Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Review: W Dubai The Palm hotel – how is it?

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

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.

W Dubai entrance

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.

The hotel website 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.

W Dubai location

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.

W Dubai

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:

W Dubai

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:

W Dubai Wheels

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.

W Dubai atrium

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.

W Dubai artrium soundwave

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:

W Dubai royal family portraits

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.

W Dubai check in desk

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:

W Dubai corridor

Whilst sculptural chairs were a recurring theme of W Dubai, I don’t think they were meant for sitting on ….

W Dubai sculptural chair

The room

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:

W Dubai bathroom

The toilet and shower are in separate cubicles:

W Dubai shower

A large free-standing bath tub is the centre piece:

W Dubai bath

Whilst a dressing table is next to the shower:

W Dubai dressing table

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:

W Dubai MOMO toiletries


W Dubai skin regimen

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:

W Dubai wardrobe

…. plus tea and coffee making facilities. Nespresso doesn’t seem to be particularly popular in Dubai; this seemed to be Lavazza:

W Dubai coffee machine

The bathroom is big but the rest of the room is, too. As you can see it comfortably fits two double beds:

W Dubai room

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.

W Dubai beds

Opposite the bed is the TV, mounted to a meandering, wavy wall covered in little purple tiles:

W Dubai tv

Next to the TV is a free-standing fridge-come-bar area, with two barstools, which I somehow didn’t photograph.

W Dubai cocktail shaker

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:

W Dubai minibar

Next to the window is also a little lounge area:

W Dubai window

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.

W Dubai balcony view

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:

W Dubai pool

There is also a ‘Wet Deck’ adults only pool with a swim-up bar:

W Dubai wet deck

…. 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:

W Dubai AWAY spa


W Dubai spa

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.

W Dubai gym

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:

W Dubai gym 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.

W Dubai Liv

LIV is the buffet option on the ground floor and is where breakfast is served every morning:

W Dubai Liv 2

The buffet is fairly extensive, including more pastries than you could ever try:

W Dubai Liv doughnuts

An egg station, with eggs or omelettes made to order:

W Dubai LIV egg station

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:

W Dubai LIV breakfast

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:

W Dubai Torno Subito


W Dubai Torno Subito 2

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:

W Dubai amuse bouche

…. plus a ‘Modern Salad with 14 ingredients (!):

W dubai Salad

A little pizette thingy:

W Dubai Torno Subito pizza

A main course of Cacio & Pepe pasta:

W Dubai Torno Subito Cacio pepe

To round it all off, Tiramisu:

W Dubai 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

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (February 2024)

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.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 points sign-up bonus and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

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.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

(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.)

Comments (35)

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

  • Yassine says:

    A correction regarding the “ruling family portraits”. It’s not one family but two; the guy in the middle is the UAE president and Emir of Abu Dhabi (Al-Nahyan) whereas the two others are the Emir of Dubai and his son (Al-Maktoum).

  • Colin MacKinnon says:

    I don’t detect sufficient enthusiasm for this hotel to make me put it on my “must go” list.

    I am, perhaps, persuading my wife that a visit to Dubai might be interesting, mainly because of the Expo. Is there a best time to plan a visit to it? Thinking late February?

    • Rhys says:

      It’s a good hotel, it just depends if the location works for you and/or you want to spend most of your time by the pool. For sightseeing the location is obviously not great, although you’re very close to the Aquaventure water park at Atlantis which I can highly recommend!

  • Nick says:

    What were the typical price points of the restaurant and spa? Were the menus extensive enough for you to treat the hotel as a resort?

    How were the other guests? Typical of high-end Dubai hotels, or does the funky decor mean you get something a bit classier?

    • Rhys says:

      Pretty average for hotel restaurants/spas in Dubai I’d say but you can find the menus online.

      Actually very mixed crowd – some families, some adult-only couples and groups etc. A sprinkling of influencers but not very many.

    • blenz101 says:

      The crowd mix is no different to what you would find at a W hotel anywhere else. It is positioned at a younger well heeled crowd.

      Akira Back is a truly excellent restaurant which I would recommend even if not staying at the hotel.

      The hotel backs out onto The Palm Boardwalk so you have a car free 11km walking / jogging track right next to the sea which is very pleasant if you don’t want to be in on the hotel treadmill.

      You also now have the option of West Beach on The Palm itself which offers a fantastic line up of licenced bars and restaurants without needing to head into other parts of Dubai. Similar story at The Pointe which has a far more impressive fountain show than the one at Dubai Mall.

      The Palm is far better positioned than anywhere in Downtown or Business Bay for accessing the Expo site as well even if the W sits at the end of it.

  • Joan says:

    We have booked flights for next late September but haven’t been to Dubai before . Would like to do some beach / pool but also a little sightseeing . Is the marina area a good location ?

    • Blenz101 says:

      No beach at the Maria itself but you can walk to nearby JBR. Lounger rentals will likely run to £20 each per day so consider paying a little more and staying in JBR itself if that is your prefered location where the hotels will provide them on sectioned off areas of beach.

      Can always then walk back into the Marina to eat and drink and enjoy a stroll around.

    • Rhys says:

      Wait for my review of the Royal Meridien 🙂

      • Blenz101 says:

        Royal Meridian, Westin and Ritz Carlton etc are all more ‘JBR’ than Marina though. Should be obvious if you are booking a resort hotel with a beach.

        When I’m talking about Marina I’m mean The Intercontinental, Marriott, The Address, Raddison, Wyndham, Crowne Plaza, Rove etc. These hotels are priced lower as they are “Marina” rather beach resorts hence my advice to Joan.

        • Joan says:

          Thanks again 😀…we just really want somewhere reasonably accessible for beach and sightseeing , ideally not with loads of children

      • Tim Jackson says:

        Looking forward to it as I have it booked for December for our family. Will be hanging on every word!

        • Dev says:

          Went to the Royal Meridian last March … a couple of days before Covid closed the world! Wonderful coffee in the morning and they had real pork at breakfast (hidden away at the back!). It is a real winner for family friendly location … you can stay there all the time or take the shuttle busses to the Dubai Mall, etc.

          It has jumped on my list so much that my wife is determined to return their every October half-term (helps that both my boys are born in October!).

  • KBuffett says:

    I stayed here last week. Outdoor areas are nice but the rooms and indoor areas are tacky and in my opinion aimed at the club scene clientele

    • fivebobbill says:

      I actually agree with this, not my style, although the outdoor areas are very nice and comfortable.

    • Travel Strong says:

      It did remind me very much of a bathrooms in a nightclub (at the start of the night, I guess).

  • Simon says:

    Akira Back is 100% worth going to, even if not staying at the hotel.

    • RomP says:

      Making my mouth water just thinking about Akira Back. Stayed at the W 12/20 for 3 nights, got upgraded to a funky suite with bath tub at the end of the bed under the tv!

  • TimM says:

    I found the photo of the reversed cutlery the most disturbing.

    • Simon says:

      dont be racist about left handed eaters please !!

      • TimM says:

        I would have though that knife right and fork left gave the advantage to left-handers as it was.

        Is there a militant movement of left-handers determined to be contraire just to make the point or in future should I have more sensitivity to my guests by asking them which side they are before setting the table? Or maybe just set the odd place in reverse and ask people to sit where they feel most comfortable?

        Either way, it strikes me that in the photo above the spoon should also be turned around. Perhaps that is why I find it so disturbing?

    • Mike says:

      TimM – I am with you on that one, I had to have a little lie down

    • Rhys says:

      I’m right handed but much prefer to use my fork with my dominant hand. Can’t understand how anyone wouldn’t!

      • Dev says:

        Lol! So did I when I was a kid … but my dad beat that habit out of me! That was not considered child abuse in the 80s!

  • ankomonkey says:

    The ape weights are reason enough to stay at this hotel.

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

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.