Piotr Chrobot

Dubai, A Land of Superlatives

Paulo Palha

The largest. The tallest. The best. These are some of the most common expressions used when describing Dubai, the most visited emirate of the 7 United Arab Emirates. The largest shopping mall? The tallest man-made structure? The largest indoor-skiing facilities? These and other ongoing mega-projects are all to be found in Dubai.

Strategically positioned between the East and West, Dubai thrives on its vision for the future, constantly aiming to become one of the most developed and prosperous places on earth. That vision, personified by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, translates into a kind of energy only experienced in Dubai.

With all the groundbreaking developments taking place in what was once nothing but a sandy desert, no wonder this vibrant city is ever-changing – with new buildings, venues and hotels always being added to the cityscape – yet we managed to put together some of Dubai’s core, best places to stay, hotels and things you just can not miss. Take a good read and prepare your trip to The City of Gold.

Key-Areas in Dubai

Denis Harsh

Downtown Dubai

The epicentre of this area is the complex that includes Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall, The Dubai Fountain, Dubai Opera and Souk Al Bahar. Not far from Dubai International Financial Centre and Dubai Design District, this is perhaps the busiest area when it comes to tourist density.


In the vicinity of Downtown Dubai, and slightly closer to the beach, is a new development called “City Walk”. This is a great area to stay in Dubai, particularly for those wishing to be close to the centre without actually being in the middle of the action. At City Walk there are several shops, high-end boutiques, department stores (Galeries Lafayette) and charming restaurants such as Toro + Ko and Cocoa Kitchen.

Where to Stay

Hotels in Downtown Dubai

Downtown Dubai is also home to some of Dubai’s most luxurious hotels such as Armani Hotel Dubai (operating inside Burj Khalifa), Address Downtown and Palace Downtown (we just love this hotel pool and its mind-blowing views).


In City Walk, we suggest staying at La Ville Hotel & Suites CITY WALK Dubai, Autograph Collection.


Jumeirah Beach

Perhaps Dubai’s most famous beach, Jumeirah Beach is a stretch of coastline that technically runs from the southwest of Deira, a historic district (around La Mer beachfront complex), to Jebel Ali Port area.


Jumeirah Beach most iconic landmark is Burj Al Arab, a sail-shaped building that houses one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Next to it is Madinat Jumeirah, a complex with restaurants and an upscale version of the traditional markets (souks).


Together with The Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach is the best option to stay for all of those wishing to spend most of the time catching some sun rays by the beach.

Where to Stay

Hotels in Jumeirah Beach

In the northernmost section of Jumeirah Beach we would suggest staying at trendy Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai, the super-exclusive Bulgari Resort, Dubai or the similarly classy Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. Can’t go wrong with any of these options.


The central area of Jumeirah Beach – around the one-of-a-kind Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel – is also a fine option to stay in Dubai. Apart from the private beach and other leisure facilities, The Mall of the Emirates, one of Dubai’s best shopping malls, is only a short-drive away. The hotels to consider here, apart from Burj Al Arab, would be the wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel (adjacent to Wild Wadi Waterpark) and the 3 high-end hotels operating inside Madinat Jumeirah complex: Jumeirah Al Naseem – Madinat Jumeirah, Jumeirah Mina A’Salam – Madinat Jumeirah and Jumeirah Al Qasr – Madinat Jumeirah.


To the south, the Jumeirah Beach section close to The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Media City and Dubai Marina is also a natural choice among travellers visiting Dubai. The best hotels here would be the One&Only Royal Mirage Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach and The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina.



The Palm Jumeirah

Here’s just another Dubai record: The Palm Jumeirah, an ambitious development that started in June 2001, is the largest man-made island in the world. With its completion, Dubai’s coastline area has increased and this translates into brand new, beautiful white-sand beaches of serene salty waters. There are several 5-star hotels located at The Palm Jumeirah, as well as residential buildings and upscale residences. Apart from that, The Pointe complex and Nakheel Mall are also expected to play an import role in the process of converting The Palm Jumeirah into an even more desirable location within Dubai.

Where to Stay

Hotels in The Palm Jumeirah

The most recognizable landmark at The Palm Jumeirah sits at the very end of the complex: Atlantis The Palm, a family-oriented destination in itself with multiple attractions such as underwater hotel rooms and suites, a spectacular waterpark and an impressive aquarium.


Other exceptional hotels in The Palm Jumeirah include One&Only The Palm Dubai, Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah and Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai.

Andreas NextVoyagePL

Dubai Marina, JBR & JLT

Dubai Marina is a region located close to The Palm Jumeirah and its main visual feature is the towering buildings that surround several eye-popping yachts on the marina. Marina 101, one of the skyscrapers located here, is one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.


Dubai visitors staying in Dubai Marina will have plenty to explore: there’s Dubai Marina Mall, Pier 7, a 7-km long walkway (ideal for night jogging) and one of Dubai’s best public beaches. Speaking of the beach, the coastline section of this district is known as Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR). On the opposite side of Sheikh Zayed Road is Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), also a residential area with imposing towers and artificial lakes.

Where to Stay

Hotels in Dubai Marina

Staying in Dubai Marina also means having access to some of the best hotels found in Dubai. In this particular case, our preference would be choosing between Grosvenor House Hotel and Apartments, the large-sized Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa Dubai or the upscale The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, a 5-star hotel/resort with direct access to the beach, adjacent to JBR Walk and a stone’s throw from Dubai Marina.


Al Barsha

Closer to Jumeirah Beach (10-minute drive), The Palm Jumeirah (15-minute drive) and Dubai Marina (20-minute drive) is the often neglected Al Barsha region. Apart from its strategic location (also served by Dubai’s exceptional Metro network), the major advantage for staying here is that value for money tends to be better when compared to other areas in Dubai.

Where to Stay

Hotels in Al Barsha

A great choice for your upcoming Dubai stay would be the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, a fabulous 5-star hotel directly connected to The Mall of the Emirates and boasting glorious views of Burj Al Arab and Downtown’s skyline (this hotel is also known for its impressive breakfast).


Alternatively, Sheraton Mall of the Emirates Hotel, Dubai is also an option worth considering (in case you end up staying here, don’t skip a visit to the hotel’s gym and pools on the 24th floor).

Dubai Desert

Even though Dubai has been conquering the desert sands as it expands, there is plenty of virtually untouched desert to explore. The best way to do this is by spending a couple of nights at a desert hotel and fully enjoy the unique experiences this distinct setting allows.

Where to Stay

Hotels in Dubai Desert

Just an hour away from the city, there are two hotels worth considering: Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai and Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa.

Around Dubai International Airport

Considering Dubai International Airport has one of the highest volume of international travellers in the world, there might be a chance of having to use it as a hub towards your next destination. If this is the case and you have some (or even several) hours to kill, head to one of the hotels near the airport, drop-off your luggage and take the extra time to do some sightseeing (for example in Downtown Dubai region). Just don’t lose track of time with all the abundant attention-grabbing attractions.

Where to Stay

Hotels around Dubai International Airport

For this, the best hotel options would be Dubai International Terminal Hotel or Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre.

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