The slick and contemporary Centro Barsha is the hotel group, Rotana's, first three star 'budget' property in a long line to come, and isn't what one would expect from a three star with regards to the decor and services offered - we were very pleasantly surprised to say the least! The hotel may not have all the facilities one might want from a five or even a four star hotel, but the hotel marks four stars with us for its design, comfort and value. It is located in the al Barsha area, which has a local atmosphere although this is fast-changing with developers starting to assault the surroundings with sky scrapers like in the rest of the city. Centro Barsha is ideal for a young and fun clientele on a budget although no one will feel excluded here. This hotel gets definite thumbs up for being spot on when it comes to good value and style!
The hotel is located in the up and coming al Barsha area, which although is being developed at lightning speed, still retains a somewhat local atmosphere with small shops and restaurants lining the streets, due to the high number of Indian and Bangladeshi expats living in the area. The area is close to the Mall of the Emirates and is fairly close to the Media City area. The hotel is a few minutes' walk away from the Rashidiya metro station, which is handy if you're going somewhere along the Sheikh Zayed Road. Either way, as transport is still developing in Dubai, it is better to hire a car in order to save on cab fare and remain independent. The airport is about 30 minutes' drive away and the city centre about 20 minutes away (traffic-allowing).
Centro Barsha is the new generation of hotels by the local hotel group, Rotana, which has already done a good job of 'colonising' the entire city with 13 hotels in Dubai alone at the time of publishing. Rotana is one of the largest hotel chains in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa region), with over 70 properties in 26 different cities. Rotana's objective is to open 25 Centros by 2014, so watch this space!
Smokers will be relieved to know that the hotel has smoking rooms - enquire about this upon making your booking.
The entire hotel structure focuses on maximising natural light, whether it be in the lobby with a glass front, or in the rooms, with floor to ceiling windows, making the space look bigger than it actually is. The decor is attractive and colourful, making all areas of the hotel extremely pleasant to spend time in. The fact that the hotel is a little out of the way also makes for a welcome break from the city hustle and bustle.
Open in 2010, the hotel has seven floors in total, with a pool and gym on the last floor. The hotel has a four-star sharpness and facilities despite calling itself a three-star. When it comes to service, the staff is very friendly and efficient, and the hotel concept is based on more on the idea of 'self-service', whereby there isn't anyone especially on hand to help guests with luggage or valets to park your car, for example. The staff at Centro Barsha is young and dynamic and will go out of their way to help guests (within reason, of course). In terms of facilities, the hotel has a small deli on the ground floor (open 24 hours), a restaurant to the right of the atrium structure behind the main elevators and a funky cosy bar to the very back of the atrium. There is also pool and gym but no spa or massage room. The pool is on the roof-top, and although it isn't big, it does the job in the sweltering Dubai heat! The area surrounding the pool is furnished with comfortable seating and there is also a bar serving drinks throughout the day (open in high season). There is Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, although this comes at a charge of 85 AED (£15) for 24 hours.
There are 245 rooms divided up into three categories: classic (22m²), studios (33m²) and suites (44m²). Although the rooms are on the small side, they are very well appointed and comfortable. The colours used are natural beiges and browns with touches of the Centro orange to brighten up the rooms. The rooms have queen size beds, complimentary tea and coffee facilities, and some rooms have a kitchenette with a fridge but no utensils, so if you are planning on going semi self-catering, make sure you bring your own! All rooms have flat-screen televisions and upon request, the hotel can try to match guests to connecting rooms if available. The rooms have varying views: interior - looking out onto the atrium area, exterior street view of al Barsha and desert view (although in our opinion this won't be for much longer seeing how quickly the emirate is developing!). The cost does not vary according to view, but we do recommend that you request a room that doesn't look onto the atrium area as your neighbours will be able to see into your room and vice-versa; rooms along the atrium can also be seen from the hotel corridors. The bathrooms are small and compact and stylish, like the rooms. Make sure that if you share a room, it is with someone you are intimate with as the bathrooms have transparent glass walls (and opaque curtains) - stylish but not practical if you are going to be sharing with a work colleague! All rooms have showers (no bathtubs) and are stocked with Centro own-brand toiletries.
To the left of the atrium, you will find a small deli with affordable snacks - we highly recommend the cheese cake by the way! For once in Dubai, cheese cake isn't a layer of biscuit with frothy cream on top! Otherwise there is also a restaurant and a bar. The restaurant, 'C.Taste', is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (buffet in the mornings and à la carte for lunch and dinner). The food here is extremely simple - you'll find quick and easy bites like salads and chicken goujons at dinner for example. Nothing too fancy but the advantage is that it is affordable. Don't expect too much quality-wise though - Centro isn't about gourmet food. The bar, 'C.Mondo', also serves snacks and the bar tender makes a good job of whisking up cocktails with a bright white smile! The hotel also has room service at an extra charge of 10 AED.
Otherwise, what works really well in the hotel's favour, is the contemporary decor of its spaces - the restaurant seating is comfortable and casual but looks chic at the same time. The hardwood floors, terracotta leather furniture and carefully-studied lighting create a cosy atmosphere, meaning that guests tend to hang out in the atrium lounge or bar a lot more than at larger hotels; this gives the hotel its casual yet friendly atmosphere.
Hotel reviews based on comfort, location and price ratings of its categories
Hotel reviews based on its services and facilities.
Mark out of 10 for geographical location
flights June : average price