Hiding in plain sight
Nestled right in the heart of Dubai’s Media City, the Grand Plaza Mövenpick is a well-heeled, hidden gem
Sometimes great things are right under your nose, but life moves around too fast for you to see them. But with the ever-changing Dubai skyline, you could be easily forgiven for missing new things even when you’re taking a more sedate pace.
A case in point would be the thousands of cars passing by Dubai’s Media City on a daily basis and almost as many whizzing around the area’s inner roads. Many of them will have failed to spot the towering edifice of the Grand Plaza Mövenpick, facing both the highway and Media City, with Palm Jumeirah beyond.
They really should stop and take a peek inside, as the hotel offers a glorious array of restaurants and bars, as well as great rooms, excellent amenities and a top-notch spa to boot.
Located between Sheikh Zayed Road and the newer section of Media City, which dissects Internet City, the Mövenpick isn’t easy to get to, thanks to the nearly completed road works in the surrounding area. But once you’ve found your way to the valet stand, things get off on the right foot. Friendly unrushed staff and a wide drop-off area make your initial arrival a great deal easier than some of the more chaotic hotels in the UAE.
Stepping into the plush lobby, visitors are greeted by high ceilings, big windows and one of the most stunning lobby chandeliers you are likely to find in a hotel. Called The Swoop, it’s part lighting, part sculpture, and is a serious statement of luxury in a surprising setting. It reaches down from a height of around three floors. It really is something worth stopping and taking in.
The Grand Plaza Mövenpick was purpose-built for the brand, marking its first move into the upper luxury hotel market. This clearly gave Mövenpick the advantage of having what they wanted, how they wanted it, and it shows.
The rooms are neat, upscale and contemporary, with plush furnishings framed by floor to ceiling windows. The bathrooms use an array of marble and glass to give that luxury touch, and are well thought out, despite being your standard ‘bathroom off corridor’ layout that many hotels use to good effect.
The whole layout is interesting, whilst still being user-friendly. In each lift lobby wide corridors with big windows give a light and airy feel everywhere, so you don’t get that dark, basement feel that many older hotels struggle with.
The blank canvas approach also allowed the architects to take advantage of the Mövenpick’s location, using the stunning views over Dubai’s famous Palm Jumeirah to both the best rooms and the rooftop bar, Twenty-Three. This super-chic bar is a proper Dubai-secret, with excellent service, amazing décor and a view of the Palm to die for. The bar is worth a visit to the hotel regardless of if you’re staying the night or not.
The pool area is a little small, but this isn’t a big resort hotel. It’s certainly more pointed at couples and travelers than larger families. It also enjoys a spa, gym and all the normal amenities you’d expect of a hotel of this high level.
For foodies, there’s a small café in the lobby called Slice and Bytes restaurant a few floors up where breakfast is served, as well as other meals. The ground floor also plays host to the exceptionally good, which has live music certain nights of the week. There’s pretty much something for everyone staying or visiting the hotel.
What strikes you the most about the hotel is the design touches. Although it’s an excellent brand with great staff, the décor really finishes off the Mövenpick in fine style. Everything feels like it’s been thought about, rather than just cobbled together. You won’t find a random bit of furniture filling in a space in a dark corridor. It’s all been purposely designed to fit that space and make it perfect.
The Grand Plaza Mövenpick is a real find for anyone who looks for well-designed chic hotels. In the hustle and bustle of modern Dubai and the fast-paced world of media and hi-tech, it’s well worth taking a breath or two to check it out.