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Hotel Citymax al Barsha Hotel 3 star
Easyexperts
Al Barsha Dubai, United Arab Emirates -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

The three-star Citymax al Barsha hotel is one of two hotels of the same chain in Dubai. It is also one of the few truly budget hotels in the emirate, which is a great option for travellers on a budget. The hotel is good-value without being cheap and nasty. Guests here can be sure that the rooms will be clean and that service will be friendly at all times. Located in the al Barsha area just behind the popular Mall of the Emirates (where you will find Dubai's ski dome), the hotel is also near an area that has a relaxed local feel, which isn't a given in Dubai! Most hotels tend to feel like they are in the middle of nowhere due to development happening in stages. The hotel is ideal for large groups and for families on a budget, or travellers wanting to hold on to their money in order to be able to splurge on shopping instead of accommodation.

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    • Hotel Citymax al Barsha

      Citymax al Barsha   -   © Briag Courteaux_EasyVoyage

    • Hotel Citymax al Barsha

      Citymax al Barsha   -   © Briag Courteaux_EasyVoyage

       
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    Location

    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 just behind 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). 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.

    Accommodation 5.70 /10

    The hotel has 378 rooms, making it the smallest of the two Dubai properties. The hotel is a lot more intimate than its sister hotel in the city centre (see our review of Citymax Bur Dubai). The rooms all look the same, with the only difference being in size. Guests should be aware that the rooms are on the small side at 20m² on average, especially for Dubai, but the rates are affordable. All have a small double bed, or twin beds, complimentary tea and coffee making facilities, and 32 inch flat-screen televisions. There is an in-room fridge and safe (free). The rooms have a fresh look in white and lime green tones; the large windows also help in making the rooms pleasantly light and bright. The rooms are equipped with the basics, but if you are going to be exploring the city in the day and going out in the evenings, then you don't really need much more. The rooms are clean and tidy, which is more than you can say for some of Dubai's low-budget hotels, which tend to have a somewhat seedy ambiance! The bathrooms are small and fitted with bathtubs, which is a real luxury not to be taken for granted in a budget hotel. If you like your toiletries however, bring your own, as you'll only find soap dispensers attached to the walls.

    Overview 5.70 /10

    Overall, the hotel has a good range of facilities for the price of the rooms and it has a pleasant atmosphere. The smallest of the two Citymax properties in the city with 378 rooms still makes it a big hotel by Dubai standards. There is one restaurant onsite, a deli, bar and a couple of computers for guest use. The hotel bar is the highlight of the hotel; attractive in its decor and with live music shows on most nights, as well as other events, a few drinks here is a pleasant way to spend an evening during a weekend break, especially if you are on a budget. The bar tenders are friendly and there is a varied range of alcohol on offer, so guests shouldn't feel at a loss. The second bar-lounge area to the right as you come in through the main entrance is undergoing a much-needed renovation. A complete contrast to the rest of the hotel, walking into this area is like walking into a time-warp! Despite its heavy chequered brown and orange carpet and chipped furniture, the bar is popular with sports adepts and smokers as games are always shown here and the bar also doubles up as a smoking parlour. There is also a small section in the deli where guests can buy travel essentials. The hotel has fifteen floors in total with a small roof-top pool. The advantage here in comparison to other hotels is that the area is a lot quieter than the buzzing city centre or JBR area. Also, due to their not being any buildings on either of the hotel yet, sunshine hours on the terrace last a lot longer (due to the absence of shade from neighbouring buildings), which cannot be taken for granted in a city as built-up as Dubai. For guests needing a quick sugar hit, there are vending machines on all floors. For exercise fiends, there is a fair-sized and well-equipped gym open 24 hours and free for guests to use. You get what you pay for, but the advantage here is that the rooms might be basic, but they are far from being dark and dingy. Travellers can be sure that the rooms are clean, which can't be said for all of Dubai's low-key budget hotels. Opened in 2010, the hotel is fairly new, which is why it surprised us to see that the lobby could already do with a bit of a makeover - shabby rugs and tattered furniture. Something else we liked is that despite the hotel's contemporary atmosphere, the simple pop-art paintings hanging all over the hotel of camels and other desert scenes recall the hotel's surroundings, which contributes to making guests feel like they are in Dubai, unlike many other hotels, where you could literally be anywhere in the world.

    Food and drink 6.70 /10

    Guests can eat all round the clock at the 24-hour deli in the lobby area and for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there is a main restaurant opposite the reception area. The restaurant sets out a buffet for all three meals and the food isn't the best in Dubai, but it won't break the bank! It serves an international mix of food. An advantage the hotel has is 24-hour room service, which is great if you don't feel like braving the masses in the dining hall, which looks a little small to be able to accommodate all guests when the hotel is full. However, having said that, most people tend to dress up in their Sunday best and roam the emirate's myriad hotel restaurants, which can also be a good way of exploring the city. The hotel bar however, is worth dropping in for a couple of drinks as there are often live music shows or theme-nights like quizzes or singing contest, which tend to be popular with in-house guests. The bar's low red-tinged lighting makes it a pleasant area for pre or post dinner drinks. There is also a bar up on the roof that serves snacks but no alcohol.

    To know

    The hotel is one of two under the same name - the other is located in Bur Dubai, the new city centre close to the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.

    Smokers will be relieved to know that there are four floors of smoking rooms here, so enquire about this at the time of booking.

    Two rooms have been especially adapted for people in wheelchairs.

    Equipment

    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      spa, sauna

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      gym, sports, fitness, water-polo

    • Animals allowed
    • Whirlpool bath
    • Safe
    • Non-smoking rooms

    advantage

    • The cheap rates.
    • The attractive bar with live music shows.
    • Location.

    disadvantages

    • The lobby's shabby rugs could do with being changed.

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    • Overall Score nc/10
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