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Review: the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah hotel (Part 2)

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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).

The beach

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.

If money is a concern, think about why you aren’t considering the Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah instead, which I reviewed here?

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.

(Remember that Atlantis is a British Airways Executive Club partner and you can often find special BAEC promotions on this page.)

Here’s a quick video

To give you a better feel for the resort, here is a short video I made.  If you can’t see it, click here to watch it at YouTube.  You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel via that link.

The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah website is here if you want to find out more.

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Comments (22)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Geoggy says:

    We did 5 nights here in 2016.

    The room was lovely, the lounge was one of the best we’ve been in, but I wouldn’t stay here again.

    It took us an hour to get back to the hotel once from the start of the Palm.

    Also you didn’t mention the constant construction noise on what felt like all sides?

    Maybe they finished?

    The on site food prices were obscene. We are in the hotel next door one night just to save paying £35 quid for the house white.

    We ended up complaining about the construction noise and got some be my guests certificates out of it.

    I think you’ve been very generous with this review Rob – we found the WA leagues behind Jumeirah.

    • Jake says:

      Would Hilton Jumeriah Beach be a better choice (Theres two, a normal one and a Double Tree one?)

      Im worried that travelling to and from palm to downtown would be a mission by taxi?

      • Amit says:

        I rebooked to the doubletree after previously going for the WA – suites is King with a little one

    • Rob says:

      No construction at the moment, but there is still an empty plot on one side which will be filled at some point.

  • Pauk says:

    We stayed in December and got treated like Royalty (I’m only Hilton Gold). Free upgrade to a suite which was over 1100 sq ft with a huge terrace. The lounge was the best i’ve experienced and would def recommend paying the extra for as agree hotel prices are very expensive. Staff could not do enough for us (especially in the lounge).

    Agree with your comments about location that it is best for a couple that just to want to relax as it does take time to get off the Palm but with the JBR fast becoming the place to be in Dubai for bars and restaurants it isn’t too much effort or cost (with Uber) to go for dinner and drinks there.

  • Nate says:

    Nice review. Stayed on the Palm a few times and definitely agree location is a big problem if you’re planning to travel around Dubai.

    One hotel which is often overlooked is the Ritz-Carlton in JBR. Excellent service with amazing grounds and multiple pools. The main selling point IMO is the fact it’s located on JBR – multiple shops/restaurants are all within walking distance saving money and time in taking taxis. It’s great for taking the children for a walk but equally it’s lively at night so enough to keep adults entertained too.

    • simon says:

      We stayed at the Waldorf last Feb with our 2 young kids and enjoyed it very much. Location was an issue though. Checking in to the Ritz Carlton tomorrow for a week, where we have stayed before. I think it is a better quality hotel and as you say, the location is brilliant. Surprised Rob didnt mention it. The Atlantis is a circus. Cant imagine staying there. The lure of “free” waterslides isnt enough of a reason!

    • Jake says:

      Was breakfast good?

      • Nate says:

        Breakfast at ritz? I thought buffet was great. For me better than jumeirah/Waldorf but not quite as good as Four Seasons.

  • Rashad says:

    Reading your review leaves an impression that you were not impressed at all. And although your room looks good, for the money spent there I could stay in much better better by standards Dubai/RAK or even Ajman hotels.

  • Davide says:

    Anyone got any experience of the Conrad Dubai and how they treat diamond/gold?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      It’s definitely not a resort hotel, but enjoyed it for an extended weekend break in Dubai. Good location on the main road and right next to the metro station. Despite Dubai’s reputation as a taxi city we ended up using the metro quite a bit when out and about. Fairly lacklustre upgrade to an exec king as Diamond having booked standard king, but room was nicely appointed if a touch on the small side. No stuffed animal. Fabulous breakfast buffet in the main restaurant and open until 11, which is unusually late outside a resort hotel. Strong offering in the exec lounge with a good selection of drinks, extensive high-quality canapes (leftovers from the restaurant lunch buffet I think) and attentive service. Pool was fine and not too busy, but probably not up to scratch if you’re planning a poolside holiday. Definitely would consider returning if I was planning to be out and about in the city, rather than by the beach.

      • Davide says:

        Thanks for the info. I am mainly planning a city trip with a visit to the beech if time. This sounds like it ticks a lot of boxes for me as the Exec Lounge sounds like it can be used for dinner.

  • Marcw says:

    I think I’d rather stay in an Ibis and spend the difference in something else. To me this hotel looks like a waste of money (or down the sink). lol

  • Lee says:

    Need some suggestions.
    We’ve booked two nights in WA Palm for two nights over Easter weekend with free Hilton certificates. Also have 3 SPG cat 1-5 free night cert to use, currently booked for Sheraton Mall of Emirates due to lack of choice. Since the cat change from 6th Mar, Grosvenor House, Le Royal Méridien and W Dubai Al Habtoor City all dropped to cat 5, could anyone recommended one for a family of 3 with a 9 yrs boy? I’m spg platinum if that helps. Thanks!

  • Pete says:

    Just got back from here. Wouldnt go back as wasnt a patch on other hotels. (Zabeel Saray etc) Lobby and room nice but i found it a bit sterile. Lacked character and found the gardens / pool area to be poorly kept.

    Couple of gripes were the queue at the egg station for breakfast. I understand that some people like their eggs cooked to order although some (me!!) Like to just walk up – open the lid and take scrambled / fried eggs. There were lots of guests milling around the counter and no one really knew who was queuing or had been served. Not even busy season either. So stop guarding the eggs Waldorf!

    Second gripe was the beer in the pool bar. If the menu says a ‘pint’ then serve me a pint. Not 500ml and froth but a full 568ml ie to the top of the glass. At £13 per pint is this too much to ask?

    • Cate says:

      Interesting you mentioned breakfasts as I’ve been putting some serious thought into starting a hotel breakfast blog just for this purpose. I travel around a lot at weekends when able as LGW is just up the road and have to keep a record of hotels visited because MrCate can get the right hump if breakfast isn’t up to scratch.

      At £13 per pint is this too much to ask? – ouch nasty….

      • ankomonkey says:

        Hotel breakfasts are a highlight of my life…

        • Cate says:

          I agree. A hotel stay can be really enhanced if the anticipated breakfast spread actually delivers 🙂

      • Pete says:

        Yes me too. My favourite meal of the day – hence the egg rant 🙂

        Just a shame – as mentioned more than once in this thread about falling short of Jumeirah group.

        In fact I stayed at a RIU hotel in Gran Canaria last year which was way better than the WA.

        • Cate says:

          Your egg rant is justified. Some years ago we stayed at an obscure airport hotel in Edinburgh with breakfast cooked to order. The breakfast picture looked delicious and so well presented that we were eagerly looking forward to the feast.

          But when breakfast arrived the scrambled egg was in the shape of a solid rectangular brick. I swear you could cut yourself on the corners. I queried this with the waitress – gesturing to the lovely breakfast picture. She went on to tell us they came precooked in individual sachets and after reheating them in the microwave they squeezed them onto the plate. Classy that 😉

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