Review: Waldorf Astoria Duba Palm Jumeirah Dubai
I’m excited to be somewhere so serene, amid the mad marvellousness that is Dubai
Location: Perched on the outer ring of the man-made Palm Jumeirah, Waldorf Astoria is located on East Crescent, at one of the farthest points from mainland Dubai. The front of the property looks out across the Arabian Gulf; the back opens up on to a 200-metre stretch of beach with views towards Dubai Marina and the inner branches of the palm. The airport is a 40-minute drive.
First impressions: Walking through the doors of the Waldorf, I breathe a sigh of relief. Firstly, I’m pleased to escape the intense summer heat. More importantly, I’m excited to be somewhere so serene, amid the mad marvellousness that is Dubai. The Waldorf is just as glamorous as every other luxury hotel in Dubai but, unlike some, it’s also very classy, with a relaxed atmosphere that’s far from pretentious. The hotel is huge, but so is everything in Dubai, and with six bars and restaurants, it never feels crowded.
The facts: The Waldorf has 319 rooms, including 68 large suites. The best is the palatial two-bedroom Royal Suite, which takes up an entire floor, has its own private lift, TV room, kitchen with butler service, a grand piano and an impressively large terrace. In addition, it has a majlis (seating area) for up to 20 guests. The rooms are modern and slick, with decor based on ivory and turquoise tones, while the bathrooms boast Italian marble features. On the food front, there’s something for everyone, with half a dozen venues to choose from. I dined in popular pan-Asian restaurant Lao, which offers a chef’s table concept for a limited number of guests who like to learn as they eat. More popular, though, is Social by three-starred Michelin chef Heinz Beck. Here you’ll find a refined menu with paired wines. If you can stand the heat, the property has two outdoor swimming pools and a large private beach. Waiting staff are on hand on the beach and by the pools with chilled water and ice buckets – you’ll need it. For those who prefer an air-conditioned environment, the hotel’s spa and enormous gym will keep you busy.
Explore: Waldorf Astoria offers a free shuttle bus service to the Atlantis and to mainland Dubai; however, the timings are limited and will restrict your freedom to enjoy the destination at your own pace. Taxis are cheap in Dubai, which is just as well as you’ll need them if you’re ‘marooned’ on the Palm. Head to the mainland to explore. Those seeking shopping have no end of options – my favourites are the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates. But in Dubai, nothing is as it seems, and the shopping centres are also home to unusual attractions such as ice-skating rinks, ski centres and aquariums – perfect for those who like to buy Louboutins one minute and don ski wear the next. A visit to Burj Khalifa is a must, but seeing this towering architectural wonder in all its glory from below is, in my opinion, far better than from the top. Head to a nearby rooftop bar to marvel at it while sipping a cocktail – it’s a far more sophisticated way to appreciate the tallest building in the world than by queueing to get access to the top and being herded through.
Wow: The food at Lao is exquisite. Even if your clients aren’t staying at the Waldorf, recommend they venture here for a wonderful dining experience.
Hollie is editor of Aspire’s print and online products. She is responsible for the running of the club and ensuring the content produced and the events organised are relevant to the Aspire audience. She was previously deputy news editor and cruise writer for sister title Travel Weekly. She loves exploring new destinations and is gradually ticking new countries off her list. She most enjoys writing about cruise, South America and Japan. Before working in the travel industry she held news reporting roles at the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star.