ColumnistDubai Dates

Not a ’Taj’ but certainly a ‘Crown’

For a small entrepreneur, budget travelling on a international trip is a must. But if that budget accommodation is coupled with a home-like service and care, then that stay becomes a home away from home.

I stumbled upon the London Crown – 2, property near Bur Juman, accidentally on the Booking.com portal on my last visit to Dubai in January and discovered that the General Manager of the property, Pravin Nanda – is an Indian from a family with roots in Indian politics that the family has long chosen to forget.

Pravin’s timely intervention at a time of my accommodation concern in Dubai and his statement that I am always here to help a guest, especially a fellow Indian, touched me because of its simple kindness.

So when I decided to travel to Dubai in March, I of course without fail booked the London Crown – 2 on the web portal and got my studio apartment at a fantastic rate – that I would get at a good 3-star hotel in any one of the Indian metros.

Me coming back to the hotel was like a home coming, with Pravin and other colleagues glad to see me. So while Janice the receptionist was busy with the formalities with my check-in process, Pravin and I indulged in a friendly banter of the political situation back home in India.

Let me be honest, the hotel is not grand – a phenomenon that is so associated with Dubai hotels. It is simple. The rooms are decently sized when compared to hotel rooms in India, clean and comforting. Of course it could do with a bit of an refurbishment but what it lacks in its aesthetics, it makes up for in its homely atmosphere.

When the Pravin and hotel staff learned that I was suffering from a food poisoning due to some Korean food I had consumed at the Bur Juman Food Court, they were concerned and even offered to take me to a doctor and hospital. I, of course declined because I realised that I needed to just self-heal over two days and I would be fine. But their concern for me really made me feel good, especially when I was away from my home and away from my wife and my daughters, who would be fusing over me, if had fallen sick in India.

I think London Crown – 2 is less about its structure, more about its people. Whether it was Akbar – the housekeeping supervisor – who took my clothes stained with throw-up due to the food poisoning or Gagan – the Darjeeling housekeeping boy – who makes sure my things in the room are clean and kept in their original place.; whether it was Aaron – the waitress who bills me for my breakfast or Mercy – the receptionist who ensured that the housekeeping delivers towels to my room which they forgot to keep in the first place, when I happen to be in the tub; whether it was Aslam – the bell-boy with a big body and even bigger heart for hospitality or Sabeer – room service man. I remember all of them, because the experience of dealing with each of them have been memorable. It had brought a smile to my face and sometimes a little bit of irritation and thats because I am a fussy customer.

Not to forget our Vasco boy Sherwin Touro – he is on top of his job learning the ropes of hospitality. Always helpful and always courteous.

The London Crown 2 ship is captained by Pravin Nanda from whom charm and hospitality just oozes. He is a wonderful conversationalist and diehard Indian to the core.

The breakfast is decent and basic if not lavish, quite reasonable for its price. But I hope they add it as part of the room rate.

If you were to order food from room-service. Let me tell you the servings for a single person can serve two people. The food is fresh and tasty but don’t expect to get everything on their menu especially continental not much choice there but the Indian fare is quite good. I suppose the logic is that most people don’t stay at an apartment hotel to savour gourmet classics but want to explore the food delights in Dubai and then come back to the room to sleep.

I recommend the hotel for any and every Indian who is a budget traveller on business or on leisure to stay at the hotel. It is easy on the pocket and were hospitable.

I personally have decided to make this my Dubai haunt on my travels.

Savio Rodrigues

Savio Rodrigues Founder & Editor-in-Chief GoaChronicle.com

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