After spending the first half of our trip exploring Dubai’s attractions accessible to Deira district, we moved towards Dubai’s marina district as we planned to visit places such as Burj Al Arab and spend breakfast there. Three years after our last stay in a Marriott property — the last one was at Marriott’s Mai Khao Beach in Phuket courtesy of friends who were members of Marriott Vacation Club — we decided to make use of our idle Marriott membership and book directly at its website.

Speaking of its website, I found’s issue was about its usability in terms of currency exchange. While the currency was based on local default, visitor has to manually convert the hotel rate instead of having them dynamically change rates on the web page. We understand these rates are estimates and can swing and may fluctuate, at least we have an idea about the accommodation costs. As this is a common practice observed across many other hotel booking websites, we also hoped Marriott’s will adopt this user-friendly approach.

Now back to Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites. Given our decision to stay at a Marriott property, the natural choice for us was the Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites which is located at Dubai marina. But it’s a bit pricey so we booked only for a couple of days.

Before our check-in, I received an email from the hotel’s customer service welcoming us and implied that they’re looking forward to our stay. What a nice gesture, even if to some guests, especially frequent Marriott users, these may just a common practice they might take for granted.

I made a prior request at the booking page requesting an early check-in, knowing that we can easily make an early check out of our previous hotel. But as things did not turn out as planned and we arrived later than we hoped for. Yet, upon arrival, there was no waiting in line for check-in (in fact we were checked in online already) and were there to receive our room keys. Silvie, the front desk staff who was on duty was very helpful in accommodating us by providing hotel information, shuttle bus timing, where to go and answered other questions we asked. We were told that they were waiting for us much earlier, alluding to the early check-in request I made online.

So far, customer service satisfaction ticked every box and we were impressed.

Next, the room we had was quite huge for our expectations. Whether we were secretly upgraded or it was simply a standard Marriott offered in its hotel guest experience, I cannot tell immediately. Two and a half bathrooms, two bedrooms (one with en suite bathroom complete with bathtub and complete set of equipment), large kitchen complete with cooking and table utensils, fridge, baking oven, dishwasher, and huge living room were on offer for just me and my wife; if we had five other friends in our trip, this room would still be spacious enough.

Nonetheless, we decided to stay in one room so maintenance and housekeeping will have minimal effort in cleaning and arrangement when we check out.

The hotel location is conveniently close to plenty of restaurants to unwind and spend a leisurely walk near the waterfront. Spinneys and Carrefour are also close by if guests need to buy fresh fruit or cook in their hotel units. There is also a shuttle bus available at certain hours to bring guests to a few nearby landmarks.

Although the hotel may be dated, it is well-preserved and more importantly, the character of its staff — from the bellhop to the front desk and housekeeping staff — is truly the gem of this hotel. Highly recommended!