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Dubai is home to some of the world's most opulent hotels, but not all the best places to stay in Dubai are out of the price range of regular folk. It may be full of glitz and bling, but scratch beneath the surface (quite hard!) and you can find authentic little properties that are ideally located for exploring the historic sites, and give you a sense of what the place was like before the mega-resorts moved in.
Dubai is a glamorous, sunny destination. Perfect if you're craving the beach in October and you don't want to fly long haul from Europe. Even for families.
The food is varied and facilities are modern and air conditioned. From the boutique shopping, to the polo and the races, to the Gold Souk, and the man-made coastline.
But while it can be hectic, and expensive, it doesn't have to be. Beyond the glitz of the city is the peace of the desert.
There are many ways to treat yourself in Dubai. From relaxing on a beach (many of them have waiting staff) to visiting a spa, playing a round on a world-class golf course or indulging in a days' shopping.
What not to miss
The Deira Souks - situated in the heart of Old Dubai, stroll the labyrinthine souks and pick up a bargain from gold to spices and much more besides.
Jump on an old Abra and take a jaunt across the Dubai Creek - it costs next to nothing and the view is fantastic especially at night.
The Dubai museum is a must if you're interested in the history of the Emirate. It is situated in the Al Fahidi Fort.
For adventurous types, you'd be mad not to do a spot of dune bashing or quad biking. Desert safaris can be easily arranged.
This emirate is a busy place year-round, but the best places to stay in Dubai get booked up quickly during the winter months, so if you want to get some winter sun, you'll need to plan ahead.
The best places to stay in Dubai
For a city break
- The Armani Hotel is by 'that' Armani, so offers a flavour of Milano in the Burj Khalifa. Sumptuous, but muted, compared to many of the hotels around it, the Armani has clean modern lines and neutral shades, so it's popular with business travellers.
- The Palace Downtown Dubai is a classic hotel which bridges the gap between the modern glass giants and a sultanate palace. One of the best places to stay in Dubai if you're looking for comfort and elegance - there's a relaxed, almost colonial air, and not too much flash.
Dubai's Best 'Once in a Lifetime' Hotels
- Dubai doesn't do things by halves, and there aren't many places this is more obvious than at Atlantis the Palm. On the ocean edge of the man-made Palm Jumeirah, this deep sea themed hotel is… Wow. It's not just a resort - there's a huge water park, an aquarium, a huge spa and shopping. There's a private beach, tennis courts, you can learn to scuba dive, or swim with dolphins. And there's a crazy array of restaurant options.
- If you want all the glitz and glamour Dubai can muster you need The Address Downtown Dubai, a luxurious skyscraper with seven swimming pools, an immaculate spa, award winning restaurants, private everything and wonderful views of the Burj Khalifa.
- Al Qasr at Madinat Jumeirah is a proper sultanate palace with all the flash. Rooms and suites are opulently filled with antique loveliness, there's a vast spa, sea views and private this, that and the other. This is a grand affair, with a pool complex so big that you can use their Venetian style gondolas to get around it and 44 restaurants.
For a family beach break
- The Jumeirah Beach Hotel is one of those beautiful glass and steel structures rising out of the desert which you see in all the photos of Dubai. It might not look family friendly, but it has its own beach, a number of pools, an excellent spa, a collection of restaurants, kids clubs, you're right by the marina, AND you have free access to the Wild Wadi Water Park.
For a taste of the real Dubai
- The Barjeel Heritage Guest house is a beautiful Persian style guesthouse with nine comfortable, romantic rooms decorated with traditional antiques. There's a lovely waterfront restaurant which serves traditional cuisine. And prices per night start at just £61.
- The XVA Hotel is a fabulous alternative to Dubai's grandiose palatial hotels - an Arty, Arabian style property decorated with art, antiques and understated furnishings. In the oldest part of Dubai Creek, near the Dubai Museum.
- If you're looking for a smaller hotel, one of the best places to stay in Dubai is the Orient Guest House, which has 12 rooms in the Bastakiya Heritage Area near Dubai Creek. Traditional and romantic, this is a quiet spot within walking distance from many of Dubai's main attractions.
- The Ahmedia Heritage Guest House is a small, romantic hotel with a lovely courtyard and its own art gallery. The decor is traditional and you're right near the souks.
Dubai's Best Desert Escapes
- Desert Palm is a secret, 24 room desert hideaway, with facilities which could cater for more than double the number of guests. The city is your backdrop, but your immediate view is of the stunning green of the polo fields. For total privacy book your own villa, complete with your own pool.
For an apartment
- If you think that you'd rather have your own space, then visit our online partner, booking.com, for a wide range of apartments in the city centre.
- Fly to Dubai International Airport located just 5km (3 miles) from the city centre.
- Best time to visit - Dubai is a year-round destination, but to avoid the searing heat of the summer months plan a trip between November and March where the temperatures average at around 24 ⁰C.
- If you plan to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos for the best prices.
Best Hotels in Dubai
Barjeel Heritage Guest house 9 rooms from $79Dubai (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.Value chicSights nearby - Situated in the heart of Old Dubai, very close to the old SoukTraditional - A real taste of authentic DubaiViews - Lovely views over Dubai Creek
XVA Hotel 12 rooms from $169Near 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.Value chicSights nearby - Situated in the oldest part of Dubai CreekLocal markets - Good for local colour.Traditional
Bab al Shams Desert Resort & Spa 113 rooms from $175Dubai
A romantic desert resort and spa just outside Dubai at a slightly more affordable price than most. Luxury canopied suites with private balconies, top of the range spa and therapies, excellent restaurant, and lots of desert activities. Family friendly too.Spa breaksLuxuryRomantic BreakSwimming Pool - Infinity pool overlooking the desert and Outdoor PoolsRecommended by - CN Traveller, Kiwi Collection
Movenpick Jumeirah Beach 294 rooms from $198Dubai (PO Box 282825)
High rise property a stone's throw from Jumeirah Beach. Contemporary rooms and suites offer a good range of accommodation for business or leisure. Large pool with great city views and wide range of dining options. Excellent service & welcoming staff. A quality establishment that won't break the bankLocal markets - Find a bargain in one of the souksSwimming Pool - Large outdoor poolSpaSights nearby - Well located for major sights.
Al Qasr at Madinat Jumeirah 292 rooms from $208Dubai
A sultanate palace with unrivalled facilities, views, and opulence. Rooms and suites filled with beautiful furniture, private balconies, and sea views. Restaurants, bars, a mammoth spa, and anything one might desire. Luxury and convenience on a grand scale.Restaurant - 44 restaurants and bars.Spa breaksLuxuryViews - Great views from hotelRecommended by - Tablet, CN Traveller
Orient Guest House 12 rooms from $208Dubai (Al Fahidi Street)
A fantastic alternative to the expensive hotels. A stylish little guesthouse with a charming courtyard, lovely authentic bedrooms, and access to a nearby spa. Ideal for those looking for something a little less ostentatious.Sights nearby - Located in the Bastakiya heritage area. Walking distance from the Dubai Museum, Dubai creek & Meena BazaarSpa - Access to a nearby spa with swimming poolRomantic - Good for couples.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.
Al Manzil 197 rooms from $210Dubai (The Old Town)
A comfortable hotel designed mainly for business travellers. Chic contemporary rooms and suites with views of the Burj Khalifa, excellent restaurants, pool and spa facilities.Business meetingsSights nearby - 5 minutes walk from Burj KhalifaSwimming Pool - Temperature controlled poolSailing - Can be booked nearby.
The Address Montgomerie 21 rooms from $211Dubai
A classic hotel with a championship golf course surrounded by gardens and lakes. Palatial rooms and suites are elegant in style with all the mod cons and balconies. Excellent restaurants, pools, and a spa. Ideal for golfers.Golf - The hotel has it's own golf course - designed by Colin MontgomerieActive Holiday - The championship golf course attracts avid golfers.LuxurySwimming Pool - With great views over the 18th green!Recommended by - Tablet
Desert Palm 38 rooms from $221Dubai (UAE)
Dubai’s version of a secret desert hideaway, the Arabian sister of the Huvafen Fushi. With top notch spa, terrace overlooking the polo fields and more facilities than you can imagine.Swimming Pool - Outdoor PoolSpaBirdwatching - Good birding near the hotel.Cooking classes - Check for timings.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet, Kiwi Collection, Small Luxury Hotels
Jumeirah Beach Hotel 617 rooms from $274Dubai
Family friendly beachside hotel with great views of the mighty Burj and unlimited access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark. Ideal for those who want a bit of city action too with the downtown area and shopping close by.Child friendly - Kids club on site including one for teenagers. Plus unlimited access to Wild Wadi Waterpark.FamiliesSwimming Pool - Five different pool including one children's pool.Views - Superb views of the Arabian GulfRecommended by - Kiwi Collection
Armani Hotel 160 rooms from $296Downtown Dubai
An Armani hotel that cuts a Milanese dash in the Burj Khalifa. Sumptuous, but muted, luxury with stunning views, excellent restaurants, many pools, and an immaculate spa. A popular choice for tourists and business travellers as much as the city's dwellers.LuxuryCity StyleFoodiesSights nearby - The hotel is situated in the Burj Khalifa!Recommended by - Tablet
The Palace Downtown Dubai 242 rooms from $326Dubai
A classic hotel that bridges the gap between Dubai modernism and old age sultanate. Sophisticated rooms and suites in earthy tones with elegant furnishings. Enormous pool, excellent restaurants, and fabulous spa.Designer Shopping - 5-minute walk from the Dubai Mall and the Souk Al BaharLuxuryRomantic BreakCity StyleRecommended by - Tablet
The Meydan Hotel 284 rooms from $326Dubai (Nad Al Sheba)
Luxury hotel overlooking Dubai's racecourse, just a short drive from the business district. Large rooms and suites, most with balconies, are lavishly kitted out. Wide range of restaurants and bars to choose from and so many activities on site, you'll never need to leave.Spa - Wide range of relaxing treatmentsSwimming Pool - Rooftop infinity pool
Ahmedia Heritage Guest House 15 rooms from $275Dubai
A lovely boutique hotel in the Al Ras quarter of Dubai. Chic rooms with gorgeous fabrics and antique four poster beds. Lovely breakfast courtyard and an art gallery. A romantic spot with authentic Arabic decoration.City StyleFour poster beds - Beautiful rooms with antique four poster beds.Sights nearby - Grand Mosque, Dubai Heritage VIllage.Local markets - Spice Souk, Gold Souk.
The Address Downtown Dubai 196 rooms from $337Dubai (Downtown)
Luxury in a skyscraper like no other. Seven swimming pools, an immaculate spa, award-winning restaurants, suites with private terraces, spas and pools, and views of the Burj Khalifa. Dubai the Dubai way!Views - Great views over Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Fountain and the Old TownSpa breaks - Immaculate spa and seven pools.Foodies - Award-winning restaurants.LuxuryRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, Tablet
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray 405 rooms from $388Dubai
Fabulous Five Star luxury on the palm. Palatial rooms and suites, contemporary in style, have private balconies and all the mod cons. Excellent restaurants, tennis courts, private beach, spa, and fantastic sea views.City Style5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Romantic BreakBeach LifeRecommended by - Tablet
Atlantis the Palm 999 rooms from $423Dubai (The Palm)
Flamboyant, deep sea themed hotel where nothing is done by halves. Perfect for families, with activities galore and dedicated clubs catering from 3-18 year olds.Other Activities - Waterpark, Aquarium and swimming with the hotel dolphin.Child friendly - Dedicated kids clubs for all ages.On the beach - Private 800m beachBeach LifeRecommended by - Kiwi Collection
One & Only the Palm 69 rooms from $503Dubai (Palm Jumeirah)
A stunning resort on the Palm with unbeatable facilities and opulently contemporary rooms and suites. Tennis courts, private beach, impeccable spa, Michelin star restaurants, and unbeatable views. Family friendly, romantic, and certainly luxurious.Foodies - 3 Michelin Star chef.Spa breaksLuxuryBeach LifeRecommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith, CN Traveller
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach 237 rooms from $508Dubai (Jumeirah 2)
Luxurious, family-friendly resort hotel with private beach, watersports, tennis, golf and a superb spa. Rooms are super-sized, contemporary classic in style and all have balconies with city skyline or sea views. With faultless service, the Four Seasons is perfect for family fun or chilling out.Opulent - Understated, but no less opulentBeach Life - Private day villas/cabanasTotal relaxationSights nearby - 15mins from the world's tallest building, the Burg Khalifa
Al Maha Resort 42 rooms from $612Dubai (Sharjah)
A luxury Five Star tented camp in the desert. Utterly romantic canopied suites with teak furnishings, killim rugs, and private pools. Fabulous local cuisine, excellent spa, and desert activities including camel racing. An Arabian Nights adventure for romantics.Tented Camp - Luxury tented suites.Spa breaksHoneymoonsRomantic BreakRecommended by - CN Traveller