Waldorf Astoria DIFC: My New Favorite Dubai Hotel

I’ve been to Dubai more times than I can count, and I’ve stayed at a countless number of hotels in the city. However, up until now there hasn’t been a single hotel that I’ve thought was absolutely amazing, and that I felt I needed to return to (I have a soft spot for the Park Hyatt, but I’m not sure it’s entirely rational).

Well, that has finally changed. I want to give a huge shoutout to the Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), which is an incredible hotel that I can’t recommend enough.

This was my first time staying in DIFC, and I kind of dig it (and I think the branding doesn’t really do justice to what it has to offer for leisure travelers). While I’ll have a full review soon, I wanted to just note a few quick things that I love about this hotel.

The best service I’ve had in Dubai

I find service in Dubai to generally be well intentioned but not that polished or well organized. The staff at the Waldorf Astoria DIFC are truly on a different level to what I’ve experienced everywhere else. Every single employee I interacted with was professional, genuinely eager to please, and had a personality. From the restaurant, to the housekeeping staff, to the front office staff, this hotel has so many superstars.

I can’t count the number of times I was asked by employees for feedback or if there was anything that could be done to make our stay better, but not in an overbearing way (and to be clear, I don’t get the sense that I’m getting special treatment here — they just really care about guests). In fairness, the hotel doesn’t seem to be busy at all.

Good Hilton Honors Diamond recognition

I was initially going to stay at the Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah, but several readers recommended giving the Waldorf Astoria DIFC a shot, noting that the Hilton Honors Diamond treatment was excellent. Well, I can confirm this — the hotel has exceptional Diamond recognition, and we received a proactive upgrade to a large suite.

Based on the reports I’ve seen online, this seems to be the standard upgrade for Diamond members. And this isn’t just any suite, but it’s a legitimately huge, two room suite with two bathrooms.

Waldorf Astoria DIFC continued
Waldorf Astoria DIFC continued
Waldorf Astoria DIFC continued

Gorgeous design

The Waldorf Astoria DIFC has a really luxurious design, from the public spaces to the guest rooms. This has to be one of the most beautifully designed points city hotels I’ve ever stayed at. The hotel also only opened in 2019, so it still feels new.

Waldorf Astoria DIFC lobby
Waldorf Astoria DIFC reception
Waldorf Astoria DIFC elevators
Waldorf Astoria DIFC Peacock Alley

amazing breakfast

As a Hilton Honors Diamond member breakfast was included, and the selection was excellent. Breakfast was served at Bull & Bear, and you could choose things from both a buffet and menu.

There were exceptional drinks, from barista-made cappuccinos to fresh juices. The buffet had all kinds of fresh fruit, pastries, yogurt, and more. On top of that, there was a menu with everything from avocado toast, to masala omelets, to shakshuka.

Waldorf Astoria DIFC Bull & Bear Restaurant
Waldorf Astoria DIFC Bull & Bear breakfast
Waldorf Astoria DIFC Bull & Bear breakfast
Waldorf Astoria DIFC Bull & Bear Breakfast
Waldorf Astoria DIFC Bull & Bear breakfast

I like Dubai International Financial Center

I had never stayed in Dubai International Financial Center before, because based on the name it doesn’t sound terribly appealing. However, I love this area, and would stay here again in a heartbeat.

Personally I don’t come to Dubai because I want a beach vacation. While I understand people from cold climates come here for that, we have much better beaches in Florida. Also, I try to avoid the sun (especially when the UV index is 10+, as it has been here).

Rather I generally visit Dubai as a stopover to another destination. I like to approach Dubai more as a city than a beach destination, and that’s why I like DIFC:

  • DIFC is only 15 minutes from the airport, so it’s convenient to get to & from if you have a short stopover
  • DIFC has all kinds of amazing restaurants, ranging from outposts of famous international restaurant groups, to restaurants that you’ll just find here
  • DIFC is pretty walkable and central, as you can walk to so many restaurants, and can even walk to the Dubai Mall

I’m not saying DIFC is for everyone, but it’s definitely our new preferred place to be in Dubai. I look forward to trying out more hotels in the area.

Dubai International Financial Center
Dubai International Financial Center

Bottom line

I’ll have a full review soon, but in the meantime I can’t recommend the Waldorf Astoria DIFC enough. The hotel is gorgeous, the employees are exceptionally friendly and well trained, the elite recognition is excellent, and I like DIFC.

If you’re passing through Dubai and aren’t looking for a beach experience, this is an excellent luxury option. Though I guess if this property gets too popular with Diamond members, perhaps the upgrade situation will change. 😉

The Waldorf Astoria brand is quickly becoming my favorite luxury points hotel group, as I’ve had nothing but exceptional stays at these properties, from Amsterdam, to Beverly Hills, to Los Cabos.

Anyone else love the Waldorf Astoria DIFC, or prefer this area in general?

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