Despite Deira’s maze of streets, flyovers and tunnels, spotting the sizeable Pullman, which is now fully open after three years of renovation, isn’t difficult. Finding its entrance is slightly trickier, since its road signage isn’t as widespread as some nearby five-star competitors. The welcome is warm with plentiful staff cheerily greeting us before we can even reach the check-in desk in a reception area dominated by towering white marble pillars and a large, central, U-shaped piece of modern art.
On the Garhoud-facing edge of Deira, next door to the Deira City Centre mall, the Pullman isn’t in one of Dubai’s flashiest areas, but it’s perfectly placed for travellers. The Metro is within walking distance, while the E11 highway is so close that you can almost smell it, giving fret-free access to most of the Emirates. Plus, you’re just five minutes from the Dubai airport.
Our corner Junior Suite, on the fourth floor, has a functional little balcony with views across the greens and fairways of the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club with Downtown Dubai’s skyline in the distance. The room is intelligently divided by a dark-wood panel that separates the small sitting area from the bedroom without ruining an open-plan feel – it also doubles as a fitting for a TV, one of two in the room, at the foot of the bed. The bathroom is well-appointed, with his-and-hers wash basins, a bath and a separate rain shower. Abstract artworks adorn the main walls; it’s an inviting space.
There’s a real multicultural feel to the clientele, from chattering groups of Emiratis to holidaying westerners. There’s only a modest number of F&B outlets – two restaurants and two bars – but the Pullman is probably best viewed as more of a base than an all-encompassing resort. The Azure pool and lounge terrace, accessed by its own lift, does provide a chance to escape and sip on the hotel’s excellent mocktails. La Fabrique, meanwhile, is a sleek sports bar with a lively atmosphere.
Pretty much faultless, from the polite hellos of the maids and cleaners through to the jovial bar and waiting staff.
One factor that could have customers questioning the hotel’s five-star rating is the breadth of its culinary options. The lobby lounge’s Le Cafe is chic and we enjoy dinner at Medley, a contemporary all-day dining restaurant – highlights of which are the crab and avocado timbale (Dh85) and the grilled whole dorade royale fish (Dh125 – although no side dishes [Dh20 each] or sauces [Dh5] are included). But without a signature choice or a speciality, the Pullman is missing a little, well, pull.
The Soma spa. Our therapist Desiree showcases her own signature combination massage (Dh355 for one hour), which skilfully navigates through Thai, Chinese and hot-stone techniques. Toiletries from the French brand Roger & Gallet throughout the room are a nice touch, too, including a mini dispenser of men’s fragrance.
Breakfast at the Executive Lounge is limited. And although we admittedly arrive near the end of serving hours, a cleaner vacuuming within a few feet of our table isn’t the most unwinding start to a day.
For those who like to balance time in their room with pursuits outside their hotel, the Pullman offers the requisite refinement and relaxation.
The bottom line
Rooms cost from Dh609 per night, including taxes, based on two people sharing. Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre, Deira, Dubai (www.pullmanhotels.com; 04 294 1222).
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