So, you are planning a holiday to Dubai and you’re trying to narrow down the best place to stay? And you are just a little bit lost on which area is best? Don’t worry, I can help you with that… I have lived in Dubai for years and can help you find the best place in town!
Now if you are looking for a luxury hotel and resort guide, then I’ll direct you to this post right here…
After taking many years of luxury stay-cations, I’ve had some time to hand pick the best hotels to stay in Dubai and the UAE. And so that guide right there shares the best of the best.
However, if you are looking for a place in Dubai that’s a little cheaper, you want the bang without the bucks? Never fear, there is plenty to choose from and I’ll show you where, just carry on scrolling down.
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Let’s break it down into areas. Depending on what kind of holiday you are looking for, then this will give a clue which is the best place to stay in Dubai for you. The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, the Dubai Creek, Downtown Dubai and other hotels along Sheikh Zayed Road are the most popular vacation spots in Dubai.
These five Dubai areas are without question the best in terms of location, access to all the best Dubai attractions and most importantly for sightseeing this dynamic and exciting city. So, let’s see what suits you best.
The Palm Jumeirah
First up is undoubtedly the Palm Jumeirah. This is that infamous man made island that shoots out into the ocean in the shape of a palm. If you haven’t seen it, then look check the map above for a birds eye view. It’s one of a kind!
In my opinion, this is the best place to stay in Dubai. As it is very central in terms of location to the rest of the city. When you exit the palm you have the Marina off to the right, and Downtown and the Creek to the left.
On the Palm you have many amazing bars and restaurants to choose from nearby, including The Pointe and Club Vista Mare. Not to mention the Atlantis Hotel further down the road with Aquaventure water-park and aquarium that always make for a great visit. The View observatory has also recently opened in the Nakheel mall. Here you can find a great view over the palm and beyond.
There are two hotels that I would recommend you consider if you choose The Palm Jumeirah as your location of choice. Their details are below.
Dukes The Palm
On the central trunk of the palm is Dukes The Palm. And this place just gets better and better. Ula restaurant and bar recently opened in the Dukes, which may just be one of my favourite hangouts at the moment.
There is a great wellness centre called Blended which offers joint male and female treatment rooms, and this is a quite a new concept to Dubai. Blended is the perfect spa and health club facility to get the holiday pampering that you deserve.
The Dukes is great for couples, visiting Dubai who don’t want to spend a fortune on accommodation but are still looking for a hotel with a little luxury.
Adagio Premium the Palm
The Adagio Premium the Palm is in a similar price range to Dukes and is a great second option for a price comparison. But the main difference being is that this is a hotel apartment.
If you want to watch your spending money then this is a great way to save. Having a semi equipped kitchen at your fingertips means you can prepare a simple meal in the comfort of your own condo type apartment. Alternatively you have option for a breakfast included within the room reservation.
At the same time, you’ll have a pool available, restaurant and gym facilities and you’ll be right on one of the prettiest beaches in Dubai on the Palm Jumeirah. It is also good to know that the Adagio is rated highly on Booking.com for couples, but the one bedroom is also more than comfortable for a family of four.
The Dubai Marina is where it’s all happening these days. I’m sharing a list of places for you to explore a little further. These hotels are all four star rated, and while some might not be the shiniest and new, they do offer a prime location and great value for money.
The Marina is expensive full stop, but this is because the public beach is free and the selection of restaurants, bars and shops to meander through are some of the best in Dubai. It is lively and fun and everything is walking distance from the beach.
Nearby is the new reclaimed island of Blue Waters, which you can walk to via a footbridge from the beach. And at Blue Waters you can ride the Ain Dubai (Dubai Eye – like the London Eye but way bigger!). And ofcourse there are even more eateries to chose from over here such as Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen.
The Dubai Marina was our old stomping ground as we spent four year living in an apartment overlooking the lagoon inlet and incredible skyline. It is a buzzing location and is one of my favourite places in Dubai for people watching. Here you have the metro walking distance from all hotels and apartments as well as the tram which links locations within the Marina internally.
These are our top hotel choices for the Dubai Marina:
- Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort – an oldie but a goodie and waterfront. The Sheraton has been around for what feels like forever and won’t cost an arm and a leg.
- The Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach – similar in terms of view and price. Slightly newer than the Hilton and Sheraton and very central.
- Hilton Dubai Jumeirah – also central and waterfront, in terms of beach location the Hilton is fantastic.
- JA Ocean View – a reliable hotel with great views over the ocean at a great price.
- Roda Amwaj Suites – apartment style accommodation and great for families with two or more children wanting something cheaper but who need more space.
- Ramada Hotel & Suites by Wyndam – also great apartment suites at affordable rates in the Marina.
Now if I was visiting Dubai as couple, and I was looking for a bit more culture then I would definitely book down here at the Dubai Creek. The hotels are definitely cheaper as this end of town as this is old Dubai. But this is what makes it special.
Catch an abra across the Creek (which is actually not really a creek, but rather a busy port and harbour). Abra’s are a legit public transport system and they chug passengers from one side of the creek to the other. It’s a super cheap way to see this older part of Dubai and an experience more authentic than most in this bright and glam place.
Down here you can visit the Al Fahidi Historical District and Al Seef, the Bur Dubai Souk Market, the Dubai Museum, the Dubai Spice Souk and all the amazing local Arabic and Indian restaurants. Don’t miss Rangoli for the best Indian and The Blue Palace Restaurant for Arabic and shisha. And if you are looking for some carpet and cushion shopping and a piece of cake, then head to Chuk Palu and Mazmi Cafe. All this and more is described in more detail in our Dubai Creek Guide, so be sure to click and save for later.
Situated in the heart of old town Dubai, this boutique hotel is stunning. For location, for price and for culture this would be your best choice. They have rave reviews on booking sites and it is easy to see why. Wake up to the sounds of call to prayer and wander the streets in the morning and evening for an alternative view of Dubai.
This boutique gem is owned by an Emirati man and his Italian wife and every little detail in term of aesthetic has been contemplated to provide guests the best. They also own a beautiful cafe with the best coffee and cake in the Dubai Creek. And what’s best if you love the decor then you might even find it at their friends store a couple doors down at Chuk Palu – furniture for the floor. This is in fact, where most of our furniture at home comes from.
Obviously, this type of place is better suited to couples as is most of the Dubai Creek. However, if you are adventurous travellers and your children are familiar with busy cities of the Middle East just like this one, then I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here with kids.
Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai, Curio Collection by Hilton
Al Seef is a newer district, designed to look traditional. It is beautiful, though a little more expensive than the district mentioned above. But the hotel concept is the same – boutique and beautiful. Take a look at the rooms in Al Seef Heritage Hotel.
This is a Hilton hotel, so you know that you are getting quality when you book here. All the while, you have amazing restaurants a minutes walk away and the eclectic city, museum and souks nearby.
Downtown is the heart of the new town. This area has risen around the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall over the last few years and is a vibrant place to stay if you like all things shiny and new.
The likes of the Address Hotels that surround the area are five star and expensive. But this list of hotels I share below are walking distance at a fraction of the price.
- The Rove Downtown – a new hotel but great in terms of value for money – actually very good value for money! Check the Rove out if you really want to save on room rates.
- Roda al Murooj – this is a bit of a classic and has been around a while. Once again, extremely well priced apartment rooms. Great for families looking for two bedrooms.
- Ramada Downtown – very simple style of accommodation, almost better suited to a business style holiday. But great in terms of price and location.
- Vida Downtown – a little more central within Downtown and therefore a little pricier. Bu this would be one of my top recommended hotels. I love the traditional style of architecture. The atmosphere at Vida downtown along with the in-house restaurant is top-notch.
These hotels are great alternatives! So save your money on accommodation by dropping a star and use those pennies for an experience. For example take a trip up the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world or head to the incredible show La Perle.
And ofcourse for a fab free experience catch the dancing fountains at the Dubai Mall. It doesn’t matter how many times you watch the show, it never ceases to impress.
Sheikh Zayed Road
For perhaps slightly cheaper accommodation, then the following hotels may be better suited to your budget. Given that they are in slightly less touristy locations, the price is a little more attractive.
Each of the below mentioned are on Sheikh Zayed Road. The main city road that links each area to the next. But it is also an ideal location as the metro runs parallel to the motorway. And the metro is a fantastic way to see Dubai. For the most part it runs above the ground and so from an elevated perspective you can get from A to B very easily, at a great price.
Sheraton Mall of the Emirates Hotel
This Sheraton is within the Mall of the Emirates, and while this may sound like an unlikely spot for a hotel it actually works very well. Close to the main metro station, one of the best malls for Dubai shopping and the world’s largest indoor snow park, there is plenty to see and do here.
Novotel Dubai Al Barsha
For great value for money and walking distance to Mall of the Emirates, check out the Novotel Al Barsha. The Novotel is often used by large groups looking for discount accommodation in Dubai. So it’s always busy and has great bars and restaurants onsite.
Fraser Suites Dubai
Great bang for your buck right here. There is very little surrounding the Fraser Suites, so metro and taxi are your best bet for transport, but in terms of value for money then this it!
The Fraser Suites are close to my personal favourite beach in Dubai, Secret beach. A free beach that is lesser known by the tourists, and in my opinion prettiest among all the others. Read my post here on the best free beaches in Dubai.
This apartment / hotel complex is very good if you are staying for longer than a week and you want access to a kitchenette.
Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens
One of the Jumeirah Group’s newer hotels, this is very cool place indeed. Also very close to the metro line, with some great restaurant options this hotel would be one of the highest on my list of choices.
The Zabeel House is in the Greens, a longstanding expat community. This means that the bars and restaurants here are often full with local UAE expat residents. Home to the restaurant Lah Lah, you won’t go wrong for somewhere to eat. The rooftop bar is also fun in the cooler months.
Zabeel House is new, it’s funky and it’s very well priced!
And that’s a wrap on this four star hotel guide to Dubai and I hope it helps you gain a better understanding of the best place to stay. If you are still a little lost then don’t hesitate to shoot me a message and I’ll help you narrow in on something further.
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