The Marriott Dubai Harbour is an example of the chain's first step into the 21st Century! Nothing like its sister hotels, the JW Marriott and the Renaissance, it is simple, contemporary, and comfortable; making the Marriott Harbour an all-round good choice. The hotel only has suites which is great for those not wanting to spend too much on wining and dining as all suites have their own fully-equipped kitchen. Groups of friends or families will find the harbour perfect for their stay as there are fun restaurants, AZ.U.R and The Observatory, as well as accommodation which lends itself very well to group stays. The slick Penthouse suite is especially fitting for large groups - or lone travellers needing a bit of space! The area, the Dubai Harbour, is fairly new and resembles an island planted with skyscrapers overlooking a lake and the sea as well Palm Island. We very-much enjoyed our stay here as the food is good, the staff is friendly, and the views are magnificent.
Images Stéphanie Poli.
The hotel is situated in the Harbour area, 22 miles away from Dubai International Airport, which is a relatively new part of the city. The hotel sits among an island of sky scrapers planted around a turquoise man-made lake. Numerous cafés and restaurants dot the central harbour area, called Marina Walk, and the Jumeirah Beach Promenade is a quarter of an hour's walk away.
The hotel opened in 2007 and was rebranded as a Marriott hotel in 2009. The four star Marriott Harbour Hotel is the chain's step into the 21st century, leaving behind drab felts and velvets, green carpets and curtains to match! The Marriott has stepped up its game here, especially in the hotel restaurants. The hotel only has suites, so no simple rooms - half the hotel is dedicated to live-in guests. The hotel also has a lovely spa where most of the staff is Balinese. Sarah, our masseuse was particularly efficient. The entire area is extremely simple, decorated in neutral tones which was very relaxing. Guests are well taken of here. We particularly liked the Jacuzzi area! The hotel also has a small well-equipped gym on the same floor as the spa (fifth floor). The spa will soon be Marriott branded. Guests should book ahead as the slots are often fully-booked.
The hotel lobby is small yet warm and unimposing. The hotel structure is that of a tall pale pink single tower. The roof top pool is of a good size for Dubai, where pools tend to be surprisingly small. Unfortunately, also like most hotel pools in the city, it doesn't have sunshine all day long, only in the mornings. However guests are not far from Jumeirah beach so sunbathing all day is within reach for holidaymakers in need of some all day sun! Most of the hotel facilities including the health club and AZ.U.R are on the fifth floor. The hotel has 52 floors in total, with The Observatory restaurant on the top-most floor. The hotel is fairly fuss-free and contemporary.
The hotel has very comfortable one to four bedroom suites - there are no simple hotel rooms. All suites have a similar decor, the only variation being the views, the number of rooms and the size of the kitchen. Due to the intense heat most of the year, the suites are all fitted with tiled floors, keeping them cool. All rooms have a large bay window letting the beautiful views seep into the suites...who needs fancy designer objects and artwork when you've got such views? All suites also have a balcony from which to better admire the sea views. The suites do tend to be very simply decorated and without any fuss. Cream walls and dashes of colour in the soft furnishings, is as adventurous as it gets. The suites have all the expected mod-cons (iron/ironing board, hairdryer...). The living room and bedrooms have widescreen plasma televisions. The en-suite bathrooms are large, simple, yet modern, but the separate bathrooms tend to be a little dated, kitted out in dull pale blue tiles. We also took a peak at the Penthouse which is without doubt stylishly simple, ideal for a family or group of friends needing a place to have regular pre-party drinks! Although there is a well-equipped kitchen, there are no complimentary tea and coffee making facilities.
The hotel has three restaurants in total. The first, Counterculture, is on the ground floor just to the left inside the lobby, guests must cross part of the car park to reach it. The restaurant serves buffet style meals throughout the day. The best part is the menu for salads and sandwiches. Guests can tick off the ingredients they would like. Everything is fresh, well-presented and tasty. There is also a terrace which is pleasant when it's not too hot. There is a quick-stop coffee bar atmosphere here. The staff is very friendly and helpful. There is also a kids' corner which seems to come in very handy with the guests we came across! Otherwise, there is the stylish AZ.U.R (pronouced 'as you are') restaurant on the fifth floor, which looks great and is very lively in the evenings. AZ.U.R is open for dinner only and serves tapas and other Mediterranean dishes. The restaurant also has a long terrace where guests can smoke shisha in the evenings. It is a real highlight of the hotel which can seem a little plain in comparison (which can be restful in such an overbearing city!).
Our favourite aspect of the hotel however was The Observatory restaurant on the 52nd floor. Boasting 360° sweeping views over the Harbour area and Palm Island, the restaurant has everything to make dinner here a unique experience. Its low-lighting gives it a warm, cosy intimate feel and the staff is young and friendly whilst remaining professional. The food is delicious. The menu includes molecular cuisine which was a real delight for one's curiosity! The sous-chef, Danny Lachoo, even came out to greet us and explained the basis of molecular cuisine which is something we highly recommend! Discover and explore textures you never knew existed in the culinary world, such as aniseed foam on slightly seared foie gras (exquisite!) and real fruit puree in bubbles floating on a stream of crème fraîche.....still leaves my mouth watering and mind awake!
Happy hour for both, AZ.U.R and The Observatory: 6:00-8:00pm.
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