About Time: You Escaped to Manzil Downtown DubaiBy Georgia Devon-Spick
Manzil Downtown Dubai is a beautifully refurbished boutique hotel that successfully encapsulates the exquisite essence of Arabesque hospitality and style in a fresh and contemporary space. A sophisticated yet personal and extremely affable welcome alleviated a somewhat hectic arrival in Dubai, with one of the most pleasurable check-in experiences I have ever had, accompanied by Rose of Arabia tea and the most delectable pieces of halva in the lobby which also provided an enticing peep into the Courtyard and beyond. They take the adage of “first impressions” very seriously here and manage it impeccably from the moment your car draws up to the door.
The hotel is located in the heart of Downtown Dubai and provides easy access to Dubai Mall, Souk Al Bahar, Qamardeen Souk and many other sights and experiences including Burj Khalifa. My room – as you would expect from a Deluxe Burj View Room – provided a spectacular view of said vision which rose almost like an anachronistic mirage into the clouds. This is a “must” to be experienced as with hotel-rooms on Hong Kong’s harbour-front and in Singapore’s bay, with the curtains fully open in order to wonder upon this before you close your eyes and behold the splendour immediately on your waking. It was marvellous to view both authentic and classical Arabic architecture and imposing skyscrapers together in Dubai with just enough dearth of the latter. The room was light and subtly yet beautifully decorated providing a neutral canvas from which to admire the view, and provided a very restful space. The complimentary teas, the style of the kettle, the furnishings… I don’t have enough superlatives. It’s in the detail. It matters.
Despite the fabulously advantageous location, I felt that Manzil Downtown Dubai offered a veritable retreat into which I could easily have ensconced myself for a number of days without venturing outside: three exceptionally good restaurants and a divine open-air pool in addition to state of the art gym facilities and a work area (Tawasal desk) for both physical and cerebral exertion such as the whim might take me. Incredibly, whilst possessing a number of restaurants and other areas, the space remains intimate and cosy and unfolds over several levels without that sense of vertiginous edifice.
One of the three restaurants is the Boulevard Kitchen which is Manzil’s signature restaurant, amply spread over two floors and offering views of both Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard and the open kitchen (the clue is in the name) I ate a sumptuous breakfast here including a divine Shakshuka eggs; a splendid lunch and dinner are also available with a focus on Levantine cuisine as well as their doing admirable afternoon teas.
However, I was very much enticed by dinner in The Courtyard, located in the centre of the hotel which is also one of the most popular Mediterranean restaurants and Shisha lounges in Dubai. The subtle scent, lighting, shadows, unobtrusive music and delicious food (I opted for a carnivorous feast of lamb and more lamb) made me feel like Scheherazade. I then retreated to the terrace overlooking the Boulevard and Courtyard and enjoyed a Cinnamon Saffron Latte. This Courtyard is truly beautiful and it is delicious to sit and watch the skies change from azure to cobalt with some hubbly bubbly.
“Manzil” is Arabic for home and the ethos of the hotel’s service is based on Arabic hospitality and is thus a matter of honour and a sacred duty. The subtle and unobtrusive service that is extended to the guest and which facilitates the perfect experience effortlessly unfolding before you is thus more than “service” and is tangible. The juxtaposition of traditional Arabic design with modern flair is a metaphor for the entire experience and is perfect for a city-break, a cultural or shopping expedition, or as a retreat on a stopover, but be warned you may just want to stop and not move onto your next destination.
Chic Collection offers stays at Manzil Downtown Dubai from AED 899 (£165) per room per night based on two sharing. Chic Collection 0203 735 5033.