Staying in Style in Dubai

Dubai’s huge range of hotels can be dizzying – from the only 7-star hotel in the world, through the chic and elegance of big-name chain hotels, to more modest hotels to suit every pocket. So here are some general guidelines to help you choose the right hotel for you, plus six great recs for booking your next stay in Dubai.

“Where is the best place to stay in Dubai?” That is one of the countless questions I’ve been asked on my 10-day visit to Dubai. Well, if you are planning a week or more, I highly advise booking hotels in two separate areas of the city, as Dubai is a sprawling metropolis, with lots of distances to cover. If you want to soak up the sun AND enjoy the myriad of shopping, entertainment and other attractions the city has to offer, the best way to go is to combine an urban getaway in downtown Dubai with a pampering resort in the marina, on Palm Jumeirah or along the beach in Jumeirah.

In each area, you will find a huge array of accommodation options, from cheaper chain hotels offering excellent value, through family resorts, like the iconic Atlantis, to glittering business hotels like the Armani Hotel and other world-renowned luxury hotels, such as Burj Al Arab. And the prices? They range from outrageously high to surprisingly affordable, especially for such meticulous service, spacious rooms and first-class facilities. Here are some recommendations for excellent hotels in and outside Dubai.

The famous infinity pool at Address Sky View
The famous infinity pool at Address Sky View. Photo: Inga Michaeli

Best for Romance

Address Sky View

The fabulous hotel dominating the skyline in the downtown area boasts the Dubai’s most famous infinity pool, overlooking Burj Khalifa from the 54th floor, and is home to Cé La Vi, one of the city’s illustrious bars. Public spaces are impressive, with another huge pool on the ground floor, a state-of-the-art spa and intimate library nooks for business or social meetings. Our room was spacious and beautifully appointed, with a rich breakfast buffet.

Worth noting: Non-guests are not allowed to dip in the infinity pool. It is one of the most photographed in the city, reserved for guests only.

Park Hyatt Dubai

Although we did not sleep in this hotel, we were invited to dine at the Boardwalk restaurant (one of ten or more dining options scattered around the resort), and the little tour we did left us speechless. The resort is built like a peaceful Mediterranean village, with an adjacent golf course and a really spectacular pool – one side looks like a sandy beach, and the other side is an infinity pool.

Worth noting: The hotel is a bit further from the city center, on the other side of the creek.

Bab al Shams Hotel

A suite at Bab al Shams Hotel
A suite at Bab al Shams Hotel. Photo: Inga Michaeli

This desert oasis was a true revelation, mere 45 minutes from the city center. Book a room here for a romantic getaway or some peace and quiet in a traditional Emirati setting, with a maze of alleys, hidden corners and two beautiful large pools with a jacuzzi and desert views. The complex also has a spa and gym, and you can book activities such as a guided nature walk, archery, cycling or a short safari in the surrounding dunes. There are several dining options, including a rooftop lounge, where you can relax by candlelight and enjoy a hookah and a live performance.

Worth noting: Meals and activities can hike up the price considerably.

Best for Families

Vida Downtown

Charming hotel in the medium price range, with a perfect location within walking distance of the fountains of Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. The public spaces are impressive and the rooms are well appointed and comfortable (ask for a room with a view of the pool). The hotel has two restaurants, and just outside there are a myriad of other options.

Worth noting: The à la carte breakfast (in times of corona) was not rich or varied enough for my taste, but it is also possible to book a room without breakfast and eat elsewhere.

Hotel Vida Downtown, Dubai
Hotel Vida Downtown. Photo: Inga Michaeli

Dukes the Palm

Great choice for families looking for great value; the hotel is well-suited for lounging in the sun, with spectacular pools (an infinity pool with marina views, as well as kiddie pools with waterfalls and tubing), an ample breakfast buffet and a great location at the stem of Palm Jumeirah.

Worth noting: The decor in the public spaces and rooms is a bit outdated compared to other hotels, and be sure to ask for a room that does not face the nearby construction site (at the time of writing), but other than that we really enjoyed it and the price was just right.

Best for Business

Taj Dubai

Taj Dubai
Taj Dubai. Photo: Hotel PR

One of the most notable hotels in Downtown Dubai for business travelers and families alike. Our luxurious room overlooked the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Opera, the Taj boasts a famous bar called Tree House, an excellent Indian restaurant for fine dining, Bombay Brasserie, and a fun Asian restaurant called Miss Tess. Breakfast included a buffet alongside à la carte dishes, and the price was excellent value for such impeccable service and amenities, including a fabulous spa.

Worth noting: There is a large pool with a poolside bar on the spa level, but it doesn’t have the same wow factor as other hotels.

Four Seasons DIFC

High tea at the Four Seasons DIFC
High tea at the Four Seasons DIFC. Photo: Dana Moskovitch

Our last hotel was yet another fabulous choice in the financial district, close to downtown Dubai. It is part of the Four Seasons chain, and everything about our stay was first rate, as expected. The room was perfect, amenities include a stunning transparent rooftop pool and an excellent chef restaurant, alongside a lively rooftop bar and a cigar bar. Breakfast was delicious and served à la carte, and we also enjoyed a highly Instagrammable afternoon tea.

Worth noting: A great added bonus was the free shuttle to the other Four Seasons hotel in Dubai, with free access to the facilities, so you can enjoy both worlds and pay about a third of the price compared to the Four Seasons Resort on Jumeirah Beach.


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