A four-star hotel in Dubai has bumped the five-star Grosvenor House from the city's top spot on one of the world's leading travel websites. Operators of the little known Southern Sun Al Manzil, located in Downtown Burj Khalifa, revealed yesterday that the South African-managed hotel had unseated Grosvenor House thanks to dozens of five-star ratings and ebullient accolades from users of the TripAdvisor website.
The popular travel website, which determines overall satisfaction by ratings and reviews posted by guests, ranked Al Manzil at the top of a list of 370 properties in Dubai, making it the only four-star hotel to feature in the top 10 hotels listed for the emirate. The average price of a room at the hotel on TripAdvisor is US$249 (Dh914), while Grosvenor House, which is now in second place, has an average rate of $585, the website says.
Visitors to the Al Manzil described the hotel as much more "low key" than the typical top hotel in Dubai. Mohamed Essa, an 18-year-old student from South Africa, said: "We are very used to the resort-style hotels back home, but this is a different experience. The ambience and all fits with the low-key profile, but the facilities are excellent." Jon Harrell, an American businessman, said he visited Dubai monthly and "would not stay anywhere else".
"The Al Manzil deserves its number one spot," he said. "A hidden gem", "quirky", and "a fresh and modern decor with the right touch of old Arabic" are some of the guest comments that took Al Manzil to the top spot. "Achieving the number one position on TripAdvisor's popularity index is a sought after recognition of our efforts as it is based on our customers' reviews," said Richard Weilers, the managing director of Southern Sun Middle East.
Other properties in the top 10 include the Madinat Jumeirah hotels, the Jumeirah Beach hotel, Al Maha Desert Resort and the One & Only Royal Mirage Hotel. The Burj Al Arab, one of the most expensive hotels in the world, is only in 19th place. Hotels in Dubai have been forced to cut prices to boost occupancy levels amid a global downturn in travel and a burgeoning supply of hotels in the Emirates. Dubai experienced sharp drops in its hotel sector's performance throughout the year and saw a 19.4 per cent drop in revenue per available room, an important measure of the health of the industry, to $241.20 in November from $300.17 a year earlier.
TripAdvisor has in the past conceded that some reviews and ratings on its website could simply be made up by companies, but added that the impact of this would be mitigated by the large volume of authentic reviews that are posted on the website. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org