Dubai has it all, whether it's a city stopover, or a beach holiday, you can certainly find the perfect play to stay in Dubai. Renowned for its glamourous exterior, luxurious hotels and Arabian allure, Dubai, having year-round sunshine, appeals to everyone, from families to business travellers, couples or honeymooners to backpackers and everything in between.
So you have decided to go to Dubai – where should you stay? With over 1000 hotel options, there is a lot to consider, primarily, your reason for visiting, budget and ideal holiday type. Each area of Dubai has a slightly different offering, so hopefully the below will be help you make the right choice.
Where To Stay?
There is no real “city centre” in Dubai, unlike many other cities and whilst transport links are reasonably comprehensive, Dubai is not walkable and therefore it is essential to choose the best area for your visit, which will depend on the type of trip you intend to have.
The downtown area is famous for all of the tourist attractions, including the Dubai fountains (where light and sound fountains shows occur daily), Dubai Mall (which contains an epic Aquarium, Olympic sized Ice-rink, cinemas, VR Park, KidZania and he Burj Park), the Burj Khalifa, Dubai World Trade Centre and of course, some of the souks, such as Souk Al Bahar.
Best suited for business travellers or people on shorter stays on a reasonable budget who will mostly be out and about exploring and don't want experience that “resort” feel and/or spend time at a beach. Downtown is incredibly convenient and central to the main attractions and the city's best restaurants and bars, being very close to the airport. However, it can considerably dent the budget.
Best for: Business Travellers, Short stopovers, City breaks.
Attractions: Top of the Burj, Dubai Fountains, Dubai Bus Tour, Souk Al Bahar. Dubai Opera House, SKI Dubai. Thrill Zone Dubai.
Jumeriah Beach or JBR
A beautiful beach area with some lavish restaurants, the infamous and ultra-luxurious Burk al Arab, Souks and bike tracks. The JBR (Jumeriah Beach Residence) sits between the hugely popular beach front, the adjacent promenade area, called “The Walk” and Dubai Marina. This area is perfect for families and/or those seeking some sun, beach, water sports and pool time during their stay. However, you still remain well connected to the rest of the city and the area has a lot to offer, which is walkable – putting it in prime position as the top place to stay in Dubai with tourists.
The famous Jumeriah Beach Hotel offers incredible sea views from all of its room, and probably the most famous hotel in the region given its high-class facilities, immaculate setting and access to water sports and the Wadi Wadi Park. Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, One&Only Royal Mirage and Four Seasons are extremely luxurious options to consider if budget is not an issue, all these hotels really have it all
Best for: Families, Couples, Honeymoon
Attractions: Wadi Wadi Park, Jet Ski, Glory Art Gallery, Burk al Arab, Madinat Jumeriah (my favourite), Jumeriah Mosque, Dubai Zoo. The JBR Walk.
Deira (Creek Side & Riga)
The Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek that runs through Diera to the Persian Gulf. Located at the north of Dubai Creek, it's a more affordable region, for food, budget-friendly hotels and parks, whilst maintaining the standards of Dubai. There are a number of Souks in the area, with the popular Gold Souk and Spice Souk being too of the most popular. With good transport links, you are still close to Downtown (red metro) and the airport, as well as being only moments away from Dubai's neighbouring emirate, Emirate Sharjah.
Whilst this area may not capture the same glamour as other areas in this note, you can still find luxury hotels here at the Creek with unrivalled views of the city and fantastic boardwalk restaurants on the waterfront. During the day you can see many sailors and deckhands offloading items from the traditional sailing vessels. It is also quite close to the ancient city, Bur Dubai. However, it is worth to note that at night, this can be a nosier area of Dubai as a result of traffic congestion and some of the hotels can be considered dated.
Best for: Budget holidays; Families
Attractions: Near to the airport (10 mins). Heritage House Museum. Spice Souk. Gold Souk. Al Mamzar Beach Park. Bur Dubai
Famous for skyscrapers with lovely views of the large man-made marina hosting numerous shiny luxurious yachts, this area is expensive but has a huge choice of luxury restaurants, hotels and bars. The marina sits west of the city and is extremely picturesque, being popular for tourism as well as residences for many expats.
It is extremely close to the famous JBR The Walk (7km promenade) & The Beach, Dubai Parks & Resorts and the Abu Dhabi border, and is the departure point for many of the cruises. Alongside the tram, there is also an ability to take a water taxi from the marina to downtown.
A big advantage of staying in the Marina is that a lot of the accommodation consists of hotel apartments, therefore giving you slightly more space for a longer stays. If staying in the marina, just take note as to what side of the marina you are staying on – you may have some considerable walking to do. Whilst a cheaper option than downtown, it can still be costly for tourists on a tighter budget.
Best for: Couples, Business Travellers on longer stays;
Attractions: Yellow Boat Tour, Marina Mall, Yacht Tour, Marina, JBR Walk.
The Palm is a man-made peninsula which just into the Persian Gulf from Jumeriah and is the host to many luxurious hotels and apartments. To really capture the beautiful essence of the floating palm tree structure, a helicopter ride over it is highly recommend (or a skydive for those looking for a bigger adventure).
If your ideal holiday consists of the pool, beach and a resort break where you do not want to ever leave your hotel, the Palm is for you. All of the resorts are 5-star quality, and it simply comes down to personal taste and budget, but no matter the choice, you will experience incredible world class quality. Staying on the Palm will give you a stunning taste of Dubai luxury, amazing sunsets over the Arabian Gulf and a plethora of outdoor activities to choose from – its not just a place to stay, but a travel experience from start to finish.
However, it comes at a price. Some tourists are put off by the prices and the fact that you are quite far away from the airport and/or any of the attractions, making you heavily reliant on taxi's if you want to go into downtown.
Best for: Families, Couples, Honeymoon
Attractions: Dolphin Bay. The Aquatheatre. Atlantis Resort. The Lost Chambers Aquarium. The Dubai Palm Cruise Tour.
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