‘1 room for Dh8,000 a night’: Some UAE hotels hike prices as floods leave residents stranded

There are also increasing accounts, on social media and online forums, of tourists and residents across the city having to pay inflated prices for taxis

By Rania Moussly

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Pedestrians struggle to walk in the flooded area on Al Ittihad road. — Photo by Shihab
Pedestrians struggle to walk in the flooded area on Al Ittihad road. — Photo by Shihab

Published: Thu 18 Apr 2024, 10:10 PM

Last updated: Fri 19 Apr 2024, 10:20 AM

Dubai tourists and some residents are now having to pay higher than usual for accommodation as some establishments hiked prices for hotel rooms after Tuesday’s record-level rainfall, which left some homes flooded and major roads closed.

As rescue and clean-up efforts continued across the city, residents whose homes have been affected by floods had to move into hotels, leaving some tourists and residents at odds.


"It’s a scary situation to be in, to be honest. I love Dubai and come here all the time. But I think it’s unethical for businesses to attempt to profit from people's hardship and it gives an otherwise great city a bad name. [Because] even if we want to leave to avoid the sky-rocketing prices, we can't at the moment," said Mona Ireland, 41, a former UAE resident who arrived in Dubai on holiday less than a week ago and booked a hotel in Motor City to be close to family.

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“I was thinking about extending my stay and checked with my hotel before the storm. I was told there was plenty of availability, and so an extension shouldn't be a problem,” she added. “The day before checkout (Wednesday), I spoke to reception, and they said the hotel is now fully booked due to the floods and people needing to move into hotels."

Having called around several hotels across the city, Ireland has been quoted anything from Dh1,000 to Dh8,000 a night for standard hotel rooms that would usually start at around Dh345 per night.

Alex Jackson, 35, and his friend, who are on holiday in Dubai from the UK, are waiting for their airline to confirm their flight before heading to the airport. “With no family in town and unable to afford the astronomical hotel prices for much longer, we are literally planning to sleep in the lobby until we can get out of town,” he said.

While hotels across the city and holding groups we contacted declined to comment, a hotel staffer, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “We know, everyone is suffering. However all the hotels have increased prices, so we must follow suit.”

The authorities urged people to stay home and refrain from travelling to the airport unless flights are confirmed by airlines. Tourists are being told that the airport, while still open, is operating only a limited number of flights.

There are also increasing accounts, on social media and online forums, of tourists and residents across the city having to pay inflated prices for taxis with some trips costing over Dh700 within the city.

Dubai’s community bands together

However, the community has banded together with home-grown business owners, and local initiatives across Dubai, going out of their way to help fellow residents.

Jeep Nation, a non-profit community of around 1,000 Jeep owners and outdoor enthusiasts, who usually spend their weekends in the UAE’s deserts or mountains, have made it their mission since Tuesday to drive around the city helping pull cars out of flooded areas, and get stranded people to safety.

“Some people have been stuck in their homes for a couple of days with no electricity, food or water, so we’re also delivering to any places our cars can take us,” said Saif Qadoumi from Jordan, president of Jeep Nation.

“The authorities are understandably overloaded and taking time to get to people as they’re busy with dangerous and severely flooded areas. So, we are trying to add that one per cent extra help to what is actually needed, doing what we can, where we can.”

Speaking from the Mudon community in Dubai South, one of Dubai’s more severally flooded residential areas, 34-year-old Qadoumi, a health and safety engineer by profession, along with 10 other cars are unofficially supporting Dubai’ Civil Defence with rescue efforts in the community, trying to get inflatable boats in to help evacuate stranded residents.

Over the past few days, around 200 Jeep owners have come together to extend help where possible across affected areas including Sheikh Zayed Road, Barsha South, Jumeriah Village Circle, Jumeirah Village Triangle, Al Khail Road and Al Quoz.

“It feels good to be honest, and a thank you from those who we help is more than enough,” he added. “The UAE and the pandemic taught us many things; mainly that people are for each other and working hand-in-hand helps us accomplish the impossible.”

Farrah Kadom, 40, an Iraqi-Canadian and owner of Blo Out Beauty Bar on Jumeirah Beach Road, close to Al Manara, an area of the city that has experienced heavy road floods, personally drove a client home at the height of Tuesday’s storm. “I was leaving from work, and she had been waiting for more than two hours for an Uber that never came,” said Kadom.

“On my way home to JLT, I dropped her off in Barsha and found another two ladies stranded in a flooded street with not even an umbrella, so I also dropped them off at the mall.” Delaying her own journey home by several hours to help others in need, Kadom added: “It’s just the decent thing to do, because if I was in that situation, I would want someone to do the same for me.”

Homegrown F&B establishments are also taking to their social media pages to publicly offer assistance in some of the city’s most affected communities across Business Bay, Financial Centre, Al Manara, Al Bada, Warqa 2, Barsha South 2, Meadows, Green Community and Dubai Investment Park. While garages across the city also take to social media to offer free auto repairs for cars damaged in the floods.

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