Sofitel Jumeirah Hotel, Dubai
last update: 09 May 2020
Our New Year trip for 2020 ran from late January 2020 to mid-March 2020 and involved 8 nights in Dubai and 43 nights in Phuket. We spent 3 nights in Dubai outward bounds, and 5 nights in Dubai on our return flight.
For our 5-day return flight stopover the travel agent Trailfinders booked us into the Sofitel Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
On the above map you can see where the location of the hotel was compared to the airport and to the famous Palm Jumeirah.
We made a decision to stay in the city on the outward bound leg, and on the beach on the return leg. Our hotel was the single thin building sitting in the middle of the below photograph. Our room was on the front, on floor 30 (of 32 floors). So we had a full view over The Walk and Jumeirah Beach.
This is a 5-star hotel that scored an 8.7 on Booking and 4.5/5 on Trip Advisor. There are inevitably some weaker points for any hotel, and this hotel appears to have long waits at the lifts, and smallish rooms and a small pool.
As usual the vast majority of comments were very positive, e.g. the hotel is very well situated on the beach which is a water lagoon with a, difficult to believe, temperature of 40°C.
Above we can see the hotel tower block, and the main entrance that is succeeding to look particular boring.
Above we have the hotel lobby which is trying to make up for the less than impressive hotel façade and entrance.
The reception was professional, and I must put a good word in for the concierge who were able to rapidly find a replacement for something we had forgotten back in Phuket.
We had booked a 'luxury club room' with a balcony, a full sea view, and Club Millésime access. The room was 36 square metres but did appear to be little narrow (see below).
Overall the room was well equipped with a minibar, free mineral water, a coffee machine, free wi-fi, reasonable sized wall safe, bathrobe and slippers, etc. I did feel that the 40" TV was a bit on the small side, and that the bathroom was a bit of a tight fit (see below). We would also have appreciated a bit more wardrobe space as well.
Above we can see the way that natural light has been let into the bathroom. Overall this was a comfortable bedroom.
The slight narrowness of the room was felt more in the bathroom. Double hand-basins would have been nice, but the walking-in shower was excellent even if there was nowhere to pose soap or shampoo. The attractive bath took up a lot of space, and I do wonder how often it is used.
Where the narrowness of the room was really felt was in the space allocated for the WC and bidet. The design focussed on a 'compact' style for the sanitary equipment, and adding to that very limited leg room just made it almost farcical. One excellent added feature was the intense water spray sitting between the WC and bidet.
Our room included free access to the Club Millésime for breakfast (07:00-11:00), afternoon tea (14:00-17:00), evening snacks (18:00-20:00) and evening sweets (20:30-22:30).
Breakfast was a continental buffet, but with a menu included for a cooked breakfast.
Afternoon tea was more like a light snack, whereas evening snacks offered 2-3 warm dishes, plus a variety of tapas-like options. With a glass or two of wine the evening options were more than enough, and very tasty as well. They really need to review the wine options, there was always a good Australian red and white, but the choice of French wines was poor.
On of the most attractive features of the hotel and our room was the view from our balcony on the 30th floor.
The Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) is a 1.7 kilometre long beach area. The idea is a residential development with 40 towers, including 5 hotels (with our Sofitel Hotel). The beach area is part of the Dubai Marina district, with around 15,000 apartments and hotel rooms (population around 45,000). I've read that the entire Dubai Marina district is expected to be home to more than 100,000 people when completed. The JBR area was completed in 2010 and includes The Walk, Jumeirah Beach, and the recently built Bluewater Island (the 'arm' sticking out on the left, and still unfinished in 2020). There is a separate webpage dedicated to the Jumeirah Beach Residence, so on this webpage we are going to just appreciate the view.
Below I've taken five views of the beach from our hotel room balcony.
For more information on what we are looking at, check out the webpages dedicated to the Jumeirah Beach Residence.
Two additional point related to our hotel. The first is that it faces the beach, but behind the hotel is the Dubai Marina.
There is a Marina Promenade, but to get there you need to exit from the back side of the hotel, cross the 4-lane Al Sufouh Road, cross the tramway at one of the stations, and then finally find one of the few roads that actually goes down to the promenade.
This is just to highlight how the city is built with the car in mind, and the pedestrian is expected to stick to the safe promenades and garden areas.
My second point concerns the origination of the hotel. If you look carefully you see that, per floor, only a very small number of rooms actually face the beach, and the vast majority have what they call a 'partial sea view'.
I personally would have been very disappointed to have had only a 'partial sea view'. So our recommendation is only go for the full-front view of the beach.