Review: DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai M Square (Panoramic 1 Bedroom Suite)

Nightly rate: AED 270 nett (S$97)
Nightly rate after Citi Prestige 4NF rebate: AED 219 nett (S$79)
Length of stay: 4 nights
Membership level: Diamond

DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai M square Hotel & Residences opened in Dec 2020, about a month before my stay. Official photos of the ‘industrial-chic’ interior design looked amazing and I was really excited to check it out.

I had booked a stay in this hotel about a week after its opening but ended up cancelling it. I wanted to ask if the Executive Lounge was already opened but the hotel was not contactable by phone, email or social media. Citibank Prestige couldn’t confirm my booking too as they could not get in touch with the hotel. Browsing through the hotel’s Instagram page and Google listing, I could see other people mentioning that the hotel wasn’t contactable.

About two weeks after its opening, I managed to find the social media profile of the General Manager. That was when she found out that the phone number listed on the hotel’s official page was wrong. Rather shocking that the hotel only found this out 2 whole weeks after opening. The General Manager then confirmed that the Executive Lounge was opened.

I was browsing some Google and TripAdvisor reviews before my stay and found a few bad reviews that the Executive Lounge was actually closed. These guests also mentioned that the hotel wrongly told them taht it was opened. I contacted the General Manager again and she confirmed that the Executive Lounge was never opened. She also denied that she told me that it was opened, even though that the message was just a few lines before. Shocking!


Location

The hotel is located in the Al Mankhool area. Besides the nearby mall, I was very impressed by the haircut and service that I experienced at Mr Suave Barbershop (also 5 mins away). Haircut + wash + quick shoulder massage costed only AED 25!

  • 5 mins walk to Burjuman mall (with Carrefour supermarket).

  • 8 mins walk to Burjuman metro station

  • 10 mins drive to Dubai International Airport

  • 10 mins drive to Dubai mall


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Arrival

As the taxi that I was in arrived at the drop-off area of the hotel, there wasn’t anyone around to assist with my luggages. I also saw luggages and personal items of other guests left unattended just outside the entrance.

The lobby was beautiful. There was an impressive mural behind the check-in counters that pays tribute to former ruler Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

There wasn’t a dedicated check-in counter for Gold/Diamond member but there were only 2 other guests before me.

The receptionist confirmed that the Executive Lounge was not opened. She said that Diamond members can “have some snacks” at the café beside the lobby. She did not know what exactly the Executive Lounge replacement was and the timings that Diamond members are allowed complimentary drinks/snacks. There isn’t a list of Diamond member benefits and the receptionist used the “we just opened” reason/excuse, when asked.

I was also given unprinted, plain white key cards for my room.

The receptionist then told me that this property is the “first 5-star DoubleTree hotel in Dubai”. She was probably made to say it to every guests but it was laughable at this stage, if I’m being honest.

First impression wasn’t great but I was determined to put all that behind and save my judgement till the end of my stay.


The room

Room 723 was an oddly-shaped corner suite that was beautifully furnished, sticking to the industrial theme of this hotel.

A few hours after checking in, I was sent welcome amenities of a basket of fruits and lots of chocolates.

On the second day, one of the housekeeping staff opened my door without knocking and pressing the bell. He apologised and said that he wanted to enter the room next door instead. I thought it is a standard procedure for housekeepers to knock before entering a guest room, even if they expect the room to be unoccupied. Definitely not something I’d expect in a self-proclaimed 5-star hotel.

I asked for a bowl to be sent to my room on one of the days but it was never sent. I gave up after calling for a reminder an hour later.

I asked for the invoice for my stay to be sent via email but had to call 2 more times over 3 days for it to be done. Surely that wasn’t too much to ask.


Best rooms

In general, I always ask for a room on the highest floor possible and it must not be a connecting room (less noise).

From my understanding, the north-facing rooms (x01 to x08) are apartments. The outer-facing, even numbered hotel rooms (x24 – x36) are probably the best ones as they offer better views.


Breakfast

Breakfast was held at The Spice Tree from 6.30am to 10.30am. Hilton Gold members and above are offered complimentary breakfast.

Breakfast quality was very good and staff were very attentive.


Executive Lounge

The Executive Lounge is located on the 19th floor. Although it is not functioning as one, it is opened to guests just as a space. It stuck to the industrial design theme and offers a great view of the skyline in Downtown Dubai.

Scroll further down to the next section for the Executive Lounge replacement at Larte Cafe.


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Larte Cafe (Temp. Executive Lounge)

As a Diamond member, I was offered 1 food and 3 drinks per guest, per day at Larte Cafe (beside the lobby). Complimentary food item includes mains as well. Staff at the cafe were very friendly too.

Despite the poor pre-arrival communication regarding the Executive Lounge, I was happy with this replacement and wished that the hotel had informed me about it when I inquired a few weeks ago.

The full menu at Larte Cafe can be downloaded here.


Other facilities

The gym is located on level 19 as well. It is well-equipped and there was a decent view from the treadmills.

The swimming pool on the 19th floor was still under construction when I was there but there was another pool at Level M.


Ratings

Breakfast: 9/10
Service: 5/10
Location: 7/10
Room: 9/10
Facilities: 8/10
Executive lounge: –
Elite member recognition: 7/10
Value (for what I paid): 8/10


Bottom line

This is a beautiful hotel, no doubt about that. However, it was clearly not prepared to open in early Dec 2020. It wasn’t even ready when I was here one whole month after opening day. Element Al Jadaf was opened 2 weeks later but wasn’t nearly as unprepared.

I am not sure who made the foolish decision to open this hotel in a rush without properly training the staff but I hope that it would be ironed out soon. The dishonest General Manager did not help the situation too. Urgh, believe me, I really wanted to love this hotel.

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