Our week in Dubai would be spread out across three of the city’s luxury hotels.
We’d begin with three nights at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, before moving to the W Dubai The Palm out by the water for one night, and then spend the remaining three nights out at the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa in the outskirts of town.
Dubai has an incredibly wide range of hotels to choose from, and as we were travelling in May (which is low season in the Middle East, given the sweltering heat), the nightly rates were all pretty low across the board.
Indeed, I was astonished to see the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai was going for 420 AED ($150) per night, which I felt was an awesome deal for a high-end hotel in a central location, and certainly better value than paying 35,000 Bonvoy points for the Category 5 property.
The JW Marriott Marquis Dubai also claims to be one of the tallest hotels in the world – just shy of the Gevora Hotel, also in Dubai – which made me even more excited for my stay. (To be clear, other hotels around the world are located in higher floors of buildings than the JW Marriott, but this is the second-tallest building in the world that’s entirely used as a hotel.)
In This Post
- Location & Arrival
- Seaview King Room
- Deluxe Corner Suite
- Executive Lounge
- Other Facilities
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai – Location & Arrival
Arriving in Dubai on our Oman Air flight from Muscat, we took the Dubai Metro downtown to Business Bay station, from which it was either a three-minute car ride or a 10-minute walk to the JW Marriott Marquis. We opted to walk, although we were soon left regretting our decision, as the 40˚C heat definitely took its toll on us even though we were only outside for 10 minutes.
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Thankfully, we found relief as we approached the entrance of the JW Marriott Marquis and made our way indoors.
(It’s my understanding that the “Marquis” name is given to extremely large hotels within the Marriott and JW Marriott brands which are often used as convention centres in addition to hotels. Hence the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, the Marriott Marquis New York, etc.)
The lofted grand lobby had plenty of seating space, a few portraits of the UAE’s leaders, and a big sign with “Ramadan Kareem” displayed on it, wishing everyone well for the holy month. We proceeded further, past the lobby, to arrive at the check-in desks.
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai – Check-in
It’s a testament to the sheer size of this hotel that there are literally about 10 check-in desks lined up one after the other. During low season, only about the first four desks were staffed, although I imagine it can become quite a zoo down here when the hotel is full.
It took a few minutes before a member of the hotel staff was available to assist us. During the check-in, I was told that during low season, one of the hotel’s twin towers (Tower A) is in fact completely closed, and basically only half of the hotel’s rooms, in Tower B, are open for business.
That would also explain why the hotel was in fact entirely sold out of suites, so no suite upgrade would be forthcoming even though I was a Titanium Elite member with Marriott Bonvoy. And this wasn’t just the front desk associate talking, either – I checked the Marriott app and saw that there were indeed no suites available for the duration of my stay.
Nevertheless, the associate very kindly let me know that he’d keep checking for suite availability throughout my stay, and would upgrade me later on if something did open up. That’s not something they’re required to do as per the Marriott Bonvoy terms and conditions, so I was very grateful.
Unfortunately our Deluxe Room wasn’t ready yet either, since it was only 11am in the morning. The associate explained that we could hang out in the hotel’s Executive Lounge for now, and a member of their team would come collect us in about an hour’s time to bring us to the room.
We headed for the Executive Lounge on the 37th floor to pass the time. I’ll come back and review the lounge later on – it’s one of the most impressive hotel lounges I’ve been to.
Just about one hour later, a staff member found us in the lounge and handed us our keys. We had been assigned Room B6302, on the 63rd floor of Tower B.
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai – Seaview King Room
This was one of the hotel’s Seaview King Rooms, and I thought that it was very spacious for a standard room. The king bed took up most of the space, facing outwards away from the door and towards the window views of the Arabian Gulf.
Opposite the bed was a set of two chairs by the windows, as well as a television mounted on the wall, slightly off-centre from the position of the bed.
From the 63rd floor, the views of Dubai and the Arabian Gulf beyond its shores were dazzling to say the least. I could just make out the World Islands in the distance, the famous artificial archipelago that has essentially been abandoned since its construction in 2008.
A large desk ran along the side of the room, which was fitted with floor-to-ceiling mirrors to make the room feel even larger than it was.
I loved the size and design of the desk, which felt like it exuded authority, and I felt especially productive when working here.
Down the room’s hallway, you’ll find the pantry and closet…
…as well as the entrance to the very spacious bathroom.
The bathroom featured an oversized bathtub that was easily large enough for two, as well as separate compartments for the shower and toilet.
In addition, there was plenty of space in the bathroom to simply move around, which again made me feel like I hadn’t really missed out on much in not receiving a suite upgrade, since the square footage in the Seaview King Room was more than enough.
There was only a single sink in the bathroom, though, which was a bit strange since the countertop definitely had enough space for two (and most higher-end hotels seem to fit in two sinks whenever they can).
For our welcome amenity, we had been given the choice between a variety of snack and beverage items, or 1,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. We chose the cheese plate and half-bottle of wine, which ended up being delivered to our room on the second day, after a pretty significant delay.
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai – Deluxe Corner Suite
We were certainly very happy with the Seaview King Room we had been assigned, although I did continue to check the Marriott app to see if any suites would open up, simply because I had been on a hot streak of suite upgrades on this trip and wanted it to continue.
Indeed, on the third day, a Deluxe Corner Suite seemed to have opened up for the final night, so I approached the hotel’s front desk, found the same guy who had helped me check-in on the first day, and asked if he was able to upgrade me mid-stay as he had promised.
Without a moment’s hesitation, the associate checked in his system and saw that the suite was available for the night. He even invited us to simply go about our day in Dubai, and our belongings would automatically be brought to our new suite for us. That was just one of the many examples of outstanding service that we’d encounter here at the hotel.
The Deluxe Corner Suite we had been given for the final night was Room B5907, four storeys below our old room. Curiously enough, it seemed that our keycards still worked for Room B6302, so the hotel basically somehow let us have two rooms for the final night.
While the Seaview King Room left a good impression on us, it was apparent at first glance that the Deluxe Corner Suite at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai was on a whole other level.
The first part of the suite is the dining room, consisting of a large table with seating for four.
Opposite that is the pantry that’s fitted with the minibar, coffee machine, and glassware.
Beyond that, we move into the living room, where a large sofa is accompanied by a plush upholstered chair on one side and an ottoman on the other. The decor in the suite was very much in the same classic theme as the Seaview King Room, but felt a touch more luxurious with so much furniture spread out throughout.
The couch faces a wall-mounted television, and you can pass through to the bedroom from a sliding door on either side. How cool is that?
Into the bedroom, and the king-sized bed was once again accompanied by the same authoritative desk running alongside the windows, allowing you to get your work done while drinking in the views of Dubai.
On a side note, the artwork in the room was quite a striking collection.
Another set of sliding doors brings you into the extensive walk-in closet and bathroom complex. First, you find yourself in a short hallway, where a vanity mirror is located on one side, and the walk-in closet on the other.
Then you arrive at the bathroom, which has basically the same facilities as the Seaview King Room except spread out over an even larger space. Crucially, the bathtub was positioned right by the north-facing window, which directly faced the towering Burj Khalifa. What a satisfying view to gaze upon as you’re taking a bath!
I was also happy that we finally had a set of double sinks now.
In addition to the master bathroom, there was also a half-bath in the living area by the front door.
That’s about it for the Deluxe Corner Suite. Overall, we were extremely impressed with the suite, and even more satisfied with the hotel’s willingness to go above and beyond and provide an upgrade in the middle of my stay.
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai – Breakfast
Jessy and I took breakfast in the hotel’s Kitchen6 restaurant every morning. As you can imagine at a mega-hotel like this, the breakfast spread was very crowded in the mornings, although the hotel makes up for that in two ways: by running breakfast all the way from 6am to 11am, and by offering one of the most extensive breakfast spreads I’ve ever seen.
As Dubai is one of the world’s cultural crossroads, the breakfast was exceedingly diverse, with dozens of dishes available to choose from in a variety of styles – Western, Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian, etc.
Each cuisine had its own vast selection – for example, the Western spread included everything from sausages and bacon, to oatmeal, to ice cream…
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…while the Asian section had stir-fries, a noodle station, dim sum, fried rice, and more.
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Even the omelette station was culturally diverse – you could order a chicken tikka masala omelette or a shakshouka in addition to the more pedestrian varieties of omelette.
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It was a seriously top-notch breakfast spread, and came close to matching the unforgettable breakfast at the JW Marriott Singapore South Beach, which remains the most amazing hotel breakfast buffet I’ve encountered to this day.
Most of the hotel’s staff hails from countries like India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, or Indonesia, and they’re mostly migrant workers who came to Dubai in search of better wages in the hospitality industry.
We made friends with one of the chefs who worked at the omelette station – we chatted with him on our first morning there, and then it just so happened that he was catching the Dubai Metro with us later that day after his shift – and so he gave us some extra-special treatment on the other two mornings.
For example, he’d seek us out during breakfast and hand-deliver a plate of fresh strawberries, or a cup of warm chai tea latte for both of us to polish off our meal. We were truly taken aback by his kindness!
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai – Executive Lounge
The exemplary service continued in the Executive Lounge, which is a huge space that takes up the entirety of the 37th floor of Tower B. The lounge basically consists of one hallway that wraps around the entire floor, with the various rooms branching off one after the other. The amount of seating options is overwhelming, although the lounge does tend to fill up with people during the evening appetizer spread.
Half of the lounge is designated as the Business Zone, where only adults are welcome. The seating is mostly the same in here, although there are also a few quiet zones with workstations.
During Ramadan, the lounge is closed for breakfast, and only serves afternoon snacks (between 2:30pm and 4pm) and evening hors d’oeuvres (between 7pm, after sunset, and 9:30pm).
The afternoon spread is pretty simple, and only features a few sweet and savoury bites. In theory, you could choose to have lunch here, but it wouldn’t be very satisfying.
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On the other hand, the evening spread is much more extensive. There are usually a few freshly cooked items for you to sample, as well as fried items, finger foods, soups, dips, and sweets. Not feeling too inspired by the food scene in Dubai, Jessy and I had dinner in the Executive Lounge on quite a few nights during our stay here.
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The Executive Lounge also had a fully staffed bar, which was only serving alcoholic drinks after sunset because of Ramadan. You could order as much to drink as you wanted, so of course, Jessy and I also treated ourselves to several glasses of wine every evening.
JW Marriott Marquis Dubai – Other Facilities
In terms of the rest of the hotel, one of the most useful services that the JW Marriott Marquis offers for its guests is a complimentary shuttle bus to Dubai Mall, which is about a 10-minute drive away (and is also where the Burj Khalifa is located).
This was of huge benefit to us, since the Dubai Mall is connected to the Dubai Metro, meaning that we could leave the hotel and explore the rest of Dubai without ever having to brave the oppressive summer heat.
The shuttle bus runs every half hour between the hotel and the Dubai Mall, starting at 10am and ending at 9:30pm.
As you’d imagine for a hotel that’s among the tallest in the world, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is so large that it was a genuine challenge to try to explore all of it.
I mean, just look at this sign in the lobby, which showcases the hotel’s sixteen restaurants and cafes. You’ll certainly never run out of dining options if you didn’t want to leave the premises. (Alas, most of the restaurants were closed during Ramadan anyway.)
Jessy and I visited the hotel pool on one of our mornings at the hotel, which is located on the Mezzanine (M) floor. The pool is sizeable enough to swim a few laps, although most guests seemed to be there to take a dip and then laze the day away in the poolside sunshine.
The pool was actually the only part of the hotel I was disappointed with. There wasn’t really any service for poolside guests, as we were simply invited to grab towels from the front and find our own spot around the pool.
The area around the pool also wasn’t very well-maintained, and several cracks were beginning to show in the stone floor. As a result, Jessy and I jumped in the water, sat around for a while, and then left pretty soon after we arrived.
I also visited the hotel gym on one occasion to get some exercise. The gym is open 24 hours and is also located on the Mezzanine level.
This was a comparatively much more well-appointed space; not only did they have the usual treadmills, free weights, and exercise machines, but they even had proper bench presses, squat racks, and an aerobics space, which is pretty rare to see at hotel gyms.
On the final morning of our stay, after polishing off another hearty breakfast and saying goodbye to our friend at the omelette station, Jessy and I packed our bags, vacated our Deluxe Corner Suite, returned the keys to both rooms that we had held for that night, and hopped in an Uber to bring us to the next luxury property on our agenda: W Dubai The Palm.
As a big fan of the JW Marriott brand, I had very high expectations of the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, and the hotel met those expectations in a comprehensive fashion.
The base-level rooms at this hotel already have a generous size, and I was blown away to receive a mid-stay upgrade to the beautiful Deluxe Corner Suite, which is something that the hotel had really gone above and beyond to deliver. Moreover, in true JW Marriott fashion, both the breakfast in the restaurant and the Executive Lounge for elite members were truly spectacular offerings.
A slightly disappointing hotel pool aside, my impressions of the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai are very strong all around, and I think it’s excellent value for a Category 5 Marriott Bonvoy redemption or even a cheap cash stay during the summertime low season. I’m certain that I’ll be staying here again at some point in the future.
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