Is this Dubai’s cheapest hotel? Little-known Premier Inn has £30 rooms, a rooftop pool and all-you-can-drink evenings

Is this Dubai’s cheapest hotel? Little-known Premier Inn has £30 rooms, a rooftop pool and all-you-can-drink evenings

AS I lap up the sunshine by the rooftop pool, pina colada in hand, the palm-fringed shores of Dubai sparkle below.

But this is not a luxury hotel and my room cost just £30 for the night.

Dubai is synonymous with costly lavish living and expensive mega-hotels for the stars
Dubai is synonymous with costly lavish living and expensive mega-hotels for the starsCredit: Shutterstock
The Premier Inn even has a rooftop pool
The Premier Inn even has a rooftop pool

It is actually in a Premier Inn — one of 11 hotels the budget brand famed for its purple colour scheme has opened in the Middle East.

Back in the UK, travellers turn to the endless Premier Inns in city centres and off motorways for clean, comfy lodging at a good price.

It is the consistency that they love.

You know what you are getting — a basic room with a good bed.


According to Sir Lenny Henry in the famous ad, it is a good night guaranteed, or your money back.

But in Dubai, Premier Inn has taken things to the next level.

The hotels there have cool pools, 24-hour gyms, shuttle buses to the beach and suave city-side terrace bars.

That is not to mention the bargain laundry service, comfy co-working spaces and — if you are getting down to business — meeting rooms for hire.

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Best of all, Premiere Inn’s famous belly-busting breakfasts are on offer too, with as many sausages as you can pile on to a plate — and even that only bumps up the daily rate to £50.

The best Premier Inn in Dubai can be found in Barsha Heights.

It’s around 15 minutes by taxi from the glitz and glamour of Dubai Marina and an even shorter journey to The Palm with its trendy all-inclusive beach clubs.

Those looking to splurge can shop till they drop at the nearby Mall of the Emirates — the city’s second-biggest, boasting even its own indoor real-snow ski slope with penguins.

Although hailing a cab is wallet-friendly, coming in at around AED35 (£7) for a trip to either of these spots, the city’s Metro line is only ten minutes away on foot.

Fares start at just 65p for a ride, or £1.20 in the quieter “gold” carriage — because where else would have a first- class metro carriage other than Dubai?

If it is too hot outside, there is even a free bus for guests to the station.

The hotel offers another complimentary shuttle to Al Sufouh, known as the Secret Beach by locals due to its tranquility and relatively undiscovered stretch of sand.

Checking in at the Premier Inn Barsha Heights at noon, a full two hours before the official time of 2pm, I expect to be hit with a surcharge.

But after carrying my bags in from the airport taxi, the all-too-friendly desk staff tell me to put away my credit card.

Not that waiting in the lobby would have been a bad thing.

It is all ultra-modern, having only opened in 2021, with contemporary art dotting the walls and a striking glass chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

The only reminders you’re in Dubai are the miniature camels and pictures of the Sheikhs, which are customary at the entrances of all UAE hotels.

The elevator taking me the fifth floor where my room was whooshes past Mr Toad’s — a restaurant and bar serving classic British pub favourites and hosting long happy hours each day.

The room is classic Premier Inn, all purples and with that signature bed.

The TV has plenty of English channels including rolling news and movies, and the wifi is surprisingly fast.

Even better, in Dubai’s hot climate, the air-con is already set to maximum.

Complimentary water bottles are restocked daily alongside tea and coffee, and there is a handy laundry and dry-cleaning service to keep your swimmers clean.

Guests can even order room service from the restaurant.

The views aren’t much, but nobody really comes to Dubai to just look out the window — especially when there is a rooftop pool to enjoy.

But the Arab megacity has a little-known Premier Inn which costs just £30 a night
But the Arab megacity has a little-known Premier Inn which costs just £30 a nightCredit: Hoteliers supplied image

The bargains continue down at Mr Toad’s on the first floor, where a Saturday “drunch” offers unlimited drinks for three hours for AED120 (£25).

At local prices, a pint usually costs around AED40 (£9) so after three drinks you make back the cost.

Arabic tea houses

I sit down on the sun-drenched terrace for the AED70 (£15) business lunch deal, available on weekdays from noon till 3pm.

The crunchy, fried calamari rings could easily be served up in any of the city’s seafood restaurants.

And ordering the shish taouk is a chance to try a local favourite — moreish chicken skewers marinated in spices are served with a mound of fresh Arabic bread, pickles, garlic aioli and fries.

It is hard to resist adding on the classic and deliciously buttery British rhubarb-and-apple crumble — complete with vanilla ice cream — for an extra AED15 (£3).

After all that eating, it is high time for a dip in the rooftop pool.

Looking out over the city skyline, there are plenty of sunloungers where you can bask in the Dubai heat, and staff at the well-stocked bar shake up refreshing drinks all day.

For myself, visiting from the UK, the prices are on the high side at AED40 (£9) for a glass of wine or a mixed drink.

But compared to other places in the city, where the same drinks can go for double, it is a fair deal.

And considering the cost of the room, it all evens out.

According to staff, the popularity of Premier Inn in the UK means you need to reserve early.

Stepping outside into the local Barsha Heights neighbourhood, you will find the hustle and bustle of 24-hour Indian cafes, Arabic restaurants and tea houses, and all-night supermarkets.

Right next door to the hotel is legendary dive bar Rock Bottom, open every night until 3.30am.

The Media Rotana hotel, a few streets away, does a cracking pub menu at Nelson’s — one of the oldest pubs in the city and popular with Brit expats.

For fans of karaoke, Lucky Voice at the Grand Millennium Dubai hotel combines private singing rooms with a swish bar.

At just £30 for the night, Premier Inn Barsha Heights might well be the ultimate spot for a budget holiday in glamorous Dubai.

We loved dipping in and out the pool on our trip
We loved dipping in and out the pool on our tripCredit: Hoteliers supplied image
The Mall of The Emirates is a shoppers dream
The Mall of The Emirates is a shoppers dreamCredit: Shutterstock

Matt Rayson

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