W Dubai The Palm: Whatever, Whenever… Never

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

I feel like I should acknowledge that I feel really petty complaining about service at a hotel on vacation when four hotels had explosions today in Sri Lanka. Suffice to say that in the grand scheme of things I’m grateful for every day I’m able to live healthily, and to be able to travel places at all, and all of this really doesn’t matter.

At the same time, this blog is also about luxury travel, and what happened won’t stop me from sharing my experiences flying, at hotels, etc. I wrote most of this post yesterday evening (I just added a small part this morning).

I’ve just spent about 30 hours at the brand new W The Palm Dubai, which opened a couple of months ago.

Physically the property is beautiful, while keeping in mind the general W design constraints (like their aversion to bathrooms that have any privacy, lighting that allows you to see where you’re walking, etc.).

Unfortunately the hotel still left me very disappointed due to the service.

Before I share my thoughts…

A couple of quick points.

First of all, I have low expectations of service in the UAE. I feel like everything in this country is just a bit off, and it’s rare to get truly good hospitality. I could write a whole separate post about why that is, but my point is just that I tend to be pretty forgiving in this country to begin with.

Second, very rarely do I complain at hotels. Of course when I review hotels I note both the positives and negatives, and try to be thorough in doing so. But I never do this with the intention of getting any sort of compensation, and for that matter just want to enjoy my time at a hotel, rather than interacting with management and complaining.

So, what happened with this stay? The first two sections below are minor, while the last two are my real issues.

An odd check-in experience

We arrived at the hotel at 2AM, and just wanted to get to our room after a long day. Unfortunately the check-in process took almost 20 minutes.

Why? “Sir, you reserved one king room and one twin room.”

“No, I think there’s a mistake. We reserved two king rooms.”

It took her about 10 minutes to change things around so we had two king rooms.

“Since you are a Platinum you get breakfast, but only for one room.”

“But I booked rates inclusive of breakfast.” I had to show her my confirmation email.

It’s ironic how hotel groups talk about wanting to better recognize guests and customize stays, when they can’t even get the basic details of a reservation right.

“Ocean view” room?

Again, totally unrelated to our actual problems with the stay, but all “W Suites” at this hotel (which we were blocked into) are described as being “ocean view.”

Would you consider this to be an ocean view?

Partial ocean view? Yes. But a full ocean view? No way. More like “active construction zone view.” And that’s another thing worth being aware of. I guess they’re building residences right next door, and the construction is noisy.

It’s odd because other room types are described as being partial ocean view, which makes me wonder what their views are like.

Our room smelled rancid

When we got to our room we noticed it had a bad smell. It honestly smelled like garbage. Not “garbage” as in “not good,” but garbage as in it smelled like the hotel’s dumpster was in our living room. You know when you’re driving behind a trash truck with your air conditioning blowing or the windows open? That’s exactly what it smelled like.

The catch is that only the living room smelled bad, and not the bedroom. So we decided not to go back to the front desk, since we were tired and the bedroom smelled fine, and given that it took us about 20 minutes to check into the room we reserved, I could only imagine how much longer it would take to switch rooms.

However, in the morning I stopped by the front desk at 10AM on the way to the pool, and asked them to send maintenance to the room to have a look, as we were leaving the room. They assured me they’d have maintenance go up right away to have a look. At this point we went to the pool (the problems there will be covered in the next section).

About 90 minutes later we returned to our room and it still smelled bad, and there was no note or message from anyone. So I called “Whatever, Whenever” (the W phone hotline) and asked for an update on the situation. The operator noted that there was a note in the system about our issue, but no one had come yet, and he was going to find out why. He assured me he’d call right back.

We wanted to head out, but I sat by my phone for 20 minutes, and there was no call.

At this point I headed to the front desk and asked for the manager of duty. That’s when I met Varun, the front office manager, who was extremely helpful. He took down my number and promised to deal with the issue right away.

We returned in the afternoon after leaving the hotel for lunch, and Varun intercepted us and asked if he could go to the room with us and check it out, as he said maintenance had visited. The smell was ever-so-slightly better, but not much.

As before, the living room smelled bad, but not the bedroom. He offered for us to switch rooms, but at this point we decided we were fine just dealing with it, since we were checking out in the morning. It would have taken 30 minutes to pack everything up and move, and we wanted to still spend some time at the pool.

It’s on us of course for not taking the room change (even if it took talking to three different people to even be offered that). Unfortunately this morning the smell got much worse, rather than better, and even our bedroom started to smell terrible. But we were checking out, so…

No service at the pool

Between trying to get service for our room we spent the rest of our stay trying to get service at the pool. The pool is beautiful, and they even have a DJ in the afternoon. It seems like the pool could be a cash cow for the hotel, if only they’d take money from people.

When we visited in the morning for 90 minutes we tried to order drinks at the pool. We asked two different people if we could order drinks, and they never sent anyone. At that point we left the hotel for lunch, and figured we’d come back in the afternoon.

We returned to the pool in the afternoon, and asked if we could order drinks. One of the pool attendants said she’d send someone shortly. We waited for over five minutes, and then asked again. And again. This is absolutely ridiculous. We’re trying to spend money at the pool, and they won’t take it.

To be crystal clear, the hotel advertises service at the pool. It’s not like we were asking for something that isn’t offered. They have quite a few staff at the pool exactly for this.

Since I had been messaging with Varun and he told me to let him know if there’s anything he could do for me, I decided to message him about this.

He then quickly sent Dave, the manager, who was extremely professional and took our order right away. He ended up comping our drinks, which was kind but not expected.

He explained that the bar had a “meltdown,” though I’m not sure what exactly that entailed.

I could go on and on, but…

Bottom line

Suffice to say that the service at the new W Dubai left a lot to be desired — I’m not suggesting that’s always the case, though I basically spent much of a day trying to get service here, which is ridiculous.

I went from trying to have someone deal with the smell of our room, to trying to get drinks at the pool, to trying to get someone to deal with the smell of our room, to once again trying to get drinks at the pool.

I do want to give Varun and Dave credit for how professional they were in dealing with my issues. They both genuinely seemed to want to provide a positive experience, and hopefully some improvements are made. I imagine that running a hotel in the UAE can be really challenging, especially with the turnover. This hotel has a lot of potential, though personally I wouldn’t return anytime soon.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I paid the normal cash rate for a stay here. Dave ended up comping our tab at the pool, Varun sent a bottle of wine to our room, and he said he’d post some points to my account, though I don’t know how many. That all seemed fair enough to me.

If anyone else stays at this hotel, I’d be curious to hear if this matches your experience, or if my bad stay was a one-off.

  1. You lost me when you said the living room stunk like a garbage truck on a hot day but you took the room anyway.

  2. I’m not at all trying to defend them, but your reservation clearly says ‘partial ocean view’ though. Still, that’s taking ‘partial’ to the extreme!

    I am going to Dubai soon and am staying at the Habtoor grand (autograph collection) which gives good service for club guests in my experience. Grosvenor House Which is virtually opposite is supposed to be good also.

  3. @ James A — The “partial ocean view” is for the “Wonderful room,” but the rooms they were ultimately blocked into were the “W Suites” which are supposedly “ocean view,” so does make one wonder what the partial-view rooms must be like.

  4. First mistake: booking a hotel that’s only recently opened and expecting good service. That’s true even in the best of hotel locations. That’s gonna be worse in a place like the UADE where you already expect less than great service.

    Second mistake: accepting a problem from the start and then continuing to believe that the obviously not so great service team will take care of it promptly. You only had 2 days, yet you wasted the chance to move and get the problem resolved.

    Third mistake: you are entitled to not want to complain, but if you don’t complain you can’t expect the hotel to fix the problem in a timely manner nor to adequately compensate you if they cannot or do not. You enabled some of your own disappointment, I’m afraid.

    Fourth mistake: you are entitled to not desire compensation, but without making hotels provide compensation the bad hotels remain pretty bad. Only when hotels have to pay for their mistakes do they tend to have incentive to improve and mitigate the underlying issues that caused the mistakes in the first place. You didn’t get what you paid for, and the hotel got away with it. And has little interest to change for the better.

  5. The smell seems to come from the area rug having been shampooed,but not air dried properly with a fan. Meltdown at the bar meant system glitch.

  6. Reading the various reviews of Dubai makes me want to avoid this country. I know there must be some good hotels and awesome sites to visit, but I have yet to find a compelling reason to visit. Is there any good reason to visit there?

  7. forget the bottles service.., who is that in the last photo with the nice legs? Mnnnnnnnn

  8. And another thing , I asked for an ocean view
    I expect to see the sea
    You can see the sea
    It’s over there, between the land and the sky
    I need a telescope to see that
    Well might I suggest you move to a hotel closer to the sea, or preferably in it
    Now listen to me
    I’m not satisfied, but I’ve decided to stay here
    I expect a reduction

    This is the classic “ room with a view sketch “ from fawlty towers

    What ocean did you expect to see ? There is none

  9. Was the smell sewer gas? I’ve stayed at some great hotels around the world. Some hotels don’t understand the reason for sink traps and toilet wax rings to seal out sewer gas. Sinks and toilets still work, so hotels don’t install.

  10. You only have platinum status? Wow. I figured you were ambassador or titanium. If you aren’t platinum then I don’t know why you overlooked pointing out that the hotel failed to get your correct elite status right. There is a huge difference now between platinum and ambassador. And what about breakfast? What was breakfast like?

  11. Sounds like a classic W hotel – it’s all about the looks and so-called “style”, but all the rest is forgotten. We tried them once in the US and never again. They are more for those who think they have style and need good photos for Instagram and don’t care about quality and service. Which is the opposite of what we prefer.

    @Bill – to be fair, Lucky did bring multiple issues up to the management and spent a good portion of his time trying to have things rectified. There comes a point when you just have to cut your losses otherwise it will be 100% of the time. And compensation? Yeah, good luck with that and Lucky will only be dragging this time-wasting exercise out longer.

    @The Real Paul and @Rob in Miami – agree with both of you not to bother to go out of your way to visit. However, if you have a chance for a stopover, it’s worth to take a look at the old town, including Al Fahidi Historical District. All the historical quarters are really worthwhile and not many tourists.
    The Raffles Dubai was nice one time I went. I’ve also stayed at the Burj al Arab but found it over the top.

  12. Well many of you may not see the appeal, but there are very good reasons to go see the city of Dubai, beyond the posers!! who only could there to say they have been smh.

    More than one or two visits?, no, unless you have friends there.

    With that said, a hotel review complaining on a day many died in hotels is in very poor taste. This could’ve waited a day!

  13. Add me to the growing list of people above who point out that THEY OFFERED to move you, and YOU DECLINED.
    Nothing makes me battier than when a customer complains about something, and then won’t accept the resolution offer.
    But hey, if you want to sleep in/near garbage smell, then………….

  14. Thank you for another honest, informative review that doubles as a fun read!

    Regarding this:

    First of all, I have low expectations of service in the UAE. I feel like everything in this country is just a bit off, and it’s rare to get truly good hospitality. I could write a whole separate post about why that is, but my point is just that I tend to be pretty forgiving in this country to begin with.

    I would be really interested in such a post!! When I stayed at the Ritz in Abu Dhabi, and looking at your reviews of other UAE hotels, they consistently seem so grandiose and so luxurious yet SO SO empty. Sort of like the documentary Queen of Versailles. I’d be interested to hear your take on why that is so consistently the case. I really appreciate hearing your opinion on these things because you’re able to cover how it actual feels moving and breathing through a country in a meaningful way without becoming overly political.

    Also, did I miss your review of the Sri Lankan amans?! I’d especially love to read that and also sorry if you did post and I missed it.

    PS @boarding area fan – I think the legs belong to Ben’s husband, Ford. Good looking guy imho as a straight lady.

  15. Jordan – Why on Earth does it make the slightest difference whether it’s published today or tomorrow?

    Though given your views on Dubai, I’m not surprised your judgement is warped…

  16. I was in Dubai once. Boring and expensive. There is absolutely nothing to do for more than 1 day. Personally I don’t recommend at all.

  17. To all the people dissing on the UAE, have you ever visited? My partner and I visited for our first time last fall. It was amazing! So many activities and it was a lot of fun!

    Now… regarding the W. I have never stayed there, but they are known for being all glam and showy. Not my style. I’d rather care about having a decent room, good service, and a good location. With that being said, we stayed at the Grosvenor House and it was absolutely phenomenal! Never had problems getting service by the pool, and we were upgraded with Platinum status. I’m not sure why Ben says service is bad in the UAE. Maybe you’re staying at the wrong hotels?

    Shoutout to Ifsa at the Grosvenor House! He always met us with a smiling face and fist pump outside the hotel entrance. He offered top notch service! We are Hilton Diamond and prefer Hilton hotels, but I would stay at Grosvenor House again in a heartbeat.

  18. @The Real Paul and @Rob in Miami

    I’m going to assume you are both American, hence not part of the target demographics for Dubai.

    The target demographic is mostly Europeans and Russians/former Soviet Union. Unlike The US that has Florida plus the Caribbean for nearby warm weather destinations, Europe is not so blessed.

    During winter there is no really warm destinations in mainland Europe or the Med, closest you get is the Canaries Islands, and the only semi luxury hotel there is the The Ritz-Carlton Abama. The rest is so called 5* hotels mostly from Spanish chains or indy hotels.

    Russia is of course even worse of, and needs a Schengen Visa for the Canaries Islands. Dubai is visa free for Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and China.

    Egypt used to be the place that draw a lot of the tourists that probably is currently going to Dubai, but service there is even worse, there is continuing problems with guests getting diarrhea/stomach problems due to bad hand hygiene by hotel staff and then there is the whole security problem.

    And to top it off Dubai is GMT+4, which puts it 1 hours ahead of Moscow and 3 hours ahead of large parts of Europe. So short flights with little or no jetlag.

    So even if service in Dubai is only so-so, it’s still better than in the Canaries, winter weather is better than in the Canaries, no Visa issues for large part of the target demographic and so far nobody has tried to blow up any of the hotels (important on a day like this). While being cheaper that the Maldives or Seychelles and closer to fly to than Thailand, so just think of Dubai (especially the Palm) as South Beach or some other beach destination in Florida.

    People mostly go there because weather is terrible up north where they live in winter.

  19. I’m a 28yr old millennial and don’t understand the W at all. Everything about it just irritating.

  20. @No Name the main reason Russian stopped coming to Egypt en masse is the lack of cheap direct charter flights from Russia to Egypt and, as a result, lack of cheap tour programs.
    The lack of charter flights is due to Russia imposing restrictions in charter flights ever since MetroJet crash, even though these restrictions are simply ridiculous.

  21. Why W is considered a luxury brand for Marriott is beyond me. The service and training of staff in most locations is poor. I find the rooms to be very plastic and uninviting as well. Even the beloved Verbier property is, while perhaps the best, hardly “top end luxury.”

    I find Andaz to be on the whole much better yet they still avoid touting themselves as luxury.

  22. Either the Park Hyatt or the Rosewood in Abu Dhabi have great service. They are my go-to hotels in the UAE. The Park Hyatt has always been especially good in my experience.

  23. Wow ben, really hard to believe. I was there saturday night, and had complete opposite experience. I am an ambassador and was greeted in the valet by anne, the gm, and given a personal tour of both inside and pool area by a nice gentleman that just graduated hospitality school in spin (forget his name unfortunately). I was upgraded to marvelous suite that was enormous with multiple (private) bathrooms, but i arrived at 1pm from al maha and my upgraded suite wasnt ready so was given 4 drink coupons, and was heading out in the morning at 3am for maldives, so since i couldnt take advantage of my ambassador free breakfast was offered wine in the room, or a free ride to the airport at 3am in a tesla or bmw. The food and drinks at rooftop bar were great! I was handed off to night manager, mina, that made contact no less than 3 times to confirm my trip was going well.

    They had some new hotel issues like phones not always working, signage that was off a bit (my room # didnt make it to the arrowed signs at elevator telling u to go left or right), thw motion detectors in the room turned bathroom off on me when i was in the shower, but all stuff that i can easily accept.

    As for ur uae service comment, i just stayed at al maha, butj al arab, w dubai, and ajman saray, and can say i have experienced as good of service as anywhere in the world, with the burj al arab and al maha being top 2% of the 500+ 5-star resorts i have stayed at. So hate to see u paint such a broad stroke on uae service, especially if u arent sampling the hotels in use that strive to deliver the best levels of service in the world

  24. @Phil While I respect your thoughts I also find it hard to take seriously anyone who consistently uses “U” nstead of “you.” Or “ur” instead of “your.” We may not all but prodigies in our writing but let’s at least use a level of civility to gain some sort of credibility. Otherwise, you are just “noise around the edges.”

  25. Ben, you are in one of the few countries where white privilege doesn’t exist. Unfortunately , this sort of service is common for foreigners in most western countries

  26. @stuart, i’m writing this from bed in an above water st regis suite in the maldives, where i arrived from sfo in emirates first, and will be leaving here to sydney in emirates first before returning to boston, to visit some friends from harvard, where i went to school… with all due respect, not gonna lose sleep if u dont find my writing skillz to be credible. Cheers mate. And welcome to the year 2019.

  27. The smell issue is intriguing. I stayed at the W Brisbane back in January and my room similarly smelt rancid.

    I sniffed around the entire room, and found the smell was coming entirely from a single pillow. Moved that pillow into an isolated corner of the room and it seemed to make the rest of the room better almost immediately.

  28. Most of the workers at these hotels are contracted from third world countries such as India and Pakistan. They are undertrained and grossly underpaid and generally treated very poorly by the system. Front line people are foreigners too but are of course trained in their roles by the chains. You are unlikely to have any interaction with local emiratis except at the highest rarified level (which you clearly didn’t).

  29. Love visiting the UAE. In Dubai I have stayed at one Marriott property three different times – the Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel and Suites. Each time I booked a normal room and was upgraded to either a three or four bedroom suite – including my last visit where my wife and I got a room that was half of one of the top three floors.

    The service there is always amazing (cooks remember your breakfast orders, front desk greets by name, etc).. though the property is certainly less luxurious than many of the brand new properties out on the palm. This isn’t a property with an amazing beach and pool, but it is right next to Dubai Creek, which is amazing to walk around in the evenings.

    Hoping to head back for a fourth visit later this year.

  30. I stayed at the Intercontinental in Dubai weeks after it opened in 14/15. Big mistake. The rooms were beautiful but staff totally useless as they didn’t know the procedures, menu etc. Given a new hotel, your location, and the cultural approach to service from individuals who work service jobs in UAE I’d say you shouldn’t have expected different.

    No criticism from me here – you have my support but yeah. I always try to avoid new hotels in Asia/ME for this very reason.

  31. @Phil Enjoy your time where you are and consider that this year you cite to be an example as one that is far from civility and proper communication. My ten-year old daughter, who has not yet enjoyed a St Regis over water suite, has been taught better that, despite the fleeting trends of culture today, credibility and a basic level of respect starts with the proper use of a language, whatever language that may be. As such, you have no credibility and are just a “ur” and “u.”

  32. @no name, good thought but you’re a little bit off although you might actually agree with me. Firstly, Europe does have the Med (south of France, Italy, Spain, etc) and Russia has Sochi or Southeast Asia if you live in the centre or east of the country (it’s a big country).
    Mainly, it was your comparison to Florida/Caribbean. Having been to every single place that you mentioned, Dubai is MONUMENTALLY better than Florida. I’ve been to the Caribbean 3 times now and only in Jamaica was getting decent service. The other places (DR etc.) have lackluster service, driven by the American crowd.
    People from Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia (pretty big target market there) go to Dubai because:
    A: It’s a convenient stopover
    B: It has some sensational buildings/modernity
    C: Shopping
    D: To dip in Middle Eastern culture while still in a bubble of “safety”.

    Those are my observations anyway. But you’re right, in general a lot of Americans will find it scary because the mass prefer to be cooped up in a resort with a buffet close by.

  33. Four Seasons Jumeirah had hands down amazing service and wonderful experiences through and through if anyone needs a recommendation for Dubai.

  34. Why hotels use “Ocean view” to places where is no ocean?
    Water view, Gulf or even sea view is appropriate than Ocean in this instance!
    The Sheraton Dubai Creek at least use “creek view” in their room selection!

  35. @ Aztec — Having spent a lot of time in the UAE, I don’t think that’s the case. Also, there were a lot of gays at the W (as usual for the brand)…

  36. @ Phil — Wow, hard to believe that’s the same hotel. Also an Ambassador, and obviously my experience was absolutely nothing like that. I’m curious what kind of pre-stay contact you had with them? I don’t contact hotels ahead of my stay, and frankly I find some of the service you received to be unbelievable. I couldn’t buy drinks, let alone get four free drinks. And being offered a ride to the airport in lieu of breakfast? That’s not something I’ve ever been offered at any hotel. Ever.

  37. @ RDC — Sri Lanka Aman reviews are coming shortly, I’m sorry for the delay, and thanks for the interest. 🙂

  38. @ Legend717 — Right, they offered to move me three interactions and almost halfway into our stay.

  39. @ FNT Delta Diamond — I’m Ambassador (but I find all too many hotels don’t actually thank you for being Platinum/Titanium/Ambassador, but rather just thank you for being a Marriott Bonvoy member). The breakfast was excellent.

  40. @Dennis re:”Russia has Sochi”. Well, yeah, but 1) you can’t go to Sochi in autumn, spring or winter to have a beach vacation 2) Sochi is generally ridiculously expensive for the very low level of service and infrastructure that you get, so no one in their right mind would go there with the expectation of anything good beach-related. Most people go to Turkey in summer or UAE in spring/autumn (or Thailand, since the prices are sometimes worth it, even considering the 9,5-hour flight from Moscow).

  41. After multiple work visits to the UAE and ultimately living there for several years, I assure you the experiences in this story are much more the norm than very positive experiences, even at the best of hotels, restaurants or malls. The UAE does a good job of surface glitz but a bad job at substantive people practices, such as truly engaged service. I always tended to put it down to a country in development – I still don’t consider it first world overall – but I think it”s more than that. The labor situation is much better than even 15 years ago but remains one where workers are tied to their employer for a period of time and so you get ‘government’ mentality of ‘why should I work harder’. The customer-facing staff aren’t often used to Western service demands and have little to gain from adopting them, despite any training. Go for a couple of days for the sun and shopping and a Disneyland-style Middle East experience, and for true travel go elsewhere.

  42. I feel like the UAE is a either you love it or hate it kind of place. I absolutely LOVE it, vacationed there with my family for two weeks a few years ago and already counting down the days for our trip back. The service has been impeccable in my experience, the shopping is terrific, loads of activities, the hotels are magnificent, the food is world class, the whole Dubai vibe is so lit. I love it. It’s not for everyone but it’s one of my favorite places to visit. You just gotta know where to stay.

  43. I can’t understand the fascination with dubai. Been there many times and just find it cosmetic and no substance. The place is expensive as well and the service, or lack of detail attention, is not surprising.

  44. @Lucky, unrelated to the W Dubai post, but more so to complaining at hotels in general- We just competed a stay at a new Marriott autograph collection in Paris. Long story short the hotel didn’t switch over from heat to A/C, but the city was experiencing 75-80 degree temps. While the hotel was apologetic, no compensation was offered. When I requested it at check out I was told that they would speak with a manager but I’ve never heard anything. I find it common practice in europe not to resolve customer service compensation on the spot. How do you handle these situations?
    I legitimately could not sleep in our hot room, and I would expect A/C at a “5 star” Marriott branded property.

  45. Dubai it’s the best option for travel in April , 100 % sun warranty , safe , and you get a lot more for your money than Italy, France or South of France , also you can fly from Europe to Dubai from 350 € , there is no place in the world with 100 % sun warranty where you can fly from 350 € ( Thailand , Maldive , Indonesia , Australia , Miami)

  46. Re: ocean view rooms
    Solo travel in Oman, staying at the high end Shangri La Al Husn, booked 2nd highest room category Deluxe Ocean View. The room I was taken to, the view from the balcony looked over the mountains. I had to crane my neck to get just a glimpse of the ocean. Told them it was unacceptable but they said they were full. Told them I would stay at the Ritz Carlton instead…..amazing…..a full on ocean view room was suddenly available.

    Will never stay at a Shangri La again.

  47. I’m only familiar with the W in Scottsdale, AZ and yeah, it isn’t for everyone. I prefer a quiet, clean, and safe hotel. The W there is definitely a place to party. The sights are very nice 🙂 But it isn’t a place I have any interest in staying.

  48. I lived in Dubai 13 years, and it seemed it took at least 2 years for a property to get dialed in. They eventually do, but it can be painful in the beginning. Fur me the price value ratio is bad, so better to go elsewhere.

  49. Have you noticed that everywhere you go in the middle-east there seems to be a lot of staff doing nothing because there really are very few customers. Its like they built a huge number of buildings with the mentality that “if you build it, they’ll come….” But the customers really aren’t coming, or in particular coming again and staying.

    It’s like a huge Ponzi scheme where in 10 years time, the rest of the world will wake and not bother going there anymore.

  50. Interesting… However, this kind of a beginning, unfortunately, affects the entire experience. Thus, front desk, guests relations are key departments for a warm welcome and the rest of the experience, even if there issues with the room, etc. you know you can sort it out easily, but if this is the beginning, then you basically don’t get surprised when there is another issue.

  51. just another blogger who looks for attention by complaining on things such 20 mins check in, smell but no requirement to swap rooms, accusing generally service in UAE…maybe if you travel more this part of world and don’t expect red carpet but rather friendly and warm welcome as most hotels in Dubai couldn’t do any more to welcome their guests…maybe you’ll then realise that it isn’t all that bad and as a blogger you, in my opinion, shouldn’t be judgemental.

  52. Your point about the lack of service at the pool is a trend that I find very often when visiting resorts. I just don’t get it, because they are literally giving up a cash machine. The price of just one drink at some resorts could make up for the hourly wage of one extra pool attendant. It baffles me.

  53. @MM, it’s actually his job to be critical… I think his reviews are very helpful to get a feel for the place. For example, 20mins check-in is totally unacceptable, especially at 2am when they should realize he wants to get to his room ASAP. I would say by and large, Lucky is actually very objective and is aware of different cultures etc. Which is more than can be said for many so-called “travellers”.

  54. You went to Dubai and stayed HERE?

    I mean, you had a plethora of better choices. Of course it went wrong. It’s just a W and it’s brand new. This ain’t Raffles.

    Live and learn.

  55. how could you request good service by underpaid indian/asian workers, who lives in terrible slum flats without air conditioning in terrible Dubai suburbs, with seized passports and no rights?

  56. Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi is one of my favorite properties globally, for many reasons, including service. St Regis Saadiyat and Four Seasons Abu Dhabi isn’t bad either. In Dubai the Ritz is just fine, and and there is a brand new Mandarin Oriental in Dubai that looks gorgeous (but I haven’t stayed there yet). So UAE is not at all a bad place, quite the contrary.
    Sounds like you went too soon with too high expectations. We were the very first guests to check in to the W Amman, and plenty of things went wrong, but overall it was fantastic as we expected to be part of the soft open. Now, after 6 months, I would also start expecting more too. Usually just asking the wait staff after the second time to see a manager helps to get things moving.

  57. I avoid brand new “name brand” hotels like this. Unless I’m getting a really great price, I opt for established hotels that have been opened for at least 6 months. That gives them time to get the “kinks” worked out.

  58. My experience a W Dubai was a very nice one . I had several problems an questions and I got the best support and help from the manager Atilla . He helped me out with all my needs.
    The hotel stay was very pleasant , nice pool, nice beach with a stunning view.
    Atilla is vey competent a deserve even a higher position

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