Le Meridien Dubai is an excellent option for foodies – Hotel Insider

It may be relatively old, but what this airport-adjacent property has on offer is still gold

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The generously sized Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre is a gem hidden in plain sight directly opposite Dubai International Airport.

It is one of the first resorts new arrivals to the city may see, but also one that more UAE residents should consider for their staycation wish list.

Recently refurbished and deceptively spacious, the hotel is also something of a dining revelation, offering a mighty 18 outlets.

The National checks into a suite to see how this stalwart is holding up.

The welcome

A short spur off Airport Road via a discreet turning and we are in front of a large lobby where staff are ready to receive both cars and luggage.

Check-in is efficient and we are quickly off to our second-floor suite, helped by a member of the team.

One bonus, if you don’t mind stairs, is Le Meridien is a low-level property, which means less time waiting for lifts during busy periods.

The neighbourhood

Remarkably, despite its proximity to the world's busiest international airport, aircraft are rarely heard.

There are four swimming pools. The one off the main lobby is popular with guests and birds, which joyfully frequent the abundant plants and trees.

It isn't the largest swimming area and is circled by some rooms with a wooden bridge linking sections, including a central swim-up bar.

For more energetic guests, there is a lap pool and a huge fully equipped gym.

The scene

Overall, it’s a pleasant and largely peaceful compound featuring 589 rooms and suites, with plenty of greenery and – at 15 hectares – large enough to need a map to explore.

Below our Granada Suite is a lounge where guests in applicable rooms can access soft drinks and snacks, including a 6pm to 8pm happy hour when house beverages are offered.

Le Meridien Village Terrace is made for cooler evenings, courtesy of its piazza-style patio, where international cuisine is served. It is adjacent to several other restaurants. It hosts themed al fresco food nights soundtracked by live music and offers a similar buzz to bustling Mediterranean squares.

The room

A short walk from the lobby and other amenities, our suite is spacious with an unconventional layout.

Through the entrance, the homely lounge has parquet flooring partially covered by a rug where a sofa and coffee table face a widescreen TV and a selection of lifestyle books.

There is a hot drinks station and a well-stocked fridge.

Walls are dotted with plenty of charging sockets and one surface has a set of irregular-shaped mirrors. There is lots of storage and units are graced with a safe, gowns, hairdryer and slippers.

The bedroom continues the modern-with-comfort vibe, with stylish textured-panel walls, a reading seat with a footrest, a mottle-effect mirror and dark-wood shelves and side units, plus another substantial TV facing a king-size bed.

To one side a large bathroom with gold fittings and more white and black marble hosts a walk-in shower, separate toilet and bidet, large twin sinks and a double bathtub, all with leave-behind Malin+Goetz wash products alongside shaving and dental kits.

Mercifully simple lighting panels serve throughout.

The lounge is served by a small toilet and washroom in classic white and black marble.

Outside, there is the largest outdoor terrace I’ve seen at a hotel. Here, two good-size day beds and a sofa invite sunny relaxation while a four-seater table is ideal for al fresco dining.

The food

Foodies have plenty to ponder, including Mahec for classy Indian cuisine or the lively Warehouse.

The list also includes Yalumba, an all-day dining restaurant that is home to one of Dubai’s most enduring brunch fixtures – Brunchology currently tempts guests with its adults-only Bolli Brunch, from Dh275 ($75) (plus brunch and stay deals). This classy blend of bubbles and stunning food – including an array of cold treats, delicious pies, curries, grilled meats and seafood, foie gras and artistic desserts – has live music and a magician. Yalumba is also where the sumptuous breakfasts are held, as well as indulgent dinner buffets.

At Bebemos, we swoon to authentic Spanish tapas, including Galician octopus (Dh65), sauteed garlic prawns (Dh50) and a moreish mixed paella (Dh115). Like its neighbours, including Long Yin (Chinese) and Seafood Market, the restaurant delivers themed interior details, specifically exposed brick and vibrant colours.

That said, the terrace beckons during cooler months and proves a popular spot with adjacent outlet seating areas collectively adding atmosphere to deliver a spirited dining strip.

Thai (Sukhothai), Irish (The Dubliners), Japanese (Kiku) and Mexican (Jules) are among other regional cuisines covered.

The service

Resorts can triumph or fall by the quality of staff and this five-star property excels throughout.

From check-in to reluctant departure, we find smiles and attentiveness, not least in Yalumba and other outlets under food and beverage complex director Nick Heaviside’s steady influence.

Highs and lows

Genuinely enthusiastic staff shine, while the sheer choice of dining outlets is a major draw if you like to eat well during a staycation or holiday.

More preference than a niggle was our mattress – it is a tad too firm for these ageing bones.

The insider tip

Be sure to grab the resort map to make the most of the facilities and immerse yourself in an amazing variety of gastronomic opportunities.

The verdict

Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre is ideal for a food-focused staycation. It is also perfect as a base for travellers on a stopover or tourists on longer visits looking to explore Dubai, with easy access to the Dubai Metro and airport.

The bottom line

Room-only rates start at Dh450, excluding taxes and fees; check-in 2pm, checkout noon; marriott.com

This review was conducted at the invitation of the hotel and reflects hotel standards during this time. Services may change in the future.

Updated: February 24, 2024, 4:02 AM