One & Only Mirage, Dubai.
It's not what we expected, sadly.
Me and Mrs C took a very rare 'kid free' short stay trip away, so thought we'd splash out a bit more on the budget to try the One and Only, which has a fantastic reputation for unrivalled luxury. It was a 50/50 between here, and heading back to one of the Madinat hotels.
Sun Bed Reserving Score
Restaurant Quality Score
Dress Code Score
Hotel Cleanliness Score
Hotel Decor Score
Short version: We wouldn't go back, as nice as it appears, there is just much better value out there available, with better facilities and 'bang for your buck'. Namely the reasons are; food and drink ordering to the sun-bed's was not on offer here, sun beds seem to be allowed to be reserved by guests which could prove a bad problem in peak times and the dress code was too strict enforcing men to wear trousers everywhere after 6pm, which is not what we're used to after coming to Dubai for some years now. Smart dress code is appreciated, but this was a step too far.
Here's the full bullet point report.
Lets start with the positives;
The building, property, pool and gardens area is 5*. Has a luxury feel, very clean and amazing to look at.
Welcome experience was certainly 5*, I cannot fault it from the arrival, room ready early, check in/experience.
Staff, all very friendly and attentive, across the entire hotel.
Rooms had adequate plug sockets, space, unpacking room for clothes.
Nice balcony, with chairs/table/view.
Good TV channel selection including all BEIN Sports channels which is often rare.
Good selection of restaurants/Bars, for a short stay or a week.
Both Beach Grill, and Eauzone food and staff were excellent. Lovely food, cooked perfectly.
Olives Restaurant for breakfast, quality of food was good. Egg station cooked good omelettes and poached eggs perfectly.
Drink prices were typical in line with acceptable. I always measure the cost of a bottle of Corona, and OOM was in line with most.
Now for the negatives;
Beach umbrellas old looking, not as nice as other hotels.
Beach loungers did not have modern ordering facilities which we have come to enjoy at other 5* resorts whether a buzzer (to bring staff to your lounger to create a food or drink order) or a QR code as used at the Waldorf Hotels, where the guest orders from the menu using a smart phone/device, and sends food or drink to the table number associated with the sun-bed. This works very well, and actually increases revenue/profit so much more because guests will often give up trying to order or, feel ‘rude’ for holding your hand up and waving at a staff member.
No food allowed on the beach. This was a new experience for us, and seems not as good as those that allow it.
Went for breakfast at Celebrities Restaurant which is the lovely looking 'fine dining' place on site, and although the dining setting and service was excellent, sadly the eggs Benedict I had, and the Avocado Eggs which Nancy had, were both cold. We decided to not risk booking it for dinner on the thought ‘If they cannot get breakfast served hot, we don’t want to risk dinner’.
2nd Breakfast at Olives, service was good to welcome us to the table and take orders/explain how it works. The waiter took our eggs order and we waited 30 mins. I asked where they were, and he said he would just check. By this time I decided to begin getting the rest of my breakfast and heard the order being placed with the egg station. I think he forgot to order our eggs. The restaurant was not even 50% full and wasn’t busy. This was disappointing as we wasted time. (The 3rd breakfast we returned, and corrected our method of ordering eggs directly with the chefs, and this was better but still quite slow (around 15 mins) with only 50% capacity.)
Upon checking, and getting shown our room we asked for an Iron and Ironing board. It never came. I never asked again and just used clothes that were least creased. I think it would be good to place an iron and ironing board in every room. This is what we receive at other 5* hotels so it is the guests choice whether to iron clothes or not, and only in 3* should someone ask for an everyday appliance like this.
Clothing Rules! This was my biggest disappointment. I think mainstream Dubai has moved on a lot to tailor for tourists clothing where long sleeves/trousers are no longer a strict requirement. I only brought 2 pairs with me, which was lucky as often I do not bring any now. I have travelled to Dubai for work and pleasure, over 10 times over the past 6-7 years and never once been asked to wear trousers. Even at the Mall in the city, it's no longer a requirement. The One & Only is a very smart, prestigious hotel complex and I understand (and agree) that smart clothing should be requested. I would not want to walk around seeing someone in sports shorts, or a football/soccer shirt for example. I think it would be perfectly acceptable to request guests do NOT wear sports clothing or shorts, but insist on either tailored shorts for men ‘or’ trousers. Knowing what I know now, I would not return purely on this basis as I personally suffer from over heating in hot weather, and would feel very embarrassed and sweaty in trousers during May or October for example.
Sunbed reserving; This is a very particular annoyance of ours. There is not many hotels which actually do what they claim, and prevent sun bed reserving. In fact, not even the Madinat hotels or Burj prevent it. The only one so far, and not even 100% successfully is Walford in RAK depending on which staff is working. However, in particular we found One & Only considerably bad for allowing this to happen so largely and obviously. There were on occasions over 10 sun-beds at the Al Janoob adult pool which were reserved with towels ALL DAY, where no guests even arrived to use them. When we arrived we were told we could not use the beds we wanted (as the day before) as someone had already reserved them. They never arrived all day. The same around the main pool, and the beach. You had some guests arriving to the beach and main pool around 2pm, and staff was telling them ‘sorry, we have no beds left’. I found this absolutely crazy, as I could clearly see almost 10-15% of the beds were not used once, all day. So you had guests wasting sun-beds, and some guests losing out on beds because of it. The hotel could potentially have had guests leaving to go elsewhere to use a pool/beach, and spend money with another hotel for food and drink all day, because they allowed guests to reserve sun-beds.