Tim Warrington checks into Raffles Dubai
: A seemingly infinite reception desk staffed by an army of superhuman, super-polite receptionists made for a 10-out-of-10 "blink and it's over" check-in experience — exactly what you want after a 17-hour flight. No issues with my very early check-in.
Room: A vast, 70 sq m Club Room complete with butler and access to the Raffles Club, where you're fed and watered with a constant flow of between-meal meals. Two queen-size beds, a sofa with chaise and a writing desk made for a comfortable in-room lounging about experience. Less comfortable was the outdoor terrace in the scorching Dubai summer. As I opened the door, the 45-degree heat slapped me back into the air-conditioned room quick smart. A Bose stereo and Nespresso added to the homeliness of the room.
Location: Mid-way between the airport and downtown. It's a stone's throw to the local metro station, which is clean, convenient and famously reliable — though completely under-used by the locals. Alternatively, one of the constant stream of taxis rolling through the forecourt will whisk you away. All taxis in Dubai are metered, with video cameras and mics for your safety. Not that crime is a problem in Dubai, but with big brother watching the cabbies, you're guaranteed a superlative ride.
Room with a view? Once the morning haze was burnt off by the blistering heat, my 11th floor room had picturesque views of the Burj Khalifa and her sister skyscrapers.
Bathroom: His and hers sinks in the marble bathroom, mirrored by adjacent his and hers walk-in robe across the hall. There's a huge corner spa tub and a rainwater shower with the all important ledge for shaving your pins, and a bidet.
The tech: There is complimentary in-room Wi-Fi and all public areas — it's fast and there's no password needed. There's also an interactive in-room digital system, allowing you to access and manage all elements of your stay via the TV or iPad.
Would I return? Send me back. I didn't want to leave.
Why? There's something very Mary Poppins about Raffles Dubai — practically perfect in every way and staff seemed to know what I needed before I even realised I needed it. Every member of staff knew my name within hours and they even knew my favourite-coloured Nespresso pod. It's the little things…
Food and drink: The breakfast buffet is fit for a king — or an Emir or a Sheik, and Raffles is often frequented by the latter on account of the spacious royal suites at the top of the pyramid. The classic Singapore Sling, synonymous with Raffles, has a rival here with the deliciously spicy Dubai Sling. You can find it at the hotel's Crossroads Cocktail Bar. Their Italian restaurant was tremendous (the impressively photogenic squid ink risotto was a real highlight), but sadly I didn't have time to try the Japanese dining experience.
Value for money: Yes. Access to the Raffles Club for Club Rooms clinched the deal for me. And really, how often do you get to stay in a pyramid?
Facilities: Spa, gym, pool with swim-up bar. There's a library, meeting rooms and even a nightclub in the pointy bit, up top.
Perfect for: Work or play. Its proximity to the airport makes it superb for those early morning Dubai arrivals.