There’s something innately comforting to me about The Westin – a property that I’ve visited myriad times since arriving in Dubai 14 years ago. My family stay here on their annual visit; it’s where I got ready for my wedding back in 2014, a suite providing the quintessential elegant backdrop; and it’s where I return to time and time again for celebrations, evenings out or simply to escape. The funny thing is, I’ve never actually laid my head down in one of the beds, despite having it on very good authority that the linen is worth investing in (my mother owned several pillows and bedsheets from The Westin store). And so, a stay last month finally felt like all the jigsaw pieces were falling into place.
When The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Spa opened in 2008, it snapped up one of the most prestigious plots along the Gulf coastline, sandwiching itself between the Le Méridien Mina Seyahi and the One&Only Royal Mirage. What it offered was something between the two… More elevated luxury than Le Méridien, but more inclusive and family-orientated than One&Only. And that still holds true over a decade on, with the hotel’s revolving door constantly spinning for tourists and residents, kids and adults, families and friends.
With its graceful Neoclassical exterior and Art Deco interiors, there’s a warmness that bubbles through The Westin. It’s grand but not overtly so, so it doesn’t feel intimidating or hoity-toity. I’ve always loved the lobby, because it feels welcoming and the view down through the central atrium from the top floors of the hotel, with the suspended chandelier, is pretty magical.
It’s an easy-to-navigate hotel, which I find more important the older I get, with the rooms and suites either flanking the atrium on each floor or meandering off from it. Following a hotel-wide room refurb in 2019, the Art Deco vibes from downstairs now filter upwards too, with the 292 rooms and suites gently nodding stylistically to the 1930s.
I stay in a Luxury Suite with sea view on the ninth floor, with a Juliet balcony that offers me beautiful views across the pool and palm trees into the big blue beyond. With Ain Dubai on the left, Palm Jumeirah on the right, you know you’re in pretty good company location-wise.
At 158sqm, there’s ample space to unpack and unwind in and I love the new design touches courtesy of the refurb, especially the monochrome chequered headboard contrasting against the bursts of gold throughout the room that feels both decorative and decadent. The King-size Heavenly® Bed is as welcoming as I’d hoped it would after all this time, with crisp white linens and perfectly plump pillows demanding to be slept in, and well. There’s a desk (but it’s the weekend, so hey), a chaise lounge and an Ottoman at the end of the bed. Colours are muted in taupe, caramel and cream, with jets of black and white mural tiles in the marbled bathroom bringing in the Art Deco vibes, with marbled sink, bath and shower.
The room is chic and clutter-free, but also feels homely, like somewhere you’d really like to settle into. All the little things add up, so something else worth bearing in mind is that the Luxury Suite offers lounge access too, as well as complimentary non-alcoholic drinks, happy hour drinks, complimentary pressing service and return airport transfers.
Outside of the suite and, well, The Westin is your oyster. Across the sprawling resort, there are several pools – including one just for the kids, a lap pool and an adult-only – the incredible Heavenly Spa by Westin, a brilliant Kids Club, 500 metres of private beach just beyond and, perhaps the newest feather in its cap, Jungle Bay Waterpark. Inspired by the Cyclades and designed as if lifted straight from the Mediterranean, there are rides, slides, cabanas and wave pools that promise to keep kids (big or small) entertained from morning to night.
When it’s time to eat, I resort to my old favourite, Bussola – a gorgeous two-floor Italian that is something of Dubai legend. Upstairs, there is arguably the city’s most popular pizzeria and downstairs a brasserie that spills out onto the terrace and down by the pool, where olive trees and fairy lights flank tables of families and friends breaking bread over burrata, pan-seared seabass and deliciously garlicky spaghetti alle vongole. It’s incredibly pretty. Sui Mui Japanese is the latest addition to The Westin’s F&B repertoire, a playful Asian with a stunning terrace and a shared ‘grazing table’ concept for those that like to socialise over supper.
You should also try Baba Grill for traditional food from the turquoise shores of Turkey, or El Sur for a lively way to soak up modern Spanish cuisine. For breakfast, Mina’s Kitchen has all you could want and more, with its sprawling breakfast buffet. While the Art Deco interiors steal my heart, the real showstopper is the terrace, where you can sip your cappuccino to a soundtrack of twittering birdsong and waves lapping at the not-so-distant shore. It’s a gentle way to start the day.
I haven’t fallen in love with The Westin all over again, because I never fell out of love with it. The hotel has been my one constant during my time in Dubai – a safe haven I can escape to, whilst feeling both close to home and connected to those far away. And the hotel does so much right. While the saying is ‘Why fix what ain’t broke’, The Westin gets a little playful shaking things up where necessary. While it’s comforting in its steadfastness, it also looks to the marketplace to innovate and capitalise on new trends and new breeds of traveller. Never standing still, yet also going nowhere… My kind of oxymoron.
What: Luxury Suite Sea View
Where: The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Spa
TEL: +971 4 399 4141