Crowne Plaza, Muscat

Due to business relations with our clients in Oman, we had to stay a couple of times in Muscat and Crowne Plaza was one of the few selections that would stand out among others. For a fact, hotel rates in Oman are highly exaggerated and don’t reflect the received services for such stay rates nor the quality of the venue.So, why Crowne Plaza? well because I’m a platinum Priority Club member and I would like to receive the benefits of possible upgrade, free amenity kits and extended check out time.  Well, it doesn’t work all the time with hotels operating under the IHG group, since I’ve read stories on frequent flyer forums where their high tier status didn’t earn them a thing and that’s according to local hotel management and discretion.

Well in case of Crowne Plaza Muscat, I was recognized for my tier and I have received a complimentary upgrade for club room, while reserving a standard room. Though there are no provided perks such as club lounge access, internet access or even free breakfast. Actually the hotel doesn’t even have a club floor lounge which is disappointing. Below the picture of the club floor room which is amazingly overlooking the pool and the beach.

As you can see, the room is spacious and has its own balcony, overlooking some beautiful images such as below

As a hotel policy, it is not allowed to smoke in the rooms. For solution to smokers, they have provided an ashtray in the balcony where you would have to smoke outside regardless of humidity and high temperature.

The only provided perks were a plate of fruits, a hot water kettle with instant coffee and tea and some complimentary water aside from the daily local newspapers.

I have to mention that the carpets of the hallways and the rooms need to be replaced as it’s truly worn out and smelly. The interior of the hallways is aged and need renewal. The hotel itself need to give itself a break for a while. As for food, their breakfast buffet is pretty good and packed with all kinds of selections which makes it up for any negative issues.

I would have to recommend that you would try their English pub food and drinks. The food there is good and the atmosphere is jolly, with some bingo/quiz games with lots of Aussies and English people hanging around.

For a change, I would recommend walking a bit from the hotel down the road to see the Qurom Street where the locals call it “the love street” where all youngsters and teens hang around to pick up girls and meet up. There’s a couple of coffee shops and some franchise restaurants. Walking around in a breezy weather at night and enjoying the nightlife scene would be a good choice for alternative if you don’t want to hang out at Crowne Plaza open area dedicated to its restaurants and pubs.

All in all, this is a decent business hotel but I would recommend some major improvements in renovation to be able to stay next time.

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Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dubai

This is my first post after two months of hiatus due to heavy involvement at work and at home. I do apologize for that. I’m writing today about my experience at Crowne Plaza Hotel  on Sheik Zayed Road in Dubai, UAE. I’ve stayed there for two nights during my last visit and since I’m a platinum member of Priority Club, I felt like giving it a try and see what’s it like down there. I’ve stored the location of the hotel on my Garmin manually in advance since it wouldn’t show on it and it was very easy to locate. I was surprised that the hotel is located within a shopping complex. Subway, McDonald’s and TGI Friday’s could easily be accessed since they were on the hotel’s perimeter. I was told by the valet parking staff that I could either surrender in the car or park it in the back lot. I went and parked it there and it’s to be noted that the parking space was limited since it was shared with other establishments as well. And no one was available to take in your luggage since the hotel is in the mezzanine level, and most of its staff are either there or on the front entrance only.

The regular check-in counters were packed. So I decided to flash my Priority Club Platinum card to get the needed attention and a nice lady greeted me and my buddy on a separate desk space. Me and my buddy were immediately upgraded from standard to club floor rooms. I have to advise that you should request a room away from the elevator because mine was like two doors down and the elevator rings are very audible at my room all day long.

I have to admit that the furniture was a bit old and the seats/TV cabinet were a bit inadequate for the hotel’s style of furnishing. The bathroom was OK, but not up to the typical club floor room standards. The hotel needs some improvement. The entrance light could not be switched off, since it didn’t have any switch and I had to spend the night annoyed by such a pale light. In the morning, I asked two staff members of the home keeping and none could resolve the issue, till a bright one showed up and asked me to remove the card from the electric slot. It went like this:

Me: If I remove the card from the slot, doesn’t that turn off the electricity?

Staff: Yes, but you want to turn off the lights and sleep, right?

Me: Yes, but what if I want to get up for a cup of water or decided to watch TV?

Staff: Then, you have to put it back! Don’t worry, AC will be still on!

Me: It’s not the AC, it’s the issue of getting up in the dark and finding the card to put it in so I can see around.

Staff: (no clue).

Anyway, I hope that this issue would be addressed as I left it in my remarks to the hotel survey card.

We didn’t try the room service since we went mall hopping all day long and then at night, decided to check out Vic’s Trader which is located in a very remote place inside the hotel, where you have to go through indoors and outdoors to reach it. Very inconvenient to reach. The place was packed and small. Upon ordering, we tried out hardest to get any attention for service but none was available. That’s when we decided to leave this place. And there’s a dance club called Zinc which is located at the ground floor of the building. Upon checking it out, we were notified it had a strict policy of ”Couples only”. That was very disappointing. We hit Harvester’s Pub, which was a nice place to watch sports and cool it down a bit. There was this fine girl playing Jazz on a karaoke program off her laptop and it sounded great.

I have to add in that the complex is frequented by escorts and such, and I wouldn’t recommend it for families or those who might be offended by such crowds.

I have two majors issues which I addressed the hotel via e-mail and it was disturbing for me. On Friday night, the taxis in the back of hotel created such a traffic jam picking up off patrons of Zinc and Vic’s trader, I swear there more than 50 taxis cars in total, all honking at the same time at 3 AM!! My room faced that parking lot and it was one hell of annoyance. The cops came in and started diverting traffic and working things out and it was one hell of a mess at early morning.

The 2nd issue was the parking lot. During our car trips in Dubai, I acquired a parking space voucher and placed it on the front shield as requested by the Dubai Police. I’ve forgotten about it and left it on there till the next day, where’s still valid until 12 PM. Me and my buddy check out and drag out luggage to the parking lot just to find a parking ticket placed on my car. The idiot cops of Dubai thought that this ticket belonged to this parking lot and according to the time, he ticketed me after the expiration time. He waiting for it to expire so he can ticket me. I was furious. This parking lot is designated for hotel and other establishments as well, what the hell I get a ticket for? Of course, I had to submit and pay the ticket for Avis  plus processing charges (stupid shit). The hotel’s reply in e-mail was that this parking lot is a public one and you have to get a parking voucher to park in. So I should thank God that the past two days I wasn’t ticketed as well. I replied back that because of the excellent services offered by your hotel, no one cared or offered to inquire about transpiration or any of that sort. So be advised, don’t get ticketed over there. Their cops are like predators, they would fish for extra charges on tourists and such.

Crowne Plaza Diplomatic Area, Bahrain

After my arrival in Bahrain on Sept. 19th, I’ve headed straight to Gulf Hotel where my meeting is taking place. Of course, I’ve stopped by Sixt to pick up my reserved car and I was upgraded (I’m a gold status renter) from a Chevrolet Optra to a Kia Soul, a deformed version of Mini Copper. It looked funny but the car was equipped with blue-tooth, USB connection for iPod and etc. I didn’t mind it since I was only using it for my short transportation between the meeting, my hotel and the airport. After the meeting, went straight ahead to Crowne Plaza in the diplomatic area in Manama, a very prestigious area full of governmental buildings and located across from the main cornich road. I’ve checked in the Priority Club  cue line since I’m a platinum member. I’ve called ealier before arrival to make sure I get upgraded since platinum members receive complimentary upgrade according to availability and I didn’t want to miss on that! I was greeted with a cold cup of orange juice and been upgraded from standard room to Club floor room.

These rooms are newly renovated with parquet floor, large bathrooms, LCD TV screens and some extras on the side such as bathroom amnesties and free treat. I’ve arrived and found complimentary cookies, fruits, a bottle of mineral water and fresh orange juice, a pack of Oreo and a KDD mini orange juice pack. Now, that’s a treat. Here you can see the first shot of this room!

And this is the bathroom here, where it’s truly renovated with an installed shower-box.

After praying and settling down, I’ve connected my laptop to the offered LAN for the rooms and started browsing and doing some work. Over the past two hours, I’ve realized that I’m sweating! I’ve checked the A/C and it was set on around 15 and the fan was full!! I stopped right below the ceiling vent and noticed that there was some air draft coming out only when you’re standing below it!! Otherwise, it’s not reaching across the room. A quick call to the front desk and the maintenance guys came over and started working on for almost 45 minutes and this was around 5 PM now. I was tired, I was awake since like 4:45 AM in the morning to catch on the flight and attend the meeting at 09:30 and these guys wouldn’t finish! To cut the story short, the A/C is busted and I was moved to another room.

I’ve requested to placed in the same class and of smoking preference. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a smoking room at that time but told me to smoke in it anyway ! I had a fine stay there and I would love to check in there again! Can’t wait till Intercontinental re-opens its doors next year after the total renovation.