BG1 Verdict: 72%
“Good. Has the potential to be great.”
Opened in 2017, Palazzo Versace Dubai is only the second Versace hotel to be opened worldwide. The other one can be found on Australia’s Gold Coast. Having heard every single piece of furniture and fabric in the hotel is tailor-made by Versace, we decided we needed to go and take a closer look – if only out of morbid curiosity! So, did we like it? Yes and no. To qualify it, here’s our honest Palazzo Versace Dubai Review.
In this review:
Name: Palazzo Versace Dubai
Location: Jaddaf Waterfront – Dubai Creek
Hotel Class: ☆☆☆☆☆
Chain: Preferred Hotels & Resorts
Loyalty Programme: I Prefer
Room Type: Junior Suite Creek View
Room #: 916
Price bracket: ££££
Competing brands: Raffles, Shangri-la
Good for: Families, Couples
Palazzo Versace Dubai is located on the Jaddaf Waterfront, between downtown Dubai and the airport. The shops and attractions of Festival City Mall are a 5 minute drive from the hotel, on the other side of the creek. It takes 15 minutes in a taxi to the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall complexes.
The area around the hotel was largely residential, with a combination of completed and half-built residential towers. At the rear of the hotel we found nice views across the creek, with a recently completed marina and contemporary art gallery complementing the view. However, the front of the property is a different story. To reach the hotel, we had to drive through undeveloped land along unfinished, unlit roads for a couple of miles. While taxis were happy to do this, it didn’t feel like a great neighbourhood to explore.
Overall, the location felt a bit detached from the rest of Dubai. With lots of construction work underway, we’re sure it’ll eventually become developed and pleasant to walk around. That, however, looked several years away. While the view across the creek was nice, sometimes we felt marooned in the hotel. A car or taxi is an absolute must. We don’t think these points should deter those looking for a classy place to kick-back in Dubai; however, we do think it’s important to mention in our review of Palazzo Versace Dubai.
Our BA flight from London to Dubai landed at 1 am, but the short drive to Palazzo Versace Dubai meant we arrived just before 2 am. Despite our late arrival, the welcome and efficiency of the check-in was still 5-star.
A porter opened the taxi door under the hotel’s large carport, unloaded our bags for us and gestured for us to walk to check-in desk. Being 2am, we were the only guests at reception. Despite that, there were two receptionists waiting for us, and a chap who introduced himself as our “butler”. We call him the “butler” because we only saw him again during our final breakfast.
The check-in process was efficient and required the usual passport, card swipe, and signature formalities. We were informed about the breakfast and executive lounge service times, then we were ushered to the east wing lifts with our “butler”. In the lift, he introduced himself and also told us about the three pools at the hotel. Main, East, and West. He said the East pool was a party pool.
Traveling through the hotel, we were somewhat relieved that the Versace styling was carefully interwoven with classical design. It was as if a traditional 5-star grand hotel had been accented with Versace colour.
We Changed Rooms
Arriving at our room, we had a quick look around with the “butler”. While the interior was better than we’d anticipated – ornately decorated, quiet, and very large – we were unhappy about the aspect of the room’s windows and balcony. We’d booked a creek view room and, while some of the creek was visible, the room was actually on the side of the building facing a noisy freeway and a large residential tower block loomed over us. The room was also directly above the pool we were only moments earlier told was the party pool. We told the “butler” we weren’t very pleased and asked if another room might be available.
He quickly returned and offered us a similar room in the hotel’s west wing. After a lengthy walk across the hotel, we arrived at our new room. We were pleased to find it had a better location and the balcony wasn’t plagued by traffic noise, nor was it overlooked. It was similarly appointed inside, with the only difference being the placement of the dressing table.
Shortly after the butler left us, the porter arrived with our bags and we were able to settle down for the night.
Here’s the part of our Palazzo Versace Dubai review that we suspect you’re most interested in: What was the room like? Ours was a Junior Suite Creek View, which was high-end suite suited on the 9th floor (highest) and included access to the hotel’s club facilities. Unlike some hotels, the attention to presentation didn’t stop at the elevator doors. In fact, the style, quality, and detail flowed from the central atrium all the way to the bedside.
Our suite comprised of 3 rooms, split into 7 main areas:
- Hallway and mini-bar
- Bedroom area, furnished with a 2-piece sitting area, bed, study table and dining table
- Dressing room with wardrobes and luggage racks
- Alcove with a dressing table and vanity mirror
- Large bathroom
Not only was the king bed an impressive centrepiece to our spacious room, it was very comfortable and covered with high-quality cotton linen. The decorative throw and matching cushions were an intricate Versace design.
The ensuite bathroom was huge, sporting a dual wash basins, a separate toilet, full-size bathtub and separate walk-in shower. Versace mosaic tiling adorned the wall and floor, while the glass was frosted with the iconic Versace Medusa.
Versace-branded products were provided around the bath and sink.
Our suite was well-equipped with an iron and ironing board, a Nespresso machine
mini-bar, large wall-mounted TV. All the glassware and crockery was Versace-branded.
The lighting was controlled using an electronic room control panel. The same panel also controlled the window drapes and sheer curtain.
Sockets had international face-plates, allowing most 2- and 3-pin plugs to be used without the need for a travel adapter.
Fruit/dates were left in the room on a couple of afternoons during our stay, which was a nice addition.
Finally, there was a salon-style hairdryer that could be plugged into any socket, including the one at the dressing table.
All parts of the hotel were immaculately clean at all times. Our room was cleaned daily by very discreet housekeeping – we barely ever saw them and they always seemed to time their visits around our schedule. The evening turndown service was also very thorough.
Our room was facing northwest, across Dubai Creek. The large balcony terrace was furnished 2 sun loungers, a sofa, and a dining table with chairs. It caught the sun for about an hour around lunchtime. Only a little street and daytime construction noise could be heard while on the balcony.
Our night’s sleep in our Junior Suite room at Palazzo Versace Dubai was a mixed tale of pure comfort and silence, followed by unacceptable noise levels from partying guests.
The bed was extremely comfortable and the room sufficiently sound-proofed that you couldn’t hear any conventional noise from inside. It was a very relaxing cocoon for the first couple of nights.
Our third night was a Saturday night and our sleep was very disturbed because of a noisy party happening in a room across the hallway. Living in a busy city ourselves, we’re not particularly sensitive to ambient noise, and we’ve had no trouble sleeping through storms and even earthquakes! When the noise turns suddenly into screaming, shouting, and slamming doors, we’re likely to wake up. This is what startled us awake at 1 am. After 30 minutes, we decided it wasn’t going to stop and called reception for their help. They apologised and said they’d speak to the guests. The noise stopped about 15 minutes later and we drifted back to sleep. A little later we were disturbed again. On investigating, we found the hallway smelt of cigarette smoke and alcohol.
Following our second call to have the noise dealt with, we should’ve been offered a room switch (we most likely would’ve accepted, even though it was 3:30 am). We believe this was where the management team missed a prime opportunity to resolve the issue. The noise finally abated around 4 am. We woke for breakfast feeling pretty exhausted. We bumped into our “butler” at breakfast who asked how we were. After explaining, he sought to dismiss the incident by saying the hotel is popular with Arab men who like to party at the weekend. Whether or not this was accurate, the statement felt misjudged.
While we don’t want this incident to eclipse the good elements in our review of Palazzo Versace Dubai, we believe it would be remiss of us not to highlight that we were unable to sleep for one of our three nights in the hotel.
Facilities & Services
Palazzo Versace Dubai had an extensive range of 5-star facilities. So many, in fact, that we didn’t have enough time to use all of them!
The hotel had 3 outdoor swimming pools: East, West, and Main. We found families with children preferred the West and Main pools, while the party crowd gravitated to the music at the East Pool.
There was a well-equipped gym on the ground floor, which had a decent mix of cardio and resistance equipment – even a range of free weights.
The spa was opposite the gym and offered a range of therapies, including massage and pedicure. Prices were on the high-end, although consistent with a 5-star property.
The hotel offers a crèche/kids club, meaning mum and dad can visit Festival Mall, or enjoy the party at the east pool for a few hours in the afternoon.
There are also a selection of Versace boutiques in the hotel, one selling many of the furnishings found throughout the property.
A free shuttle service was available to take guests between the hotel and Festival City Mall Dubai and also to Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai on North Jumeirah Beach. Private transportation was also available for a charge using the hotels fleet of cars.
There was a parking lot underneath the hotel, which was available for all hotel guests and their visitors to use free of charge.
Wi-Fi speeds at Palazzo Versace Dubai were ↓ 6 Mbps ↑ 13 Mbps. Signal was strong in all areas of the hotel building and all but the furthest reaches of the grounds.
Food & Beverage
No review of Palazzo Versace Dubai would be complete without a mention of the bars and dining options. There were 5 restaurants and 4 bars, all found on the ground floor, plus an executive lounge on the first floor.
Vanitas is the hotel’s fine dining Italian restaurant – we were advised booking was essential, although walk-in tables were available during our stay. Enigma served Persian cuisine, while Mosaico in the hotel’s foyer was a prime spot for afternoon tea. Buffet breakfasts and brunches were served in Giardino, which also benefits from outside tables overlooking the large east pool. Lighter bites and salads were available at Amalfi, beside the west pool.
The hotel’s most popular bar is beside the east pool. La Piscina offers cabanas and sun loungers, from which you can people-watch and drink extortionately expensive alcoholic drinks. A live DJ provides the commercial dance music soundtrack, which may entice some to dance. During Friday brunches, the line-up often includes a live singer.
After dark, entertainment moved to Q’s Bar, where drinks were served until 2am. A couple of important points on this bar: smoking is permitted inside and they operate a 350 AED/person minimum spend on Thursday and Friday. We visited on a Saturday to avoid this.
The Executive Lounge offered additional food and beverage options for guests staying in club rooms. Afternoon tea and evening drinks/canapés were the highlight for us. We had the option to take breakfast in the lounge, but were told that it was essentially ferried up from the main breakfast restaurant, Giardino, and we were required to pre-order. We therefore opted to go straight to the source!
We continue our review of Palazzo Versace Dubai with breakfast. It was a generous buffet served from 06:30 – 10:30 in the Giardino restaurant. We very much enjoyed the pace, the relaxed atmosphere and quality of the food served.
The restaurant was large, with seating for around 200 indoors and 100 on the outside terrace.
There was a lot of variety, with several live cooking stations serving up Asian, British/American, and traditional Arabic breakfast dishes. There was even a waffle/pancake station.
Cheeses, cold meats and fish, salads, fruit, cereal, yoghurts, breads and pastries were available on large islands in the centre of the buffet. We were also able to help ourselves to a selection of fruit juices that varied fairly.
Table service was a little inconsistent as we had to chase forgotten coffees on a couple of occasions. That being said, we found breakfast was delicious each day and had enough variety for a lengthy stay.
Although last sittings for breakfast were 10:30am, the buffet was generally kept open until 11am each day, and a member of staff would tell tables ahead of time.
Checking out at the end of our stay at Palazzo Versace Dubai was friendly and efficient. Despite the receptionist being unaware of the incident on the preceding night, there were notes on the system for her to call the duty manager on our check-out.
While settling our bill we discovered that other guests on our floor has also raised concerns about the party.
The duty manager met us shortly afterwards and walked us to our waiting taxi. While surprised she’d left it so late to come and speak to us, we left feeling that we’d been listened to and are keen to include this in our review of Palazzo Versace Dubai.
This hotel has all the ingredients necessary for a relaxing retreat. An an oasis in the middle of busy Dubai. The décor is as exuberant as the detail is mind-blowing. The highly-trained staff are plentiful and pleasant.
Sadly, the hotel’s eagerness to please all its guests results in them failing to please them all. Regardless of whether one guest wants to party loudly in his room until dawn, the comfort and safety of other guests should be maintained. Failing to act swiftly and decisively on antisocial guest behaviour tainted our stay. We understand the hotel management have taken our concerns on board and trust their night team are now empowered to deal with future incidents. We like that the hotel is appealing to a vibrant and lively demographic – we like to think we fall into that category too. It’s promising that the “typical guest” spanned several age brackets, which created a nice vibe.
Equally, we think the party should only be happening in the public areas of the hotel, where everyone can join in, and not sneaking onto the bedroom floors where it can cause a nuisance.
If you love Versace, you will love Palazzo Versace Dubai. Even if you don’t, you can’t help but be fascinated by the “Versace, Versace, Versace” everywhere you look. Even spotting the detail on the furniture in the room became a game! The hotel design is quite a masterpiece and left us highly impressed.
When the area around Jaddaf Waterfront becomes more established, we’d happily return to review Palazzo Versace Dubai again.