My reception at the new Hilton Garden Inn Al Mina is efficient and friendly. I arrive early from another hotel stay, so I’m asked to wait for the room to be ready, which was done pleasantly, and the subsequent check-in is hassle-free.
Down the road from Port Rashid, the hotel feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere. That’s in part because it sits on its own, next to a sizeable vacant block of land next door, which proves the perfect spot for a cricket pitch for the workers. It’s handily located, however, 10 minutes from Downtown Dubai, and not far from the Dubai Creek. This said, there’s nothing within walking distance of the hotel for a meal or shopping, and the nearest Metro stop is two kilometres away.
I’m staying in a 57-square-metre one-bedroom king suite, which has a lot of natural light, but the view over the aforementioned vacant sandy lot isn’t the most inviting. The Arabic furnishings and towels folded in the form of an elephant are nice touches, but the bathroom is too squished in size. The toilet-roll holder is too far from the toilet, which means you have to lean over the bidet to reach it, and the narrow width makes moving around uncomfortable.
Any time I needed something, it’s swiftly available. The pool staff are kind enough to ask if I wanted them to take a photograph while I was up on the rooftop with my camera admiring the sweeping views of Downtown Dubai, and the food service was equally on-point. Ordering a taxi was prompt, although there’s also a complimentary shuttle to the beach and Dubai Mall.
I’m staying on a Saturday evening, and it seems that I’m surrounded by older Dutch tourists, perhaps from a bus tour. The hotel bar is packed with the same crowd later in the evening, all glued to an English Premier League football match on the TV, while other members of the party are in the 24-hour business centre. The rooftop pool area is lovely, and although it’s a little too chilly for a swim when I stay, there are several people up there enjoying the views of Downtown Dubai.
Dinner is at the Garden Grille & Bar. It’s very comfortable and not too busy, unlike the scene at breakfast. After explaining my dietary requirements, I choose the traditional butter chicken (Dh55), and I’m impressed with its taste and the price. The dinner menu has a good selection of choices from salads to steaks, pasta and pizzas. At breakfast, the selection is just as good: there’s a waffle station, an omelette station, other hot options and a selection of fruits and cold meats. I opt for fruit, because the omelette station line is ridiculously long, and I’m pleasantly surprised when the staff bring a gluten-free muffin and some toast to my table.
The views of Downtown Dubai from the rooftop pool area.
An affordable hotel 10 minutes from Downtown Dubai, and close to the popular Dubai Creek. A good option for families, tour groups and those in Dubai on business.
The bottom line
Rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn Al Mina cost from Dh575 per night, including taxes, breakfast and Wi-Fi.
Source: art & life