Where to Stay in Dubai: Best Areas & Hotels
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Dubai is an exciting Middle Eastern destination, but figuring out where to stay can be a daunting task. But whether you are with the family or on your own, there are 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.
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Where to Stay in Dubai 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 in Dubai: Mid-Range
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 Dubai Al Barsha is an excellent option in that area.
Where to Stay in Dubai 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 in Dubai 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.
Where to Stay in Dubai for Families
Kids will love staying inside the 17-story pyramid that comprises the Raffles Dubai. The hotel, near Old Dubai, has an ancient Egyptian theme throughout its decor, including pillars etched with hieroglyphics, and pharaoh sculptures.
The hotel is also known for its oversized rooms and suites, which are perfect for families looking for space. There are also interconnecting room options. On-site amenities include multiple restaurants, a swimming pool, a spa with a sauna and steam room, and a fitness center.
Address Dubai Marina is another great family hotel that faces the Dubai Marina. It is also walking distance to restaurants and the beach. This modern hotel has 200 rooms and suites done up in deep wooden hues, with lots of marble and big picture windows with great views.
They also come with tech forward amenities that allow you to control everything in the room with a provided iPad. There is also an on-site kids' club for children between the ages of five and 12 years.
Families can also check out Grosvenor House, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Dubai, which sits at the northern end of the Dubai Marina and is walking distance to Jumeirah Beach. Set in twin towers, the rooms and suites are decadent and comfortable, and the 24-hour butler service is on point. For families there are interconnecting rooms, and free beds can also be added. There is also access to the kids' club at the nearby Le Royal Meridien.
Facing the gulf, Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf at Madinat Jumeirah is another option for families. It is a posh boutique property, with rooms and suites set in old Arab summer houses, and is part of a larger resort with loads of facilities. There are also villas here for families that want more space. These come with full kitchens, private pools, and hot tubs. On-site resort amenities include a private beach, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs, and more than 40 dining choices.
The Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach is a family-friendly property that also offers a luxe five-star experience in the Arabian Gulf's Jumeirah Beach area. Children can join the complimentary Kids for All Seasons program, which runs day-long supervised activities so parents can appreciate some alone time or book a treatment at the Pearl Spa. The spa offers a full range of massage, skin, and beauty treatments, and has a private indoor swimming pool.
Rooms and suites come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many have Arabian Gulf views. The most affordable look onto the resort's interior grounds. All boast comfy beds, contemporary decor, and spa-style bathrooms with lots of marble.
Other family-friendly perks to staying at the Four Seasons include four passes to Dubai Parks and Resorts, which hosts Motiongate, Bollywood, and the Legoland amusement parks. For dining, chose from an Arabian market-style restaurant, an Asian-seafood restaurant, and a casual outdoor terrace café. If you are a vegetarian, you won't want to miss a meal at Folio, in a lovely garden space.