Hotel insider: W Dubai, Al Habtoor City, Dubai

Set on what will be the banks of the Dubai Water Canal, the W is a convenient five-minute taxi ride to the Business Bay Dubai Metro station and part of a complex containing the St Regis Hotel and The Westin.

The Fantastic suite at the W Dubai in Al Habtoor City. Courtesy W Hotels Worldwide
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The welcome

After a 15-minute wait in rush-hour traffic to make the U-turn required to get to Al Habtoor City after exiting off Sheikh Zayed Road, I am pleased to be swiftly ushered up to the 30th-floor lobby, given a refreshing citrus water and swiftly checked in.

The neighbourhood

It’s still quite hectic and under construction now, but this is going to be quite the destination when it’s done. Set on what will be the banks of the Dubai Water Canal, the W is a convenient five-minute taxi ride to the Business Bay Dubai Metro station and part of a complex containing the St Regis Hotel and The Westin, both which couldn’t be more different from its modern, arty vibe. There are some trendy new restaurants – and an English pub – next door in the building that will house the 1,300-seat theatre for the big aqua La Perle by Dragone show when it opens.

The room

I have the 117-square-metre Fantastic suite, one of 14 in the hotel, which has a 365 rooms. With the classic W round bed (more on that later), massive white leather sofa and illuminated running lights around the bottom of both, not to mention a long wall of mirrors and two flat-screen televisions, it is entirely over-the-top fabulous. The beautiful, deep bathtub facing a window is located across the room from the massive rain shower room, which includes a floor-to-ceiling window.

The service

The staff are friendly and relaxed, in keeping with the hotel’s easy-going ethos. I feel perfectly taken care of without that problem I sometimes encounter at luxury hotels, which is being constantly interrupted. The service staff at Namu are impeccable: knowledgeable, prompt, friendly and informal, with welcome banter and zero hesitation.

The scene

Although it’s all a bit too cool at the W, the guests are all over the place. It’s popular with Gulf visitors – old and young as well as singles, couples and families.

The food

Breakfast is fairly typical hotel buffet fare, with fun surprises like heart-shaped waffles and almond milk. I have a stellar meal at Namu, which bills itself as Japanese and Korean “clash” cuisine. I found the red lighting a bit distracting, but the food is as exquisite as the 31st-floor view of the new Dubai Water Canal. The Teppan smoked sea bass with asparagus and spring onion and a ginger-soy sauce (Dh140) takes a little extra time to prepare, but is stunning. My starter of lightly seared Wagyu carpaccio with soy truffle (Dh130) melted in my mouth.

Loved

The king-size bed. I could lay in the middle of the beautiful round thing starfish-style and still have at least 25 centimetres extra in all directions. It was also crazy comfortable.

Hated

The W Hotel’s Dubai design is trying a little too hard, with some of the touches – silver glitter in the floor, red lights in Namu – vergong on disco. Also, because the lobby is adjacent to the W Lounge, it smells strongly of cigarette smoke.

The verdict

This is a very contemporary hotel option in a great location, with a ton of nifty food and beverage options close by. Bear with the construction: Al Habtoor City is going to be breathtaking soon.

The bottom line

Rooms at the W Dubai start at Dh760, including breakfast and wi-fi, plus taxes. The Fantastic suite is Dh2,790 per night, including breakfast and Wi-Fi.

This review was done at the invitation of the hotel.

amcqueen@thenational.ae