Dubai’s man-made wonder the Palm Jumeirah is home to a number of five-star hotels but nothing says luxury quite like the Waldorf Astoria. Situated on the Palm’s East Crescent, the Waldorf may not be as ostentatious as some of its neighbours but would certainly be our preference when it comes to a weekend retreat of exemplary service and high-end luxury.
The brilliant white exterior gives little away, yet the lobby of this 319 room property marks a great introduction to the very nature of the brand. Natural tones embrace guests as they make their way beneath dazzling light fittings and across plush rugs to the reception, where floor to ceiling windows provide remarkable views out to sea.
Waldorf’s inaugural property in New York was seen as the world’s greatest hotel at the time of its construction and has left a lasting legacy for the brand to “be the standard by which others are measured.” Over a century later, this quality and consistency remain in place, with the check-in process undertaken with startling efficiency. A central clock is a fixture of Waldorf lobbies worldwide and the presence of a timepiece in the Dubai property takes prominence over a sweeping staircase of gleaming marble, leading out towards the beach.
We get a feeling of desert chic as we traverse the communal corridors leading to the rooms, for the desert has quite literally been brought indoors. Sand and palm trees fill the corridors, leaving little doubt of our Arabian location. Our first-floor room is spacious and offers glorious views of the Dubai skyline over the flat waters of the Arabian Gulf. The iconic Burj Al Arab stands strong on the horizon, as the sunlight refracts off the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building) in the distance.
Our two queen bed deluxe room is without a doubt one of the nicest we’ve stayed in. Awash with tones of ivory, beige and hints of turquoise, it’s tastefully decorated and features all the modern comforts you’d expect from a brand such as the Waldorf. A large 42 inch HD television, a media hub for all your devices and an espresso maker (none of that powdered stuff here). The attention to detail is astounding with the crockery similar to something you would expect to find at a wedding. Particular mention must be given to the signature Waldorf Astoria beds (complete with pillow menu) and what are easily the most comfortable slippers and robes in the Emirates = period!
The bathroom continues the lavish feeling of the room, finished in marble and complete with double vanity units, a powerful rainfall shower (complete with seating ledge for those too lazy to stand) and a tub that features a television. It’s almost too difficult to leave the room when the levels of comfort are so high.
Waldorf Astoria’s Palm Jumeirah location means that it’s a little far from the tourist attractions of Dubai but it’s unlikely that guests will notice with so much on offer within the hotel’s manicured grounds.
Amenities include the Waldorf Astoria Spa, featuring a sauna, steam-room, ice fountain, 12 treatment rooms and extensive hydrotherapy facilities. With over fifty treatments available in a serene and tranquil environment, it’s worth booking yourself in for some extensive pampering. Often spas can feel a little clinical, but here comfort and relaxation are brought to the forefront. For those with fitness in mind, the state-of-the-art gymnasium is open 24 hours a day.
Outside, amongst grassy lawns and rows of fragrant frangipani trees, is the private beach. A 200m swathe of golden sand stretching as far as the eye can see and leading down to tranquil azure waters that are shallow and ideal for young children and less competent swimmers. If relaxing on the sand isn’t your thing, the onsite water sports centre offers snorkelling, kayaking and water skiing, against the backdrop of the Palm’s residential fronds and the towers of Dubai Marina.
Tennis courts and two temperature controlled swimming pools are also available for guests. The lagoon-like family pool would be our choice, offering different depths of water and spacious cabanas, including some specially situated over the water for a special dining experience. An adults-only pool is provided for those looking for additional peace and quiet and even in the intense summer heat, the attentive life guards are on hand with bags of chilled water and ample shade to ensure comfort is maintained for all guests poolside.
Six distinct dining destinations are available to take diners on a worldwide culinary journey. Having heard wonderful things about Social by 3-star Michelin Chef Heinz Beck we were a little disappointed to find the restaurant closed for Ramadan. However, things were quickly redeemed with a dinner reservation at Lao. With so few Vietnamese fine-dining restaurants in the Emirates, it’s a refreshing choice of cuisine for the Waldorf and one that certainly pays off. Indulging in a set menu of Lao’s signature dishes, we’re taken on a dining journey from the coastal waters of Vietnams Halong Bay to the mountainous rice terraces of Sapa. With Vietnamese cuisine renowned for its aromatic flavours, these are pushed to the forefront of the dining experience, from the tender beef wrapped in a King Henry leaf and served with peanut and tamarind sauces, to the stir fried chicken breast with aromatic lemongrass.
Breakfast at Mezzerie offers guests a vast spread of freshly baked breads and pastries, artisanal yoghurts, dim sum, a gluten free corner and not one but TWO varieties of pancakes. It’s one of the most expansive breakfast buffets we’ve encountered with a focus on quality to match. Mazzarie is also where you’ll find the Waldorf’s extremely popular Secret Garden Brunch which you can read more about here:
The Waldorf Astoria is a property that offers a haven from the hustle and bustle of Dubai. The location is perfectly suited to a distinguished brand that exudes luxury and exclusivity. Set amidst tranquil gardens and the gently lapping waves of the Arabian Gulf, it’s a property that is instantly memorable for its quality of service and luxurious rooms.
Waldorf Astoria hotels are often found in unique locations in popular destintions and Dubai is no different. The Waldorf offers a personalised and professional service where relaxation is key and is ideal for a weekend staycation and a worthy addition to a city that prides itself on luxury.
An edited version of this post first appeared in the July 2017 issue of FACT Abu Dhabi.
We were invited to stay at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE.