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“Best Location, Lovely Ambiance, Perfect for New Years Eve”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Palace Downtown

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Palace Downtown
Ranked #22 of 540 Hotels in Dubai
Certificate of Excellence
san francisco
Level Contributor
27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Best Location, Lovely Ambiance, Perfect for New Years Eve”
Reviewed 11 January 2011

This hotel is refined and picturesque. The interior decor is a very sophisticated combination of contemporary and arabic. It is a dreamy and serene property both inside and out. The hotel has wonderful views, i.e. it overlooks a large manmade lake which features a world famous water fountain show that performs after 6:00 PM on the half hour. We expected a kitschy Las Vegas feel, but this water show was much larger than that of the Bellagio, and also much, much prettier. Best of all, the hotel also overlooks the iconic building, Burg al Khalifa which is beautiful when lit up at night.
The Palace Old Town enjoys a good location, and taxis in Dubai are very inexpensive and readily available. The hotel is adjacent to the Mall of Dubai, the second largest in the world.That mall contains a very, very large indoor acquarium and a large waterfall. The anchor stores are Galleries Lafayette (boring) and Bloomingdales. The merchandise mix at the latter is much better than in New York. There are also hundreds of other chain stores at all price points. The couturier and jewelery stores are on the ground floor while electronics tend to be on the top. There are lots of restaurants; however, as would be expected the better restaurants are all located within hotels.
The Palace Old Town has a sunny, quiet palm ringed pool that is encircled by moroccan style cabanas with floor cushions and low tables, plus chaise lounges. There are three restaurants in the hotel. Two seem to have incongruous themes, i.e. Argentinian and Thai, which is pretty typical disconnect throughout the middle east. The third is informal and somewhat arabic. The latter overlooks the pool and has a lovely breakfast buffet. We reserved on Priceline and the buffet (about $30 US per person) was included in the discounted rate.
There was one negative about this hotel. The staff was unfailing polite and refined; however, the service was very disorganized. We had to make multiple requests on subsequent days for the same things, i.e. coffee at breakfast, meal service at the pool, rational concierge service, etc. I strongly suspect that there is a weak middle management at this hotel. Plus multiple nationalities are attempting to work in a common language, i.e. english, that is a second or third language for all of them.
The best time to stay is on New Years Eve. The hotel has a panoramic view of one of the largest fireworks displays in the world emanating from the Burg al Khalif and surrounding buildings. The watershow is in synch. Within the hotel the atmosphere is serene, outside there are enormous crowds and traffic jams. Make your NYE hotel restaurant reservations very early as the hotel cannot accommodate everyone. I suggest that Thai restaurant as having a softer prix fix price point and better views on that date.
In short, I would highly recommend this hotel for it's beauty, serenity, and location even though the service was mixed.
P.S. Two quick travel tips... Look into a book of great coupons called "The Entertainer, Dubai." It contains hundreds of 2 for 1 coupons for popular attractions and restaurants. It can be purchased at the Duty Free Store in the Dubai airport for about $20 US or 60 dirhams. Otherwise, the books are broken up and individual coupons are often sold on Ebay for small sums. Beware, there is a blackout period from late December through January 1st.
Second tip...buy some alcohol in the Duty Free Shop at the airport for consumption in your room. Cocktails in Dubai are expensive and not readily available.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank refinedperson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Strabane, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2011

We spent the christmas period in The Palace and had a great holiday. Had no complaints with hotel. Would certainly stay again. Mr Harding and his team do thier utmost to make one feel welcome. We liked the cocktail evening as wine and beer were also served. Walking distance to Dubai Mall. and Dubai Metro. The fountains at night were incredible.
Looking forward to returning.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank robinson2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambria, CA
Level Contributor
43 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 January 2011

Dubai sprawls for miles along the Gulf coast so where you want to stay will largely depend on why you're in Dubai. We chose the"The Palace-The Old Town" because, as first time visitors and not beach fanatics, we wanted to be in the middle of Dubai, with access to the old and new parts of the city.
Semantics first. Despite it's web site "The Palace" is not an old building. Neither is "The Old Town",well, old. The Old Town is part of the brand new Downtown Dubai development which contains (among other things) the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa.
The Palace is an attempt to return to a more logical style of architecture than the ubiquitous (and totally climate unfriendly) glass and steel that comprises most of modern Dubai.
A low rise 4 and 5 storey building with thick walls, deeply inset windows and large courtyards... a sort of modernist Moorish design that IMHO works very well. The hotel is surrounded on 3 sides by the large artificial lake that hold the Dubai Fountain, and is further softened by lush tropical gardens. The roar of the relentless Dubai traffic is nowhere to be heard, just the chatter of mynha birds around the pool. Only 280 or so rooms makes for an intimate feel and the friendly staff quickly know your name.
PROs:
The rooms are spacious, immaculate and beautifully furnished. Very quiet.
The beds are large and very comfortable, with high end linens, duvets and lots of pillows
The bathrooms are large, marbled with twin vanities, separate tub and waterfall shower, with a toilet/bidet area.
Plenty of bottled water, more on request.
Many rooms overlook the spectacular Dubai Fountain.
All have large balconies, something of a wonder in modern Dubai hotels, and great for relaxing on a cool Dubai winter day.
Plenty of dining choices
Friendly, helpful staff...but still with the occasional hiccup.
A small but beautifully designed pool with a spectacular view of the stunning Burj Khalifa.

CONs:
For a non-smoker its the smokers. As everywhere in Dubai there appear to be no outdoor spaces or restaurant that is off limits to smokers, so it's a largely a matter of luck. The hotel does have non smoking rooms, but that lovely balcony that you were enjoying becomes uninhabitable when the person on the balcony below lights up.
Not very child friendly ( not a concern for us) and perhaps a PRO for some.
Because of the horizontal (rather than vertical) layout some of the rooms are quite a walk from the main ares. Ask for one nearby if walking is a problem
The distance to some of the rooms also turns the free "High Speed" Wi-Fi into a bit of a hassle. Again, if you'll be spending hours on line check out the signal strength before settling in.
Flies were a bother at the outdoor eating spots and around the pool.

Note that despite earlier reviews one of the big benefits of a club (Palace) room...the lounge with snacks and evening drinks...no longer exists. That makes whether the extra charge for a Palace room is a good deal a bit more debatable, but if you're a big breakfast eater or are arriving outside normal check in times it probably is worth the cost. And the airport transfers by hotel car are quite a luxury.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank docred
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
yorkshire
Level Contributor
284 reviews
161 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2011

The old Palace hotel is a modern hotel on the site of an old palace but does not retain an old palace feel but is well situated for the Dubai shopping mall which can be reached on foot from the hotel. Access to the Burj Khalifa, tallest building in the world is from the shopping mall, a tour to the top costs £20 if booked in advance or £80 for immediate access. For a booking you will need to book 3 days in advance on line. The hotel is of a high standard my basic room was spacious with large bathroom and private patio. Food was ok but expensive,not outstanding. Alcohol was very expensive with a mimi bar in room. The pool area was attractive but not very big and if you want to sit in the sun this was limited in view of the palm trees. The hotel overlooks a man made lake.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank dunera
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
77 reviews
76 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 January 2011

Very good hotel ideally located opposite Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, and just a couple of minutes away from The Dubai Mall.

I stayed in a fountain view room. The room was quite spacious (great comfortable bed!) and has a very well appointed bathroom (shower and bath). Excellent complimentary toiletries (Penhaligon's). A warning though, don't expect to see the entire fountain, you only see part of it.

Swimming pool area is very nice (great heated pool) but it can be difficult to find a sun bed which has full day's (or even half day's) sun.

Excellent breakfast buffet.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank FergieBrussels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guildford, UK
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 December 2010

Really puzzled (and deceived!) by the positive reviews that swayed me to book, I'm clearly missing something.
This is a boring cliche hotel with a shiny varnish that has no class or depth of quality whatsoever beneath the surface - it's designed to be practically part of yet another shiny shopping mall and that's clearly something many reviewers perceive as a positive, I found it hell.
All that is, of course, personal taste and many/most people will clearly differ, but the quality of the room and service are not so debatable. To arrive at a hotel that is clearly nowhere near full and the room is still not available after 4pm is appalling, especially for a traveller with a small child. The 'deluxe' room was significantly smaller, with less facilities and duller decor than almost any I've stayed in in Dubai - the Meridien hotel I stayed in earlier this year was cheaper and far, far superior in every way.
First, we had been placed in the most far-flung corner of the seemingly half-empty hotel. The room decor was 'brown' in tone and mood. Bizarrely, the bathroom was great, one of the best designed bathrooms I've seen in any hotel, any price - pity that designer didn't do the bedroom.
The bed was amazingly comfortable, my son loved rolling around on it - but we couldn't sleep because the linens and mattress got so hot and the air conditioning was not adjustable - which I still struggle to believe could happen in a Dubai hotel. The aircon was fixed at almost 25C, making for an appalling, restless night and, by 2am, i had to risk leaving the balcony doors wide open, too terrified to sleep in case my son wandered out! (sleep deprivation gives you weird thoughts).

Some friendly staff around the pool - a fabulous guy saved us a lovely table by the lake - but food service was then very slow indeed, so slow we had to opt for cold food to get my son to bed on time - great Club sandwich.

Check in/out was basic, slow, charmless and totally impersonal. On departure, no one asked what I thought of my stay - and that, for me, is always the key indicator of the standards of any hotel.
Obviously, the Palace wasn't for me - even if the room, the service, the aircon etc had worked. If you think Dubai's shopping is wonderful then you may well love the convenience of this hotel. If you want to see a bit more depth to this great city then I think you should look to stay elsewhere.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JonAM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
amman
Level Contributor
132 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 December 2010

After somehow dissappointed night management of this hotel rebounded by offering us their best room upgraded us and made our stay worthwhile

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank dureid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Palace Downtown

Property: Palace Downtown
Address: Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, 29 | Downtown Dubai, Dubai 9770, United Arab Emirates
Phone Number:
Region: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Dubai > Dubai > Downtown Dubai
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#6 Romantic Hotel in Dubai
#11 Business Hotel in Dubai
#21 Luxury Hotel in Dubai
#31 Family Hotel in Dubai
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:5 star — Palace Downtown 5*
Number of rooms: 242
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Palace, built on the edge of a lake, is a harmonious blend of the past and present of Dubai with 242 guest rooms and suites boasting a captivating Middle Eastern theme. The luxury hotel hosts an array of international restaurants featuring fine cuisine, a breathtaking luxury spa, recreational facilities, a large pool and a comprehensive business center. It is ideally located near the Dubai World Trade Center, several major business institutions, shopping malls and tourist attractions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Palace The Old Town Hotel Dubai
The Palace Old Town
Palace The Old Town Dubai
Sofitel Dubai

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