Review: W Dubai Al Habtoor City

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest

I was arriving in Dubai at around 2AM, and was departing back to the U.S. about 37 hours later, at 3PM. So I needed hotels for two nights. In the past my “go to” hotel in Dubai has been the Park Hyatt, given how close it is to the airport.

However, Starwood is developing a new complex in Al Habtoor City, where we’re seeing three Starwood hotels connected to one another — there’s a  WSt. Regis and Westin.

I was most excited about the St. Regis, so figured I’d save that for my second day, so I’d have more time to enjoy it. For the first night I decided to book the W Al Habtoor City. I had Ford book this for me through Starwood Luxury Privileges (which costs the same as the best available rate), and it came with the following perks:

  • One 100 USD food and beverage credit per room, per stay
  • Daily full breakfast for two guests
  • Complimentary standard in-room internet access
  • Upgrade on arrival, early check-in and late check-out which are all subject to availability

My rate for the one night stay was ~250USD. Of course ideally I would have arrived earlier so I could enjoy the hotel more, but that’s the nature of my crazy trips…

A taxi from Dubai Airport to Al Habtoor City took a bit over 20 minutes in the middle of the night. Entering the Al Habtoor City area from Sheikh Zayed Road can be a bit complicated, as the driver made a couple of wrong turns trying to find the way to the hotel.

As you can see from the outside, the entire Al Habtoor City area is a massive construction zone, as several high rises are being built around the hotels. Below you can see the St. Regis in the front (which looks like a palace), the W on the left, and then the Westin on the right.

Al Habtoor City exterior

Despite arriving around 3AM, I was welcomed by a bellman and pointed towards the elevators, as the hotel’s lobby is located on the 30th floor.

W Dubai exterior

The hotel’s entryway is… hypnotic and disorienting. There’s simply no other way to describe it. This hotel is the W brand on steroids.

W Dubai entryway

W Dubai entryway

While not quite as drastic, the 30th floor had quite a bedazzled design as well.

W Dubai lobby elevators

Before checking in I first walked around the lobby a bit to appreciate the design.

W Dubai lobby

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a couch like the one below in a hotel lobby…

W Dubai lobby

W Dubai lobby

There was also the W Lounge right there, though it was closed at this hour.

W Dubai W Lounge

W Dubai W Lounge

Reception consisted of a few individual podiums, where I was assisted by a friendly associate. She was both professional and efficient. She commented that I had been upgraded to one of their biggest suites, the W Suite, and within a couple of minutes I had a key for my room.

W Dubai reception

I took the elevator down to the 20th floor, where my room was located.

W Dubai elevators

I also quite liked the hallway design, though it wasn’t nearly as crazy as the ground level or lobby design.

W Dubai hallway

I was assigned room 2019, located at the end of the hallway and on the left.

W Dubai room entrance

W Dubai floorplan

The suite was massive, and possibly the most W-esque room I’ve ever had.

W Dubai suite living room

Upon entering I found myself in the living room, which had a massive “U” shaped couch that could probably easily seat a dozen people. Behind the couch was a TV, which seemed rather oddly placed to me. #WDesignLogic

W Dubai suite living room

Back near the entrance was the minibar setup.

W Dubai suite living room

W Dubai suite minibar

There was a coffee machine and a kettle, and then below that was the mini-fridge with drinks.

W Dubai suite kettle & espresso machine

W Dubai suite minibar

Even closer to the door was a half bathroom.

W Dubai suite guest bathroom

W Dubai suite guest bathroom

Then there was a door connecting the living room to the bedroom. The bedroom had a circular bed, and then a bench at the bottom of it.

W Dubai suite bedroom

Both of these sort of awkwardly faced a TV on the far wall.

W Dubai suite bedroom

The bed was circular, which is certainly stylish, though I’m never really able to properly “cuddle” with the sheets in these types of beds.

W Dubai suite bedroom

In the far corner was a big desk. Unfortunately the office chair wasn’t comfortable, not that I expect it to be at a W.

W Dubai suite bedroom

On the plus side, the room had very conveniently placed outlets all over the room, including several next to the bed.

W Dubai suite bathroom

Past the bedroom was the master bathroom, which was huge. The master bathroom featured double sinks, a toilet and bidet, and a huge shower & bathtub compound.

W Dubai suite bathroom

W Dubai suite toilet & bidet

There was a beautiful soaking tub, as well as two showerheads in the shower area.

W Dubai suite bathtub

W Dubai suite shower

As is often the case in W suites, there were full size Bliss amenities, which I love.

W Dubai Bliss toiletries

I managed to sleep from about 4AM until 8AM (I slept a bit on the Royal Brunei flight, so that was the perfect amount of sleep for me), and when I woke up could finally see the view surrounding the hotel.

My room had a view of the top of the St. Regis. In the picture below you can see the rooftop pool at the St. Regis, as well as the courtyard.

W Dubai suite view

It also had a view of the W pool, which is located in the below picture at the bottom right.

W Dubai suite view

In the other direction I had a view of Sheikh Zayed Road.

W Dubai suite view

And then in the other direction I had a view of construction of the nearby buildings. Even though Al Habtoor City is an active construction zone, I didn’t find the noise to be an issue at all.

W Dubai suite view

The hotel’s gym is located on the seventh floor, and is beautiful. It has modern equipment, and plenty of it. The W is connected directly to the Westin through a hallway just outside the gym.

W Dubai gym

W Dubai gym

I then checked out the pool area. The pool deck was nice, and featured a few pools, a DJ-booth setup, and plenty of seating.

W Dubai pool

W Dubai pool

W Dubai pool

W Dubai pool

It also had a great view of the hotel as such.

W Dubai building

After that I had breakfast at Level Seven, which is the hotel’s all day dining restaurant, and where breakfast is served from 6:30AM until 10:30AM. The restaurant is well designed, and has a very understated design compared to the rest of the hotel.

W Dubai Level Seven Restaurant

W Dubai Level Seven Restaurant

W Dubai Level Seven Restaurant

W Dubai Level Seven Restaurant

I had a cappuccino to drink, which tasted as good as it looks.

W Dubai Level Seven cappuccino

As far as the food goes, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

W Dubai breakfast buffet

W Dubai breakfast buffet

W Dubai breakfast buffet

W Dubai breakfast buffet

W Dubai breakfast buffet

W Dubai breakfast buffet

W Dubai breakfast buffet

W Dubai breakfast buffet

W Dubai breakfast buffet

W Dubai breakfast buffet

W Dubai breakfast buffet

W Dubai breakfast buffet

W Dubai breakfast buffet

W Dubai breakfast buffet

I worked for most of the morning, and then in the early afternoon realized that I still had a $100 food & beverage credit I needed to use. While I knew I couldn’t spend all of it, I figured I’d have lunch at Namu, which is the hotel’s Japanese & Korean restaurant on the 31st floor. As seems to be the norm all too often in the UAE, I was the only guest.

W Dubai Namu Restaurant

The restaurant had nice views of the Dubai Creek.

W Dubai Namu Restaurant view

I decided to have a bottle of sparkling water and the “business lunch,” which was a set three course lunch for 99AED (~$27). It started with miso soup (which didn’t count as one of the courses).

W Dubai Namu Restaurant lunch

I forgot exactly what the other courses were, but they were all excellent.

W Dubai Namu Restaurant lunch

W Dubai Namu Restaurant lunch

W Dubai Namu Restaurant lunch

I’m a sucker for mochi, so when I saw they had mochi on the dessert menu, I couldn’t help myself.

W Dubai Namu Restaurant lunch

The food was exceptional, and the service was even better. The servers were dressed in what can only be described as really cool jump suits, and they mostly seemed to be from Japan or Korea, based on what I overheard. There was also an awesome server from Zimbabwe who had a great sense of humor.

At around 2PM I checked out of the W and made my way over to the St. Regis.

W Hotel Dubai bottom line

To me this felt like a W hotel on steroids. Aesthetically I loved the public areas. My breakfast and lunch were great, and the staff were friendly and professional across the board. I also got an incredible suite upgrade.

At the same time, in general I couldn’t help but feel like the room had the same issues found at many Ws, with a focus on design over comfort. Circular beds aren’t especially comfortable, none of the furniture was well padded, etc. Then again, you could throw a crazy party in that suite.

As far as Al Habtoor City goes, it’s still very much under construction. There’s nothing within walking distance. However, it’s convenient in the sense that it’s not far from the Dubai Marina, the Dubai Mall, the Burj Al Arab, etc. So it’s centrally located, there’s just nothing in the immediate area.

So to sum it up, if you like the W brand, then you’re going to love this hotel. If you’re not a fan of the W brand, you’re probably not going to love this hotel.

  1. I can only imagine simply clad hit European/Russian women everywhere in this hotel. Families should not be allowed in this hotel.

  2. Yay Credit !

    Ben, Namu actually has one of the nicest happy hours in town, where it gets really filled up. Can’t beat the view !

    Did you manage to go for a walkabout the newly opened canal boardwalk? (which is shown in one of your photos)

  3. I stayed at Westin Al Habtoor exactly on its opening day (non of suite were open yet, only standard room available which is quite compact/feel somewhat suffocated, so basically no upgrade available for Platinum). But I was pleased with the stay cos’ I was allowed to use all the facilities in W and St. Regis (so used W Gym and St Regis Spa & Swimming Pool). And instead of lounge, everything was complimentary anytime in 24 hours-open lobby cafe.

  4. I find it hard to believe that there were japanese/korean wait staff. Maybe running the restaurant–but as the Help? Nö.

  5. That’s not actually one of their biggest suites lest people scream special treatment again 😛
    It’s the highest suite they would generally consider upgrading a favoured platinum (heavy 50/75/100 I guess, regular etc). The suite just below this category (Fantastic) is also in many ways a lot better since it does away with the partition and is more W-ey (crazy – bathtub in between, mirrors everywhere, better view almost…). Then they have 2/3 more suites below that are all unofficially in Plat upgrade pool (Studio, Marvelous, Fabulous) and then several above which are all considered Premium.

    I am actually consistently surprised by how ‘fair’ and realistic all these upgrades are considering they know who you are. Perhaps there is something in policy that prevents them from offering unrealistic upgrades to reviewers?

  6. We stayed here in 2013 and had a wonderful view of the Burj Al Arab and Atlantis Palm. It is one of our favourite hotels in the world, thanks for the memories!

  7. Was being upgraded to the same W suite during my stay, spent my USD$100 F&B credit on L7 buffet lunch (LLP rates from Ford, appreciated), strongly recommended. Unlimited drinks for platinum guest from 5-8pm, they even sent me a huge birthday cake. Man… I love this hotel.

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