Be a tourist in your city exploring a mall and staying in a budget hotel
Want to get pampered at a budget? Need a break from the mundane and do something different (yet cost-effective) over the weekend? Here’s a simple idea: go shopping, hunt for the best deals, catch a movie and then…. go straight to a hotel within the city where you can enjoy some more pampering without worrying about the laundry, the groceries and the usual weekend chores! We tried it recently over a weekend and were pleasantly surprised as to how relaxing it could be.
The first destination: Premier Inn, the newly opened 3-star hotel, joined at the hip of the Ibn Batutta Mall. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, nestled in the relatively quiet Discovery Gardens neighbourhood, it turned out to be everything one wouldn’t expect from a budget hotel – sparkling interiors, spacious rooms with soft mattresses, decent views, gym, a restaurant offering world cuisine, coffee shop, a licenced bar and cosy pool. And the affordable rates (starting from Dhs325) was of course, the cherry on the cake. After settling in, taking a refreshing dip in the pool and lunching at Nuevo, the in-house restaurant, it was time to ‘re-discover’ Ibn Batutta Mall, which, let’s face it, often loses out to his more famous cousins around the city in terms of appeal and glamour.
A suggestion: along with the shopping, take some time to get educated about some fascinating parts of the world. Mapping the destinations visited by Ibn Batutta, the great 14th century traveller, each section of the mall offers nuggets of information about the countries in his journeys with interesting installations. Getting an insight into history while shopping, can be quite a fun activity, if you give it a shot! And if the shopping and reading tire you, the hotel is right next door. Enjoy a drink and bites at the friendly neighbourhood pub Mr Toads before tucking in comfortably for the night. Frankly, it’s a great de-stresser. Besides, who said you can’t be a tourist in your own city?