Welcome back if you've been following my journey! I'm Ben Schlappig, the full-time traveler behind One Mile at a Time, and the guy who introduced you to my uber-luxury travel lifestyle all made possible by using miles and points. In our series with Jet Set, we're going around the world in 21 days... all in five-star luxury, and booked at the very last minute.
In my last post, I was telling you about the unique features I love so much about vacationing the Middle East. After two incredible days in the desert of the UAE, it was time to head to Dubai.
Dubai is about being bigger and better in every way, and the hotel market is no exception. From the world’s tallest hotel, to the world’s only seven-star hotel, to a hotel built on a man-made island, Dubai has it all!
I’ve been visiting Dubai pretty frequently for nearly a decade now, and it blows my mind to see how quickly it’s growing. Every time I visit, there seem to be a dozen new hotels to choose from. For example, Dubai is the city where Starwood has the second most hotels.
No matter what your budget is or what kind of an experience you’re looking for, Dubai has options for everyone. In the case of Starwood, there’s a W Hotel, St. Regis, Le Meridien, Westin, Sheraton, et cetera.
In this case, we were staying at the Grosvenor House Dubai, which is a Starwood Luxury Collection property. Luxury Collection is Starwood’s brand of mostly independent hotels, do they don’t have a cookie-cutter design.
The Grosvenor House is located in the Dubai Marina area, which is Dubai’s equivalent of a financial district. However, it’s on the water, and has lots of great restaurants, and it’s also close to some of Dubai’s best beaches.
The Grosvenor House
Speaking of bigger and better, at this hotel I got upgraded to the royal suite. In this part of the world, “royal” status outranks “presidential” status.
The suite was insane.
The royal suite
It was roughly 2,200 square feet, and featured a massive living room, a dining area with seating for 10 people, a den, a master bathroom, and a ridiculous master suite with a jacuzzi and dry sauna.
Getting an over-the-top suite upgrade is great for the amount of space it gives you, though I’m also always amused by these suite upgrades in terms of the unique amenities they offer. For example, I don’t think I’ve ever had a room with a private sauna before. In the past I’ve been upgraded to suites that have massage rooms, gyms, and even sleeping quarters for a “servant” —that’s how they described it, not me!
In addition to the beautiful room, the Grosvenor House has about a dozen restaurants. One thing that makes the UAE unique is that most of the good restaurants are actually in hotels. In other parts of the world you could never imagine most of the good restaurants being in hotels, but the logic for this is quite simple: In the UAE, alcohol can only be served in hotels. Since most of the good restaurants are catering to both locals and foreigners, they’re located inside of hotels to accommodate the rule.
The Grosvenor House has some of the best that Dubai has to offer, including the Buddha Bar. I’ve eaten there twice, and it’s a great restaurant.
Over the years the Dubai Marina area has also grown on me. It used to be sterile, but they’ve added so many great restaurants and attractions that it’s a great place to stay nowadays. The architecture is awesome as well.
In the next installment I’ll talk about my single favorite amenity of the hotel — the incredible club lounge. Stick around!
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Tip: How can I get upgraded to a suite on check-in?
Ben Schlappig, the blogger behind One Mile at a Time, experiences about $1 million worth of travel every year using miles and points — and covers about 400,000 miles annually this way. Ben has teamed up with Bravo’s Jet Set for a series called The Upgrade, in which he shows you how you — yes, you! — can score real-world-ready strategies for upping your travel game. Come along for the adventure!
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