The Dubai Marine Beach Resort sits on Beach Road in Jumeirah. However, Beach Road is a rather lengthy piece of tarmac and the hotel lies towards one end, while the famous Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Burj Al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah are a 20 minutes taxi ride away at the other tip. That said, this is still probably the nicest district in town and the low rise villas around seems to offer a slightly slower pace of life than much of the city. Next to the hotel is great public beach, with handy amenities like showers and a running track down the middle. Over the road from the hotel sits one of the city’s most favoured cafés, the near legendary Lime Tree. The Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall area is around 15 minutes away in a taxi. The airport will take you around 25 minutes.
Unfortunately, the smallish Standard Rooms haven’t aged particularly well, the colour across the walls, furnishings and marble floor offer an unexciting spectrum of browns and beiges. There aren’t any balconies, although you do get a nice walk-in wardrobe. Upgrading to a Junior Suite will get you a Jacuzzi bath thrown in.
There aren’t any public areas to speak of aside from the charming lawn area in the middle, plus a mini network of wooden-floored pathways around the pools and garden leading to the various restaurants and bars.
Eating and drinking
Most Dubai residents probably don’t realise that the Dubai Marina Beach Resort actually functions as a hotel, with the restaurants and bars attracting much of the attention throughout the week and especially at weekends. Bars-wise, you’ve got one of the best selections in town. The charming Loca offers the widest menu of international ales I’ve seen in Dubai (plus a great array of Mexican grub). Sho Cho, a favourite among affluent blokes and their ladyfriends, has pricey cocktails in a cool outdoor setting looking out across the Gulf. Meanwhile Boudoir is a somewhat ostentatious indoor venue where the town’s wannabes flash their (parents’?) cash on oversized bottles of Moet (the arrival of which signals the start of a ludicrous sound and light show, just to add to the ‘look at me’ occasion). For food, there’s good quality Thai, Arabic and Italian all within a few seconds' walking distance of each other.
The excellent (albeit small) private beach (with cool beach bar) attracts much of the attention, but there are also several temperature-controlled pools, a dedicated kids area, a small gym, a couple of tennis courts and a little spa. With the resort being the oldest in town, all the facilities are a little worn at the edges and slightly dated (especially the rather tacky fake rock pool), but still fully functioning.
Generally ok, but there have been complaints about the service in some of the bars, in particular Boudoir, where the bouncers are known to be a little on the obnoxious side.
Who stays there
It's very popular with European families, so expect to see at least one pair of Speedos. With a huge raft of bars in the resort, Thursday and Fridays are particularly busy with European and Arabic residents.
Pros & Cons
- Great nightlife
- Small rooms
- Quite dated