Dining Alone at the Media One Hotel

Last Tuesday I took off for Dubai to attend the two-day Digimedia.me Conference which dealt with social-networking media and internet marketing. Dubai is about 120 kilometers north of Abu Dhabi, but there are only limited transportation options to get there. Most people drive, but Beth and I don’t own a car. Some take a taxi, but the fare would have been close to $100. The final option is the Abu Dhabi-Dubai Express Bus. It leaves every 30 minutes from the main Abu Dhabi bus station and only costs UAD 15 (about $4), so it’s an amazing deal. Experiences riders know that you can ask the bus driver to let you off at any major intersection, not just the main bus station in Dubai. I, of course, wasn’t aware of that wonderful advantage, so I road all the way across Dubai and got off at the bus station with everyone else. From there, I got to take a UAD 60 cab ride back to my hotel. Ironic, huh? $4 to go 120 km, but $16 to drive across town. Still, a very affordable way to travel.

Upon arriving at the Media One Hotel, I was treated like royalty. Sue, the front-desk manager welcomed me by name, before I’d even introduced myself. I’m not even sure how that was possible. I’m sure it was all standard hotel procedure, but it certainly made me feel special. They even put me in one of their “best rooms” on the 18th Floor with an ocean view. A young man named Kennedy was nice enough to show me to my room and give me a tour of all the features inside.

The hotel was fairly swanky, so I wanted to make a good impression when I went to eat in the main restaurant. I figured since I’d be all alone, that I’d shower and change into nicer clothes so I wouldn’t look like a weary traveler who’d just got off a bus. I also wanted to kill a little time since I knew that people tend to eat later in the UAE and I wanted to eat in an empty restaurant.

For those of you who follow my status updates on Facebook, you know how this story ends… I got to the restaurant around 8:30pm and didn’t see anyone sitting directly inside. The hostess, however, asked me if I wanted to sit inside or outdoors. It was a pleasantly cool evening, so I assumed everyone was outside. I went for a table on the terrace and the hostess guided me through the restaurant. There was not a single soul inside.

“Ok,” I’m thinking. “Everyone must be outside.” Nope. When we step outside, there’s still not a single person in sight. I actually asked the hostess about how quiet it was and she offered the slightly embarrassed response that things might pick up later in the evening.

I felt like the world’s biggest loser, and in my own spirit of self deprecation, live-blogged the whole thing online. I got several friends offering mournful comments and offering to fly to Dubai in order to keep me company. My sister even jokingly offered to abandon her newborn baby and come for a visit.

The truly hysterical part of this story is that the exact same thing happened the next day. On Tuesday night when I arrived, the hotel was sponsoring “Ladies Night” in the lobby bar. That same location also serves food, so I thought I’d try it out on Wednesday when it wasn’t totally swamped with people. Of course, much to my chagrin, I found it totally empty as well when I came down for dinner. You can see the shorter transcription of those events online as well.

If you’re planning to come to Dubai and need a place to stay, I would recommend the Media One Hotel, but I’d definitely suggest you bring a friend if you plan to eat dinner here. For just over $100 a night you can stay in a beautiful new hotel located in the heart of Dubai’s Media City. It’s only a short cab ride to both the Mall of the Emirates and the Dubai Mall where you’ll find my of Dubai’s biggest attractions.

  • Hip Room at Media One Hotel
  • Hip Room at Media One Hotel
  • Bathroom in My Room at Media One Hotel

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