Music-themed Rove City Walk in Dubai hits the high notes – Hotel Insider

The hotel has an outdoor pool, Burj Khalifa views and a design guaranteed to impress audiophiles

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Dubai’s home-grown Rove Hotels brand has blossomed over recent years and the group now has nine properties across the emirate, including the only hotel at what was Dubai's Expo 2020.

One of the most recent to open to visitors is Rove City Walk, next door to Dubai's Coca-Cola Arena, so a great choice for a place to stay when there’s a concert on. But is it worth a visit the rest of the year? The National checks in to find out.

The welcome

Rove City Walk interiors are inspired by its location and feature musical themes, decor and live entertainment. Photo: Shoayb Khattab / Rove

In the heart of Dubai, Rove City Walk offers convenient underground parking for guests so we head to the basement then take the lift to the ground floor.

Check-in takes place in the huge lobby where a central sofa sits under a striking sculpture made from microphones dangling from the ceiling. This musical connection sets the scene for the rest of the property, which has melodious nods and lyrical touches throughout, including an endless varied soundtrack in all public areas.

A graffiti-print VW camper van is a novel addition to the lobby, and during our visit it's decorated with all things Filipino as there's a food festival showcasing dishes from the Philippines happening at the same time.

We’re a few hours early for check-in, which is typically at 4pm, but after a 10-minute wait, we’re told our room is ready and handed a pair of Rove's wooden key cards.

The neighbourhood

One of the main draws of this hotel is that it's next door to the the Coca-Cola Arena, one of Dubai’s biggest indoor event spaces, meaning you can simply walk back to your room after taking in a show.

If you’re not there for a concert, the location is still pretty sweet. All of City Walk's attractions, bars, restaurants and shops are also within walking distance, including The Green Planet, Dubai's indoor rainforest, where you can go and see toucans, sloths and more.

The safety measures

There are sanitising stations dotted around the hotel and staff all wear face masks as per Dubai's Covid-19 safety measures. We see several guests wearing their masks around their chin, or not bothering at all, and no one seems to correct them.

The room

Rooms at Rove City Walk have a funky, minimalist design with all the essentials you need for your stay in the heart of Dubai. Photo: Rove Hotels

There are 564 keys in Rove City Walk, making it a pretty sizeable hotel. Dubai car registration plate-style numbers are posted outside each room and we find ourselves up on the 16th floor in a 23-square-metre abode that has views of Burj Khalifa and the twists and turns of the overpasses above Sheikh Zayed Road.

Like all the property's Rover Rooms, it's modern and minimalistic, with all the essentials you might need, but not too many extra frills. There's free Wi-Fi, an interactive smart TV, a huge comfortable bed and a sofa bed. A travel-inspired quote has been painted on the wall behind the bed, and there's some unique local artwork on display that helps to add a sense of location.

The service

Rove City Walk in Dubai has opened to guests. Photo: Rove Hotels

Service is friendly and courteous, with staff happy to chat and able to answer any questions we throw in their direction. Reception staff are on-the-ball when it comes to ordering taxis and taking special requests.

However, there's room for improvement at the pool where there is a lack of poolside service. The lifeguard explains that when the foodtruck on the same level is in operation it's easier, and helpfully gives us his phone to place an order with a colleague who soon arrives with our Diet Coke in hand, but we can’t see how this could be a convenient system on a busy day.

Having spotted several people not wearing face masks during our stay we ask a member of staff if the rule is still in place and she confidently assures us it is. But minutes later, another guest joins us in the lift unmasked and she fails to say anything, so we are left confused.

The scene

The lobby at Rove City Walk sets the scene for a musical-inspired stay. Hayley Skirka / The National

The pool has a backdrop of the Dubai skyline and several colourful floats perfect for lounging on and there are plenty of loungers set back from the pool amid oversized potted plants. The 24-hour fitness suite is well-equipped and there are some free-to-play classic arcade machines.

The lobby has plenty of seating areas and people seem happy to lounge around either working, waiting or simply relaxing. The camper van transforms into a DJ booth and there's a sleek central bar for coffees and refreshments. An extensive LP collection, old instruments, music stands, framed lyrics and posters give the eye something to look at no matter where you are.

The food

The Daily's shrimp tacos are a standout. Hayley Skirka / The National

All-day dining restaurant The Daily serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and you can choose to sit indoors or outside on the terrace, where there are some huge umbrellas offering shade. The breakfast buffet is adequate, with eggs, pancakes, cereals and more. There's no non-dairy milk on offer, although a member of staff helpfully returns with soya milk when we ask for it. While we appreciate that our request was fulfilled, we can't help think that for a relatively new hotel group geared towards younger travellers, this sort of thing should be available as standard.

A la carte options at lunch are more impressive. We tuck into seriously tasty shrimp tacos (Dh53), so good we vow to try to replicate them at home. The grilled prawns from the chef's specials board are huge and served with a zesty, pepper-filled sauce while the rib-eye steak (Dh131) served with a crisp rocket and Parmesan salad also hits the mark. Dessert is a classic ice cream sandwich (Dh31) comprised of two cookies stuffed with vanilla ice cream and topped with mint, more than enough for two to share.

Highs and lows

Rove's endless soundtrack and musical paraphernalia set the scene for stays. Hayley Skirka / The National

The microphone chandelier in the lobby sets the right note on arrival, and the endless soundtrack throughout the hotel is a nice reminder that it's all about the music here. It's also novel to have City Walk on your doorstep. People's disregard for wearing face masks inside the hotel, which went uncorrected by staff, is a one low that would make us reconsider a return visit while we’re still in a pandemic.

The Insider tip

If you've forgotten your phone charger, left your moisturiser at home or need a late-night snack, head to the pool level where you'll find a super-handy Noon vending machine that's stocked with all sorts of essentials.

The verdict

Rove City Walk puts you in walking distance of several attractions coupled with great Burj Khalifa views. Hayley Skirka / The National

A no-brainer if you're seeing a show at the Coca-Cola Arena, but even without that draw this funky outpost in the heart of Downtown Dubai offers an excellent base from which to explore City Walk and its surrounds, with reasonable rates to match.

The bottom line

Rates start from Dh249 ($67), excluding tax. Check-in is from 4pm, but if you arrive earlier and the room isn't ready you can leave your luggage as there's a handy 24-hour storage room. Check-out is at a leisurely 2pm.

Rove City Walk, Dubai; rovehotels.com

This review was conducted at the invitation of the hotel during the global coronavirus pandemic. It reflects hotel standards during the time, services may change in the future

Updated: May 06, 2022, 7:02 AM
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