The long-established Dubai district of Al Mankhool isn’t exactly known for luxury boutique hotels. Set between the sprawling green space of popular Zabeel Park and the souks of Dubai Creek, the area is better known as a residential district with budget accommodation and competitive electrical shops.
But one new name on the block in this under-exploited hospitality location could prove a useful address for visiting business folk.
As more companies look to reduce travel budgets and executive expenses without compromising on comfort, the Grayton Hotel represents a useful and stylish asset in many travel planner’s playbook.
Opened in May in an area of largely mature hotel stock, the property leverages good proximity to Dubai International Airport, as well as older and newer Dubai postcodes, to lure business and leisure visitors.
The Grayton features a versatile 80 square metre space for meetings, training and events, seating 40 guests banquet style. It is supported by two hidden projectors, so can be split into two rooms with soundproof walls for privacy.
Domestic executives using this facility for out-of-office huddles will note the three basements of dedicated parking, easily absorbing invited delegates or employees.
“Our location is very attractive as you can easily get to most areas within Dubai from where we are,” says Walter Knight, the Grayton’s general manager. “Another advantage is that we are reasonably close to the airport, walking distance to BurJuman metro station and have a bus service literally outside our hotel.”
The property also offers transport to and from your office, within a 5-kilometre radius, on request.
The Grayton has just 96 guest bedrooms — in keeping with the boutique concept — but all are surprisingly spacious, including a high ceiling and plentiful, uncluttered floor space.
Five room grades are available, including 12 executive suites and two accessible rooms, all bearing traditional influences with a modern twist.
The fresh, contemporary design incorporates a glass desk suitable for working, plus plenty of sockets and USB ports for device charging — and a good-size safe for storing them, beside a wardrobe, iron, hairdryer, fridge and tea-making facilities.
A generous flatscreen TV faces the bed where a sophisticated panel operates lighting. The bathroom features a large rain shower cubicle but no tub.
The Grayton offers three contrasting refreshment opportunities, including all-day dining outlet Citrus O2 and signature restaurant Bukhara, featuring North Indian cuisine. The food here is standout, so shouldn’t be rushed, and the kitchen runs cooking classes, which could present a potential team-building exercise.
“Our restaurants are located on the first floor along with our events space, which makes having a meeting at Grayton easy and comfortable,” says Mr Knight.
Half-board guests can enjoy lunch or dinner for Dh65 (a starter plus main or main and dessert along with soft beverages, tea or coffee).
There’s also a promotional room service menu of popular items at reduced prices, designed to defeat a trend endured by some hotels whose guests order in via Deliveroo — even though most discourage outside food.
“This has diluted hotel F&B revenue streams to a point that room service orders, as well as restaurant use by in-house guests, has depleted significantly,” explains Mr Knight.
“To combat this, we don’t allow guests to order take-ins from other vendors. If a client insists, we have the delivery come through to our room service department, who will deliver the package to your room, along with utensils, plates etc. For this, we charge a Dh20 service fee.”
With this in mind, the Grayton’s in-room menu of dishes such as burgers, curries, meze and pizza costs just Dh30 and has reportedly driven significant growth in room service orders.
The ground level lobby features seating for a more informal pow wow, adjacent to the hotel’s G&T Lounge. Operating as a bar in the afternoon onwards, during mornings it works as a smart coffee venue, offering pastries and drinks, non-smoking at all times.
Other unwinding opportunities lie in the Tamara Spa, with massages, facials and foot rubs featuring home-blended treatments.
It is located on the health club floor along with a 24-hour gym, which is modestly proportioned but well stocked with weights and aerobic equipment. Another flight leads to a rooftop pool in a pleasant setting flanked by a living wall.
“I believe that our strength lies in the fact that we are a high-end boutique hotel — a completely different product to any other in our location,” adds Mr Knight.
With high-speed, free Wi-Fi throughout and classic king room prices starting at Dh225 for one night (based on an October 23 check-in), this pocket-friendly four-star boutique hotel is likely to figure on a few travel budget balance sheets.
The writer was a guest of the hotel