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Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai [Master Thread]

Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai [Master Thread]

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Old Jan 26, 19, 8:16 am   -   Wikipost
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Old Dec 28, 18, 6:48 pm
  #406  
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Originally Posted by dimon84 View Post
Could you please share where do you find 700-800 usd per night? I have done 20 random dates for 2019 all come up with 1100 usd at least on mariott and expedia. Maybe was not lucky with the dates tried.
have sent you a pm....
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Old Dec 28, 18, 7:21 pm
  #407  
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Originally Posted by bhrubin View Post


Not much different than any luxury resort in a remote location. Again, still perfectly fair and reasonable for anyone who wants to stay at a 5 star luxury property.


It is definitely not a 5 star luxury property, when comparing the true 5 star luxury properties. In fact the property is kind of run down, and the plunge pool is often dirty...

One has not really seen the true 5 star luxury properties if one thinks Al Maha is a 5 star luxury property. Even within the Marriott family, the properties at Venice certainly far better than Al Maha in every respect and truly luxury.

The properties on Crete and Sardina also are the true 5 star and luxury properties. Some resorts in Marriott family in Asia Pacific are true 5 star and luxury properties.

Al Maha got its hype thanks to the bloggers before when it had "sale" to 39K SPG pts, and of course at the current 60K Marriott pts.

The remote location is not that remote either - any place can be reached by a taxi with just $100 or less one way, is not a remote place, lol. One can easily self-drive to the property without much of an issue.

The problem with this property is, the guests are captive. So the meal plan becomes all that important. At the cash rates they charge, the meal plan is grossly overpriced when one can get far superior meals at far superior venues in Dubai.

Being able to eat while staring at the Oryx and Gazelles hardly justify the overprices but of course one can always claim that is superb value for the pts one paid... so to tell self that one is getting superb value of the points...

I think those who reported back of their recent stays summed it up pretty well - upthread there are at least 2 posters who just returned from their stays, both feel that it is at most a $500 to $700 value even when the meals are included, at 60K pts cost, i.e. 1c per pt value... hardly anything amazing.

To me, how much it retails at, i.e. over $1K, does not mean I am getting $1K value for my 60K pts as the retail prices vary a lot by season and other factors. Seriously if someone is gunhold to go, and the point redemption unfortunately does not incl the meal plan, then he would do better to book a Cash Rate instead.

But of course many think the opposite.

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Old Dec 28, 18, 7:31 pm
  #408  
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Originally Posted by EuropeanPete View Post
I’m not going to keep repeating myself, but from your response it’s clear that you’re still missing something.

The points vs. cash comparisons with other expensive ex-Starwood resorts are not in any way valid because none of them are all inclusive resorts.

It is never more expensive in cash to book the St Regis Maldives on points because your cash is simply substituted for points. Comparisons between other Starwood resorts, other options etc are irrelevant - there is no situation where paying $800 plus 60,000 a night is preferable to paying $700 a night. I appreciate you naturally tend towards unusually colourful language in discussions, but I don’t see how this is either “wildly unfair” or “ridiculous”.

I’m going to leave this here. I don’t really understand how this could possibly be a disagreement and of course if you prefer to use points under any circumstances, then that is entirely up to you. Our discussion will have ensured nobody else does without weighing up the options.
Even paying $1K is still smarter than paying $800 + 60K pts assuming the pt worth at least 0.7 cent per pt - that would be $800 + $420 = $1,220 total cost to get the same thing as paying $1,000 a night - why would be meal plan + points is preferred no matter what?

I am with you, there is no reason to pay the meals with the rates quoted + 60K pts and claim that people who are not happy with that are just not being able to afford the cash rates.
It is such a basic simple math. Using the other resorts as comparison is simply without any merit.
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Old Dec 28, 18, 8:34 pm
  #409  
 
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Alternative Food Options?

I was wondering if anyone has ever driven out of the property during the daytime? I saw on Google Maps there is 1 or 2 restaurants 18 and 23 minutes away and since I was going to drive there from DXB I was thinking I might just get dinner or lunch out 1 or 2 of my 3 nights there to cut the Board costs down. I find their prices to be a little high.

Is this doable?

If not looks like I am going to cancel

thks
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Old Dec 28, 18, 8:37 pm
  #410  
 
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Originally Posted by bailey911 View Post
I was wondering if anyone has ever driven out of the property during the daytime? I saw on Google Maps there is 1 or 2 restaurants 18 and 23 minutes away and since I was going to drive there from DXB I was thinking I might just get dinner or lunch out 1 or 2 of my 3 nights there to cut the Board costs down. I find their prices to be a little high.

Is this doable?

If not looks like I am going to cancel

thks
Guys, as someone who stayed here recently on the full board plan, neither the property nor the location are so spectacular to warrant jumping through all these hoops to stay there.
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Old Dec 29, 18, 2:59 am
  #411  
 
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Just reached hotel. The person who is checking us in referred to my points reservation made prior to the migration as 'full board' repeatedly. So far so good. I hope this serves to reassure others in the same boat.

I am going to focus on my vacation for now but will share further thoughts after departure.
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Old Dec 29, 18, 7:17 pm
  #412  
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Originally Posted by abcx View Post
Guys, as someone who stayed here recently on the full board plan, neither the property nor the location are so spectacular to warrant jumping through all these hoops to stay there.
Totally agree.

Unfortunately some people may have their flights arranged before learning about the bad news. If their flight arrangements cannot be changed or would cost them a bundle to change, then they have to make lemonade out of this lemon.
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Old Dec 29, 18, 8:16 pm
  #413  
 
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The TripAdvisor critics continue to pile up. Hotel rank has dropped from top 10 in Dubai to number 23.
And yes, I was one of those who had flights arranged before they changed my reservation.
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Old Dec 29, 18, 9:10 pm
  #414  
 
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After a few back and forth emails, reservations finally agreed to honor the food+activities inclusion for 2 people for me.

I booked my reservation for 3 people on the Marriott website on Dec 13. I am certain that the terms still said it was all-inclusive when I made my booking. I specifically read the rate details multiple times because I saw the extra-person fee they were charging, which is technically not allowed under the Marriott Rewards T&Cs. I was expecting to have to fight to have the extra-person fee waived, so I took a screenshot of the Marriott T&Cs but didn't think to screenshot the rate details. I was able to fight for the all-inclusive rate, but they wouldn't budge on the extra-person fee.

If you try to book 3 people online now, you will see that it shows no availability. It's likely they made the update to the rate details at the same time they restricted online reservations to 2 people. My friend tried to book on Dec 18 and, while we didn't read the rate details at that point, the inventory had already been updated to only allow reservations for two people. That means they likely updated the rate details some time between 12/13 and 12/18.

If we can figure out the exact day the room inventory was updated in the booking system, it may help people push back if they know their reservation was made before the change for the rate details was made on Marriott's website.
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Old Dec 29, 18, 9:29 pm
  #415  
 
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They have always had a 3rd person surcharge on points. Was thinking about booking before devaluation and they said kids have to pay surcharge. Reasonable as included food and activities.

Not Reasonable now if food etc separate
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Old Dec 30, 18, 9:22 am
  #416  
 
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Originally Posted by SHLTP View Post
They have always had a 3rd person surcharge on points. Was thinking about booking before devaluation and they said kids have to pay surcharge. Reasonable as included food and activities.

Not Reasonable now if food etc separate
They have always had a surcharge, but they have not always been a Marriott property. SPG's T&Cs may have allowed extra-person fees on award bookings, but Marriott's do not. Marriott's T&Cs were updated after the SPG acquisition and they made exceptions for two SPG properties, and Al Maha was not one of them. But Marriott is so lax on enforcement that it doesn't matter and it turns out even Marriott properties are charging extra-person fees.

3.2.e. When redeeming Points for an Award Redemption Stay, the Award Redemption Stay includes the cost of a single or double standard room at a Participating Property, room tax/service charge, and extra-person charges, if any. All other charges, including incidentals, resort fees and The Ritz-Carlton Club level charges, are the responsibility of the Member and are not included in the Award Redemption Stay.

i. Standard rooms vary between Participating Properties and Participating Brands. Upgraded rooms, including upgrades based on size, view, services, and/or suites, are available at a higher Points cost, as described in Section 3.3.

ii. With an Award Redemption Stay, bedding and smoking preferences may be requested, but are not guaranteed.

iii. At the following all-inclusive properties, the Points redeemed for an Award Redemption Stay include the cost of up to two people in the standard room and room tax. Extra-person charges for the third, fourth, or more guests in the room is an additional fee and is not included in the Award Redemption as form of payment. This fee as well as all other property charges are the responsibility of the Loyalty Program Member and are not included in the Award Redemption Stay.

The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal, Costa Rica • Sheraton Bijao Beach Resort, Panama
I don't know if the surcharge now will still include room and board, as the price has not changed from before. I'm awaiting an answer from the property about it. I agree that it'd be unreasonable for them to continue charging 1600 AED/night for the extra-person if they aren't including the food/activities. I personally don't think the included food/activities is "worth" 1600 AED/night anyways so my friends and I are still deciding what we want to do.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 10:11 am
  #417  
 
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Update

In the end they did confirm by email that I will be getting the full board and 2 activities. I made my booking on Dec 14th for a Feb stay. They did say any changes will result in the booking reverting to a room only basis.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 10:46 am
  #418  
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Originally Posted by bailey911 View Post
In the end they did confirm by email that I will be getting the full board and 2 activities. I made my booking on Dec 14th for a Feb stay. They did say any changes will result in the booking reverting to a room only basis.
Congrats. Did you get this done with the regular reservations team? After 2 ‘no’ answers by email last week I asked on Friday to escalate to the GM and am still waiting for a response (he may not be on over the weekend). I didn’t feel like the reservations staff was going to budge but I do now see you and one other person here seemingly have success with simple persistence with Reservations.

I made my booking on Dec 12.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 11:06 am
  #419  
 
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Originally Posted by MilesTalk View Post


Congrats. Did you get this done with the regular reservations team? After 2 ‘no’ answers by email last week I asked on Friday to escalate to the GM and am still waiting for a response (he may not be on over the weekend). I didn’t feel like the reservations staff was going to budge but I do now see you and one other person here seemingly have success with simple persistence with Reservations.

I made my booking on Dec 12.
I called them at the property and they said they will check with the GM. 3 days later I got an email with the confirmation.
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Old Dec 30, 18, 1:11 pm
  #420  
 
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Originally Posted by MilesTalk View Post


Congrats. Did you get this done with the regular reservations team? After 2 ‘no’ answers by email last week I asked on Friday to escalate to the GM and am still waiting for a response (he may not be on over the weekend). I didn’t feel like the reservations staff was going to budge but I do now see you and one other person here seemingly have success with simple persistence with Reservations.

I made my booking on Dec 12.
For mine, I did it through several emails with Reservations. You made your reservation before mine so it was definitely still all-inclusive when you completed your booking.
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