with the advantage of being able to enjoy the superb faciilities offered by the hotel. The rooms are large and very comfortable. everything is a touch above any other hotel I have been to. From the containers of the toiletries, to the display of fresh bowl of fruit on arrival and a new one later on in the evening, to the mat put on the side of the bed with a pair of slippers so as not to feel the coldness of the floor on your feet, ah! and the beutiful boxes of dates and chocolates!! How did I forget that!!

In the evening we joined the Arab Dinner Party -with the market stalls and a variety of exceptional food available all night. Yet again, the customer service provided by everybody there was exceptional. The sharpness, eagerness to please and the constant smile on their faces, it certainly had an impact on the evening.

Well I must say that it is worth every penny. Thank you Bab Al Shams for such an awesome experience!!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Sol G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa

Address: International Endurance City, 308th Rd, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Phone Number:
Region: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Dubai > Dubai
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Dubai
#36 Spa Hotel in Dubai
#40 Business Hotel in Dubai
#46 Luxury Hotel in Dubai
#47 Family Hotel in Dubai
#53 Romantic Hotel in Dubai
Price Range: £220 - £693 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa 5*
Number of rooms: 113
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Translated from Arabic as "Gateway to the sun", the *award-winning 5-star Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa is designed to resemble a fortified rural Arab village amidst the desert landscape. Featuring low-rise architecture, this sandy coloured style fort boasts the main tower with Reception area and lobby and clusters of two-storey buildings housing guest accommodation, restaurants, spa and meeting facilities interconnected by seemingly endless little walkways. The charm of Arabia is personified in every corner of the property with small lanes running through the hotel, scattered around ponds and secluded seating areas, shaded courtyards, water fountains and trickling streams bestowing the feel of cool tranquillity. The abundance of green garden areas and manicured lawns adds to the quiet and soothing environment of the resort. The rustic Arabian theme of exterior design continues to flow in the carefully selected interior decorations and settings featuring uncovered natural stone floors, bare plastered walls, dark wood and iron fixtures, warm dimmed lighting and an abundance of artefacts showcased throughout the property. The resort boasts 113 rooms and suites offering cosy accommodation in an authentic Arabian style with majority of the rooms having a private terrace. All guest rooms and public areas have complimentary Wi-Fi access. *World's Leading Desert Resort, World Travel Awards. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bab Al Shams Desert Resort And Spa
Bab Al Shams Desert Hotel Dubai

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