When comparing InterContinental Festival City vs. InterContinental Dubai Marina, which is best for location, pool, club lounge, families, and couples? Which ihg hotel in Dubai should you stay in and why?
Honestly speaking, you won’t go wrong with either InterContinental. Both have beautiful rooms, an excellent club lounge, gorgeous pools, and all the essentials like great restaurants and bars and a gym and spa. The Marina property is in a great area, but it’s right at the far end of town if you plan to do anything other than staying up that end of Dubai.
Out of interest, there are also some Crowne Plaza properties in Dubai, which you may also want to consider if you collect or want to redeem ihg reward points. Crowne Plaza Deira has a club lounge. Crowne Plaza Festival City shares its pools with the InterContinental Festival City as it’s right next door. It’s a cheaper option than the InterContinental, and you can still use most of the facilities at the InterContinental, although the rooms obviously won’t be as nice or as large.
The Crowne Plaza Dubai is the most centrally located of all the hotels and will knock considerable time off your journeys as well as having a club lounge, but it isn’t the most inspiring ihg hotel and is not on the beach.
Whichever you choose, book the InterContinental Marina or Festival City, any Crowne Plaza, or any other luxury hotels with our luxury travel concierge and get a better deal or free benefits.
These are the free additional benefits that we offer across all InterContinental hotels (based on a 2-night minimum):
- Guaranteed late check-out
- Complimentary breakfast for two at the hotel restaurant daily
- Value-added amenity, specific to the hotel ($100 USD value per stay)
- Upgrade to next available room category (subject to availability on arrival)
- Free wi-fi on unlimited devices
- Turn down service as appropriate by brand
- Bottled water, fresh fruit, and snacks in room upon arrival
When you book with us, you will also get your usual ihg.com Priority points and benefit from your Ambassador, Platinum Elite, or Spire Elite status.
The marina around the InterContinental Dubai Marina is exciting and lively but right at the far end of Dubai. The Festival city property on the creek has excellent management, staff, concierge, lounge, a good spa, and is, overall, the better choice of the two.
InterContinental Dubai Festival City (pictured above) offers excellent facilities; gym, pool, room and is close to the airport (closer to the airport than the Marina InterContinental), the old town, Deira and overlooks the creek. The location isn’t overly exciting with two hotels and a shopping mall in the vicinity, but remember, taxis are cheap if you want to get elsewhere!
Rooms at InterContinental Dubai Marina and Festival City are large, with a comfy king bed with good pillows. The bathrooms have a bathtub and walk-in shower, two sinks, and a separate room with a toilet and bidet. Book a Club Room or Club Suite, and you get an elegant and spacious room with a Nespresso machine and access to the club lounge.
The InterContinental Dubai Marina has a Club InterContinental executive lounge which is one of our favourite brands of club lounge. Just take a look at our review of the Club InterContinental in London!
The Marina lounge doesn’t match up to the London lounge but is still great and both InterContinental club lounges also feature in our best hotel club lounges in Dubai. T. Afternoon tea and happy hour have a good selection of nicely presented dishes with a good selection of alcohol during happy hour. There is a very nice and attentive service but no champagne and a prosecco offered instead.
At the InterContinental Festival City, the club lounge is nothing short of excellent and is located on the 26th floor, split into five large sections with seating for about 20-25 people in each. The Club offers the following food services:
- Breakfast served from 6:30 – 11:00 am
- Afternoon tea served from 3:00 – 5:00 pm
Cocktail hour with free drinks is from 6:00 – 9:00 pm daily. In addition to this, there is a paid bar available from 9:00 pm until the Club closes at 1:00 am.
The lounge staff at both InterContinentals are friendly, polite, very professional, and recognize regular guests as “usual guests”. The lounge at the InterContinental Festival City has a similar look to the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai club lounge and takes up all the crescent side of the 26th floor. Food offerings are great in the morning and evening.
Breakfast offers a selection of cold cuts, cheese, lots of fresh bread and croissants, and eggs cooked freshly so you can order omelets, Eggs Benedict, scrambled egg, etc. For drinks, there is fresh-squeezed orange juice, delicious tea (www.tchaba.com).
The afternoon tea is slightly disappointing. If you’re used to a layered tray of afternoon tea goodies along with a buffet, you will not get this here. You get a small basket of sandwiches and cakes.
Cocktail hour food is limited to tasters of hot savory food, aiming to showcase or upsell the hotel’s restaurants. It offers you a taste to help you choose where to dine in the evenings. Complimentary free-flowing Moet is reported at the InterContinental Festival City along with other alcoholic drinks, including an extensive wine offering (at both hotels).
Strangely, no dress code is enforced at either InterContinental hotel. Guests can turn up to the lounge in slippers and swimming trunks and are still let in.
The pool area at InterContinental Festival City is nice, with lots of palm trees and with maybe five or six separate (albeit some of them very small) pools split between the Intercontinental and Crowne Plaza sides. However, guests of both hotels appear free to use either.
The big pool on the Intercontinental side is perspex at the creek end of the pool, so those with goggles on can put their head under the water and see straight down about six stories to the promenade below. There are also shallow ledges where one can lie in a few inches of water, and are some mini-infinity pools with Jacuzzi jets. The pool tends to be busy, so be prepared for most of the sunbeds to be were taken.
The InterContinental Dubai Marina pool is not nearly as nice as the pool area at Festival City. Instead, you have one triangular urban pool surrounded by skyscrapers. In fact, depending on when you visit, the skyscrapers can block much, if not all, of the sun from around the pool. This can be a relief on hot days but a pain on colder days.
A nice touch is the loungers that sit in the shallows of the water. I always enjoy lounging on partially submerged loungers that you can immediately dip your toes into the water from, so these are great, but the rest of the pool area is not as impressive as the one at InterContinental Festival City.
The rest of the InterContinental Festival City is modern, with plenty of layers of terraces looking out over the creek, and perfect for alfresco eating and dining.
Both of these InterContinental hotels are good choices in Dubai. For cheaper rates, try the Crowne Plaza Festival City, which benefits from the same facilities as the InterContinental next door. If you can’t decide, try both, or maybe even consider somewhere else! The Hilton Dubai Creek is very good value and offers a free shuttle down to the Hilton J by the Palm for the beach. Or splurge and stay at The Address with the best hotel club lounge in Dubai.
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor.
Disclosure: Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.