Waldorf Astoria DIFC review: Where Dubai meets New York
I was eating a Waldorf salad at the new Waldorf Astoria in DIFC’s Peacock Alley lounge when it struck me that, had I not been perched by the windows overlooking the glittering skyline of the city’s financial hub, I could almost imagine I was in New York, not Dubai—crunching through my salad in a tastefully understated restaurant, looking over the city’s wheelers and dealers. This of course is not done by chance.
In every Waldorf-branded hotel in the world—from Key West to Shanghai—there is a Peacock Alley. The name references the original Manhattan back alley that connected the Waldorf and Astoria.
There are, of course, already two other Waldorf Astoria’s in the UAE. But it is this new DIFC outpost that sticks closer to the classic New York aesthetic, be it in its vintage style fixtures, design and décor, or through the vibe of its restaurant and classy cigar lounge.
Parting ways from standard practice in Dubai’s many other hotels, here guests check-in on the 18th floor, beginning the start of their stays with spectacular views of town. While the journey from the ground level to get there is still a little confusing and tricky, you already feel like you’re in a completely different —perhaps classier—world by the time you get to the front desk.
When it comes to the rooms, the Waldorf retains its impeccable standards. The suites, for example, come with spacious living rooms, some of which overlook little-seen palaces of some of Dubai’s most prominent Emirati families. The rooms are larger than one would expect for DIFC, with ultra-comfortable modern beds that ensure a peaceful night’s sleep ahead of a big day or important business meetings.
In fact, a balance between work and play is found within all the suites, which are also designed to function as perfectly suitable offices as well. Their minimalist design creates a masculine but leisurely environment for the business travellers. After all, what’s the point of work if there is no play?
Another standout venue at the hotel is the Bull and Bear restaurant. While it may seem rather cold and impersonal at first, the venue has sweeping views of the city and food that stands out even amidst stiff competition in gourmet-rich DIFC.
From the Pulpo a la parilla to the Black Onyx Beef, the food is top notch, with service befitting a hotel of the Waldorf’s reputation.
While most hotels in Dubai say that they were created with the business and leisure traveller in mind, they very rarely are found to do both. This DIFC hotel, however, manages to strike just the right balance between the two.
We definitely recommend a visit, even if it’s just to the pool bar— St Trop— on the weekend.