With the IPL being played in the UAE this year, and with the need to keep the franchises safely contained within a bio-secure bubble to contain the risk of transmission of Covid-19, eight hotels have been carefully selected as the home away for home for the eight teams, for nearly three months.
Here they must stay within specially designated areas for the duration of the tournament, and, according to the BCCI’s Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) they are only allowed to leave the hotel to attend training or play matches.
Naturally then, the teams have gone to great lengths to ensure that the players are housed in as luxurious a manner possible, given that they are virtual prisoners for much of their time.
Before though examining where they are all staying, it is important to understand something of the geography of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Geography of UAE
Although it is a sovereign state, the UAE is actually a federation of seven separate emirates (or kingdoms) – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain.
Six of them are congregated close together on a peninsula between the Persian Gulf, and the Gulf of Oman, whilst the seventh, and capital, Abu Dhabi, lies some 65 miles to the south.
Matches are being played in the three largest Emirates – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah – but although the distances between the separate Emirates are small (Dubai and Sharjah are contiguous to each other), the travelling time involved should not be underestimated.
A journey between Dubai and Sharjah can take up to four hours during peak times, even though they are only 12 miles apart, due to the sheer weight of traffic congestion, and the lack of viable public transport alternatives.
That is one reason why no teams are staying in Sharjah this year – for some players, the fact that it is a “dry” state may be another.
Instead the eight teams are staying in top of the range hotels in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Mumbai Indians: St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi
Located on Saadiyat Island, just seven minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi, this hotel is located in a world-class resort, business, and cultural hub (a Middle East extension of the world-famous Louvre art gallery is situated nearby).
The five-star resort comes with its own private beach and has five pools including a 23-metre indoor lap pool. Its Iridium spa has twelve treatment rooms and guests can play tennis or golf on the adjoining course. They can also browse in the hotel’s shopping boutiques.
There are six restaurants, with diners offered a choice between Mediterranean, South-East Asian, and Modern Greek cuisine as well as buffet options.
All rooms have a private balcony, and en suite bathrooms with a tub. Rain shower and a full range of toiletries provided.
Kolkata Knight Riders: The Ritz-Carlton, Abu Dhabi
This hotel has a unique design, consisting of 10-Venetian style buildings which encircle one of the largest outdoor pools in Abu Dhabi.
Guests have an option of places where they can stay, ranging from traditional rooms, to suites, villa, and private residences. All offer spacious accommodation and views either of the Grand Mosque, the beach, or the attractive gardens.
Diners have a choice of casual al fresco meals or more traditional meals in one of the resort’s restaurants, with the choice on offer including South-East Asia, Lebanese and Gulf, and Mediterranean cuisine, as well as a steakhouse.
Set along the beachfront, the 21,500 square foot spa includes 16 treatment rooms offering everything from plunge pools, massage options and a traditional hammam.
In terms of other leisure activities, the pool is one of the resort’s main attractions. However, those who prefer retail therapy can shop in the hotel’s boutiques and luxury shops, where they can find handcrafted textiles, and jewellery.
In season, the hotel also puts on special events, like opera performances at sunset.
Chennai Super Kings: Taj Hotels, Dubai
Set in the middle of the Burj Khalifa precinct, this hotel offers a contrast in styles with a mixture of the traditional and the modern.
It has a total of 296 rooms and suites, with the interiors decorated with Indian art and more traditional influences, whilst guest can choose between Thai, Indian, or Italian cuisine.
The hotel boasts a state-of-the-art spa and fitness centre, and there is a large outdoor pool. Rooms all offer uninterrupted views of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Waldorf Astoria, Dubai
Rated amongst the top 25 hotels in the Middle East, this hotel offers a private soft-sand beach, six separate and distinct restaurants, and sea-facing guest rooms and suites.
It has two temperature-controlled pools, and a spa with up to 50 different treatments, whilst the leisure facilities on offer including snorkelling, paddle-boarding, wind sailing and deep see fishing.
Dining options include a Michelin starred Italian chef, Vietnamese food, and Californian dining.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai
Sited on a private beach, the Ritz Carlton promises its guess seclusion from the busy city that surrounds them. Designed to copy the low-rise buildings of the Mediterranean, the hotel features guest rooms, and suites, all of them sea-facing.
The spa has 12 treatment rooms, a hammam and an Arabian Falls facility where trained therapists will offer specialist treatments using rosewater, Dead Sea salt, and the milk from camels.
There are nine restaurants where diners can choose between seafood, Italian and Asian cuisine, as well as authentic local Arabian dishes.
Guests can partake in a range of leisure activities including an extensive range of water sports, access to local golf courses, sunrise yoga and birdwatching.
For those that prefer a more sedentary life, the hotel also has a range of luxury shops to browse, where a selection of local artefacts is available.
Kings XI Punjab: Sofitel, Dubai
The Sofitel, Dubai is a luxury 5-star hotel situated on the East Crescent of the Palm Jumeirah. Although situated close to downtown, it offers an escape from the demands and stresses of the modern world and is themed to recreate the French Polynesian style of the South Pacific.
Like all Sofitel hotels, it has been designed in such a way as to combine the best of local culture and tradition with French joie de vivre.
The rooms all feature onyx, stone, and exotic dark wood, with private balconies that offer relaxing views of the surrounding gardens or the Arabian Gulf.
The result has 12 restaurants, bars, and lounges, offering the best of cuisine from almost every corner of the world – Europe, Asia, the Gulf, the Americas, and Polynesia.
Guests can also avail themselves of a wide range of spa and fitness options, and there is also the chance to partake in a variety of water ports.
Delhi Capitals: Palace Downtown, Dubai
Located on Old Town Island, the Palace Downtown is conveniently located near to the business district, and a number of the city’s world class malls are situated nearby.
Nestled amongst palm trees and facing a lake, this hotel combines the charm of a Middle Eastern place with the sophistication of a modern boutique hotel.
Guests have the choice of a range of leisure activities, including access to local golf courses, as well
Visitors have a choice of dining options in the evening, including a steakhouse and an Arabic and Asian restaurant, and they can avail themselves of the spa, whose facilities include Jacuzzis, hammam slabs, steam rooms, monsoon showers and a relaxation lounge.
There are 242 hotel guest bedrooms, including 81 luxury suites, with a choice of seven design styles, all of them featuring Middle Eastern themes.
All rooms have a private balcony, with a view either of the Dubai Fountain, the Old Town, or the Burj Lake.
Rajasthan Royals: One & Only The Palm, Dubai
A newly built luxury resort which offers guests the choice of arrival either by limousine, or by boat which then moors a private marina. Located in a lush landscape, this low-rise development combines Moorish and Andalusian architecture, and modern, chic interiors,
A boutique hotel that has just 91 rooms and 4 villas, guests can avail themselves of facilities like an 850 m2 pool, 450 meters of private beach front, and an all-in-one spa and fitness centre.
Within walking distance of the hotel there is a choice of restaurants – Indian, French, Mediterranean and Lebanese – and all guests receive a complimentary ticket to the Aqua venture Waterpark.