The JW Marriott Marquis is a striking addition to the desert metropolis of Dubai. A twin towered structure sitting on a prominent juncture between the busy Sheikh Zayed Road and the newly inaugurated Dubai Water Canal. A luxurious five star property acting as a symbol of ‘New Dubai’ and representative of what the future holds for this remarkable city. A place of monolithic architecture and distinct futurism, as if ripped from the pages of a science fiction novel.
Encompassing 1,600 guest rooms over 72 floors, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is the world’s tallest hotel. A perfect complement to the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, just a short distance away. While planning a quick staycation in Dubai we were torn between the newly opened W Dubai and the JW Marriott Marquis and settled on the latter, having heard remarkable things from a number of friends and relatives.
The hotel is easily located from the SZR and sign posts are in abundance but the surrounding vicinity is still largely a sandy construction zone (like much of Dubai). while a new road link is built across the Dubai Water Canal.
Arriving at the valet we were surprised at how busy it was. Streams of super-cars lined up one after another, as if in convoy. Luckily for us the queue dissipated quickly due to the concentrated efforts of team of highly efficient valet staff and bell boys. Greeted with endless smiles we entered into the glass atrium of the lobby stuffed full of floral blooms.
Check-in felt more like an airport than a luxury hotel. With an queuing system in place, we had to wait around twenty minutes to be checked in, which was a little disappointing and felt far to regimented for our liking. After a busy week at work, the last thing we wanted to do was stand with throngs of people waiting for our turn to access the promised luxury, towering hundreds of meters above. The problem was further compacted by the fact that our room wasn’t ready. Despite calling ahead and the fact that it was well after the required check-in time. Yes we understand that the JW is a popular choice but when paying a relatively large sum of money for less than twenty four hours in the room, we expect a little more efficiency. In more instances than just the check-in, it was begging to feel more like an airport than a luxury getaway.
We retreated to La Farine, the 24 hour French bakery and bistro, to sip on a much needed cup of coffee and admire the impressive selection of hand crafted cakes, macaroons and croissants. Fortunately we didn’t have to wait long and the black matte keycards arrived mere minutes later and our promised staycation could finally begin.
Our allocated room was to be found on the 49th floor of Tower A. For those of an impatient nature, please note that the elevators can take a while, due to the sheer number of floors to descend before reaching the lobby. The wait is certainly worth it, as the glass fronted elevators provide spectacular views over Dubai as they head skywards and for those on the higher levels – your ears are likely to pop.
The elevator enters into a tranquil hallway. A round circular sofa is provided to allow guests to take pause and admire the view. From up in the clouds, we could see the city of Dubai spread out on the ground below, as the perpendicular lines of the roads reach out for the ocean, past a collection of skyscrapers that felt somewhat downscaled by our elevated vantage point. On a clear day it’s entirely possible to see all the way out to the World Island’s just off the coast, collectively forming a map of the world (you’ve got to love Dubai).
With only 14 rooms on each floor, the JW Marriott Marquis boasts a feeling of privacy and seclusion, one that represented exactly what we were searching for in this quick one night break. Our 44SQM guest room was certainly spacious and the design is of a contemporary nature, with subdued colours. Furniture is strategically placed in such a way, so your eyes are inevitably drawn outwards toward the view.
It’s the views that are the draw here and with large glass panels spanning all the way from the floor to the ceilings, it’s hard not to find yourself constantly gazing out of the windows. With our room located at the furtherst end of the corridor from the elevators, our vista was not of the ocean but of Downtown Dubai and the stunning Burj Khalifa. A sight that captivates our interest no matter how many times we stand beneath it’s looming shadow and watching the structure change colour with the transition from day to night, is one of the advantages to staying in a premium location such as this
Back to the rooms. All of the expected amenities are present – hairdryer, robe, slippers, minibar and 46 inch television. An immaculate marble bathroom (nearly as big as the living area) features a free-standing tub, rainfall shower and chunky mirrors, perfectly in keeping with the rooms cubic design.
Once again we were let down by the tea and coffee making facilities, we’re sorry but in 2017 we don’t expect to be using powdered milk and instant coffee in a luxury hotel! Where’s the Nespresso machine (or similar)? Comparatively, the JW Marriott Marquis still think it’s acceptable to charge customers for Wifi. Which is ridiculous when it’s freely available everywhere in this city, from the beach to the metro. Luckily the front desk staff agreed with us and waived the charge but this is not a battle we expect to have, especially in a property such as this.
The house-keeping team looked after us remarkably well and having been informed that we were celebrating a special occasion (a belated trip for Mrs. Out & About’s birthday). They pulled out the stops in ensuring that the birthday was a special one. A ‘cake’ of towels was presented upon the bed, alongside a birthday greeting in rose petals and during turn down service, the bath was drawn with further petals to add a romantic ambiance.
The intention for our stay was one of pure relaxation and being our first full night away from the children during our four years in the UAE. We had little intention of exploring. That’s one of the advantages of a staycation in your own city, you don’t feel any pressure for itineraries or sightseeing trips. Instead we could relax and take advantage of everything the hotel has to offer.
The pool deck situated on the lower levels is a relaxing space with plenty of sun loungers and breezy cabanas. The elevated deck is a sun trap during the early hours but falls into shade from midday onwards. Our main concern was that for a hotel with so many rooms, the pool was unexpectedly small. Granted it didn’t get too busy during our stay and we suppose most people staying here are likely to spend their days at work (it has the feeling of a business hotel), at one of Dubai’s numerous leisure attractions, or (more likely) at The Dubai Mall. For which a complimentary shuttle bus is provided.
The pool deck overlooks the Dubai Water Canal and the on-going construction ay Al Habtoor City. As night falls the canal breathes are life into the city. A purple waterfall cascades from the bridge over SZR, with the water parting to allow boats to pass underneath. It’s a wonderful sight to see this project come to fruition, though we’re still not entirely convinced that linking Dubai Creek with a loop through to the Arabian Gulf makes Dubai an island?
During our time on the pool deck we indulged in the daily happy hour dedicated to mojitos and other classic cocktails, while inhaling on sweet shisha and enjoying the cool climate. Dubai is a city that comes alive at night, awash with colour and an energetic life force that is unlike anywhere else in the world.
With the JW Marriott Marquis offering countless dining options, from the signature sports bar Velocity (a staple of many Marriott hotels) to the Japanese inspired Izakaya or the popular Indian eatery Rang Mahal. Our dining destination of choice would’ve been Weslodge Saloon, for we’ve heard nothing but great thing regarding this spot but on this occasion it wasn’t meant to be. As our stay was bookended by two food review outside of the hotel. Dinner at SpiceKlub and breakfast at Roux – both of which are great by the way.
We’d love to say that we spent a weekend partying in the hotel, sipping cocktails at The Vault, perched precariously on the 73rd floor. In all honesty this was a weekend for relaxing and catching up on some much needed rest.
For those in search of rejuvenation. The Saray Spa has all of the amenities and treatments that are required to feel well and truly pampered. With complimentary access to the Hammam and state of the art fitness centre for all hotel guests. You don’t have to splurge the cash to feel relaxed. Alternatively, a number of treatments are available for an additional fee – facials, body scrubs or couples massages.
For us it was more about the room and the experience of the hotel. Across the board we found the staff to be pleasant and full of smiles but it was the views that would encourage us to return again. With the city laid out far below, you realise that Business Bay isn’t as built up as you would perceive from the ground. From above you can see the desert infringing on the modern city. A juxtaposition that shows just how far the UAE has come in such a short amount of time.
Our one night staycation at the JW Marriott Marquis offered exactly what we required. An oasis of calm amongst the busy city lights of Dubai. An ultra-modern hotel in which iPhone docks abound and lights are controlled by bedside tablets. Regular readers will know that we judge a hotel by the blackout curtains and we’re pleased to report that this hotel offers complete darkness to complement the extremely comfy bed.
Feeling on top go the world (quite literally). The world’s tallest hotel feels somewhat like the future, providing us with a glimpse into the ultra-high-rise living depicted in so many movies. It’s not quite Blade Runner or the Jetsons but it feels close enough.
Location: Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay. Dubai
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Phone: 04 414 0000
All views within this blog are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE, unless otherwise stated.