All our United Arab Emirates collections:
It was probably Dubai's grandiose extravagance which first led to the United Arab Emirates showing up on most travel radars. But there's a lot more to this collection of seven emirates and many of the best places to stay in the United Arab Emirates can be found in lesser known spots.
In recent years it's become a lot easier for visitors to see more of the UAE, outside the confines of the Western style resorts, so the UAE is now a lot more than a destination for winter sun and shopping.
Visitors should definitely shop in Dubai's souks, ride a camel in Abu Dhabi and go snorkelling or diving on the coral reefs of the gulf. And some of the western style resorts are still the best places to stay in the United Arab Emirates. But it's also worth heading out into the desert, to see the amazing desert dunes and the grand wadis of the north-east, or into the photogenic Hatta mountains.
The real magic of the UAE is how an Islamic state can find its peace with the nightclub parties which finish just before the calls to prayer, and the rampant fantastical consumerism. But the balance holds. And all this exists alongside traditional Bedouin customs and oceans of sand. This is probably one of the world's most diverse and interesting nations.
If you're interested in the UAE of pre-oil days you'll probably find the abandoned fishing village of Jazirat Al Hamra fascinating. This spot was first settled in the 14th Century, its inhabitants surviving on fishing and pearl diving, but the entire population upped sticks in 1968, leaving everything spookily empty, but well preserved.
Dubai is the obvious choice if you're looking for a luxurious city break. Here no excess is off the table; there are malls with not just a selection of cinemas, but also a ski jump slope. And of course there's also the world's tallest building, and 'The Palm' - the artificial island in the shape of a palm tree glittering with glamorous resorts.
Dubai (Heritage Village)
A wonderful guesthouse in traditional Persian style with romantic bedrooms. Large rooms have four poster beds, killim rugs, and attractive furnishings. Lovely waterfront restaurant and terrace serves traditional cuisine. An excellent value choice.
Near Al Faheidi Roundabout,Near Dubai Museum
A fabulous alternative to the grandiose palaces of Dubai. An arty Arabian hotel filled with antiques, artwork, and understated furnishings. Chic rooms surround a charming inner courtyard and cafe. A wonderful choice for a more authentic taste of Dubai.
Ras Al Khaimah (Al Jazirah Al Hamra)
A Bedouin fishing village style luxury beach retreat in a remote setting. Rooms and suites filled with contemporary elegance and seaside romance. Excellent restaurant and spa, huge pools, and water sports galore. Luxury on a smaller scale than usual for UAE.
Ras Al Khaimah (Wadi Khadeja)
A veritable Bedouin oasis of luxurious exoticism. No expense is spared in this haven of bare-foot luxury in the middle of the desert. Honeymooners will be attracted by the private villas (the only accommodation type) with their own pools, and the private bbqs or sand dune evenings available.
Abu Dhabi (Hameem)
Desert romance and sophisticated luxury in the dunes. Gorgeous rooms and suites in muted tones in the style of Arabian Nights, twinkling swimming pools dotted around the hotel, fabulous food, and an impeccable spa.