With much reported in recent months about the demise of spotting opportunities at the previously excellent Grand Excelsior (formerly Sheraton Deira) hotel in Dubai, the new Premier Inn Dubai Airport hotel could just prove to be the saviour of spotting in the UAE.
Many spotters have reported the rooftop terrace at the Grand Excelsior is now used as a nightclub area, and spotters are actively discouraged from logging and photographing aircraft by many of the staff – stating it is not allowed by law (a rule imposed on the hotel, in their defence). It seemed the best spotting location in Dubai could be at risk.
However, the new Premier Inn situated next to the airport has proved to be a more than suitable replacement.
This hotel is located alongside Terminal 3 at the airport and, like the Grand Excelsior, has a rooftop pool and terrace area.
From here, views of aircraft manoeuvring around the terminals can be seen quite easily, and even photographed on the ground – something that hasn’t existed at Dubai before.
Paul Moiser – a regular Dubai spotter – recently visited and provided the photographs in this report to demonstrate the views possible. When describing the views from the Premier Inn Dubai Airport, he said:
“On arrival at the Premier Inn I was allocated as per my request for an airport view and I was given room 412. The room is a decent size with one large bed and a small sofa in the corner next to the window. There’s everything you need in the room from a mini-bar to to a kettle and work desk etc as well as free wifi. The views from this room are excellent! You can see the approach to runway 30L and departures can easily be seen as they roll-out in between a large gap between the terminals. With my scope I’ve been able to read off those taxiing out as well as the movements taxiing in to the gates facing the hotel. Also directly outside this room there’s a large window which offers views looking further down the terminal. Again those parked on these gates can easily be read off. From this window you can also see climb-outs, so if you miss anything rolling in between the large gap between the terminals all you have to do is leave your room and you will see what you’ve missed climbing out.”
Of the rooftop pool area Paul writes:
“You can see a few gates on Terminal 3. Arrivals can also be seen. Departures can be seen once airborne. For the best views base yourself at the furthest end of the pool where you can monitor all movements. SBS/FR24 is required for arrivals, some departures are readable on climb-out with a good scope-bins. Those parked on the gates directly facing the hotel can easily be read off. The free wifi works fine on the roof also. The staff here have been very pleasant, the lads that I’ve seen working today have seen me using my scope and camera and they’ve said nothing apart from wishing me a good afternoon.
“There’s a decent size pub which serves food. I ate here this afternoon and then this evening I went back down and enjoyed a couple of cold beers. There’s also a 24hr Starbucks adjacent to the pub which has an outdoor seating area. From here you can see departures, and you can also see the large gap between the terminals. Arrivals can also be seen.”
Here’s an idea of what the room windows are like, and the view from room 412:
The Premier Inn Dubai Airport can be booked through their website [Click Here]
If you’re still planning to use the Grand Excelsior, spotting is still possible if you’re very discreet. Aircraft passing overhead can usually be read off by eye. Photography and binoculars should not be used. It has been reported, however, that it’s possible to obtain a letter from the Dubai Airport CID which approves plane spotting from the hotel.