The first idea that came to mind as we made a sharp turn onto the area where Dubai’s Innovation Hub would be was: How did we not know about this hotel? Grand Plaza Mövenpick Media City is a massive one, the only 5-star in the neighbourhood. It stands alone in its spot, but is surrounded by Media City’s bustling-yet-serene vibes.
Offering guests 235 spacious rooms and suites, the hotel’s are among the cleanest – if not the cleanest – you’ll find in the UAE. It’s impossible for any property to meet our standards, but the room is literally spotless, and boasts a very wide view of Internet City, Media City, Burj Al Arab and even a portion of the magnificent Palm crescent.
There are five dining venues at the hotel, namely TWENTY THREE Rooftop Bar, which steals the show as Media City’s new hotspot. The Grand Lounge serves up creatively crafted delicacies, perfect for an afternoon high tea.
A ‘neighbourhood deli’ feel is to be enjoyed at Slice, through its relaxed ambience, with a touch of panache. The hotel is also home to modern European escape Verve Bar & Brasserie, under the guidance of multi award-winning chefs Nick and Scott.
Bytes is a relaxed local eatery, spanning indoor and outdoor spaces, in addition to a swimming pool. It’s also where we have our Friday Alpine brunch. Featuring a sharing menu with dishes served to the table, the feast also comprises several traditional dishes from Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany and Austria showcased buffet-style.
We indulge for hours in the delights of appetising alpine salads, cold cuts, and traditional flavours including sausages, comforting mains and desserts. There’s also the chic touch with fresh oysters, seafood and a sushi station – it is Dubai after all. For those seeking an authentic taste of Europe, there’s also the live carving section serving roast beef and lamb leg, along with freshly baked pizza.
More food choices include a cheese station, serving traditional Alps charcuterie and raclette, in addition to a truffle and parmesan station with fresh pasta finished in the wheel. Plus, the finest, alpine-inspired beverages are on offer, too.
The whole experience is just mesmerising, with the DJ’s selection of Christmas songs setting the mood as we devour everything from schnitzel, crispy-skinned seabass and ridiculously fresh sashimi, to truffle seashell pasta and baby potatoes drowning in melted cheese.
After taking some well-earned selfies by the pool, and having a chat with the super friendly, pleasant servers, it’s time to head back to the room, and with so many channels on offer, laying on the ever-comfortable bed – with customised pillows – we’re the most relaxed we’ll ever be. In a few hours, it was time for dinner the elegant Verve Bar & Brasserie.
Had we been teleported to DIFC? Because we sure can’t think of that many Media City venues which evoke that much fine dining grandeur. The team at Verve ensures that we get a taste of all the top dishes, including the Dibba Bay oysters accompanied by three different sauces, paprika smoked salmon, cucumber and mint yoghurt, beef carpaccio with parmesan, pine nut and rocket, and the 24-hour braised lamb shoulder, barbecued leeks and mint pesto.
Oh, and the best shrimps we’ve ever had, too, the lemon and garlic butter-grilled Omani shrimps are the highlight of the menu for us. If you’re at Verve, make sure you don’t miss the incredible beverage menu – they can make it all just for you and add a few funky touches just for fun.
Next morning, we try the breakfast at Bytes – and it’s as different from the brunch as we were expecting it to be. Many hotels try to make breakfast into something it’s not, but this one has all the basics – yogurt, cheese, muesli – and then some more.
They’ll make you pan-scratched eggs from a menu that’s dedicated to just that rather than the otherwise rushed station version, and you’ll find some exotic picks such as idly, the light, airy Indian rice cake. It’s just what you need to start the morning off the right way.
The Spa by Sensasia is the perfect fit for the hotel, and it carries the same positive vibes as the property. Our therapist gives us a French Shea butter Balinese massage with medium-strong pressure, and tailors it according to our preferences. We read the full menu of treatments at the cosy relaxation room – there really is something for everyone in there.
Bidding farewell to Grand Plaza was one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do. From the welcoming, courteous front office staff, to the amazing variety of quality food and stellar room, we just feel like coming back over and over again would be the only right thing to do.