Reviewed by Emma Rogers
Few places in the world have changed as much as Dubai has, sitting on the Persian Gulf of the United Arab Emirates. The destination has been popular with tourists, as well as a convenient stop-over for long haul flights to Asia and Australia.
The international award-winning Wyndham Hotel Group has several properties in the Dubai region; we stayed in the Wyndham Dubai Marina hotel, which as the name suggests, is right on the marina!
If you’ve never been to Dubai before, let me tell you more about the city. It is massive. Although it only has 2 million occupants, it feels much bigger than London, with different areas arranged into cities, such as Internet City, Education City etc. The whole area is linked by a massive road system and a Metro and trams that take you to almost anywhere, although some of the stops are still being built. You can get from the airport to the Wyndham Marina Hotel in 50 minutes on the Metro train, and it cost us just £1.50!
The marina is an area of shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels, with the Marina Mall at one end, and a looped walkway around the harbour, making it ideal to walk at night when the weather’s cooler. The mall has approximately 300 shops and excellent facilities – British tourists will be pleased to know there’s even a Waitrose there, and it stocks almost everything!
The Wyndham Marina Hotel sits a short walk or 2-minute taxi ride from the Jumeirah Lake Towers Metro stop, or 30 minutes by road from the airport. The 4* hotel, which although isn’t new looks immaculate, boasts a cafe, restaurant (ideal for the biggest hotel breakfast spread I have ever seen!) a swimming pool, generous gym and many suites and meeting rooms. There’s also plenty of parking and a valet service if needed. Our room overlooked the marina, but some of the rooms have balconies and the bigger suites have separate lounges too. There’s ample, ample storage and nice little touches like lights in the cupboards and a USB charging point on the desktop.
So, to explore the hotel… the staff are extremely polite and very helpful whether you’re asking a question about the room, or about anything about Dubai. They mostly speak English with a mixture of Russian and other European languages, but the languages aren’t a problem as there’s so many staff around all the time. You’ll notice everywhere you go that the hotel is kept immaculately clean, and cool for that matter, with very quiet and efficient air con! We especially loved breakfast every day, which includes hot food (no pork though, but they do have interesting alternatives to bacon and sausages!) and European cold meats, salad, pastries, fruit and 2 excellent omelette bars. They replenished the food very frequently too, and some of the menu items, especially the hot food, changed daily so you don’t get bored. Breakfast is from 6:30-11am so there’s plenty of time to eat whether you’re there as a tourist or on a stop-over. There’s seating inside or outside – we opted for outside every day as there’s not many chances to eat outside when you live in England!
The pool sits on a separate roof top which is accessed by a secondary lift near the restaurant, just up on the 3rd floor. There’s a bar where you can drink alcohol and it was manned by bar staff the whole time we were there. The pool, although not enormous, was again very clean and very, very warm – think bath on the rooftop! The staff provided us with beach towels, so we didn’t have to bring any from the room, and there are quite a lot of sunbeds around. The sun is on the pool for most of the morning, which is when the pool area is busiest, so best to get there before 10am if you’re looking for a good spot.
The spa and gym are in the same block, accessed by the elevator and there’s work on a new restaurant opening there too. The spa is an extra cost for massages etc, but you can use the sauna anytime as part of your accommodation at the hotel. The gym is surprisingly large, with cardio machines, dumb bells and weight machines. There was only ever 2 other people in the gym whilst I was there, never overcrowded.
The rooms come in a range of suites. We stayed in a marina-view junior suite which has views over the boats and skyline of the marina – a view which changed dramatically when nigh time came and the moon could be seen above all the lights of the buildings in the marina. The room had an extremely comfortable bathroom with marble surfaces to cool down whilst the weather was hot, and each bathroom has a bath with overhead shower and the washing facilities to make the whole room a wetroom. Out into the lounge and we had a television with sofa and a work desk with power for charging phones or laptops. There’s also a fridge with snacks and alcohol, and room for your own water bottles if you need to. The bedroom had plenty of storage space and room to walk around, especially as there’s a huge double bed and extra pillows in the cupboards! The bedroom also had a view of the marina, with floor to ceiling windows.
Outside, it’s a short walk across the road to the marina, or back to the main road for the Metro. The hotel has a half-hourly free shuttle to the Marina Mall, the Metro stop and the Jumeirah Beach; a tourist area of the Marina which has a superb public beach along the front, overlooking paragliding and boating facilities and a children’s water adventure park. From the Metro station you can reach the Dubai Mall with its 1200 outlets and shops, and the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building!
We will definitely be going back to Dubai to sample the shopping, wildlife and culture again, especially as it’s only 6 hours on an Emirates flight, and 4 hours in time difference. With so much to see and the ease and safety of getting around, there’s plenty of reasons to visit Dubai and its glorious marina.
For more information visit www.wyndhamdubaimarina.com.