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Waldorf Astoria Dubai Financial Center
The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Financial Center is Hilton’s latest addition to the Dubai luxury hotel scene. Since 2015, I’ve been to the UAE a half dozen or so times, and I’m always amazed at the expansion in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Building grow like weeds and there is no shortage of luxury hotel offerings. What does this mean? You can stay in properties that would ordinarily cost significantly more in other markets, for much, much less. That was the case with the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Financial Center where we paid a little over $200 a night, received diamond status recognition in the form of great service and a wonderful upgrade. The finishes, service, quality of food and amenities would command 2x to 4x in most other cosmopolitan marketplaces, but in Dubai, competition is your pricing friend.
Additionally, if you’re looking for one the best markets to flex your status, hotel amongst many others, the Middle East, like Asia, is a great place to measure the gravity of your top tier status. Most often, top tier statuses, like Hilton’s Diamond, are earned through a bevy of nights spent on the road. Not for us. We leveraged it as a benefit of the Hilton Amex Aspire that comes with Hilton Diamond status as a perk of card membership. It amongst many other benefits make the $450 annual fee well worth paying.
Hilton is no stranger to this market, in fact, the old St Regis Dubai is now a part of Hilton’s LXR brand, and named the Habtoor Palace. We opted to check out the newly finished Waldorf Astoria, not to be confused with The Waldorf Astoria already present in the Dubai market, primely placed on the Palm. If you’re looking for something closer to shopping, with a city vibe, this is an excellent choice.
- When: November 2019
- Where: Dubai Financial Center
- Rate: $200/night
- Status: Diamond
- Upgrade: King Premier Suite
- Benefits: 10x points, free breakfast, 20% discount on dining
The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Financial Center resides in the Burj Daman complex with a reception on the 18th floor. You’ll also find the hotel’s restaurants, lobby lounge, hotel pool, and fitness center. 275 rooms occupy floors 27-50, and there is also a residential section with suites occupying the 50-55. The views are wonderful, especially for breakfast in the Bull and Bear with incredible Burj Khalifa views, and the finishes are understated, refined, and modern. Check in was swift, our diamond status recognized, and our benefits explained. We were also notified that we had been upgraded to a King Suite with Kabeel and Burj Khalifa views.
Room: King Premier Suite
There’s really nothing like getting a suite upgrade to make you feel like an absolute baller. Anytime your room has a foyer and guest bath…it’s hard not to feel like you’re winning at life especially when it was all a perk of status. I can’t reiterate enough how much value is hidden inside the Hilton Aspire – it’s paid off time and time again.
I loved the hard wood floors, neutrals, and finishes. Everything just seemed so fresh, modern, and luxurious. Waldorf Astoria is really establishing itself with their recent properties, and this is right in line with the precedent we experienced in Bangkok last year.
The King Premier Suite clocks in around 830 sq ft, features a separate living room, large flat screen tvs, automated blinds, a separate half both, large king bed, and a drop dead gorgeous rain shower, and deep soaker tub.
You can see the difference in the suite from the day to the night. The biggest complaint, and it’s a definite an oversight, but the desk and chair, while looking quite nice, are so close to the window that it’s nearly impossible to sit at the desk. To make matters worse, the desk is fixed to the ground so you can’t move it. I’m roughly 6′ tall and 160-165 lbs and could barely squeeze into to sit. It looks great, but functionally, I’m not really sure what they were thinking.
We received a nice welcome note along with some Arabic sweets, chocolates, and macarons.
Mini bar built into a piece of luggage featuring a Nespresso for in room coffee, and a drawer serving as the fridge.
Large flat screen and half bath.
The bedroom is gorgeous, features a king bed, bedside integrated suite functions for lights and blinds, but most disappointing was the lack of international plus. Dubai certainly attracts international clientele, so it’s a head scratcher, much like the desk situation, as to why you’d limit plugs to just one type when multi-national plugs are common in hotels of this caliber.
Dubai certainly attracts international clientele, so it’s a head scratcher, much like the desk situation, as to why you’d limit plugs to just one type when multi-national plugs are common in hotels of this caliber. Granted, we charged multiple devices at the desk in the living room, but this was a negative. Additionally, each side of the bed had water and mats with slippers along with chocolates at turn down.
The bathroom was an absolute stunner. Dual vanities, large closets with heavy wood hangers, a massive dual headed rain shower, and large soaker tub. Add in Ferragamo bath products, full amenity kits, and plush robes to this true 5 star bathroom, and you’ve got yourself a nice spa-like experience.
Breakfast is served in the Bull and Bear. You can also take your dinner there if you’re looking for a more curated, upscale experience; however, you can also dine poolside if you’re in the mood for casual bites. Our first night we were quite hungry and decided to dine at the Bull and Bear. The only downside to the experience was when we approached the host stand. I’m not sure if the hostess thought we weren’t dressed appropriately, but there was a hesitation on offering us a table. Once she double checked our room, and consequently saw our status, we were shown a table. Odd, because people weren’t dressed up within the restaurant, but I would note that the second night of our stay the restaurant was packed and people were quite posh in style. Regardless…the food was outstanding and the view…well, see yourself what it looks like during the day.
Here was our food from the evening at Bull and Bear. My fiancee had a seared tuna appetizer with a vegan bowl, and I had beetroot risotto with a burrata app. Mouthwateringly good.
One of the best benefits of Diamond status ( and gold if you’re using points for the booking ) is breakfast. Hotels of this caliber offer wonderful spreads, and this was certainly up to my expectation. Each day we ordered omelettes as well as picked from the various buffet options. Had we had more time in Dubai, I’d have enjoyed spending a bit more time sipping coffee and enjoying the view. It was truly spectacular.
It really doesn’t get old.
Additionally, if you’re looking for an al fresco experience, or some nightime drinks…St Trop is at your service.
Fitness and Pool
The fitness center has some of the latest equipment in it, along with unlimited water, ( hint, hint ), and the pool offers some outstanding views of downtown Dubai.
Lounge by the pool
The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Financial Center is a wonderful hotel, offering very good service ( aside from the odd hiccup at Bull and Bear ), and a location that puts you within minutes of some of Dubai’s best tourist attractions. The main road that the hotel is on actually runs perpendicular to the Frame and is within a few minutes to the Burj Khalifa. I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again upon returning to Dubai.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
Super solid welcome offer.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.