Reported by Matthew Thomas
This well located, modern four-star hotel, is the perfect base to visit and to conduct business right in the centre of Dubai. Centro is within walking distance of the city’s metro system meaning you can be in the Marina or in Downtown Dubai in a matter of minutes. In short, it’s the ideal affordable hotel for executive business travellers.
The modern hotel is easily the highest standard property within walking distance of the world-renowned Mall of the Emirates, while the airport is around 25 minutes away via quick and easy links to Sheikh Zayed Road highway. A lot of first time visitors to Dubai tend to automatically stay in a beachfront hotel and pay a hefty premium in the process. Thanks to Centro’s shuttle bus service you can even be on the beach in ten minutes on those days where business isn’t on the agenda. One of the other big advantages of the conveniently located Barsha area is there are a number of lesser known but high-quality restaurants and bars where you can dine at a fraction of the cost of some of the Mall or larger group outlets. What it lacks in glitz, Centro by Rotana, Al Barsha more than makes up for in gloss.
Centro is housed in a modern seven-storey building where the interiors are bright and contemporary. Rooms are arranged around a sky-high central courtyard with the lifts taking pride of place in the centre of the hotel for ease of access. The floor-to-ceiling windows and an architecturally designed glass roof make for a light and airy feel throughout the day. The lobby is kitted out in a modern black, grey and glass colour theme which looks striking when the panels light up at night. The check-in process takes place on the ground floor and is something that particularly has the business traveller in mind; quick and efficient is exactly what you want after a long day’s work.
The hotel boasts 243 rooms, studios and suites spread across 6 floors with the 7th floor reserved for the rooftop gym and swimming pool. All of the rooms are decorated in a tasteful neutral colour palette with the occasional splash of bright orange or mustard yellow for good measure. The suites in particular are cleverly devised, maximising the room’s floor bijou space to feel a lot bigger than their actual square metres; inventive storage space, frosted glass dividers and mirrored walls are key to the design. The compact but well-designed kitchen with small breakfast bar allows guests to eat comfortably in their room on a more regular basis. With the discerning executive where the hotel’s fast-access, complimentary Wi-Fi can be taken full advantage of.
On a practical level the rooms boast an impressive list of amenities and features more accustomed to that of a 5-star hotel. These included an ironing board, kettle and hairdryer, while bathrooms have a walk-in shower, shaving mirror and lots of luxurious toiletries.
It’s not unusual to see a large number of guests conducting business meetings or starting their working day at the breakfast buffet itself. The all-day dining restaurant is the beating heart of this boutique property and guests can expect all the usual hot and cold buffet items like pastries, cereals, porridge and pancakes, plus a live-cooking station offering eggs cooked to order.
The dinner buffet varies nightly by theme, including Italian, Asian and Mexican, and is exceptionally good value particularly when opting for the soft drinks package. The ‘Roast Night’ is seemingly a popular choice, attracting outside diners as well as guests of the hotel. Offering a wide range of good quality fare including roast chicken, rosemary roast potatoes and red cabbage, it’s a hearty taste of home for those with demanding palettes. In addition to the daily buffet, restaurant goers can also opt to dine à la carte if they prefer where a comprehensive menu of international dishes is served fresh.
The courtyard lounge and dining area provides the perfect space to host a business brunch or lunch meeting. The bar offers clusters of tables as well as stools at the long, back-lit bar and prices are very reasonable by Dubai standards, coupled with more atmosphere than you’d expect in a mid-range chain hotel. The 24-hour take-away deli serves a great selection of food including sandwiches, salads as well as hot and cold drinks if it’s just a small snack you’re after or you’re on the go.
It’s not all business at Centro Barsha, for those stolen hours when the call of the boardroom is silent, the pleasant rooftop pool has ample sun loungers, sofas and a bar serving drinks and light bites, while the fully-equipped gym is open 24 hours to guests.
It really is difficult to pick fault with Centro Barsha. Friendly and efficient staff, cleverly appointed rooms, high-quality outlets all at a price few can match. Centro delivers fantastic value for money, a brilliant location where every aspect of Dubai is at your fingertips.