Having a vacation at The Palm in Dubai is likely on the bucket list for many people worldwide. The artificial and exclusive atmosphere, combined with United Arab Emirates level of service feels to be a dream vacation. Not too surprisingly, this kind of dream vacation is typically coming with rather expansive hotels. We went for one of the “budget locations” on the crescent of The Palm and had two nights at the The Retreat Palm Dubai – MGallery by Sofitel in November 2021. Here is my review.
The Retreat Palm Dubai – Location & Transport
The Retreat Palm Dubai is located on the East Crescent of the Palm Dubai. You should either have a rental car or take a taxi to get to the hotel. Even getting to the Palm Monorail at the Atlantis Hotel will be a some 1.5 km walk. Please be aware that the trip from the hotel to Central Dubai or just the next metro station (which is Dubai Internet City) is already some 12 km away from the hotel. Thus, this hotel is a location for beach vacation and relaxing and definitely not a good location if you want to do daily sightseeing.
The hotels at The Palm are still quite separate. Thus there are no tourist attractions in walking distance. The Lost Chambers Aquarium located in the Atlantis The Palm Hotel is likely the most nearby attraction. However, if you cross the Crescent Road in front of the hotel, you have a lovely view of Dubai, including a good view of the famous Burj Al Arab luxury hotel.
The Retreat Palm Dubai – The Room
My wife and I went for a Deluxe Room at The Retreat. I got a discounted, but refundable rate of 1966 AED for two nights, which is roughly 475 EUR in total or 238 Euro per night. The rate included breakfast and is, compared to other The Palm places, quite a bargain. The room was nice and quite spacious, but we struggled with it. Just keep in mind the full name of the hotel: The Retreat Palm Dubai – MGallery by Sofitel. This is nothing you expect when you head into a Sofitel. I knew that the place would rather be a “budget Sofitel”, but we also met multiple guests at the reception who struggled with it.
Apart from that, the living area was okay, but a bit of run down. One thing we absolutely struggled with is that they obviously had replaced the bed by a smaller one. On my side of the bed, the distance to the bed table has been incredible 55 cm – and even on the other side, there has been a significant gap.
The bathroom was actually really nice, featuring a separate bidet and a separate shower and bathtub. The style was a bit of compact (I would generally prefer one sink in favor of more space for your toiletries), but we really liked it. The bathroom definitely had a stronger flavor of luxury. Unfortunately, we found amenities left by the previous guest in our room – not the best proof of quality for the house keeping team.
Nice Balcony – and Strange Technical Issues
The room was located on the first floor on the side of the hotel – and even though we had a clear view to the entrance of the garage and a construction side for a new hotel / residential building, we actually liked this area. You also could enjoy a nice view of Dubai and of the central area of The Palm.
There were some issues with the room. The bed linen was obviously torn. One thing I really had to smile about are all the barcodes you see on the right picture (and yes, you saw them while you are walking through the room). I first thought that some idiotic former guests has put them underneath the bed table – but in fact, they were the inventory numbers for electronic appliances. Never saw something like that in a that sloppy manner in any hotel room in the world before.
The Retreat Palm Dubai – Breakfast & Food
The breakfast was actually very positive. The buffet restaurant was nice and served a wide range of food, including a lot of healthy options (the hotel is having a certain focus on well-being). However, we went to breakfast very early as we had read other reviews before. This meant that both days we went for some time at the beach, there were queues at the restaurant, as they did not have any capacities left. The place is too small for the size of the hotel, indeed.
There are other restaurants and a nice cafe in the lobby area as well. At one restaurant, there was an artist who wanted to sell his pieces of arts in a very aggressive manner, which we felt to be bothering.
The Retreat Palm Dubai – Pool & Beach
The pool and beach are is the signature part of the hotel, indeed. They have a private beach and a segregated part of the inside of The Palm in the water. The beach is not having too many stones and is great for families. The hotel feels to have quite a focus on package-holidays, so that you were unfortunately also exposed to what I call toweling – the number of towels on the sunbeds has not at all been in line with the number of people around. Especially as the beach is serviced by their own staff, this is something the hotel could avoid.
The hotel also offers air conditioned cabanas with a higher level of service – on our second day, they gave away these places for free in order to create additional capacities on the beach. After some 10:30 in the morning, you should not expect to get a free spot at the beach any more (at least under current Covid-19 restrictions). Unfortunately, the hotel quickly lead to a Mallorca-feeling to me (Germans know what I mean) – which is simply not in line with the hotel price.
The Retreat Palm Dubai – Services
The check-in and check-out was very friendly. Unfortunately, the organization was not too good and it took the hotel 25 minutes and two calls from our side to bring our suitcases to our room. This is of course not acceptable. The hotel also offers a nice gym and spa area. There is also a clinic which feels to care about aesthetic, but also mental issues.
As said, the hotel runs a parking garage, which is actually quite nice in size. Regarding the number of people in the hotel, I was wondering how few cars were parked in the garage. I just had to post pictures of the elevators. Why do you need pictures of such a beach in there, guys? Your beach is actually that beautiful…
The Retreat Palm Dubai – My view
I absolutely struggle with this place. Accor Hotels, why do you use the branding “Sofitel” in here? It is obvious that this leads to confusion – and unhappy guests. Definitely, that was the worst Sofitel I ever stayed in – but also because it is simply not a Sofitel-level hotel at all. In addition, the hotel want to brand itself as a well-being and healthy living temple. In fact, it is a mass tourism family beach hotel. As such, it does a good job. The restaurant is too small, the huge gap at my bed is ridiculous and service issues like the 25 minute luggage delivery must not happen in any hotel of the world.
If you want to have a good time at the beach with your kids, it is a good choice. But that’s not what I would expect about a hotel, which states on its very own website Come and discover the perfect balance of holistic wellbeing and Dubai’s vibrant energy on The Palm Jumeirah, at Dubai’s first 5-star holistic wellbeing resort. Thus, my rating is just average.
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