Whether it’s luxury shopping, a desert adventure or checking out the latest in architecture and innovation, Dubai is definitely the United Arab Emirates city with the biggest personality and reputation. Host city of the 2022 World Expo, interest in the emirate is growing, and with that comes one new hotel after another at a rapid pace. Having lived in the Emirates, and stayed in many of the establishments on my shortlist, this is my pick of the places that will make your Dubai stay comfortable and memorable.
The best hotels in Dubai are:
- Best for shopping:Address Downtown, Booking.com
- Best for opulence: Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Booking.com
- Best for the budget-conscious: Rove Downtown, Booking.com
- Best for that desert vibe: Bab Al Shams, Booking.com
- Best for families who can afford to splurge: Atlantis, The Palm, Booking.com
- Best for Marina views: Grosvenor House, Booking.com
- Best to print: Palace Versace Dubai, Booking.com
- Best for horse lovers: The Meydan Hotel, Booking.com
- Best for rustic charm: Canopy by Hilton Dubai Al Seef, Booking.com
- Best for unique views: Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, Booking.com
Neighborhood: Downtown Dubai
With the world’s largest shopping mall a short stroll from the lobby, shopaholics will be in their element at this 220-room, five-star hotel. Not only is The Dubai Mall on the doorstep, the hotel offers some of the best views of the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest tower – and Dubai’s spectacular dancing fountain. The hotel is also just a 15 minute walk from the Dubai Opera. The recently refurbished property is chic and luxurious and has a dedicated spa and wellness floor, along with an extensive range of dining options, including Turkish restaurant the Galliard.
Price: Rooms start from Dh1,500 (£314)
Neighborhood: Jumeirah Beach
Those with a penchant for luxury will be in their element here. Visible from just about every corner of Dubai, the 321m tall, sail shaped property is as stunning inside as it is breathtaking from the outside. From the cascade waterfall at the entrance to the vibrant color palette and extensive use of gold throughout, the Burj Al Arab makes for a truly palatial experience. There are 202 luxury duplexes in the hotel, and each of the 28 floors has a check in counter, reception desk and 24-hour private butler service. Guests can indulge in a dining experience like no other at Nathan Outlaw’s Al Mahara restaurant, where guests can go “under the sea” and sit amongst the classy establishment’s floor-to-ceiling aquarium. Nearby, the Wild Wadi Waterpark and Kite Beach are around the corner and the Madinat Jumeirah souk is just a short abra ride away.
Price: Rates start from Dh4,200 (£921)
Neighborhood: Downtown Dubai
Funky yet affordable, Rove Downtown has a trendy high-end backpackers vibe. A 20-minute drive from Dubai International Airport and across the road from The Dubai Mall, the 356-room hotel’s modern interior is a big part of its appeal. The lobby sets the tone for what’s to come with its “cabinet of curiosities” feature wall, which includes a bicycle hanging beside photographs amid colorful interiors. Rooms are compact yet fully equipped, some offering views of the Burj Khalifa, and there’s a rooftop pool and a café/restaurant. Cinema fans will be impressed by Rove Cinema, the first hotel cinema in the Emirates.
Price: Rooms start from Dh352 (£74)
Neighborhood: Endurance City
For a true Arabian experience, Bab Al Shams will provide you desert memories to treasure. A 45-minute drive from Dubai International Airport, this tranquil resort has gazelles, birds and an abundance of other wildlife. There are desert adventures such as camel rides, falconry exhibitions and nature walks to enjoy, along with plenty of traditional Arabic dining options. Each of the rooms reflects the Middle East in its design, and provides guests with desert or courtyard views to enjoy 24/7.
Price: From Dh1,100 (£230)
Neighborhood: The Palm Jumeirah
Families who don’t mind forking out will be in their element at Atlantis The Palm. The giant indoor aquarium and Aquaventure water park alone will be enough to impress the kids; while The Avenues shopping arm and restaurants such as Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Kitchen & Bar and Nobu will appeal to the grown-ups. One of the most recognizable and renowned properties in the UAE since its 2008 opening, The Palm Jumeirah has a landmark waterpark and interactive dolphin experience. Almost all of the 1,539 rooms on the property are interconnecting and all have Arabian Gulf, the Palm or city skyline views.
Price: Rates start from Dh2,000 (£419)
Neighbourhood: Dubai Marina
This sophisticated twin-tower hotel exudes elegance and is well-positioned within the Dubai Marina precinct, a 10-minute walk from the popular mile-long JBR promenade. Plush carpets, impressive furniture and marble flooring elevate the interiors, while the 750 rooms are spacious, modern and comfortable. There’s an outdoor pool, gym and spa in each tower, 10 food establishments and guests can access the private beach at Le Meridien Beach Resort and Spa, the hotel’s sister property.
Price: Rates start from Dh815 (£170)
Neighborhood: Culture Village
Every inch of this 215-room five-star hotel was designed and tailored exclusively by Versace. Impressive? You bet. Located on Dubai Creek, the hotel (the second in the world after Australia’s Gold Coast) was fashioned on a 16th century Italian palace and combines neoclassical style with Arabic architecture. It boasts eight restaurants and bars, three outdoor pools and some of the best views of the Dubai Creek. Guests are welcomed by a striking pebbled mosaic of the iconic Medusa upon entry, a 3,000-kilogram hand-blown Bohemian glass chandelier, and occasionally will come across a live falcon alongside its Arabic master. Rooms are beautifully designed with parquet flooring and silk finishes. A stay here is a fashionable, eloquent experience that is nothing short of impressive.
Price: Rooms start from Dh1,100 (£230)
Neighborhood: Meydan Racecourse
If you enjoy watching the horse races, this is the hotel for you. The 285-room wave-shaped property overlooks Meydan Racecourse – the home of the Dubai World Cup – providing a unique equestrian experience. Just 15 minutes’ drive from Dubai airport, it’s also well-located.
Price: Room rates start from around Dh488 (£102)
Neighborhood: Al Seef
The second hotel to open in Dubai’s exciting Al Seef development, this 200-room property on the Dubai Creek combines tradition with a modern vibe. Zabeel House is full of personality, with in-room hammocks and quirky interiors throughout. There are three room categories to choose from, including popular and plush, as well as various suites, and it is all just a 10-minute drive from the city’s gold souk.
Price: Room rates start from Dh324 (£67.50)
Neighborhood: Al Barsha
Not only is this hotel connected to one of the city’s largest malls, some of its rooms have views of the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. While the temperature is rising outside, you can sit back in your “Aspen chalet” and take in the action on the slopes. Centrally located, this 393-room property is ideally placed off the main road with easy access to public transportation.
Price: Rates start from Dh1200 (£250)
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.