There are close to 40 Marriott options in Dubai!

A general guide to localities in Dubai can be found here. We will be using colour coding from the map below to give general locations of the hotels.

Let us begin (roughly in order of merit within city limits – some of the best are outside city limits and not suitable for tourists)

The Best:

1. Le Royal Meridien Resort + Spa, Dubai Marina

Le Lobby

Le Jacuzzis

Le View

Le Suite

Le Palm View

Le Living Room de la Suite

Le Beach

Location: Marina (Dark Green, South). In the center of Marina, close to JBR Walk/Beach.

Category: 6, 50K points.

In my opinion, this is the current best beach resort in the system. The renovations changed the personality inside and out and it is so strong it puts the Ritz Carlton next door to shame in terms of value.

Pros include a huge private beach (Ritz has access to a cordoned off public beach, but it is pubic), several pools, sufficient sun loungers, immense gardens (how rare it is to find enough loungers and lack of crowds on the beach when occupancy is high. This place delivers!). Breakfast is a feast as one would expect in Dubai.

The rooms and suites in the 2 newer buildings are ultra modern and the Royal Club wing will be going under the scalpel soon.

Expect possibly the best lounge in SPG system (definite top 5), I rate it higher than Grosvenor house (which is a sister hotel within walking distance by the same owner). Oh one lounge isn’t enough for you? Fret not, they have 2, no big deal, just casual….

Service isn’t luxury since it is a massive sprawling resort but the prices aren’t either.

Elite benefits: Strong, as part of SPG.

2. Renaissance Downtown

Location: Downtown (Black, Center). Just off the main Boulevard (10m walk).

Category: 5, 35K points.

Gorgeous ultra modern design. Like a W done right, minus the nonsense. Some of the largest base rooms in city (55+ sq m, larger than European suites!) and fantastic views of Downtown, Burj and Business Bay. I wish this hotel was larger so it had more inventory and (even) lower rates but this is a steal any way you look at it. Location is technically Downtown/Business Bay border.

Elite benefits: Marriott, hence upgrades not as generous as SPG but the base rooms here are almost junior suites. The actual suite to room ratio is also very high (higher than Marquis with its 200+ suites).

3. La Ville, CityWalk, Autograph Collection

Location: Near Downtown (Black, Center). In CityWalk. Short cab ride from Downtown

Category: 5, 35K points.

Boutique hotel by the best developer in UAE without comparison (Meraas). Small and in a killer location (skyline views). CityWalk has amazing street vibe in winters. Rooms are just average but the rest of the hotel, location, immediate area and views are amazing.

Elite benefits: Marriott, upgrades not as generous as SPG.

4. JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay

Location: Edge of Business Bay, on the banks of the Canal (Dark Green, Center). Not much in immediate walkable area. Good overall location.

Category: 5, 35K points,

Largest hotel in Dubai. 1608 rooms in two twin towers. One of the best elite-accessible lounges in global legacy Marriott system and 3rd after Grosvenor House and Royal Meridien within the combined system  in Dubai. Banish your worries about a circus at this hotel since it is one of the most efficient and well oiled and run place. Staff make it feel like a 500 room property. Suites at the hotel are relatively cheap to book outright and one should seriously consider booking a Burj facing suite (only the suites in one tower have the Burj view).

The pool is unimpressive and small for a property of this size and while the macro location is great (equidistant to everything), the immediate walkable area is still up and coming – it’s a bit quiet though developing fast. Taxis are trivially easy to find, the hotel will likley have a line of them waiting. The valet service is Slow with a capital S. It is close to the metro station but not walkable in summer (5-10m walk in winter).

This hotel can and does achieve 100% occupancy often,  despite its massive room count.

Elite benefits: Marriott, but strongest Marriott benefits in city. They have 200+ standard suites….

The Great

5. Grosvenor House, Marina, Luxury Collection

Location: Marina (Dark Green, South). 15m walk from JBR Beach/Walk.

Category: 5, 35K points

Complex property with Le Royal Meridien and hence has access to its beach and facilities (there is a short 10 min shuttle bus between them). The spa complex (there are 2, 1 in each building) is amazing and the lounge is one of the best in the system. It is one of the most popular hotels in the city and a landmark but I find the rooms too plain and ordinary for a Luxury Collection hotel. The pool game is quite weak (though you have access to the better pools at Royal Meridien as well). It is part of a dense skyline so get up high for good views. Unfortunately, the suites in the newer building (T2) are all on lower floors.

Elite benefits: SPG, Excellent recognition and implementation! A real strong point.

6. Ritz Carlton, DIFC

Location: Dubai International Financial Center (Brown, North). Adjacent to Gate Avenue.

Category: 6, 50K points

Goregous exterior design but pretty standard Ritz from the inside. I find Ritz Carltons to be over-rated, perfectly fine hotels but they fail to live up to the internally competing St Regis standard on an average and are almost always overpriced. This one however, is not over priced, it is the prime Financial Center hotel and has excellent public transport access (metro station 2-5m walk away). It is located on the Gate Avenue retail and F&B boulevard.

Elite benefits: It’s a Ritz, so you get the theoretical promise of stellar service and not much else…

7. Sheraton Grand, SZR

Location: Sheikh Zayed Road (Brown, North) on the hotel strip opposite World Trade Center.

Category: 4, 25K Points.

This hotel has possibly the best Sheraton hard product for a Sheraton city hotel and the standard suite upgrade is just gorgeous. The location is good, but pool is best avoided and Lounge is only average. Usually very reasonable unless there is a convention in town (the convention center is right opposite so that skews pricing during exhibitions).

Elite benefits: SPG, Great!

8. Westin Mina Seyahi, Marina

Location: Marina (Dark Green, South). Edge of Marina, not really walkable from JBR Beach/Walk.

Category: 7, 60K points

Westin with a classic St Regis-y design inside and out. Complex property with Le Meridien Mina Seyahi and shares with it the best beach and pool complex in the Marriott system in Dubai. However, it is pricey and Le Royal Meridien (not the Le Meridien it shares the pool and beach with) generally beats it for value (however, if this is cheaper, switch to this one). The lounge is exceptional and the views are amazing. It has one of the best (and largest) beach bars in Dubai (Barasti) – attached to the adjacent Le Meridien.

Elite benefits: SPG, good but they sometimes withhold sea view suites.

9. Courtyard, Al Barsha

Location: Al Barsha (Red, South). 2 mins walking to Mall of Emirates. 2 mins walking to Metro.

Opening in September, this hotel has an excellent location diagonally opposite from Mall of Emirates and with easy access to the metro line. It will be priced very reasonably and offer possibly the best value in Marriott system when accounting for quality, location and price.

Elite benefits: It’s a Courtyard, so no…

 

The Rest:

(not strictly in order of preference but the worst ones are last)

10. Ritz Carlton, Marina

Location: Marina (Dark Green, South). On the Walk. On JBR beach.

Category: 7, 60K points.

Perfectly good and standard Ritz beach resort with beautiful Spanish/Mediterranean architecture. However, it is a Dubai Ritz Carlton beach resort, so it’s overpriced and not by a small margin. Le Royal Meridien next door beats it in value and hard product, as does the Westin Mina Seyahi, so why would you stay here?

Nothing wrong with the hotel, just priced above better sibling competitors in immediate vicinity for no good reason. The beach isn’t even private, hence cannot hope to compete with the massive private beaches of Le Royal Meridien/Grosvenor and Westin/Le Meridien.

The hotel ranks so low purely because it doesn’t even offer location exclusivity. It is located in a strip of 8 Marriott options, 2 of which are in the same genre of beach resorts and clearly better. It is not as bad as the ranking would make it seem.

Elite benefits: It is a Ritz, so the theoretical promise of great service and little else.

11. Aloft Palm Jumeirah

Location: Palm (Brown, South). East wing of the Palm.

Category: 5, 35K points

Extra-ordinarily cheap for where it is located and is new and fresh to boot! Typical lively Aloft vibe. Unfortunately it does not have suites and I do not suggest the edges of Palm as a location for first time tourists. This is the cheapest Marriott beach resort in Dubai and if that is what you are looking for, it serves the purpose. Exceptional value.

Elite benefits: They try, but no suites 🙁

12. Aloft Deira City Center

Location: Deira City Center (Light Green, North). In Deira City Center mall.

Category: 3, 17.5K points

Killer views over the creek into new Dubai. Movie themed suites (Avengers suite anyone?) are a USP. Metro access from within the mall complex. It failed to make the best list simply because it is in Deira but that should not be much of a concern if you intend to rely on the Metro. This hotel is exceptional value and is one of the fanciest Aloft properties in the world. Conveniently attached to the mall.

Elite benefits: SPG, they exceed the requirments for Alofts.

13. Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, Marina

Location: Dubai Marina (Dark green, South). Edge of Marina, not walkable from JBR Beach/Walk.

Category: 6, 50K points.

Attached to the Westin above and not really as good as the competition in the area. Book it only if significantly cheaper than Le Royal Meridien (which it sometimes is). Lounge is good but there are almost no suite upgrades at this hotel due to inventory. It still offers access to the best beach/pool complex in the system in Dubai and has the Barasti beach bar (best/largest) attached.

Elite benefits: Poor upgrades 🙁

14. Dubai Marriott Harbour and Suites

Location: Dubai Marina (Dark green, South). Edge of Marina, not walkable from JBR Beach/Walk.

Category: 5, 35K points

Don’t be fooled by the name, it is an apartment hotel. The apartments are not fancy, they’re alright. Great reasonable option with excellent location for those looking for apartments.

Elite benefits: Not much

15. Sheraton, Mall of Emirates

Location: Mall of Emirates, Barsha (Red, South). Located in/on the mall.

Category: 5, 35K points.

Attached to one of the best malls and offers internal access to Metro! Unfortunately, it is a standard ‘good’ Sheraton stuck in a spectacular hotel market. The rooms and facilities aren’t quite upto par with siblings but the location is excellent and it makes a great base if the price is right.

Elite benefits: Good

16. Le Meridien Hotel + Conference Center, Deira 

Location: Deira (Light Green, North). Very close to the airport.

Category: 5, 35K points.

The dark horse, the hidden gem. Don’t be fooled by the gorgeous renovated lobby, 3/4ths of this hotel is a dump. 1/4th is amazing! Only the Royal Club wing is worth booking and top tier guests have the opportunity to book the basic old rooms at exceptionally low prices and be upgraded consistently (almost always) to the Royal Club rooms which have jacuzzi tubs, massage chairs and are otherwise some of the most modern rooms in the city.

Just don’t get stuck in a non-Royal Club room, that won’t end well. The lounges (yes, 2) are great and have entirely contrasting ambiences. One (Royal Club) is ultra modern whereas Le Meridien club is charmingly anachronistc and quaint. Lots of pools spread arond this complex.

Elite benefits: Excellent, the upgrades are to amazing rooms (but not suites). I still give it a pass because the rooms have jacuzzi tubs and massage chairs. Elites have access to both lounges.

17. Sheraton Dubai Creek

Location: Deira (Light Green, North). On the banks of the creek.

Category: 5, 35K points.

Standard ‘good’ Sheraton. Hence fails to really differentiate or stand out in this hyper competitive market. Very reasonably priced. Bad public transport access. Good views over the creek and good lounge.

Elite benefits: Good

18. Four Points by Sheraton, Bur Dubai

Location: Bur Dubai (Red, North). Close to Bur Juman Mall. Close to metro station.

Category: 3, 17.5K points.

It’s fine. It’s cheap. But it is a relatively old Four Points after all. Location is good but Dubai has low overall hotel rates, so you would get a LOT of value for slightly more money.

Elite benefits: They’re alright. Don’t expect a suite.

 

Avoid:

19. Aloft Meaisam

Category: 2, 12.5K points.

Ultra cheap, new, perfectly good Aloft. Avoid on account of suburban location though.

20. Element Meaisam

Category: 2, 12.5K points.

Ultra cheap, new, perfectly good Element. Complex property with Aloft above. Avoid on basis of suburban location though.

21. Habtoor Grand, Dubai Marina, Autograph Collection

Category: 5, 35K points.

Located in a dense strip of 8 siblings with questionable nautical/cruise liner decor. Not a bad hotel but fails to stand out from internal competition and does not offer any great or unique value. Private beach.

Elite benefits: Weak

22. Marriott Executive Apartments, Deira

Category: Earning only. Partner hotel.

Apartments. In Deira. You know if you need apartments and shouldn’t be booking them in any other scenario. The Dubai Marriott Habour is a better apartment hotel in a better location.

23. JW Marriott Deira

Category: 4, 25K points.

Not fit to be a JW. Infact it would be an old dump even as a Marriott.

Elite benefits: Weak.

24. Four Points, Sheikh Zayed Road

Category: 5, 35K points.

It’s alright….but goto Sheraton Grand nearby instead.

25. Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort, Marina

Category: 5, 35K points.

No. Just no. There are 8 Marriott options here in this area, this is the worst.

26 and 27. Marriott Al Jaddaf (and Executive Apartments)

Category: 4, 25K

Apparently these exist. Nothing special. Bad location.

28. Le Meridien Fairway, Deira

Category: 3, 17.5K

Life is too short to go here. Can’t decide if it looks charmingly old or just, old. I went here once, accidentally.

29. Four Points Downtown, Bur Dubai

Category: 3, 17.5K points.

Not in Downtown, or anywhere near it. Goto Four Points Bur Dubai around the corner instead. Please.

30. Courtyard Green Community

Category: 3, 17.5K points.

Old Courtyard in an extremely suburban and remote location. Don’t be tempted. Green Community is distinct from the prime Greens locality on SZR.

31. Marriott Executive Apartments, Green Community

Category: Earning Only.

Same as above as they are complex properties.

Outside the city:

32. Al Maha, Luxury Collection

Location: Desert reserve 1 hour outside the city.

Category: 8, 85K points.

The most expensive and spectacular option and you know about it already if you are considering it. It is great, just as good as everyone says but honestly, overpriced. The 2 Ritz Carltons within an hours drive in Ras Al Khaimah offer a similar experience for half the cost. Several other boutique options are better and lower priced. However, this has both Ritzs beat for location in that it is closer to Dubai, and is also the best out of the Marriott options available.

Elite benefits: Nope

33. Lapita, Autograph Collection

Location: Dubai Parks and Resorts complex. 25 mins from city.

Category: 5, 35K points.

Why are both the best options outside the city?? This hotel is located in the Dubai Parks and Resorts complex and is the default hotel if you want to stay next to the theme parks. It is also adjacent to a massive F&B complex built like a medieval French village which is really quite something. The design of the hotel is very distinct and different from everything else in Dubai. It is a Polynesian jungle themed resort and really takes the theme to heart; The lobby, rooms, grounds are all green, wooden and a world away from the concrete jungle of Dubai. This would be in the ‘best list’ if it was actually in Dubai (it is about 25 mins away). Oh it has a lazy river and package deals which give you tickets to the parks.

This hotel might be marked as a 4 star on many third party websites (booking.com etc) but rest assured, that was a technical mistake at time of certification, this isn’t just a basic 5 star, its an upscale 5 star.

Elite benefits: Marriott, but amazing, on par with SPG.

34. Aloft Dubai South

It’s in the desert near DWC, the new airport. Airport hotel. Perfectly fine, but not in city.

 

Coming Soon:

35. W Palm (end of 2018)

Category: 7, 60K points.

Will be overpriced. Will be the coolest, hippest Marriott option. Probably will have the best pool scene. It is on the west wing of the Palm so will have the best views in Dubai (Marina skyline).

36. Marriott Palm (early 2019)

Between the W Palm, St Regis Palm, Aloft Palm and all the other great Marina hotels, this risks being overshadowed. Perhaps should be launched as a different brand within the family.

37. St Regis Palm (2019/20)

Will be pricey no doubt.