... but when it comes to hotels, restaurants, bars and spas, I've made it my vocation. A career that's encompassed more than 200 hotel and restaurant reviews, has given me a discerning eye.
Professional judging and samples of deep-dive customer experience reports far exceeding secret shopper data are available on request.
Previous appointments include consulting and judging roles with the World’s 50 Best Restaurants; UK spa brand Elemis; the UAE’s Hot 100 Restaurants, Hot 100 Bars and Hot 100 Hotels; and Condé Nast Traveller Middle East’s Shorties travel film awards.
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AAn affordable, fashion-forward hotel in a prime location with well-groomed facilities is a rare find in Dubai. Add to that rooms with hammocks by the windows, an opulent rooftop pool bar and a signature restaurant with decking down to Dubai Creek and there are multiple reasons to choose this Al Seef stopover.
This hotel, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, is for those who dream of time travel. With accessories from history – Bakelite-style rotary dial telephones and dolly light switches and ‘par avion’ etiquettes on faded blue envelopes – it’s like sleeping on the set of period drama, one set in 1950s Dubai.
Hipsters will feel right at home at the communal ‘hangouts’ in this three-star proposition, featuring beanbags, swings, table football and occasional film screenings. Other facilities include a rooftop pool and free use of bikes and roller blades – ideal for touring the local promenade that’s more than a mile long.
With the largest standard rooms in an emirate known for hotels of cat-swinging proportions, Raffles Dubai offers an abundance of space in an easy-to-find pyramid. It's crowned with a Japanese restaurant and shochu specialist providing panoramic views from the peak, and is just 10 minutes’ drive from the airport.
This five-star 39-key boutique hotel is part of a vast complex that's home to two independent riding schools, three champion polo fields and 400 Arabian thoroughbreds; match season runs from October to April, with the February's challenge drawing the region's equestrian elite.
The Palace – located in the heart of Downtown, an area dubbed 'The Centre of Now' – neighbours Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall, two reasons many visitors come to Dubai. Its position on a man-made lake, handful of good restaurants, and palm tree-lined pool makes the resort an urban oasis for shopped-out sightseers.