Dubai

IHG has planned to expand the two brands in emerging CBDs.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

 

Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek is one of the famous local attractions in the city.

 

 

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JW Marriott Marquis
JW Marriott Marquis presidential suites occupy the 69th and 70th floors

When the world’s tallest hotel opens, you can be sure that we’ll be on the case to scope it out. This particular superlative took us to Dubai, a city that oozes wealth and shows it off at every possible turn. This is a glamorous destination, and, despite certain stigmas that Westerners may have about the Middle East, we say your VIPs will fit right in.

The world’s tallest hotel (not to be confused with the world’s highest hotel) is the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. It is just 85 feet shy of the Empire State Building. Note: The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong has taken the title of world’s highest hotel because it sits atop a mixed-use development. The JW Marriott is the world’s tallest hotel that was built exclusively as a hotel.

The hotel is made up of two towers, each of which has 804 bedrooms. There are 236 Executive Suites and four penthouse suites. Note: Only one of the two towers is currently open. The second tower is scheduled to open some time in 2014.

 

Dubai’s iconic skyline
The hotel overlooks Dubai’s iconic skyline.

All rooms have views over Dubai’s iconic skyline. Executive Suite guests have access to the 24-hour Executive Lounge, which offers breakfast, light lunches, snacks and canapes.

But for the truly special guests (think CEOs and celebs), we say one of the four duplex penthouse suites is key. These expansive suites occupy the 69th and 70th floors and are spread across 6,700 square feet. These suites also offer private butler service.

To book rooms, reach out to Senior Sales Manager Olesya Getunova ([email protected]; 011-971-050-770-1537).

In keeping with the superlative nature of the hotel, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai has one of the most expansive spas in the city, with over 46,000 square feet of wellness facilities that occupy the third floor of both towers. There are 16 treatment suites in total.

 

Advisor Insight

“Dubai has been a hotbed of luxury hotel activity for years now, and nearly every luxury chain has gorgeous properties there,” says Stacy Small, president of Elite Travel International. “From the One&Only developments on The Palm to the Armani Dubai, The Address Downtown and the Ritz-Carlton Dubai, there is no shortage of options for travelers. There is also incredible shopping and activities ranging from off-road adventures to sailing on private yachts.”

We hear that the Saray Signature Dead Sea Journey is a must for spa-goers. The Scoop: The treatment takes place in a private luxury spa suite (complete with its own hydrotherapy bath and steam sauna). It begins with a scrub using Dead Sea salts followed by a full body mask coating with remineralizing mud. Guests then soak in a healing bath with a blend of Dead Sea minerals and botanical aromatics. The journey concludes with a body oil appropriate to the journey of your choosing, either soothing rose or stimulating herbal citrus.

Treatments should be booked at least 72 hours in advance. Reach out to Spa Director Drashell Schmidt ([email protected]; 011-971-441-476-54/55).

The hotel is a destination in itself, with more than 10 food and beverage outlets to choose from. But luxury diners will feel most at home in Prime 68, a boutique steakhouse on the 68th floor of the hotel whose cuts of meat can only be matched by the skyline views. Tip: We suggest having a cocktail at Vault, the sexy-chic cocktail bar on the 71st and 72nd floors, before dinner.

Another swank place to dine in is Rang Mahal, the signature Indian restaurant at the hotel headed by Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar.

 

Desert Safari Dubai
Desert Safari Dubai takes adrenaline seekers on a unique ride cruising the desert dunes

Other dining options include Thai, Italian, Japanese and Arabic cuisines; a wine bar; a casual restaurant; and a poolside bar. It is best to make reservations two days in advance.

Most travelers to Dubai are there on a shorter stint—perhaps on their way to another fabulous location. While in town, it is imperative that you take advantage of the oodles of high-end shopping available. Luckily, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is a very short distance from the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates. The hotel even provides complimentary shuttle bus service between the hotel and the malls daily between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

While in Town

Dubai is a cultural experience, so it’s best to get out and see. If you are visiting the Dubai Mall, be sure to visit the adjacent Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest building in the world at a staggering 2,700 feet. After taking in the dizzying views, head to the onsite bar At.mosphere for a tasty cocktail and even more cityscapes. It is a popular location, so be sure to get a reservation as soon as you get to town. The minimum order for men is $109. There is no minimum for women. Note: We hear the Strawberry Balsamic Martini is to die for.

 

Getting There

From New York, Dubai is a 12-hour flight, which can be a bit taxing. To make the transition as seamless as possible, you cannot go wrong flying Emirates, especially aboard the A380.

 

Emirates A380s
Emirates A380s have lounges at the back of business class cabins.

Luxury Travel Advisor was lucky enough to fly out of John F. Kennedy International Airport on Emirates’ business class on one of the bi-level planes. The entire upper deck is devoted to business and first class, and these passengers are able to board the plane directly from the Lounge at JFK.

Once onboard, settle into your own private pod, complete with TV, private bar and Bvlgari amenities. We loved that there were enough movies and TV shows to take us to Dubai and back without having to repeat a single program. Cool Touch: First-class passengers have access to shower facilities.

After a few hours of TV and your main meal, be sure to visit the back of the plane where a private bar and lounge offers complimentary drinks and canapes. The amenities aboard the A380 are enough to make the 12-hour flight feel like a mini vacation in itself.

Travel Tip: Alcohol is only allowed in restaurants operating under a hotel license, so “bar hopping” is not a popular pastime in Dubai. However, it is completely fine to find a hotel bar and camp out for the evening. Public intoxication, however, is a no-no. We liked The Address Downtown Dubai, which has a great cigar bar with floor-to-ceiling windows. These are the best seats in the house for the popular fountain show at the Dubai Mall.

A visit to Dubai would be incomplete without a stop at Burj al Arab, the iconic sail-shaped hotel that boasts seven stars of luxury. Each room at this hotel is a duplex and guests are afforded the utmost in luxury service. Case in point: The mattresses cost an impressive $17,000. Now that’s a great night’s sleep. The hotel is right on the Arabian Gulf, as well. The foamy sea green colors are certainly easy on the eyes.

For something completely different check out Desert Safari Dubai. We thought this was one of the most unique experiences on our trip. While Dubai does have world-class shopping and dining, so do many other destinations. The proximity to the desert, however, is one of the destination’s features that sets it apart. Just 45 minutes outside the city, travelers can feel completely isolated among rolling dune fields.

If you want a bit of adventure, a desert safari is for you. Trained professionals take travelers out in 4x4s to literally cruise the dunes. It’s adrenaline pumping all the way, and it’s often staged around sunset so guests can see the sun dip behind the sand. This is all capped off with a traditional Bedouin Experience out in the desert, complete with shisha smoking, live entertainment and traditional Arabic cuisine. 

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