Last week we spent five nights at the JW Marriott Marquis, and I must say, this is one of the more impressive Marriott properties I have stayed at recently. Dubai is a city of “world’s biggest this” and “world’s tallest that,” and in this regard, this property does not dissapoint. The JW Marriott Marquis currently holds claim to the tallest hotel in the world. Here is the list, according to Wikipedia. It’s somewhat humorous to note that 5 of the top 5 tallest hotels are all located in Dubai. It may not hold the title for long, though, as the Krrish Square Tower in Colombo, Sri Lanka is currently being built.
While the records are somewhat meaningless, it is worth mentioning, as the structure truly is impressive. The hotel is two towers that stand 77 floors. Our suite was on the 17th floor, but my cousin’s room was on the 69th floor of Tower A. We went up to his room, and I was able to snap a pretty awesome vertical panorama of Tower B (first pic of the post). You can click that picture for the full resolution version if you’d like! I think it’s some of my finest work :-).
After a fantastic flight in from JFK, we got to the hotel just before lunch time. The lobby is very classy, and they had it nicely decked out for the national holiday in UAE. And like everything else in the UAE, despite the fact that it’s a nationally Islamic country, they love their foreigners, so the hotels and malls were all decked out with Christmas decorations as well.
Check-in was simple, and you can tell this a seriously large hotel just by the number of desks they have. Upon check-in, we were thanked for our Marriott Platinum loyalty, and we were informed that not only was a room ready, but that were upgraded to a Junior Suite. Woohoo! Our room was on the 17th floor of Tower B. It’s pretty easy to transfer between the towers, but it’s worth noting that both the Executive Lounge as well as the fitness center are on Tower A. We headed up to our room, and the bellman was not far behind with our bags.
If this is their definition of a junior suite, I sure would love to see what some of their standard suites look like! Our suite was at the end of the hallway, and there was a large entry way with a half bath on the left. Walking straight in led to a bar on the left and a large table with four chairs on the right. Just beyond that was a lounging area with a large flat panel TV, complete with Bose speaker sound system, a couch, and coffee table.
The TV is held up by a dividing wall, and there were sliding doors on both sides of the wall. Closing them both effectively made two separate rooms, but if you kept them open, it really kept the suite feeling especially open and roomy. The bedroom was nice, the bed was comfy, and there was a large HDTV in the bedroom as well.
I didn’t grab a picture of the view from the room, but with it being a corner suite with floor to ceiling windows, there was definitely a lot to look at. We were able to see the Burj Khalifa from our room, which is always a treat. My cousin’s top floor room had an even better view (but he didn’t get the suite! Sorry, Laszlo! hehe).
The bathroom was also extremely nice and spacious. There were his and her sinks, a standalone tub, a rain shower, toilet, etc. We also had a walk-in closet in the room, but I didn’t snap a pic of that. As I mentioned, we arrived just before lunch time, and when I’m dealing with jet lag, the first thing I like to do is do a quick jog at the gym. Even if I’m tired and not feeling great, I find that forcing myself to run a few miles on the treadmill gets my blood going. Katy, on the other hand, decided to combat her jetlag by taking a nap :-). I went to the gym, and I was really impressed by it.
As you can see, it’s quite large. There is a long row of treadmills and other cardio machines along the left window, and there are machines throughout the facility. On the far end, there are free weights, rowing machines, and a few other things. I think most people will find this to be more than adequate. My only complaint is their treadmill brand. My favorite brand of treadmill is LifeFitness, but Precor makes good stuff too. These Technogym branded machines left something to desire, in terms of options that could be tweaked for a run.
I got my workout in. Katy got her nap in. We decided to go check out the Dubai Mall. We were staying at the city with the world’s tallest building at the world’s tallest hotel. Going to the world’s largest mall seemed like a good idea! The pic above shows the view from outside the lobby at the JW. There isn’t too much that can be walked to, but it is only about a 5 minute walk from the Dubai Metro. The Dubai Metro is extremely cheap and clean, and it is an easy trip from the JW to many destinations, including Ski Dubai. It’s also worth noting that the JW runs a free shuttle every half hour from the hotel to the Dubai Mall. That made it convenient to make our way over there and back. Speaking of location, it’s worth noting that this hotel is locatd in the Business Bay section of Dubai. Dubai is built along the Persian Gulf, and there’s a main highway that runs along it. This is the same highway that goes all the way to Abu Dhabi (which is about a 90 minute drive). Business Bay is a very central location right in the middle of the highway, as it pertains to Dubai. A lot of the historic stuff and old markets are in the northernmost portion of Dubai, the Dubai Creek area. On the southern portion of town, you have the Dubai marina and Burj Al Arab. Business Bay is smack dab in the middle so I think the hotel really has the location nailed, especially being right on the metro. It’s just a shame there aren’t any good restaurants / shops within walking distance, at least at this time. There’s a lot of construction happening around the property so maybe this will change in years to come.
After we returned, we decided to check out the lounge. I had read online that the lounge was open 24 hours, and I was curious about their offering. It turns out that the lounge here is one of the nicest hotel lounges I have ever been to. It takes up the entire 37th floor of Tower A. It’s open 24 hours a day, and you can always pop in to grab a soda, some water, or a few pieces of candy, but the main services are breakfast, afternoon tea, heavy appetizer, and sweet bites. I don’t recall the exact hours of everything, but I think breakfast started at 6AM, the afternoon tea started at 2PM or 2:30PM, and the sweet bites lasted until 10PM or 10:30PM.
Dubai can be a very expensive city, and it’s nice to know that at least you can grab a quick bite in the lounge when needed. The breakfast spread was perhaps the best lounge breakfast I have ever seen, eclipsing the spreads I had seen at the Renaissnace Sao Paulo or Renaissnace Zhongshan Park. I loved the lounge at the Sheraton on the Park in Sydney, but I think the JW Marquis in Dubai still takes the cake. In the morning, there were freshly baked pastries, fresh squeezed juices, a cook to order egg station, fruits, yogurts, meusli, cereal, cold cuts, and more.
Breakfast in the lounge was awesome! To top it off, because the lounge occupies the entire 37th floor, depending on where you sit each morning, you’ll get a completely different view of the city. My favorite spot to sit was where we could see the Burj Al Arab, where we would later venture for High Tea.
Breakfast was great! I also loved how expansive the lounge was, and there was a variety of seating.
In terms of the evening food spread, it was more than ample. It was enough food that if you wanted to, you could make a meal out of it. There were always multiple hot items, a variety of Arabic mezze, bread, cheese, complimentary wine, etc. Here are a few pics of some of the options there.
The room was awesome. The gym was awesome. The lounge was awesome. What more could you want? Maybe a pool? This property does have a pool, and Katy and I ventured down to take a look at it, but we never really used it, as we were going to Thailand soon after Dubai.
We saw a lot of people at the pool throughout our stay. If you’re staying at the JW Marriott Marquis, this pool is more than adequate to cool off, have a dip, lay out, and enjoy yourself. However, if the primary goal of your trip is fun in the sun, there are plenty of other properties from most of the major hotel chains to pick in Dubai.
We only had dinner at one of the hotel restaurants, but the property has many, at least five. We chose to eat at the Arabic restaurant, Nawwara. I think I’ve uploaded enough food pictures, but I can tell you that our dinner was really good. In retrospect, it’s funny. We ate there on our first night, and I definitely ordered some traditional hummus dish with chicken. I wanted to make sure I got my Arabic food fix in, but by the time I left Dubai, I don’t think a day went by where I didn’t at least have some hummus, and I certainly had plenty of regional food before we left!
The JW Marriott Marquis really made our stay in Dubai special. It was the perfect compliment to our trip. We had a really nice room, the staff was always super friendly, and I can’t stress enough about how it’s probably the best lounge I’ve ever used. There are a LOT of hotels in Dubai from chains I frequent, but I know that if I go back to that city, sign me up again for the world’s tallest hotel!