I stayed in 2 different hotels when I was in Dubai, UAE recently. One of the two hotels was the Radisson SAS Hotel and the other was the Arabian Courtyard, which I reviewed in an earlier article.
There are at least 3 Radisson SAS hotel in Dubai, so you have to be careful, so as not to confuse yourself or your taxi driver. The oldest Radisson SAS is near the Creek, the newer one near the Media city and the latest, near the Marina area. (I believe Radisson SAS was changed to Radisson Blue recently)
I was in Dubai for some work related meeting and hence stayed at the Radisson SAS hotel near Media City. This hotel is conveniently located near the Media and Internet City of Dubai, where most of the world’s top IT and Media companies have their offices and these include Nokia, Oracle, Microsoft, Dell, IBM, HP, Canon, CNN, BBC, Reuters, CNBC etc
Hence, Radisson SAS is an extremely convenient hotel if you need to do business with any of these companies. The hotel is a short walking distance for many of these companies and is the top corporate hotel choice for them as well. However, convenience for working with these companies translate into inconveniences for non-work choices.
There are simply no facilities once you step out of the hotel. The entire place becomes a dead town at night or over the weekend and you have no place to eat or shop other than the hotel within a 30 minutes walking radius ie if you have not succumbed from the heat. Your nearest food, shopping or entertainment facility is at least a taxi ride away. In fact, to travel to Dubai city centre is at least 30 minutes via taxi in smooth traffic. Much longer if traffic is bad… which can be common in Dubai.
Hence, if you do not intend to go out far, your only source of amusement is within the hotel. This is where the hotel’s spa, Senso Wellness Centre comes in useful. The Senso is located near the hotel’s swimming pool and gymnasium and boasts of 6 treatment rooms which is done up individually in stylish Indian, Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Indonesian decor.
Treatment Room done in Indian decor
The Senso Spa offers facial treatments, body treatments and body massages. A face hydrating treatment starts at 420 AED (@US$115), a body polish at 220 AED (@US$65) and a 60 mins Swedish massage starts at 300 AED (@US$82). Hotel guest who takes up at least 2 body massage treatments can get a 20% discount.
I was given a tour of the spa, gym and swimming pool by the spa receptionist. The spa is managed and manned by a mixture of Lebanese and Filipino staff. I understand that the masseurs are Filipino and Indonesian.
Although I stayed at the hotel for a week, I did not end up using any of the spa or fitness facilities. The swimming pool and sun deck area is small and the small gym consist mostly of older gym equipments.
I find the spa prices a bit high and I simply dislike it’s location. The treatment rooms are just next to a elevator zone where people and luggage are coming in and out all the time and I find it simply too distracting.
Despite the hotel touting the spa and pool as one of the highlights of the hotel, I find the awkward location and small size of the pool, spa and gym more like a design after-thought of the architects of the hotel than being the highlight that it has been credited with.
Unless you are stuck in the hotel for weeks and weeks, you may be better off taking a taxi and exploring other parts of Dubai which can be more entertaining than what the hotel and spa alone can offer.
Location of Senso Wellness Centre@ Radisson SAS Hotel PO Box 211723 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Size: Small spa with private rooms and facial treatment rooms. Hydro-massage bath and jacuzzi available in some of the rooms.
Friendliness: Polite staff and mostly Filipino massage therapists.
Pricing: Starts from US$65 for a facial, wrap or bath. US$82 for Body massage. Various spa and beauty packages available and starts from US$150.