The Intercontinental Dubai (Festival City) Hotel Review

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Book the Intercontinental Dubai here.

The InterContinental Festival City is part of a new development called 'Festival City', not far from Deira and Bur Dubai at the shore of the Dubai Creek. There is a new mall (of course!) and a combined Crowne Plaza and InterContinental hotel. Both are just 10-15 minutes from the airport and the center of 'old' Dubai and about the same distance from 'new' Dubai.

The hotel offers complimentary valet parking for guests (as many hotels do in Dubai) which is awesome, since all you do is drive up and your car gets unloaded and parked. Talk about hassle-free!

The check-in was bureaucratic - hotels in the area seem to excel at slowing down check-in. I will never understand why it is a good idea to have a guest wait for 10 minutes for something so routine as a check-in. Passports need to be scanned (that is a local law) which is done with a neat scanner, but always takes 5+ minutes alone. Then the room and payment details are talked about and the card is authorized in a different terminal. Something that takes just 30 seconds in most US hotels is a 15 minute ordeal. It's compounded by the fact that most guests are not exactly content to wait in line. Every time I waited for the agent a couple of inches away from the desk, someone would jump in front of me and dangle a passport in front of the staff.

For a hotel that charges $300 a night or 40,000 points, that is just not classy or helpful!

The hotel seems brand new and must have hired excellent designers for the interior architecture. The lobby is stylish and beautifully decorated. Very high ceilings help give the lobby a bigger feel than it actually is.

Since the hotel is brand new, the rooms are in great shape. The windows were exceptionally dirty, but the room was fantastic, almost to Park Hyatt standards, with an integrated bathroom and a fantastic bed. What was annoying was the lighting, which took me a while to dim or switch off lights. So many switches and no system to it (at least from what I could tell).

The complimentary internet topped out at 1 Mbit which is slooow :(

The pool and outdoor area were disappointing. The views at sunset are fantastic, but the outside space is small, rather barren and the pools are tiny and crowded. There might be 30 sun benches for two hotels (the InterContinental shares the outside space with the Crowne Plaza).

The gym and spa are well-equipped and, like many public areas in the hotel, simply beautiful.

At check-out, the same slow ordeal started again. For some reason, the agents refused to charge the credit card collected at check-in - they wanted the card again and proceeded with a slow print/charge/staple/print. Now I realize some people may be happy with that guided procedure, but can't hotel managers provide an express check-in and check-out in addition to that?

I found the employees friendly but overwhelmed by almost any task thrown at them.

All in all, the hotel has great rooms but feels cold and badly managed. If you can stay at the neighboring Grand Hyatt Dubai (which costs about the same in $$$) instead, don't waste your money here - go have a happy stay at the Grand Hyatt Dubai.

Book the Intercontinental Dubai here.

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