Where to Stay in Dubai: Best Areas & Hotels, 2018
Dubai is an exciting Middle Eastern destination, but figuring out where to stay can be a daunting task. You have two main options: either stay downtown or near the marina and beach. Attractions like the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, are located in Downtown Dubai, and most of the sightseeing is done in that general area. The area around the Dubai Marina provides beautiful water views and some great shopping, and Jumeirah Beach is the emirate's beach destination. Dubai is also a place with one of the lowest tourist crime rates in the world. Families with small children don't hesitate to take late night strolls along the beach, and beach goers leave their purses, phones, and wallets behind while they swim without worry.
Where to Stay for Luxury
The incredible Palm Jumeirah, a huge man-made peninsula shaped like a palm frond, is filled with beachfront offerings from all the major luxury hotel brands. For contemporary Arabic style, personal service, and a great location, the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah delivers a great Dubai luxury experience. Foodies will love Social by Heinz Beck, the restaurant from Rome's celebrated chef, located inside the Waldorf.
For the ultimate in luxury in Dubai, or anywhere else in the world, there is the iconic Burj al Arab Jumeirah, the planet's only seven-star hotel - seven stars as in two levels above a five-star hotel. From the rooftop helipad to the in-room butlers to the lobby aquarium, it's a wonderful example of how Dubai strives for the best in the world, without regard to budget.
If you want family luxury, the Atlantis, The Palm resort combines a luxury hotel with a waterpark, aquarium, and amusement park. The resort's Instagram-ready incredible underwater suites give guests a unique experience, with walls of glass in the bedroom, living room, and bathroom looking into one of the property's vast aquariums.
If you need to be in Downtown Dubai, the Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai offers some beautiful views of the skyline along with the brand's legendary Asian style. Service and accommodations are equal to or better than any other luxury hotel in the city, but the prices seem to be much lower as the hotel is a few minutes outside the core downtown area.
Where to Stay for the Best Value
For the best value, you'll need to sacrifice the beach and Burj views for a more corporate experience. The Al Barsha area, midway between the Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai, along Sheikh Zayed Road, is filled with many different hotels, both independent and from all the popular brands. The new Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai is centrally located midway between Downtown Dubai and Jumeirah Beach. The area is filled with a dazzling array of different skyscrapers, and the hotel's location in one offers beautiful views of the area, especially from Level 43, the rooftop restaurant.
The Conrad Dubai (Conrad is the luxury brand from Hilton) is near the huge Mall of the Emirates, right on Sheikh Zayed Road. This location always has great rates, often cheaper than the better-located Hilton properties.
The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Residences Al Barsha is a large property popular with extended-stay corporate guests. There's a 24-hour fitness center, beautiful pool, and free shuttle to the mall and to Jumeirah Beach. Aside from the best value for your hotel budget, the Al Barsha area offers the amazing Mall of the Emirates, which includes Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort. For basic, clean accommodations at a very low price, the Ibis Al Barsha is an excellent option in that area.
Where to Stay on a Budget
Although development is rapidly overtaking Deira and the area around Dubai Creek, the ancient core of the city still offers the best range of budget accommodations. The Hilton Dubai Creek has beautiful rooms and suites, a few nice dining options, creek views, and rates usually starting at just over $100 a night.
The Ibis Deira City Centre isn't on the creek, but it's clean, very inexpensive, and in a good location for sightseeing and exploring the historic area.
The Ambassador Hotel is another good budget option in the Dubai Creek area. This Indian-owned hotel has many Indian guests and is known for its great Indian food. Historic Deira and the Dubai Creek are both only a short walk away.
A great budget option in the Downtown Dubai area is the Roda al Murooj. This large, resort-like hotel has spacious rooms and an excellent pool but also great prices. It puts you close to sightseeing spots like the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Aquarium.
Where to Stay near the Beach
Jumeirah Beach, known locally as JBR (for Jumeirah Beach Residence, the area's huge initial residential development) is Dubai's resort area, with miles of white, sandy beaches and warm, blue water. The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai - Jumeirah Beach was originally built as a luxury apartment building, and guests benefit from the huge, stylish one-, two-, and even three-bedroom apartment-like units.
A few steps down the beach from the DoubleTree, the Hilton Dubai The Walk offers a bit more luxury, more amenities, and more dining options (the hotel has 12 different restaurants). It also has a private beach, and guests can snorkel for free. Also in the same area, the Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort is a large, beachfront property offering stylish, newly-redesigned accommodations, a great location, and a range of watersports.
For a hip romantic option, the iconic, luxury beach-club brand Nikki Beach has its own hotel, the Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai on the Pearl Jumeirah. The Pearl is the newest amazing man-made peninsula off Jumeirah Beach, near the Palm.