We all have expectations when we visit a new destination and mine were pretty darn high when I visited Dubai. I envisioned glamorous desert safari’s, Ferrari’s replacing Holden Commo’s and visiting that ‘giant palm island’ that you see in your Insta feed. Unfortunately, they don’t give you a free Ferrari to drive around in as I had hoped for. However, I was lucky enough to find a gem on the palm island in the form of the Waldorf Astoria Dubai, which exceeded my expectations.
No trip to Dubai is complete without a trip to the iconic and glittering shores of Palm Jumeirah. The man-made island in the shape of a palm tree is reflective of Dubai’s international reputation as a flashy desert oasis. Staying at this impressive paradise also comes with a dazzling price tag. However, you can have luxury, class and comfort at the new Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah and still afford your exotic cocktails too. Bottoms up darlings!
The Waldorf Astoria is perched at the north-eastern end of the Palm, which gives you a good chance to take in an impromptu sight-seeing tour on your way there. As you whiz past some prodigious 5-star hotels including the fabled Atlantis The Palm, you realise that this island is the stuff hedonistic dreams are made of! It also becomes obvious that the Sex and the City movie wasn’t even lying about the grandiose scale of life in the Middle East.
Pulling into the driveway of the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, you are greeted with a towering white cosmopolitan entrance. It’s a modern and international take on the timeless Waldorf aesthetic. Entering the hotel surpasses all expectations with ceilings for days, lashings of marble, lux furnishings, gold trims, Middle Eastern lattice and a melding of modern meets classic with a giant antique clock feature.
Past the reception area, the hotel opens out to reveal a foyer that showcases an open plan view of all the hotel levels. Grand stair cases are a feature and inviting views out to the back of the hotel tempt you to where the real beauty begins! *fumbles to find iPhone*
The Waldorf Astoria rooms are the epitome of class and comfort. I stayed in a Deluxe Room that felt truly lavish, for once my Insta feed felt like reality.
I was welcomed to a beautifully light and airy, well-sized room with wooden floors and luxurious furnishings in neutrals and golds. Everything felt expensive and delish! Outside I had my own HUGE balcony with expansive views across the Persian Gulf, showcasing an impressive eyeful of the iconic Burj Al Arab. Everything thing felt so ‘Dubai’.
Now, I need to address the bathroom situation. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so much marble in a hotel bathroom before! That drool-worthy expensive looking stuff that everyone on Instagram uses as their backdrops. This place is at the top of the game for #bathroomgoals . You’re welcomed with a plush monogrammed Waldorf dressing grown and from there the floor to ceiling marble takes over with a double vanity, huge bathtub, lattice detail, freshly cut orchids and Ferragamo toiletries. I would trade my whole house just to have this bathroom #nojokes
Waldorf Astoria Dubai Views
The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah may be slightly business and plushness at the front, however it’s certainly all party at the back and by party, I mean Instagram on steroids!
Walking through the hotel to the main pool you’re greeted with a tropical inspired wonderland including giant palm trees, modern décor, long water features, daybeds floating over the huge lagoon style swimming pool and giant wicker ‘relaxation’ pods (because can you truly ever relax unless it’s in a pod?).
Oh, and then there’s the 200 metres of pristine white sand at the Waldorf’s own private beach, with the most incredible views towards the Dubai Marina. Bliss!
The architecture of the hotel was designed to be most admired from the beach side. This beauty features a tiered semi-circle design housing 360 rooms, standing resplendent and proudly protecting all of its luxurious assets. This haven is more than deserving of a place in this glitzy desert paradise.
If you chose to never leave this hotel during your stay, we couldn’t even judge you!
Dining & Drinks
Now, when I said there’s no judgement if you chose not to leave the Waldorf Astoria Dubai, that’s partly because you don’t need to. With a plentiful abundance of restaurant and bars, you’re a bit spoilt for choice! There’s 6 restaurants and bars offering a diverse dining experience, with traditional Arabic-inspired cuisine at Mezzerie, tempting Southeast Asian cuisine at LAO or fine-casual dining at Social by Michelin chef Heinz Beck.
Palm Avenue restaurant and lounge sets the mood, with a terrace and private cabanas where cocktails and international dishes can be enjoyed. My favourite little gem was the Serafina Bar, cloaked in rich velvety reds and funky fittings, this bar offers a signature cocktail list and live entertainment in the evenings.
Thought you could come here and skip the spa? Think again! The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Spa was awarded the ‘Best Luxury Destination Spa’ for all of the Middle East at the 2016 World Luxury Spa Awards (OMG how do we get selected for that judging panel?).
The decedent experience is spread out over 3,200-square metres and is designed with regal splendour in mind. It boasts an extensive array of hydrotherapy facilities and thermal relaxation rooms.
Plus, there’s almost 50 treatments to choose from inspired by exotic places such as Japan, Morocco, Norway, India, Switzerland and Asia. Each treatment makes use of rituals native to the journey’s country of origin, along with traditional practice and products to make each one slightly different. Shut up and take my money!
The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah doesn’t shy away from fitness options, after all you’ll need to look your best when you rock up in your itsy-bitsy bikini or mankini each day! Luckily, you can do a good portion of your exercise in your swimwear at the Water Sports Centre, including stand up paddle, banana boating (adrenaline counts as exercise, right?) kayaking, windsurfing, snorkelling and other fun in the sun activities!
Or, if you feel the need to put clothes on and sweat it out, there’s a tennis court and fitness centre with more treadmills and weights than you can poke a cocktail at.
The easiest way to get to the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah is by taxi (Dubai taxis are metered and safe) or arranged driver. It is approximately 45 minutes from the Dubai International Airport. You can also arrange a transfer with the hotel.
Do it! The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah is a hidden gem in a cluster of luxury hotels, all fighting for your credit card in this extravagant desert oasis. If you’re a sun worshipper through and through, then save yourself some serious money and visit in the Middle Eastern summer time (June to August). It may be 40 °C+, but you can pick up a room starting from around $200 per night.