First “holiday” away from our apartment last weekend. Social media has been driving me a little nuts lately with photos of everyone on their summer holiday (insert sulk face) . So after a lot of research on the newly launched Isme Elite app, we decided that it was pretty worth it, went ahead – bought it, and booked ourselves on a holiday just fifteen minutes down the road. Exciting.
Everyone who lives in Dubai must’ve been to Madinat Jumeirah at least once, or…ten times. The abra, the view of the Burj, the waterways. We maxed out our Sirius points few months ago and stayed at Dar Al Masyaf pre-popping (click here for my thoughts on it). Figured it would be appropriate to come back with the little girl and experience Madinat through the eyes of ‘new parents’.
Thoughts of our stay, including what you’ll get with the Isme Elite membership :
We used the ‘one complimentary night voucher’ – which gives you the Arabian Deluxe room, and upon check-in, the ‘upgrade voucher’ to get ourselves into their “Ocean Deluxe” room, and yes, even if you’ve been there a million times, a) the view from the rooms is still so beautiful. Morning, afternoon, night, anytime of the day really. It would’ve been better if it wasn’t so smoggy/dusty though.. *picturing blue skies*
We didn’t bring Little S’ cot and was happy that b) they provide a little one for free!
There is a Club Executive Lounge on the 5th floor, however that is for adults only. Aww. There is c) another terrace right next to it that has an amazing view of the entire property. Unfortunately no one in their right minds would want to hang out in 42 degrees heat, so it was just me for a minute to take this video :
So off we went to the d) “family-friendly” Premium Leisure Club lounge on the 1st floor which again, you have access to with the Isme Elite app / voucher – very convenient if you are here with little ones (baby/toddlers/little monkeys who can’t stop running around). If you’re not a fan of little people, please go use the one of the 5th floor!
We were quite happy with the food provided. Breakfast was honestly better than what you’ll get at Arboretum at the lobby.
As it is mid-summer here, e) it was good that the pool shuts at 9pm, which gives us a chance for some night-time swimming (taking turns while the other keeps an eye on a sleeping baby…) There is an area for ‘families’ where smoking is prohibited as well.
Now onto the frustrations :
a) It took us forever to get from our room on the 5th floor to the poolside as the staff kept giving us wrong directions for a ‘pram-friendly’ route. It was really bad – going back and forth in the hotel, in and out in the heat, being told that yes there is a ramp when there is NONE. Asking other staff members, random hotel guests, etc etc. And if you’ve been to Al Qasr, it is not small. Took us nearly 45 minutes before we found ourselves by the pool. FYI – you can only get there on an abra. Note to Al Qasr : Staff needs to know the way around the hotel better, especially when giving directions to families with babies
b) I would suggest families with young children to choose a room closer to the pools (if that’s where you to plan to spend most of your time). The hallways itself are a maze!
c) Funny after all the effort and sweat, and you get to the ‘family-friendly’ pool area, there are no ramps either so you still need to carry the prams.
I think the above three points can be summarized into one …. No, I don’t think Al Qasr is very baby-friendly/pram-friendly. It is toddler-friendly (Sinbad’s Kids Club, lots of lifeguards by the pool, games in the Premium Leisure Club)….but when the little one can’t walk yet, it’s probably best to stay somewhere else. Or at least, until the staff learns how to give proper directions 🙂
That aside, it was still nice to go away. The staff in the Premium Leisure Lounge were really accomodating, it was good to have a separate cot given, and it still is beautiful even at this time of the year 🙂
Onto the app itself, we paid 3900 AED for the Elite membership. The Ocean Deluxe room would have cost around 2200 AED on the website, and probably a bit more for access to the Premium Leisure Club? So with all the other offers on it I’ll say yes it was pretty worth it. It just would’ve been better if the staff could give better directions when we were there.
Gonna be interesting exploring different hotels through the eyes of new parents. Any suggestions of a more pram-friendly resort or is Dubai / the UAE just not built for prams ? Or will I be told, “You have a baby, just stay home!”… *Takes out pitchfork*