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The Palace Hotel - The Old Town - Dubai, UAE | Hotel Review

Maybe 5 Star, but mere points from a Not Bombastic rating from us.


Built on the edge of a lake, The Palace at Old Town in Dubai stands like a traditional Arabian Palace Residence, updated to fit modern sensibilities. An oasis in the middle of a bustling city, it is ideally located near the Dubai International Airport, Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest tower), Souk Al Bahar (a traditional market place), and the Dubai World Trade Center. Formerly Sofitel The Palace, this opulent Palace Hotel is managed by The Address Hotel Chain.

While we were here for just one night, we took the opportunity to check out the Palace Hotel reviews before hand, and as much of the Palace Hotel as we could during our short stay. What we experienced was a series of negligence and failures at almost every level of the property.

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First Impression/Lobby: The entrance to the Palace at Old Town is monumentally glorious, befitting its name. Upon arrival, we were immediately transported to an Arabian nights fantasy. The heavy wooden doors led to the marbled lobby area with opulent sofas on either side. The main lounge opened to a terrace that offered views of the pool and the lake beyond. Opposite the lobby lounge was the reception desk.

Reception: The young lady at reception welcomed us warmly and gave us a cheery vibe. We were excited to stay in such a magnificent-looking place and had high expectations. But as soon as we asked her if we could possibly have a late check out, the Front Office Manager appeared out of nowhere and about as rudely as a person could be, told us no, absolutely not. In just a fraction of a second, he wiped away the welcoming experience we were having in the Palace Hotel.

The Suite: We stayed in the Palace Suite with a Fountain View. It was a huge room, styled like an apartment with intricate wooden sliding doors and mirrors dividing the living area and the bedroom. At the end of the living room was the terrace with a view of the fountain, the sweeping blue-green lake, and some buildings including the Burj Khalifa. It was not the most spectacular view I have seen, and the building only seemed to be more of an obstruction rather than an attraction, but it was still beautiful nonetheless.

The décor was elegant and contemporary, with Middle Eastern craftsmanship and designs. Most of the colors were warm and soft—browns, creams, peach, and maroons -which also made me think of British Indian sensibilities.

While the interior décor exuded an upscale ambiance, the scent of the room was a spoiler. It had an “old carpet” or “burlap bag” smell, making the room less luxurious than it ought to be. Also, one of the bathrooms had a plugged sink, which took three requests (our second request was to the unfriendly Front Office Manager) to be fixed.

Room Service: Their Room Service menu was quite extensive and had a large selection of dishes, with prices that were just as big. We ordered Murq Mhakhani (butter chicken), which cost us almost $30 (or around 95 AED) and Penne Pasta, which was just as pricey.

After placing our order, we were told that it would be delivered in 30-35 minutes but after 45 minutes, we were still waiting for the food. I called room service to follow up and five minutes after my call, it finally arrived.

50 minutes for a small portion of just average Murg Makahini and ordinary Penne Pasta earned Room Service failing marks from us.

Housekeeping: Housekeeping was disappointing to say the least. Upon our arrival, it appeared that the guest bathroom had not been serviced and cleaned as there was hard evidence of a previous guest in the toilet: Let’s just say, a disgusting evidence. Also, as I mentioned earlier, one of the sinks in the bathroom was plugged and drained extremely slow.

Plus, the smell of old carpets and burlap - not a refreshing smell, was definitely unacceptable for a property of this caliber, or any caliber for that matter.

On a brighter note, the rest of the suite was clean and well maintained; however, their chance to redeem themselves at turndown was thwarted by yet another failure.

We called Housekeeping (twice actually) before heading to dinner and asked them to leave us extra water during the evening service. As you could probably guess by now, they failed to do so.

Concierge: We were unable to use the Concierge service of the Palace Hotel as they were mysteriously unavailable when we needed them. We called them twice to get some dining recommendations. The first time the phone just rang and rang. The second time, the person that answered said he was with a guest and he would call me back. That never happened.

Restaurants: The Palace Hotel has three restaurants: Ewaan, serving Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, Asado, an Argentienean grill restaurant, and Thiptara, a Thai restaurant that specializes in Bangkok-style seafood.

The restaurants do not serve any alcohol between 4 and 6 PM due to the law.

Pool/Spa/Activities: The hotel’s outdoor pool was glorious, surrounded with Arabian tents, palm trees and lounge chairs, although we were not able to hang around there long because of our limited time at the resort. Other hotel activities and amenities include a sauna or oriental bathhouses, spa, and fitness center.

Check-Out: Checkout was handled at a separate desk from reception. The young lady who attended to us did a fine job of processing the needed paperwork but, once again, the Palace Hotel made yet another mistake charging us for our breakfast, which was supposed to be included in our package. While the error was quickly and professionally addressed and the extra charge removed from our bill, this sort of thing shouldn’t be a problem in the first place in such a luxurious and upscale five star establishment such as The Palace at Old Town.

Overall Impression: The Palace at Old Town in Dubai has all the makings of a true five-star experience, but the series of mistakes, oversights, gaffes, blunders and lack of follow through we experienced from their staff were clearly inexcusable. Sadly, we have to rate The Palace at Old Town in Dubai as Between Bombastic and Not (mere points from a rating of Not Bombastic).

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