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. LOCATION 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 ROOM 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. THE BATHROOM 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. AMENITIES 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. BOTTOM LINE 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.
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