Whenever I start searching for accommodations in a specific destination, my first instinct is to always check if there’s a JW Marriott. It’s without a doubt my favorite Marriott Bonvoy brand, I really appreciate its more casual and approachable take on luxury.
Currently, there are over 50 Marriott-affiliated properties in Dubai, ranging from budget-friendly to ultra-luxury. Even with such a plethora of choices, I’ll always gravitate to the JW Marriott brand because I know the service and elite recognition will be outstanding. As well, I think their executive lounges consistently rank as the best in the entire Marriott portfolio.
While reviewing my choices, one particular detail that grabbed my attention was the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai’s distinction as the world’s second tallest all-hotel towers, topping out at 355 meters and 72 floors each. Upon its completion in 2012, this hotel held the title of the world’s tallest hotel. However, it has since been surpassed by a newer development in Dubai.
The exterior facade of the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is meant to draw inspiration from the Arabian date palm tree.
If you’re visiting Dubai, you’ll quickly realize that everything constructed there tends to embody superlatives: the largest, fastest, longest, tallest, and so on. Dubai epitomizes grandeur, and the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai truly lives up to its “Marquis” title with its colossal scale. The hotel has over 1,600 guest rooms, including 240 suites, a banquet hall, an auditorium, 18 shops, 19 restaurants and a spa.
There are of course going to be some drawbacks to staying at a hotel of this size; however, I can quite confidently say this hotel stay was outstanding from start to finish.
Booking & Check-in
We were visiting Dubai in late September, during what is the shoulder season for this region. Temperatures are still extremely high during these months, as a result, hotel prices haven’t reached their peak-season highs yet. The cash rate during our stay was 637 AED ($234 CAD) per night. I didn’t see the benefit in using points for this property since I considered the cash rate to be quite reasonable. On top of that, the nightly redemption rates were hovering around 60,000 points per night, which didn’t offer particularly appealing value.
As one of the largest hotels in Dubai, it didn’t take us long to realize the flurry of activity that would be in store for us while staying here. The three-lane entranceway consistently saw a steady flow of cars, seemingly at all times throughout the day.
You’ll know you’ve arrived at a JW Marriott once you spot the signature JW Marriott gryphons, which adorn each end of the valet entranceway.
Upon stepping out of our taxi, we were immediately greeted by the incredibly attentive staff and our bags were quickly whisked away while we made our way to the check-in desks. This was just the first example of the outstanding service we’d receive at this property.
The entrance lobby is a cavernous space at 4 stories tall with giant marble pillars on each side and service desks tucked into alcoves along the walls.
In the center of the lobby rested a large circular table displaying an elaborate floral arrangement. Above this were the obligatory portraits of the UAE’s heads-of-state.
To the immediate left of the entrance was the lobby bar and lounge. We never visited the lobby bar during our stay. In fact, I only discovered it as I was wandering around while we were waiting for our Uber pickup to take us to our next destination: Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa. This truly speaks to the immense size of this property, even after four days, I hadn’t explored it all!
Towards the rear of the lobby were the check-in desks. I counted no less than ten check-in desks lined up along the backlit wall.
The JW Marriott Marquis Dubai also has several check-in desks dedicated for Marriott Bonvoy Elite members. There was no lineup at these desks when we arrived and were assisted promptly.
Prior to arriving in Dubai, my dad and I spent a few days in Doha after our Qatar Airways Qsuites flight. Dubai was the second stop on our travels through the Middle East, so we booked ourselves a base-level Deluxe Room with two twin beds.
Even though my Marriott Bonvoy status entitled me to a suite upgrade if available, I didn’t anticipate receiving one since hotels typically configure their suites with just one king bed. As a result, we were assigned the exact room we booked on an Executive Floor of Tower B.
It’s my understanding that if you hold Marriott Bonvoy status of Platinum or higher, you’ll be automatically assigned a room in Tower B, as the Executive Lounge is located on the 37th floor of Tower B. The Executive Lounge is without a doubt one of the main highlights at this property. I’d read many glowing reviews of the lounge prior to our stay, and it more than lived up to my expectations. I’ll cover the lounge in more detail later on.
Each tower has eight elevators; four elevators to service floors 1-37, and four elevators to service floors 37-72. Of the few nitpicks I have about this property would be that we often found ourselves with lengthy wait times for the elevators. I think all the traffic to and from the Executive Lounge on the 37th floor contributed to most of the wait times.
We were assigned room 6011 on the 60th floor of Tower B.
The JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is located in the Business Bay district of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, directly adjacent to the Al Jadaf – Dubai Canal. Its proximity to downtown Dubai, where the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa are located, is quite convenient.
The hotel is about a 15-minute drive from the Dubai International Airport (DXB) and the Business Bay Metro Station is a 10-minute walk away.
The Marriott Marquis hotel also offers a complimentary shuttle service to and from the Dubai Mall running between the hours of 10:00am and 9:30pm. My dad and I used the shuttle almost every day and we found it to be extremely handy.
Parking at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is free for all guests and visitors of the hotel. Only valet parking is available, there is no option to self-park your vehicle.
Room – Deluxe Two Twin Guest Room
The base-level Deluxe Room was quite spacious. There was more than enough real-estate inside for the both of us to have our own area with getting in each other’s way. Our room faced southward, overlooking the Dubai Canal and surrounding towers.
Immediately upon entering the foyer are two large wardrobes and a couple drawers along with a space in between for a suitcase.
The closet on the right contained an ironing board and iron along with a JW Marriott Branded robe and pair of slippers. In the left closet was the room safe and a few smaller drawers.
Beside the closet area was an Illy branded coffee maker, a kettle, a selection of teas and coffee pods along with a few bottles of water that were replenished daily. Directly below this was the in-room refrigerator.
The two twin beds were situated along the padded left wall and faced the desk and wall-mounted flat screen TV on the opposite side of the room. There was ample storage for both beds, with a nightstand on either side of the beds as well as one in between. Notably absent from the bedside area were any charging ports or outlets to plug in devices.
The wall opposite the beds was adorned with floor to ceiling mirrors. In front of the mirrors ran a long desk. Built into the desk were several universal power outlets.
Directly below the TV and on front of the floor to ceiling windows was a small sitting area with two chairs.
The southerly view from our 60th floor room overlooked Business Bay and Dubai Canal to the east and the sprawling grounds of the Al Khail Racecourse to the West.
Directly opposite of the closet area was the entrance to the very well-appointed bathroom.
The bathroom boasted a generously sized bathtub, along with a separate toilet chamber and walk-in shower.
Overall, I felt the room was very spacious for the two of us. All of the furnishings were of very high quality and the beds were extremely comfortable. However, the guest rooms lack some of the more modern amenities that people expect nowadays. With the hotel now being about a decade old, the lack of outlets and USB ports is a reminder that this property was built in a different era. That said, the public spaces and guest rooms have been well-kept and remain in impeccable condition.
I will also mention that the Wi-Fi was fast and reliable throughout the entire property. Over the course of our stay I didn’t encounter a single dead-zone anywhere within the hotel.
The JW Marriott Marquis Dubai features a whopping 19 restaurants, lounges and cafes. With Dubai being such a cultural melting pot, you’ll find culinary options from all four corners of the globe here. These include Indian, Thai, Japanese, Italian, South American and more.
On more than one occasion my dad and I discussed having dinner at Prime68, the steakhouse on the 68th floor. Unfortunately, we never had the chance, as we usually ventured out in the evening once it cooled down and instead chose to eat at one of the many restaurants near the Burj Khalifa.
As a welcome amenity for my Bonvoy status, we were informed at check-in that we had the choice of having breakfast at Kitchen6 Restaurant or in the Executive Lounge each morning.
However, since nearly every guest of this enormous hotel descended upon Kitchen6 in the morning, we found the restaurant to be extremely hectic and noisy the first morning we walked through it. So, we instead chose to retreat to the relative tranquility of the Executive Lounge for breakfast during our stay.
The buffet at Kitchen6 was easily one of the most extensive breakfast offerings I’ve ever seen. There were separate stations featuring dozens of dishes from Arabic, Indian, European, Asian and North American cuisines. There was also a chef at each station preparing made-to-order dishes such as omelettes, noodle dishes, etc.
While the breakfast spread in the lounge couldn’t match the offerings in Kitchen6, we found the lounge to be more than sufficient. That coupled with the amazing views of the Dubai skyline and wonderful service, we didn’t feel like we were missing out by eating in the lounge.
Although I was eager to try out a few of the acclaimed restaurants at the hotel, neither of us felt strongly inclined to splurge on an expensive dinner out when the Executive Lounge provided such a comprehensive food spread throughout the day.
Due to the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai’s location in Business Bay, it tends to lean towards catering more to the business traveler over leisure vacationers. Subsequently, don’t expect to find many resort-style and family-friendly amenities here. Nevertheless, we found its location and facilities to be ideal for our needs.
As I’ve already alluded to, the Executive Lounge on the 37th floor is one of the standout facilities at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. The lounge is available to Bonvoy members with Platinum or higher status or guests staying in an Executive Level Room, regardless of status. While at most properties the Executive Lounge takes up just a small corner of one floor, not so at the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. As with everything else at this super-sized property, the Executive Lounge here is a massive space, utilizing the entirety of the 37th floor.
One half of the floor is dedicated to food and refreshments and the other half is designated as a Business Zone with one long hallway wrapping around the entire floor connecting the two.
Within the Business Zone, you’ll find a conference room, along with an additional space containing multiple workstations and a multifunction copy/printer machine.
The Executive Lounge is accessible 24hrs a day and serves the following food and refreshments throughout the day:
- Breakfast: 6:00am – 11:00am
- Afternoon Tea: 2:30pm – 4:00pm
- Happy Hour: 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Although afternoon tea and an evening happy hour may not sound like a full-fledged meal service, the food options provided throughout the day were exceedingly abundant. Each dining service proved to be more than sufficient to get us through the day.
Available at all times are coffee, tea, soda and bottled water from the self-serve station inside the Executive Lounge.
The breakfast buffet consisted of a mix of North American, Indian, and Arabic dishes. As well as fruits, cold meats, cheeses, various pastries and more.
Also available were cold cereals, oatmeal, and a few Arabic and Indian dishes such as Ful Medames.
Other hot dishes included scrambled eggs, grilled tomato, breakfast potatoes, chicken sausages and beef bacon.
Croissants, toast, muffins, donuts, Arabic bread and various pastries were also available along with a nice selection of jams and honey.
At the bar was detox water, orange juice, watermelon juice and pineapple juice.
Lasty, there is a made-to-order station preparing eggs (any style) and pancakes or waffles.
I ordered an omelette every morning, and I must say, the omelettes I had in the Executive Lounge were some of the best I’ve had in a while.
After loading up at breakfast we usually weren’t very hungry mid-afternoon, so the midday service was often enough to tide us over until dinner. That said, it is very light compared to the breakfast and evening service.
The afternoon tea consists of fruits, scones, sandwiches, cakes and a few other sweets.
We only visited the lounge on one occasion in the afternoon, though I was told that the sandwiches change daily and there is a different rotating hot item each day. On the day we went, there were salmon sandwiches and hot sausage rolls.
The Executive Lounge was rather quiet for most of the day, including during breakfast. However, this wasn’t the case during the evening service. In fact, the lounge attracted quite a crowd during the evenings. I’m just speculating here, but I suspect the free-flowing alcohol might have played a role in this.
For the evening service, there was a selection of cheeses, various breads and a build-your-own salad buffet.
As well, there was fried chicken and a made-to-order Laksa station.
At the Laksa station, we had our choice of two types of noodles and either chicken or fish balls. The soup was absolutely fantastic, striking a perfect balance between spicy and savory, and the creamy coconut milk added a delightful cooling touch. Throughout the night, there was a constant stream of people to and from the Laksa station, a sign of its popularity among the evening lounge crowd.
Oh, and did I mention the unlimited free beer, wine, and spirits?
Needless to say, the Executive Lounge puts on an incredible showing throughout the day. This is easily the best lounge I’ve ever encountered at any Marriott property.
I felt the Executive Lounge here really elevated our stay. The dining service throughout the day was exceedingly generous and very high quality. In addition to this, the staff in the lounge were such a delight. All-in-all it was an outstanding spot to have a carefree 2-hour breakfast to start the day.
I made a point of visiting the fitness center each morning before breakfast. The fitness center is located on the Mezzanine Level along with the pool and spa.
For a hotel gym, the facility was very well-equipped. Of course, you’ll find the usual assortment of standard treadmills, free weights, and exercise machines. Moreover, a few things I don’t come across very often in hotel gyms, including a dedicated bench press, squat rack, and a separate warm-up area.
For a hotel of this size, I was expecting the fitness center to be overrun with people each morning, but that wasn’t the case. The gym’s spacious layout easily accommodated a plethora of equipment, ensuring that even during peak hours, there were ample benches and machines available for everyone to use.
During our stay, daytime temperatures hovered in the mid-40s. This made the outdoor pool an excellent spot to escape the scorching heat. Additionally, the pool terrace offered some excellent vantage points to admire the neighboring buildings.
The pool at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is relatively understated, aligning with the hotel’s focus on accommodating a predominantly business-oriented clientele. That said, I did see some families with children enjoying their time each day I was at the pool. Just don’t go here expecting to find a sprawling and elaborate pool complex.
There is a pool-side bar here serving cocktails and light-bites. Pool staff were regularly making the rounds to deliver bottled water and take drink or food orders. At each set of chairs was a handy “call for service” buzzer with a QR code for the menu.
The rest of the pool terrace was a large social area filled with couches, chaise lounges, and dining tables for the poolside bar.
On every visit I made to the pool, it was relatively quiet and there was always plenty of available seating. I found the pool to be more than sufficient for taking a refreshing dip and lounging by the water, but it doesn’t offer anything beyond that. If your primary aim for a trip is to bask in the sun and enjoy a lively pool atmosphere, you’ll want to choose a different property. Additionally, because of the high density of nearby towers, direct sunlight is limited, resulting in the pool being mostly shaded throughout the day.
While I didn’t visit the Saray Spa for any treatments during my stay, I did pass through it every day on my way to the pool or fitness center. This gave me a chance to look at the various treatments offered and explore the facilities. You can view the current Saray Spa treatments offered here.
Within the spa changing rooms you’ll find a sauna and steam rooms. Also, the spa features separate men’s and ladies’ hair salons.
JW Marriott’s are renowned for their spas; however, this location was eerily quiet every time I walked through it. I never saw a staff member at the front desk even once. Much like the pool situation, I can’t imagine many people are coming to a business-oriented city hotel for an indulgent spa getaway. While I have no doubt the spa services here are wonderful, there are literally dozens of Marriott properties in Dubai that might offer a better fit for this type of vacation.
As I stated in the introduction, the JW Marriott brand continues to impress me, and the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai more than lived up to my expectations. Although I would have been thrilled to experience one of their suites, I knew it wouldn’t be in the cards for this trip. Nevertheless, the spacious standard rooms and the remarkable lounge more than compensated for it.
I only have two minor criticisms about the property: the extended wait times we experienced for the elevator and the lack of modern connectivity in the guest rooms. Apart from those, everything else was almost perfect.
While I might be tempted to try out another property during my next visit to Dubai, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again.
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