This is part 2 of my review of the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah hotel. Part 1, which focuses on the rooms, restaurant and location, is here (click).
Whilst the hotel looks large from the photographs, the main building runs right to the edge of the plot on both sides. At beach level you can walk from one side to the other in a minute. If you were planning to stay here for a week without leaving you might get a little bored with the lack of variety.
There are two pools (three if you count the jacuzzi sized baby pool). This is main one, which is the focal point of the resort:
There are only sun loungers on one side, facing the beach. That said, there are also plenty of loungers on the beach and I never struggled to find something. The staff were not hugely proactive – they did not make up your lounger for you or bring you an ice bucket filled with bottled water, for example, which is standard at Jumeirah properties.
This was the coolest thing about the entire hotel:
There are a number of over-water dining tables hanging over the pool, next to the beach restaurant. I have never seen this before and found it an impressive novelty.
Here is the beach / pool restaurant where I ate twice:
In front of the pool is the beach. I liked this – it is very wide and the loungers do not go up to the edge so you won’t be disturbed by any children playing.
Looking behind you:
I was not hugely impressed on Thursday morning to find an abandoned water bottle and cigarette by my loungers, however. This had almost certainly been there overnight which means that the staff had not cleaned the beach.
Tucked away in a corner is a tennis court. The brown building behind is (I think) the District Cooling system which blights the view from a handful of rooms.
Here is the adults-only pool:
Whilst the main pool had a lifeguard, the hotel is generally fairly low key. If Jumeirah was running this hotel there would literally be 3-4x as many on duty, although I do find that a little OTT at times.
Overall, I was perfectly happy to spend an afternoon and a morning on the beach.
I should add that the staff here are very good. I am a low maintenance guest but I overheard enough conversations between staff and guests to realise that they were genuinely interested in you and keen to help.
Should you stay at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai?
A good question, with no easy answer. Whilst there is a small kids club, I think the Waldorf Astoria Dubai is best suited for couples who want a short break with few plans outside the resort.
That said, if money is no object then you should have a better experience at the Four Seasons, Madinat Jumeirah (more family friendly, although the new Al Naseem wing has a large adults-only pool) or one of the two One & Only resorts.
Assuming that you are OK being on the Palm, you should also look at Jumeirah’s Zabeel Saray resort which I reviewed last year. It is more family oriented than the Waldorf but the quality is just as high.
If you have kids, the obvious choices remain either Atlantis or one of the Jumeirah / Madinat resorts because of the free water park access. A family of four will pay £200 to get into Wild Wadi so the benefit of unlimited free water park access should not be understated.
Here’s a quick video
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