This is our review of the JW Marriott Marquis hotel in Business Bay, Dubai.
It is the final stop in our tour of Dubai in conjunction with Marriott Bonvoy, who kindly provided the accommodation. You can read our review of the W Dubai – The Palm here, our review of Sheraton Grand Dubai here and our review of the Le Royal Meridien Dubai here.
The JW Marriott Marquis’ claim to fame is that it was once the tallest ‘all hotel’ building in the world. Whilst it has since been demoted to joint second place by St Regis Chicago, it still stands at a confident 355m – taller than The Shard in London.
The hotel, opened in 2012, comprises of two spiky towers which combined accommodate 1,608 hotel rooms and suites. It is massive.
The JW Marriott Marquis is in the Business Bay area of Dubai, next to the Dubai Water Canal. It is very close to downtown Dubai which is where you can find Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and Dubai Opera.
It is a 15 minute taxi from the airport or a 35 minute shuttle on the Dubai Metro.
Whilst Dubai has filled out in the past decade you can still see the Burj from the pool and probably from rooms in the North Tower, as well.
Arrival and check-in
The carport is flanked by two large JW Marriott griffin sculptures. Being a busy and prominent hotel in Dubai the car port is a flurry of activity, night and day.
A large atrium greets you inside, centred around a large display of orchids and the mandatory portraits of the ruling family:
To the left is another cavernous lounge/bar area, with this rainbow bottle display:
Check-in desks are beyond the atrium with more normal-sized ceilings. This is a very large hotel and the reception area is appropriately sized – there must have been 10+ desks, most of which were staffed when we arrived:
Check in was quick and easy and my Gold status was acknowledged. We were given a mid-fifties floor in the South Tower with sea view.
Eight lifts are divided, with half servicing floors 1-37 and the remainder serving floors 37 upwards. The Club lounge is on the 37th floor. There is no Club lounge in the North Tower so anyone who books a Club room or has access to the Club is put in the South tower. I’m told the room types are basically identical across both buildings.
You do notice the height, with your ears popping once or twice on the way up or down. Some of the lifts even have a window so you can see the sunset across the sea as you whizz up.
As we discovered there is sometimes a bit of congestion when it comes to the lifts for floors 37 and above. A lot of this comes from people going up and down to the Club Lounge which obviously adds a number of journeys. You won’t wait more than a minute or two, however.
Rooms at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai
We were given a Deluxe Twin Room which are, apparently, 44 square meters (they are large). We actually had one of the rooms in the little sticky out spikes of the hotel.
On the left is a large bathroom:
As you can see there is a single sink. I’m not sure why they didn’t put two in – the room is so big it would have been easy too.
The box under the sink contains cotton buds, a comb, dental kit, bath salts etc.
To the left is the large free standing tub. Behind this is the toilet and bidet and a separate shower with dual shower heads:
Toiletries are by Aromatherapy Associates:
Opposite the bathroom is a luggage rack (always a bonus for me) as well as two wardrobes:
The coffee machine is once again Illy-branded, which seems to be the defacto standard here in Dubai:
Underneath the tea and coffee making facilities is an empty mini fridge.
Beyond this is the room, with a long desk extending from where the wardrobe is and providing ample room to work in (you could fit two people here, to be honest). Huge wall mounted mirrors behind the desk make the room feel even bigger than it already is:
By the window are two armchairs and a coffee table.
The beds are on the opposite side, against a padded wall. There are three bedside tables.
If I am honest, I found the beds a little odd. It was like a duvet had been placed on top of the mattress, under the sheet. I was a little surprised when I first got into the bed but it didn’t stop me getting a good nights’ sleep – my ‘best bed’ award still goes to the St Regis Mardavall in Mallorca.
The TV is wall mounted and – given the size of the room – quite far away when you are in bed:
The room features are controlled by a little electronic panel by the beds:
Unfortunately, connectivity is limited. There was one plug socket between the two beds – the limited remaining sockets were all in use. I don’t think the hotel has been refurbished since it opened in 2012 so the lack of sockets are indicative of how much has changed in the past decade. It also explains the slightly dated decor although I liked the dark wood panelling.
Here is the view from the 53rd floor at sunset:
It could be worse! (The ropes are from the window cleaners who were there during our stay.)
Pool, spa and gym
The JW Marriott Marquis is positioned as a conference / city hotel so don’t expect the huge leisure facilities of a resort.
There is a nice – although comparatively small, given the number of rooms – pool on a lower terrace, with a nice view across to Burj Khalifa:
Despite its small size you can still find loungers, although I’m not sure how busy it gets during peak season. Here is the rest of the terrace:
On the other hand, the gym is a decent size:
You’ll find a steam room and sauna in the changing rooms. The spa is on the same floor.
Other amenities include a range of shops including WH Smith, so you’ll feel right at home!
Restaurants and dining
There are about a dozen different restaurants, cafes and bars that offer food at the JW Marriott Marquis. These include Prime68, a steakhouse on the 68th floor of the hotel with views across the city:
Here is the view in the other direction, towards downtown and the north tower:
This is the view from Vault, a bar/night club on two floors above the steakhouse, in the ‘crown’ of the building.
In addition, there are also Indian, Japanese, Italian, and French options in addition to a buffet, casual poolside restaurant and a sports pub called the Bridgewater Tavern. We had dinner at Tong Thai, an authentic Thai restaurant that is exclusively staffed with Thai nationals. You enter via a long, moody corridor:
Every so often a little semi-private dining space opens up, or you walk past some gongs:
Before you walk into the main dining room, a huge double or triple height room hung with beautiful red lanterns:
It is a very dark dining experience but wonderfully atmospheric and make a great impression. The food and service are just as good. To start we shared a Tong Thai platter and I had a lychee & lemongrass martini:
Followed by the Massaman curry and tiger prawns:
The curry was absolutely fantastic and the portions were very generous.
For dessert I had a gigantic scoop of lychee sorbet:
I had to roll myself out the door at the end of it!
The main breakfast buffet is served in Kitchen6, which is also open for lunch and dinner. This restaurant takes up the majority of a single floor and is a warren of seating areas and six (hence the name) separate buffet stations.
For breakfast some of the stations are doubled up (there are two egg stations, for example) although each station is very large so you still get a gigantic spread of breakfast cuisines – whatever your heart desires, to be honest.
You get a huge amount of pastries as well as a wall of doughnuts:
Plus a waffle station with pancakes, although these are sadly not made to order and they don’t make crepes.
There’s an egg station where you can order your own omelette or a range of eggy dishes including eggs benedict that are produced on a rolling basis.
Full English items (no pork, as far as I could see, unlike at Le Royal Meridien):
Here’s a close up view:
Plus a choice of smoked salmon:
There is also an Indian station, fruits, yoghurts and more.
Whilst Kitchen6 isn’t the most atmospheric restaurant – it doesn’t have much natural light and is pretty big – it gets the job done for such a large hotel and you won’t be going hungry, whatever your tastes.
The club lounge
The hotel also has a club lounge, on the 37th floor of the south tower. It is open for breakfast, afternoon tea and happy hour in the evening.
It gets quite busy in the evenings, although there’s also a dedicated ‘business area’ with the same seating as everywhere else that is much quieter because most people don’t know about it.
A good spread is on offer. In the mornings, you can effectively get a full English:
Plus pastries, cereals and yoghurts.
Here is my plate. As you can see, hummus and smoked salmon are also available:
In the evenings there are 5-6 hot options that rotate. One evening this included dim sum, spring rolls and other similar items:
To the bottom right is a range of salads, cheeses etc. You won’t have as much choice as the larger hotel buffet but it is perfectly respectable. And the draw in the evenings is the free booze, which includes free prosecco/sparkling wine.
As long as you don’t go expecting a small boutique resort hotel, the JW Marriott Marquis ticks all the boxes. It is huge – and it feels huge – but it is well located for downtown Dubai and offers a lot of excellent dining options.
Like Le Royal Meridien, the Club Lounge is great – with a wide selection of food and lots of space, including to work.
On the other hand, the lack of in-room connectivity is frustrating in 2021 when we all have multiple devices to charge, and the beds are a bit funny. A soft refurbish could potentially solve both these problems and freshen up the style of the hotel.
The pool is also likely to get busy during peak months – I wouldn’t come here if you want to spend all day in the sun. You have much better Marriott Bonvoy options in Dubai for that, including Le Royal Meridien (review) and the W on the Palm.
The JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai is a Marriott Bonvoy Category 6 hotel, which means you’ll need between 40,000 and 60,000 points per night depending on season. Cash rates start at £170 for a weekday night in February. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (November 2021)
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 usually 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 Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus 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.)