This is our review of the W Hotel on The Palm, Dubai.
It is the first of four hotel reviews this week from my recent Dubai trip. All of the hotels featured are part of Marriott Bonvoy, who provided my accommodation throughout the trip.
The story of the W brand in Dubai is a little convoluted. The first W Hotel to open in Dubai was the W Dubai Habtoor City, located in Dubai’s Business Bay. In 2018 this hotel left Marriott and became the ‘V’ hotel, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection.
In early 2019 the new W Dubai opened on Palm Jumeirah and it is now the only W in Dubai. Our guide to W Hotels is here.
As the name suggests, W Dubai is located on Palm Jumeirah – one of the artificial land reclamation projects to straddle Dubai’s coastline, and the most complete. The hotel is situated on the outer western crescent just across from Frond L.
The location does mean it isn’t the most central – getting to it requires getting to Dubai Marina first and then heading up the trunk of the palm before circling back down the crescent, which is not joined to the mainland by the base. All in all, it takes about 15 minutes to get back to the Marina.
Depending on what you’re in Dubai for, this may not be a problem. If you’re happy spending the majority of your time by the pool or on the beach it doesn’t matter. If you’re looking to be a bit more active and explore Dubai more then you may want to choose somewhere less resorty. The same issues apply to all of the hotels on the Palm, of course.
The hotel is made up of two buildings: the hotel part and the W Residences. They are in separate buildings but next to each other and share the same architectural features, reminiscent of a cruise ship:
The Residences are completely separate as far as I can tell, with their own pools, gym and beach. The only time a Resident might come into the hotel is for the restaurants.
W Dubai is classed a ‘W Escape’ which effectively means it is a resort hotel. There are 350 rooms, with a perplexing number of room categories ranging from a ‘Wonderful Room’ to the 864 square meter ‘Extreme Wow Suite’.
First impressions of the W Dubai
The W Dubai makes a humble first impression with its ‘Wheels’ car port. Arriving by car or taxi (as you invariably must – there is no public transport on this part of the Palm) you are cocooned by the building:
Porters were on hand to take luggage up to the room.
You then enter the hotel atrium, which spans the base of the U-shaped building. It is nice and airy, with lots of partitioned areas and casual seating.
A 30m long, 6.5 ton glass sculpture spans the room in the shape of a W soundwave (apparently …. who gets paid to come up with this?!) and looks especially pretty at night when it lights up.
Of course, no hotel in Dubai can be without its own ruling family portraits, and the W has tried to make it look as seamless as possible:
Check in was quick, although we were asked to wait just 10 minutes for the hotel to make final preparations. This wasn’t a problem until they couldn’t find us in the lobby and after a little while longer I went back up to reception and was told my room had been ready for some time.
The hotel is effectively split into two wings, with guest rooms across both. Our wing was on the right hand side.
Corridors are dark but have lovely vibrant carpets:
Whilst sculptural chairs were a recurring theme of W Dubai, I don’t think they were meant for sitting on ….
I believe we were given a Wonderful Twin Room on the third floor (there are four floors in total). The only difference between this and the Spectacular Room is the view. Ours overlooked the pools, although we could just about see the Burj Khalifa from the balcony.
The rooms seem very spacious. Immediately on the left is a very large bathroom:
The toilet and shower are in separate cubicles:
A large free-standing bath tub is the centre piece:
Whilst a dressing table is next to the shower:
As you can see, the dividing wall is a very dark tinted glass. You can’t see in from the bedroom.
Toiletries are provided by MOMO, initially in smaller 50ml bottles but on the second day we received larger 100ml bottles. MOMO is my favourite hotel toiletry brand:
We did have a slight issue with the shower, which drained incredibly slowly. This was quickly fixed when the maintenance staff came but it did take two calls and a little longer than necessary for it to get sorted – I think the first time I mentioned it it got lost with another message.
Straddling the other side of the bathroom is a series of wardrobes that are accessible from both the bathroom AND the hallway, which I thought was very neat. These contained your usual amenities including ironing board, safe:
…. plus tea and coffee making facilities. Nespresso doesn’t seem to be particularly popular in Dubai; this seemed to be Lavazza:
The bathroom is big but the rest of the room is, too. As you can see it comfortably fits two double beds:
A single bedside table separates the beds. There seemed to be only one available power outlet near the beds. It would have been nice to have at least two, one for each side, although there were also some USB sockets.
Opposite the bed is the TV, mounted to a meandering, wavy wall covered in little purple tiles:
Next to the TV is a free-standing fridge-come-bar area, with two barstools, which I somehow didn’t photograph.
This is normally where I’d expect the W to have a number of larger bottles of spirits and mixers. These weren’t present here, possibly because we are in Dubai, although the cocktail shaker was there, so I’d assume alcohol is available on demand.
The minibar was empty, too:
Next to the window is also a little lounge area:
I believe all the rooms have a balcony. This is again fairly large, and ours overlooked the resort itself. Standing in one corner you can see the Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa on a clear day.
The room looks better in person than it does in my photographs, although I’m not sure about the wallpaper behind the bed ….
Pool, beach, gym and spa
The centrepiece of the hotel are a number of pools. These include three crescent-shaped terraced pools, with plenty of egg shaped cabanas and loungers:
There is also a ‘Wet Deck’ adults only pool with a swim-up bar:
…. plus one or two small splash pools for really young kids. The staff at the pools are very attentive and bring around towels as soon as you claim a lounger. We never had to wait more than a few seconds.
You also have a private beach, of course, which looks over across to the interior of the Palm. You are unlikely to use this much in September, though, when the water is a very warm 30+ degrees.
The spa is on the ground floor and offers a range of treatments:
The gym is on the first floor. It is not huge, but includes a number of pieces of running and cycling equipment as well as some weights.
It also has a huge outdoor terrace, which I imagine might be used for various classes were it not for Covid. It featured some unique ape weights:
Restaurants at W Dubai
There are three restaurants at W Dubai, plus a bar-come-club that is currently closed until later this year.
LIV is the buffet option on the ground floor and is where breakfast is served every morning:
The buffet is fairly extensive, including more pastries than you could ever try:
An egg station, with eggs or omelettes made to order:
There seemed to be a different special ingredient for the omelettes each day. One day we had crab meat.
There’s also a cooked station with all the necessary items for a full English (no pork) plus fruit, yoghurt, cereal, salads and more. You won’t be going hungry, as is usual for Dubai hotel breakfasts. Here is what I had:
Whilst all the hotels in Dubai seem to offer fresh orange juice, the W Dubai also had mango juice which was delicious.
For dinner, we tried out Torno Subito from Chef Massimo Bottura. This is probably the most casual restaurant at the hotel and offers Italian food in a 1950s inspired psychedelic diner:
The food was good at Torno Subito, although the service was pretty ambivalent – probably the least engaged service I have had on any of our recent collaborations with Marriott. We had a little amuse bouche:
…. plus a ‘Modern Salad with 14 ingredients (!):
A little pizette thingy:
A main course of Cacio & Pepe pasta:
To round it all off, Tiramisu:
A third restaurant from Chef Akira Back offers Korean-inspired Japanese dishes is probably the classiest. SoBe hosts a Miami-inspired rooftop bar with casual food and, during normal times, the W’s club nights.
As (now) the only W in Dubai the hotel makes a good impression. I liked the decor, particularly in the public spaces. The pool facilities are extensive and offer something for everyone, whether you’re here as a couple, as a family or a group of friends.
Dinner at Torno Subito was a little disappointing and could have been improved with slightly more attentive staff.
As with all hotels on The Palm, staying there requires a compromise because of the time taken to drive on and off it each time you leave the property. That said, you won’t go wrong if you just want to spend a few days lazing by the pool enjoying the sunshine.
The W Dubai – The Palm is a Category 7 hotel with Marriott Bonvoy which means you’ll need between 50,000 and 70,000 points per night, depending on season. Cash rates start at £285 for a weeknight in February. You can see more, and book, on the hotel website here.
Thank you to the Bonvoy team for arranging my stay.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (December 2022)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)