Positioned as Hilton’s flagship luxury brand, the Waldorf Astoria name is well heralded and with good reason. Just the mention of it evokes images of its most famous properties such as the esteemed New York hotel. In Dubai you are hardly spoilt for choice when it comes to 5 star resorts so how does one stand out? The Palm Jumeirah has more than ten top hotels already with the likes of The W, The Viceroy and other heavyweights soon to add properties to the ever burgeoning coastline, so how well can the Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah hold its own?
Well for starters the hotel is in a great location. It’s no more than 40 minutes from Dubai International airport and due to the Waldorf’s unique setting on the Palm crescent visitors get unparalleled views of The Atlantis, The Palm fronds and the Marina skyline as a backdrop. Not too bad indeed. To make the position here even better, even if you are facing the opposite direction guests are treated to a panoramic view of the Burj Al Arab and, on a clear day, The Burj Khalifa. How’s that for a Dubai view?
With a Waldorf you expect grandness and you expect impeccable Venetian style and we’re pleased to note that this particular hotel doesn’t disappoint. Even from approach it’s palatial with plenty of traditional Arabian touches, blending seamlessly into its locale. Inside the horseshoe archways, gold coloured marble floors and high ceilings give the lobby a typically ostentatious first impression that seems so appropriate in this part of the world. Of course, no Waldorf would be complete without it’s legendary lobby clock and this one is a beautifully unique twist of its grandfather in New York. We won’t spoil the history behind this Waldorf staple for you but be sure to have a flick through the in room Waldorf magazine (who knew there was such a thing) for an insight into this icon.
The hotel itself feels quiet and calm, a real escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown or the Marina areas of the city, if you’re looking for a relaxing break then this could well be the hotel for you. Checking in and out is usually the most frantic part of any hotel stay but being quickly escorted to the VIP check-in lounge to be greeted by personable staff made the process of arrival completely painless.
The Junior Suite (a free upgrade courtesy of the hotel) was modern, elegant and had a superb outlook. The room’s calming white, cream and beige tones are complemented by patches of turquoise that give the space a great theme, an interior theme that we’ve noticed throughout many Waldorf Astoria hotels. The beautifully appointed traditional bathtub as well as the spacious living and reading areas all add to the feeling of staying in uncompromising luxury in fact the suite is so large it easily resembles a small, one-bedroom apartment. If size is important to you, the Waldorf has it in drove, or should we say square footage. The room’s pièce de résistance was without doubt, the enormous alfresco balcony which made the best of the spectacular views out over The Palm and beyond which mere pictures couldn’t possibly do justice to. Even in the searing Dubai heat you’ll find a way to enjoy a cup of coffee in your fluffy Waldorf Astoria dressing gown as you watch the sun set over the fronds, truly a magical sight and one of the best views from any Dubai hotel.
If hotel restaurants’ can start to feel a bit repetitive, The Waldorf Astoria is certainly a cut above. The 10 outlets and lounges vary by cuisine and range from smart to casual but for an unbridled culinary experience look no further than the hotel’s signature restaurant “Social- by Heinz Beck” it’s a must for anyone staying at the hotel. This restaurant is closed during Ramadan but upon reopening, we urge you to try the excellent creative cuisine here. For a spot of the Vietnamese cuisine, LAO, located on the lower ground floor of the hotel is a fantastic evening out. With a theatrical open kitchen, you can spend hours watching the talented chefs in awe as they prepare all manner of authentic delights. Feast on dim sum, noodle and rice based dishes as well as succulent Wagyu Beef and juicy duck strips.
Many all-encompassing resorts on this scale lose their ability to retain personal service and the sense of quietness and serenity that so many of us Dubai residents crave from time to time. During a stay at the Waldorf every part of the hotel, whether it’s the lobby, the pool area or the beach feels like your own private hideaway. There is never the feeling of being on top of other guests or simply feel like “just another number” with the staff. Yes it may be a bit on the pricy side for Dubai hotels but it’s worth every single second and every Dirham, for in a hotel with 320 rooms there is no greater praise than creating an air of exclusivity and privacy. We have to pay a special mention to the Waldorf staff which we almost never do for the standard of service throughout the resort was spot on, 24 hours of the day. From the car valet to the turn down service, if you need a new iron or extra toiletries (Salvatore Ferragamo we have you know) the Waldorf team were quick, efficient and very polite without crossing that line into overbearing, our pet peeve here in the Middle East.
In such a saturated market where everyone claims to offer “5 star service” the scope between the good and the not so good can be wide and cavernous. In the case of the Waldorf Astoria whether it’s on the Palm Island or in Ras Al Khaimah, we can say with complete confidence that you leave feeling an appreciated guest and that your only regret being that you didn’t stay longer.
Now with the extended Eid break just around the corner, what better time to take advantage of Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah’s unique setting, excellent culinary offerings and unrivalled leisure facilities and treat yourself and a loved one to that staycation you keep promising you’ll take.
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