Hotel Review: Media One Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Affordable hotel rooms are as rare as raindrops in the high-flying Middle Eastern desert emirate of Dubai.
Five-star crash pads charge several hundred dollars a night for a bed — and double or even triple that for
suites — while most remaining accommodations are generic business hotels or charmless dives. The tall,
260-room Media One Hotel, opened in late 2009, tries to span the gap by offering cool contemporary
décor and a smorgasbord of amenities.
Smack in the heart of the Media City district, the hotel offers easy access to the Dubai headquarters of
CNN, Thomson Reuters and other news outlets. The Palm Jumeirah, the first of Dubai’s three huge
artificial islands to open, juts into the Persian Gulf nearby. It is an easy 10-minute walk from the Nakheel
station of the new and impressive Dubai metro.
The hotel strives hard (occasionally too hard) to be fun and trendy. A TV screen in the elevator
announces, “Welcome to our funky new world,” and the room styles have names like “Hip Urban” and
“Cool Room.” My 18th-floor “Hip Room,” notable for its commanding view of the neighborhood (mainly
half-built high-rises and freeway interchanges), was done in a tasteful blue-white-green color scheme with
lots of Scandinavian-style blond wood surfaces. Though smallish, it packed in a large closet, a cozy
reading chair and a number of other furnishings and amusements for either business or a party. You can
conduct commerce by day using the desk, free stationery, two phones, high-speed Internet (though no
wireless access) and flat-screen TV with dozens of foreign stations. Come nightfall you can sprawl on the
comfortable bed (outfitted with nine pillows), blast music from the powerful iPod docking station, crack
open a bottle of Heineken from the minibar or, if you’re a big spender, order a magnum of Champagne
(1,500 dirhams, or $417 at 3.60 dirhams to $1) from the 24-hour room service menu.
White, bright, clean, marbled and well equipped. The deep half-moon tub had an adjustable sliding
leather headrest for comfort while reading, and the separate toilet closet contained a third telephone. A
hair dryer, digital scale, magnifying mirror, bathrobe and slippers were also on hand.
Miami meets the Mideast at the attractive outdoor blue mosaic swimming pool, surrounded by white
canopy beds, a D.J. booth and a Laurent-Perrier Champagne bar. It’s easily the hotel’s marquee
attraction, and often hosts parties, weekend barbecues and Ladies’ Nights. A sleek, neon-lighted
ground-floor bar, which feels a tiny bit dated, features a signature martini (chamomile vodka, martini
bianco, lime and sugar; 40 dirhams) while a red LED ticker provides news headlines (and quotes about
alcohol by Ernest Hemingway). The hotel also houses the airy CafeM on the ground floor (with free Wi-Fi
and comfortable couches), the eighth-floor MED restaurant (serving everything from Lebanese mezze to
fish and chips) and a small but modern fitness center. Hotel guests can also use the Chill Spa in a
building across the street.
For those who won’t be crestfallen by the lack of a helipad, beachfront club or celebrity chef, Media One
Hotel offers one of the most comfortable and complete hotel experiences in Dubai for its price range. The
absence of Wi-Fi in the rooms is a small blemish, but hardly a deal-breaker. Doubles from 430 dirhams
($120), with tax.