IMG_4429smallThere is a fabulous program called Priority Club which allows you to earn points while staying at the chain of hotels, including Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites, and Candelwood Suites.  Because we needed to stay at the Intercontinental Abu Dhabi and Al Ain for three months, we racked up a large amount of points that now allow us to stay in other cities for free! 

Each hotel of course ranges in the amount of points needed to stay per night, with the Holiday Inn being one of the lowest.  So, this past weekend, we decided to redeem some points and try it out in Dubai.  We didn’t need a fancy resort on the beach for this trip.  We basically needed a place to sleep after touring the city all day every day.  If you want the resort, the group has those hotels too…just more points!  Or, split up your trip at various hotels and resorts.
IMG_4432smallFirst, they have an iPhone app!  That is huge for today’s techy world and on the go families.  It was so easy for us to pull up the app, find where we wanted to go, and book.  We chose the Holiday Inn Express Jumeirah Beach location in Dubai.  15,000 points a night is all it takes.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was free and worth a shot.  We have three small children, six and under, so we need a room that would sleep all of us.  We chose the King bed with pull out couch.  One of our kids wanted to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor, so we brought a small one and it worked out well (vacuum seal that puppy…it’s small!).

When we showed up, we were pleasantly surprised at how clean the hotel was.  The staff was very helpful and prompt with everything needed for checking in and setting up the room.  The room was bright, the linens were crisp (before my kids jumped on the bed), and the bathroom was spotless.  Within three minutes of arriving to our room, someone was there to open and make the pull out couch bed.  There’s a nice wall unit which includes a TV, a small fridge, a desk, a safe, and a closet.  In the IMG_4434smallmorning, there is a nice complimentary breakfast which includes cheeses, meats, yogurt, cereal, juice, tea/coffee, croissants, and fruit.

The hotel itself is right around the corner from Diyafah Street which is HOPPING at night on the weekends.  There are great restaurants, stores, and souks.  If you stay on the Jumeirah Beach Road, which is what the Holiday Inn Express is on, then you’ll find even more opportunities.  There are several cute malls, coffee shops, pet stores, souvenir shops, and more.  This is considered “Old Dubai” area, but it is so quaint, slower paced, less crowded, but beautiful!  It has the charm of a beach town back home.  We even found a Mexican restaurant!  Those are hard to come by here.

All in all, I would certainly stay at this hotel again for our weekend trips to Dubai.  It was clean, had a great location, easily accommodated our family, and used the least amount of points for our stay.  So, sign up for the Priority Club, start staying at their hotels to rack up the points, and then start spending them!  You can visit Dubai with free lodging eventually!