Every summer I take my son on a 3-4 week break somewhere we haven’t been before and this year our choice fell on Mauritius. The flight there would have us stop over in Dubai and in a an effort to avoid being stuck at Dubai airport over night, I decided to treat him and I to a 3 day stint in Dubai. The decision wasn’t easily made, after all it would be full on summer in Dubai and temperatures could sore to 50 degrees I was told. Nevertheless I booked. If I would only have a beautiful hotel as my base, in the worst case scenario we would just lay low and enjoy that if going outside wouldn’t be an option.

The Shangri-La Dubai had kindly invited us to stay with them, so I was exited about that. I had had 2 Shangri-La experiences so far, one in the Maldives and another in Singapore last year, both of which I consider among my most memorable hotel stays ever, so I knew we would be in good hands. But little did I know how good…

Dubai landing

We landed in Dubai at 11pm after an extremely turbulent and gruelling flight so I was especially happy to find that the hotel is only a short 15 minute cabe ride from the airport. When the doors to the beautifully chilled lobby opened and the subtle smell of vanilla entered my nose knew we were in for a good time. It was late, around 12.30am, when we checked in so you can imagine my disbelief when the hotel’s general manager took the time to come and greet us in person, despite the late hour. It sure did set the tone for one of the most impressive displays of true hospitality I have experienced in all my travels.

What a welcome!

Upon entering the room on the first thing we noticed was a miniature circus tent filled with treats and toys for my son. Our many travels have definitely spoilt him a little when it comes to hotels gifting us chocolates and the occasional stuffed animal upon arrival but this was next level. The Shangri-La Dubai has definitely ruined it for all other hotels to come. Good thing I still get to write the reviews, and not him.

The room itself was as comfortable as it was luxurious with its best feature being the awesome view over the the city skyline, most notably the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building (by a mile!) Rooms facing the opposite side of the building get a sea view and a stunning sunset so there are definitely no losers here. Our deluxe room featured a comfortable couch from which to marvel at said view, but also a desk to get some work done if you have to, a super high quality king size bed and a light and nearly sound proof bathroom which parents of small children might especially appreciate (morning shower while the littles are still asleep, anyone?) The large flatscreen TV features over 100 international channels but there is so much to do in Dubai I doubt you’ll ever have the opportunity to check them out. We certainly did not.


The thermometer had reached nearly 40 degrees on both of the full days we spent here but those turned out to be ideal for a day by the chilled pool on the 4th floor. The pools (there are 3 of them in total, including a kids and a whirl pool) are part of the hotel’s Ikandy Ultralounge and you will find a very nice swim-up bar here as well alongside more perfect views of the world’s tallest building.


If you love a work out session while traveling (never a bad idea if you wish to eat all the food like me) Shangri-La Dubai has got your back with what must be the largest hotel gym I have ever seen. But there is more! Don’t miss out on the great spa which not only comes with facials and massages, but also some inviting whirlpools guests can use free of charge. Need a nice hairdo? You’ll welcome the in-house hair salon as well.


Finally I really must sing some praise over the food we had here. It starts in the morning, when the breakfast leaves absolutely no room for any type of criticism, it is actually a perfect selection. Chefs tried their very best at accommodating all my special requests (avocado! spinach! mushrooms!) and my little guy was all over those raspberry glazed donuts, the Nutella waffles and, yes, even the frozen yogurt (it’s the holiday after all).

In the evening guests are once again spoilt for choice with the Shangri-La’s 3 restaurants. Hoi An dishes up delectable Vietnamese fare of the highest order. I especially appreciated that all budgets are catered for and everything, really everything, is absolutely delicious. I tried the Miso-baked and honey-glazed cod and still fantasize about it 2 weeks after. Shang Palace, the signature Chinese restaurant one can find at Shangri-La hotels around the world dishes up equally delicious fare that even my 5-year old loved which is saying so much. So Much. Finally there is Oni, an upscale Japanese restaurant which we didn’t have time to try but I am pretty sure it’s at least as good as the other 2.

Things to do in Dubai

Definitely one of the very strong suits of this hotel is its central location because there really aren’t a lot of places one can usually walk to in Dubai. From here however guests can conveniently access Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Starbucks, various shops and restaurants and the train system which can cheaply take you anywhere you wish to be. There really are tons of things to do in Dubai and I’d strongly encourage you to have a read through my Dubai Do’s I wrote down last time I spent a week here. Needless to say that MANY new things have been added to the city’s event and entertainment calendar since but that is a great place to start.

Disclaimer: The Shangri-La Dubai has kindly invited us to stay with them for 3 nights. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.