Dubai hotel update part 1: back at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah

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This is an update on the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah following my brief return visit.

I was in Dubai for 36 hours this week, a trip which was heavily disrupted by the Curve / Amex news breaking.  I will run a few lounge and flight reviews next week, but as Saturday is always a quiet day on HFP I thought I’d do a couple of hotel updates too.

My schedule had me landing at 11.30pm and leaving at 9.30am 34 hours later.  This wasn’t great from a hotel point of view as I would need to pay for two nights without getting much benefit from it.

After much prevarication, I decided to do one night at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah for 80,000 Hilton Honors points, try to get a late check-out to allow me to enjoy the resort and then spend the final evening somewhere cheaper.

Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah

The Waldorf Astoria had three things going for it:

I have stayed there before, so I wouldn’t be wasting my (very limited) time finding my way around

I would get free breakfast as a Hilton Honors Diamond

As a Diamond I am due some sort of late check-out, although it is not guaranteed.  As it happened, my request for 3pm was met without any trouble.  I could possibly have got later but I didn’t want to risk getting caught in the evening traffic.

My full 2018 review of Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah is here, so I won’t repeat myself.  If you want to see pictures of the pool etc then go the review from last February.  In general, it has a decent beach (but with buildings fairly close to you across the water), decent restaurants and very high quality rooms.

What was different this time is that I was given a h-u-g-e suite on the first floor.  This had the added advantage of being in the centre of the building and not stuck out in one of the wings like last time:

Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah review

and

Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah review

plus a bathroom:

Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah review

with a shower which could take six people happily:

Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah review

It was just a shame I was leaving 15 hours after checking in.  My only gripe was the coffee machine, which was the cheapest possible Nespresso domestic version.  The hotel didn’t give you genuine Nespresso capsules either.  It was a weird bit of penny pinching given that the room was full of Ferragamo toiletries, fruit and a special delivery of free red velvet cupcakes!

The staff were very pleasant and on the ball and I felt they had upped their game.  Unlike last year my room was not full of marketing material for property developments being undertaken by the hotel owner.  The only problem I have, apart from the long drive to get off The Palm, is that the desalination plant and electricity substation next door are not exactly attractive.  The beach also faces buildings on the other side of The Palm, not open water.

It’s not Madinat Jumeirah, by a long way, but it remains a classy beach resort and a good use of Hilton Honors points.

At 3pm I jumped in an Uber and headed over to Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights which was a) fairly new, b) cheap on points and c) by the airport.  Part 2 of this hotel update – click here – reviews the Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights.  If you are reading this by email, scroll down.

For my full 2018 review of Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, click here.  The official hotel website is here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Dubai hotel update part 2: Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights
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Comments

  1. Frenzir says:

    You and Dubai, Rob!

  2. Good update.

    Out of interest, why do tourists like Dubai, never appealed to me.

    Am I missing out?

    • Jonathan says:

      It’s expensive but the best service I have received anywhere in the world. It’s like living the royal lifestyle as a mere peasant. Not to forget guaranteed sun and heat. The malls are ok to look around but too expensive to buy anything from.

      • Jonathan, have you been to the Maldives, Asia (Singapore, KL,Thai islands), Oz or Florida (my favourite places) can you make a comparison to any of these?

        • Jonathan says:

          Sure can, Florida is a more action holiday, weather is more variable. Cheaper. The key/Naples are very nice but I wouldn’t say anywhere has exceptional service. I prefer California personally but again no exceptional service. I didn’t like the Thai islands the first time, certainly wouldn’t travel there with kids. The tap water ran brown and not a lot of substance for me. Would love to go to Oz and NZ. We go to Dubai every year for 4 nights and it just ticks all the boxes for us pre and post kids. sun, sea, sand, pool, good varied food, safe, shopping and actio. If you so choose.

        • Triprep

          I have been to all those places, with the exception of the Thai islands but have been to Thailand, and I would choose Dubai out of all those without giving it a second thought…

        • Oz just reminds me of UK service levels

        • I’ve had superb service in Oz the past few weeks. Streets ahead of the USA and no 20% tip expected!

        • Triprep there is a huge difference. Dubai is a DisneyWorld which is has been built on a creek. I love the Far East and have travelled for work to Dubai. The last time I was there I went to a function at the British Consulate and I was very inquisitive on the reception parties views. My takeaway is Dubai is false and at its best is the Middle East DisneyWorld. Where in the world would you want to stay at a hotel with an imported sand beach next to an energy plant with an associated de-slaination plant. You can come to close to this in California but you don’t have 4 or 5* hotels next door. I don’t understand the attraction and don’t travel to Dubai for holidays. Thailand/Malaysia/Indonesia/Philippines/Laos/Vietnam/Cambodia win everytime where you have amazing locations, great local food and culture. Dubai has none of this.

        • …. none of which are realistic with small children for a one-week half-term holiday.

          I struggle to see the point of a couple or solo traveller spending a huge amount of time holidaying in the Middle East and I also don’t really recommend a family stay outside of the beach resorts. We only went once before we had kids. £325 for return economy flights with guaranteed good weather and outstandingly high quality accommodation with a short day flight in both directions is very attractive to the general public though. I even see why people go in August when it dirt cheap and 45 degrees, having recently seen what you get for £500 per night in Spain in August (ie not much, comparatively speaking).

      • I would agree with some of what you have said Rob. We have regularly travelled to the FE, South Africa and the US. Our only regret was a 8 month year old in Thailand due to our lack of appreciation that UK time was the baseline which we couldn’t shift. If all you are after is an artificial country operated by non residents with no culture or history but high service standards I can almost see the attraction.

    • Shoestring says:

      No.

      • Now now shoestring….everyone is different 😄
        Triprep I’ve done rangali and Dubai, with kids, wouldn’t go back to rangali with young kids but go to Dubai twice a year Easter and October half term.
        It’s annoying to have to pay triple the prices at school holidays but my wife hates the Caribbean.
        We chose virtually an identically hotel, in Nassau, to the one we stay at in Dubai and it was like chalk and cheese and because of a couple of poor stays in the Caribbean I doubt I will get her back there.
        I can’t rate Dubai highly enough for our circumstances, I spent 15 years travelling the world from 20ish and I am not very cultured, if I go to a hotel I tend not to leave it and Dubai caters for that perfectly.
        37c in Dubai with a water park is perfect for us, 33c in the middle of the Indian ocean was far too hot and uncomfortable 🤷🏻‍♂️

        • Interesting comments on the Caribbean, never been there either, I guess I automatically lean towards Thailand islands for perceived better value/experience. I can’t imagine paying triple prices, I’m way too Victor Mekdrew for that lol.

          Yeah Dubai doesn’t sound like it’s for me, I suspect like the new WTC in NYC, the odd skyscraper is interesting to marvel at for a few mins. Was extremely grateful we never went to a shopping mall in my recent Florida visit, much more relaxing avoiding the places.

          Yeah even the water temps in the shallows at Rangali were 33C one day we were there (had my dive computer on). If you’re not snorkelling I can imagine sunbathing on the beach is too hot. Mind, you do get a nice ocean breeze (shaded by a parasol) on the deck of a Retreat Water Villa… 😉

        • The Retreat Water villa was excellent, have some great photos from the trip.
          When I look at the photos it looks an amazing place but the kids club was too young, for our kids, and we aren’t really into snorkelling, possibly because we havent got enough experience and the kids were a bit too young although good swimmers.
          Our overall experience was it just wasn’t for us…..plus I am not really keen on the sand 🤣🤣🤣 which is why we moved from a beach villa

        • rams1981 says:

          Having said you don’t leave the hotel, I now understand the logic and get why Dubai appeals.

    • Dull Dubai says:

      Nope – Dubai is best described as tedium personified. One of the most boring places on the planet.
      However, apparently it is good if you want to sit in a soulless hotel enjoying “the best service”.

      • ‘ it is good if you want to sit in a soulless hotel enjoying “the best service”.’

        ….. which is perfect if you are a writer and need to work somewhere without distractions. Better still Doha with its lack of tourist attractions other than a few fighter jests flying over in the morning (aka coffee break time 🙂

        • *jets even

        • Spurs Debs says:

          It’s also perfect if you are a 24/7 home carer for your mum with dementia while being disabled yourself and you just want to sit, rest and read a book in peace,even if it’s in a soulless hotel for a few days. When you can’t take a week or two off when you feel like it and travel further afield as you have to rely on getting someone to come and stay and you aren’t up to it on your own.
          Also as a solo women I feel safe, everyone knows the penalties for commiting a crime in Dubai. You have women only taxis which I also like.
          But I prefer Abu Dhabi to Dubai but I wouldn’t mind a rest in either for a few days.
          I didn’t care for Thailand at all, loved Hong Kong and can’t wait for my trip to Japan next year, I’ve been to Caribbean 3 times not overly bothered about going again and most of BA flights are from Gatwick which I avoid if possible. Going to New York in April promised to take my grandson to wrestlemania even tho it will be hard on me physically.

          Each unto their own is my thoughts. It would all be very boring if we all liked or did the same things.

        • Qatar will thrive in the next few years because of the infrastructure and tourist attractions which are being built for the World Cup

        • @Spurs Debs gold are your words!

    • This is being discussed here on HfP every time once one (Rob) writes anything fairly neutral or slightly positive about the UAE… No need to reinvigorate this debate, IMHO…

      The latest thread with all the same things discussed: https://www.headforpoints.com/2018/08/18/a350-business-class-dubai-avios-just-116-taxes-finnair/

  3. I’m wondering if articles like this are too negative, it’s four years old…

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11936981/Who-in-their-right-mind-would-want-to-visit-Dubai.html

    • Jon Martin says:

      Nah, seems pretty accurate. Amongst a few different types of guest, it does seem to attract a certain subset who need the FEELING of being wealthy and important.

      Actually I CAN see the attraction if you’re the type that is happy going for 4 days and never leaving your resort except maybe to go to a shopping mall. As that’s my idea of pure hell then it’s not the right place for me and never will be, but each to their own.

      • Jon – yes it’s cool to be grateful to receive the treat of awesome service and definitely not cool to think you’re better than others for being privileged enough to do so.

        • Holidays are the one time you can really do what you want to do. There is no good or bad choice, it’s up to them. If people want to go to make their life feel a bit better for a while than the one they’ve left behind then let them enjoy it. They’re not harming anyone.

        • Lady London says:

          Service helps if it’s also good for children. Also as an adult if the hotel is important to you if you’ll mostly be in the hotel working or whatever.

          The place got on my nerves, I am not starved of shopping opportunities in my life, and I can’t stand bling so the place is not for me. Plus really hard to get fresh vegetables. In completely artificial places like this I always wonder how long it would all last if the electricity went off.

          I do like the architecture of the buildi ngs though…the whole place is built on sand literally and figuratively.

        • @Lady London no place will last long if the electricity goes off, even good old London! This country can’t cope with 5cm of snow, so what are we talking about??

      • Dull Dubai says:

        Jon – well summarised.

      • Are you not planning to have kids then?

        • The Chief says:

          There are plenty of places in the world to take your kids where you aren’t supporting a system basically run on modern day slavery.

        • Oddly, there aren’t, especially for a week during Feb and Oct half-terms.

        • Jon Martin says:

          Yes I do; in fact off to Orlando with the kids in a few weeks. I’m sure that’s also some other peoples’ vision of hell and that’s a fair enough opinion too.

        • We are NEVER taking our kids to Orlando! There is an article on here about a hell-hole day I did at Eurodisney which became a bit of a cult piece on the net.

        • Jon Martin says:

          Exactly my point 😀

          Although choosing not to go to an entire area of Florida because you didn’t like a French theme park is an interesting bit of logic…

        • Rob – hard to imagine, but Florida does not automatically = mandatory trip to theme parks.

          Well for me at least.

          Thankfully I don’t have to explain that to a 6-18yr old. 😀

        • Lady London says:

          Don’t get me started on Florida. Each to his own.

        • Some of the comments on this website are very insular. I would never dream of a family holiday in an artificial man made world such as Dubai. The right or wrong places of Florida, the rest of the US or the Far East has much more to offer than an a Dubai artificial view of the world that certain people in the UK think is a perfect. Everyone to their own ideas. It would be a boring world if we all had the same perspective.

    • The Chief says:

      I think this pretty much hit the nail on the head – “All this means Dubai is like a smorgasbord of the despicable. A legal system that jails rape victims. Modern slavery? Ghastly bad taste. An utter contempt for the environment. A hideous fusion of hyper-capitalism and repressive theocracy? I can only assume that if you enjoy holidaying in Dubai, you are the kind of person who weighs all these up and then shrugs and says, “But on the other hand, there is really great shopping.”

      Human rights aside, it is really a soulless turd of a place, a shiny, well polished turd with waterslides and theme parks, but a turd nonetheless. I’ll happily pay over the odds to avoid the place even in transit now.

      • Thomas Howard says:

        Chief, if you’re ever in Hertfordshire, London or west Cornwall I have to buy you beverage.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        See I’m sure the people referred to would absolutely *love* to have principles but you see they’re just so terribly inconveient.

        I mean if it turned out to be Iceland doing something immoral then they’d be all over that, no bother at all to boycott them but tell me how can you expect them to put respect for other human beings above a specific holiday location?

      • I suppose this is not such a bad thing as bad publicity, the less of you lot attend the more F upgrade availability I get and more affoordabe unsold 5star luxury hotels. Dubai will not suffer without you there

        • I love Dubai says:

          Make sure you make the most of those free drinks in F on the way, even though it’s illegal to do so and should you find yourself banged up for having one drink on Emirates like the lady and her 4 year old daughter did recently, Detained in Dubai will get you out eventually, after you’ve spent a tidy amount of your own money of course 🙂 You may just end up in a 0 star jail cell instead of that unsold 5 star room.

          A fine example of the paradise that is Dubai. Who wouldn’t want to visit a country that serves you booze on the way, then detains and mistreats you for it?

          Detained in Dubai’s chief executive, said: “We are very happy for Dr Holman that the government of Dubai decided not to pursue the charges they brought against her for consuming the complimentary glass of wine provided by their own government-owned airline.
          The dentist and her young daughter were initially denied access to a toilet, water and food while being held in a cell for three days, according to the human rights group.

          Holman said: “I am shocked and excited to be returning home to England and that this nightmare is coming to an end.

        • I love Dubai says:

          “British travellers have been warned that they are liable to arrest if they are found with alcohol in their blood when transiting through the United Arab Emirates.

          That means passengers who consume alcohol on flights to the UAE could face arrest when they land.

          The warning was posted by the British consulate in the UAE, where Dubai is a major tourist destination. The consulate also warned that visitors could be arrested as a passenger in a car driven by somebody with alcohol in their blood.

          “Tourists cannot be blamed for believing that the Emirates are tolerant of western drinking habits, but this is far from reality.It is wholly illegal for any tourist to have any level of alcohol in their blood, even if consumed in flight and provided by Dubai’s own airline. It is illegal to consume alcohol at a bar, a hotel and a restaurant, and if breathalysed, that person will be jailed.”

  4. We had 4 nights in Dubai last week and loved (most of) it. Stayed at Grosvenor house in Marina area, linked to Meridian for the beach. We were upgraded from Premier with lounge (pensioner rate) to a 3 bed apartment on 38th floor (even though no status)! Bought local SIM card from Etilisat which gave us free 100Aed Careem ride. Metro cheap and efficient with silver Nol card and get unused credit back at the end. Dubai Museum has reopened after quite an update. Brilliant Desert drive with Platinum Heritage – booked via Amex Travel £50 back offer.

  5. Oh Matron! says:

    Even if they’d have given you genuine Nespresso capsules, it will have still tasted like rancid horse [email protected]@@

    Still love how the doubletree Kingston has Lavazza machines 🙂

    • Because you don’t like Nespresso or the water or? When did you get your first taste of rancid horse pi$$ for the comparison?

    • Peter K says:

      My last hotel had a lavazza coffee machine with genuine lavazza coffee capsules. They tasted disgusting. I even preferred the instant coffee I took with me! Maybe I was unlucky.

    • the_real_a says:

      Am i the only personal that travels with a french press?

  6. I like Duabi, been there for holiday and work, looking forward to taking the kids there and sand dune bashing. As others have said, exceptional service, loads of cheap flights (it’s doable in Economy on an A380 with Emirates), hotels are plentiful, Uber is well uber cheap. It’s changed lots in the 15+ years I’ve been going so there is always something to see/do. Or sit by the pool and enjoy the great sunshine. Trying Barbados later this year as never been.

    Trying to compare Dubai with other places is hard. It’s not NZ where there is so much to do/see and would love to go back for longer. Florida, go there when I have to with work, Vegas, hate the place. Boston is good, back to Seattle in 2 weeks so will see more of that as have a spare day.

    Re coffee machines, I complained to Marriott about the lack of one in the hotel as they advertised it, offered me 5k points.

    • Exactly Graham, everywhere is different and every traveller is different, well said. This site is so good because it caters for such wide requirements. Why patronise those with different ideas or make assumptions about the way others make use of their precious point, miles and money.

  7. Some interesting wreck dives off Dubai…
    https://scubadivinglovers.com/scuba-dive-in-dubai/

  8. Kevin C says:

    Slightly OT.
    Where do people like to stay within a couple of hours of Abu Dhabi airport. We were going to fly to Dubai and liked the look of the new IC in Fujairah but flights to AUH during Feb half term were half the price. I know we can get to Dubai from AUH but we’ve been there.

    • We’ve covered the Waldorf and the two Ritz-Carltons in Ras on here. Would be about 2 hours drive from AUH. Cheap compared to Dubai hotels of similar quality.

    • The Saadiyat Island resorts in Abu Dhabi are beautiful, and the newest Jumeirah has just opened there.

      • Kevin C says:

        Thank you. We might well try the Park Hyatt there for a couple of nights. Handy for the Louvre too.

        And thank you to everyone who gave suggestions.

    • Concerto says:

      Try the Traders Hotel in Qaryat Al Beri, not far from airport and grand mosque.

    • Stayed at Fairmont Ajman a couple of times as a poor mans Dubai holiday. Once in March for a few days winter sun and once over New Year. It’s about 30mins drive beyond Dubai in the opposite direction to Abu Dhabi. On the beach. While the hotel was alright, the surrounding area was a bit of an eyesore. Almost the Dubai they don’t want you to know exists. It wasn’t pretty but friendly enough and prices outside the hotel for a coffee or what have you were normal. That said if all you want is a pool/beach flop in a high end hotel at a fraction of Dubai prices then it would tick the boxes. Not done Fujeirah but get the impression its similar to Ras Al Khaymah which again is a less glam/polished version of Dubai. Why not just look at staying in Abu Dhabi or its immediate surroundings? I prefer it to Dubai (less bling but not tatty), more culturally interesting (Grand Mosque etc…), good selection of hotels and resorts in various settings.

    • Writing this from Sofitel Abu Dhabi. Prestige suite with club for £120 a night. Bargain. Really nice hotel for the price.

  9. Kevin C says:

    Thanks I was looking at the Waldorf and am gold which now gets you breakfast. I hadn’t realised you can get there in two hours. Ritz-Carltons are either booked or super expensive for our dates.

    Have you done the nice Ajman hotels?

    • No. Had a look at the Marriott Luxury Collection one which was dirt cheap but didn’t fancy the drive on a short trip.

  10. “Saturday is always a quiet day on HFP”

    HfPers debating merits of Dubai put paid to that… 😀

    • Calm down and have a drink Triprep, we get the message you’re bored today.

      • Triprep – If your friend doesn’t arouse suspicion by doing any number of ‘normal’ activities it’s unlikely he’ll be breath tested and jailed. I love the advice below for avoiding arrest – Maybe Emirates could communicate it via the medium of song and dance, in a style similar to those safety videos with the dancing cabin crew, to really put you in the holiday spirit ready for arrival.

        Once you’ve checked into a hotel, refer to each other and “husband” and “wife” rather than saying “my boyfriend” or “my fiance.” This could help prevent potential problems.Keep in mind that if you’re stopped by the police because you’re holding hands and you’re not married, you might run into trouble. If you’re staying at a hotel with a lot of Muslim visitors, it’s always possible for them to alert the authorities about inappropriate behavior. If the police then discover you’re not married, you might be in legal trouble.

  11. Rob, I’m not applying to be your sub-editor but…

    «My only gripe was the coffee machine…»
    and in the next para:

    «My only gripe, apart from the long drive to get off The Palm, is that the desalination plant and electricity substation next door are not exactly attractive…»

    So, at least three different gripes in total! 🙂

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