It’s fair to say Radisson Blu Hotel, Ajman stands out — not least for an elegant facade that has more of a European than a UAE feel.
The second reason, perhaps, is that corporate guests account for 40 per cent of the clientele at this central, five-star property.
General manager Francisco Giles says they’re mostly from shipping and oil and gas sectors, including project consultants.
These can include long-stay guests on contract work, while developments such as the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority power plant, ongoing gas exploration in Sharjah, plus activity in Hamriyah and Ajman ports also help fill the 148 rooms, alongside leisure guests.
While some of Ajman’s other big brand hotels hug the seafront, the Radisson lies 10km inland off the E11 and enjoys non-leisure bookings seeking team building space or an out-of-office location; be they from other emirates or the 50-plus companies within Hamriyah Free Zone Authority, 8km away.
“We are conveniently located to attract nearby government departments which surround the hotel, including medical facilities and educational institutes,” says Mr Giles, also citing governmental traffic from Abu Dhabi.
Acknowledging all guests occasionally crave beach access, the former GM of Park Rotana hotel, beside Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 media zone, has an arrangement with Sharjah’s seafront-located Coral Beach Hotel, via a free shuttle but with a small entry fee.
The Radisson boasts plenty to keep business and leisure customers from straying too far, however.
Within its memorable architecture is a light-blessed atrium lobby dotted with clusters of seating for greeting business visitors.
Illuminated marble check-in desks line one side, across from Almas coffee lounge. This offers casual refreshments such as wraps and cakes.
It can also serve as a lunch spot or additional breakout area for four ground floor meeting rooms close by. Various configurations of these rooms are possible and a ballroom is available on the first floor for larger capacity functions or launches. Larger still, the Emirates Hospitality Centre events and conventions space sits directly behind the hotel.
Glass lifts whisk guests to accommodation that includes a mix of room categories, with Ajman rates arguably delivering more for your travel budget.
Our suite with lounge access and breakfast (Dh765 based on March 18 check-in) comprised a living room with an Apple-connective flat screen TV, two sofas, a coffee table, minibar and coffee/tea-making area and additional toilet — all useful if you’re on business/long-stay with family in tow.
A substantial bedroom easily swallows a king-size bed, another good size TV, plus a stand-alone work desk with lamp, phone and tech panel including USB and power sockets. Free-to-use Wi-Fi speeds are good and reliable.
Plentiful wardrobe space yields fluffy robes, a safe, ironing board and hairdryer.
The bathroom is also generous, with a full-sized tub and two basins beside a glass-fronted toilet and walk-in rain shower.
The whole vibe is modern, without being soulless, and that lounge makes in-room dining tempting, from a menu including grilled halloumi for Dh32, seafood mixed grill at Dh140 or karak chai, Dh16.
That said, the hotel has been revising F&B opportunities. Already well worth checking out, a refreshed menu was pending for Italian restaurant Filini, but hopefully new chef Luca will retain his addictive arancini. The outlet channels a modern European restaurant, including an open kitchen with roaring pizza oven.
The hotel’s lounge bar, meanwhile, has been transformed into a 1920s Great Gatsby-era Jazz Lounge. Food here comes tapas-style, embracing Far East, Middle East and European influences.
If you have varying tastes in your party, all-day dining restaurant Larder serves a broader mix of mains during a competitively-priced lunch and dinner, plus a decent breakfast, including a daily Emirati option.
Upstairs, the Mazaj Bar is a charismatic terrace hangout reminiscent of Morocco, well suited to client entertaining. More than a shisha stop, its subtle lighting reveals intimate alcoves, a trendy central bar and a pool table area for more animated entertainment, plus a recently introduced menu.
For quieter working or one-to-ones, the neighbouring business class lounge offers plenty of seating and meeting options, including a small private room, and books and newspapers to read over breakfast or refreshments at lunchtime and early evening.
The pool deck bar has a decent selection of snacks and larger plates and, while a venue in its own right, serves the pool area and dedicated seating. Loungers and cabanas flank a substantial 25m pool befitting a much larger hotel and ideal for lane swimming.
Collect towels via a gym which, although not huge, is packed with aerobic and weight-training equipment and offers steam rooms and saunas.
If you have clients to charm or staff to motivate, the Radisson is well placed for a round at nature-blessed Al Zorah Golf Club and Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club, or riding lessons at Ajman Equestrian Club, five minutes' walk away.
The writer was a guest of the hotel