The Best Hotels In Dubai

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Sarah Gamboni, Contributor

Forbes Vetted

A sleepy pearling village just 50 years ago, Dubai has risen from the sand dunes to become one of the world’s most dynamic travel destinations. Blending coastal cool with big-city vibes, the jewel of the United Arab Emirates lures tourists with year-round sunshine and record-breaking attractions like the world’s tallest building and the largest waterpark on Earth. Dubai’s dining scene is a celebration of cultures and cuisines–200-plus nationalities call the emirate home–offering everything from Middle Eastern street food to Michelin-starred fine dining.

Dubai’s hotels are equally diverse. Sun-seeking couples and families favor the seaside resorts along Jumeirah Beach and Palm Jumeirah, the man-made palm-shaped island that’s visible from space. For business travelers, a roll call of luxury hotels can be found in the heart of the fast-paced city, the Dubai International Financial Center or DIFC. From a high-end beach resort to an artsy retreat down an historic alleyway, here are the 10 best hotels in Dubai.

Best Hotel In Dubai Overall: Four Seasons Resort Dubai At Jumeirah Beach

Four Seasons Resort Dubai At Jumeirah Beach

Who Will Love It: Fans of timeless elegance and the full resort experience

All-Star Amenities: Private palm-fringed beach; lagoon-style pool; upscale restaurants

What Not To Miss: Sicilian-inspired cocktails and rose gold sunsets at rooftop Mercury Lounge

Location: Jumeirah Beach

In a city where new hotels seem to spring up overnight, there’s a timeless allure to the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. Modeled on the traditional wind towers of the region, it seems like it could have been around for a century rather than since 2014, with its intricately carved archways and gleaming marble interiors. The Four Seasons Resort’s enviable position on Jumeirah Beach is a 10-minute drive from Downtown Dubai and the DIFC. Not that you’ll need to leave. The expansive grounds feature two lagoon-style swimming pools and a private stretch of beach lined with shaded sun loungers. Guest rooms with high ceilings and balconies or terraces with views of the Arabian Sea or glittering Dubai skyline only add to the grandeur.

Some of Dubai’s finest restaurants are also clustered here, from Matthew Kenney’s plant-based Folia to the celebrated steakhouse Nusr-Et. As the sun goes down, head to rooftop Mercury Lounge for citrusy Sicilian cocktails and megawatt sunsets.

Best Luxury Hotel In Dubai: Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

Who Will Love It: Maximalists seeking over-the-top opulence and seven-star service

All-Star Amenities: Lavish interiors; sumptuous Talise Spa; infinity pool perched over the sea

What Not To Miss: A sun-kissed Mediterranean lunch at poolside restaurant Sal

Location: Jumeirah Beach

Minimalists move along. From the 21,500 square feet of 24kt gold leaf that line the walls to the 21,000 Swarovski crystals embedded in the ceiling, the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is the epitome of Arabian opulence. Built in 1999, this sail-shaped icon off the Dubai coastline is regarded as the world’s first seven-star hotel. With its fleet of chauffeured Rolls-Royce cars and ask-for-anything service, the all-suite retreat has long been a favorite among celebrities and dignitaries – Andre Agassi and Roger Federer famously played a tennis match on the hotel’s sky high helipad in 2005.

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah’s star power shows no signs of waning, enhanced by Michelin star restaurant Al Muntaha and the recent addition of the Terrace. The 100,000-square-foot beach club has private cabanas, an adults-only infinity pool and chic Mediterranean restaurant overlooking the water’s edge.

Best Hotel For Couples: One&Only The Palm

One&Only The Palm

Who Will Love It: Romantics and sybarites

All-Star Amenities: Guerlain Spa; exquisite French dining; VIP poolside cabanas

What Not To Miss: The tasting menu at two-Michelin-star restaurant Stay by Yannick Alléno

Location: Palm Jumeirah

A secluded sanctuary on Palm Jumeirah, One&Only The Palm is primed for a romantic getaway. The graceful Andalusian architecture evokes Grenada’s Alhambra with delicate carvings, colonnaded walkways and flickering lanterns throughout the manicured grounds. Starting at 700 square feet, the guest rooms are among Dubai’s largest, featuring oversized marble bathrooms and expansive terraces with sea views. Situated just steps from the sand, the private pool suites are a perfect choice for couples, while families will feel right at home in the two-bedroom beachfront villas complete with a dedicated host.

Spend the day relaxing by the sapphire swimming pool–where air-conditioned cabanas offer minibars, sunbeds and indoor-outdoor showers. For an all-out indulgence à deux book a couple’s hammam in the Oriental Suite at Guerlain Spa. World-class dining comes courtesy of French culinary master Yannick Alléno. His eponymous Stay by Yannick Alléno was one of only two restaurants to be awarded two Michelin stars in Dubai’s inaugural guide. He also oversees the menu at the more casual 101 Dining Lounge and Bar, where you can berth your yacht in the private marina while dining on the freshest seafood.

Best Hotel For Business Travelers: The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Center

The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Center

Who Will Love It: Business travelers who crave connectivity and contemporary comfort

All-Star Amenities: 24-hour fitness center; business concierge; polished restaurants perfect for closing the deal

What Not To Miss: A celebratory single malt at Flair 5

Location: Dubai International Financial Center

With more than 28,000 square feet of event space, one of the city’s largest ballrooms and a well-connected location in the heart of the financial center, this Art Deco-inspired hotel is a favorite among business travelers. Modern guest rooms offer ample space to unwind, with high-speed internet, complimentary shoe shines and town cars on request. Upgrade to a Club Level suite for access to the Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge offering all-day refreshments and a dedicated business concierge.

After a day of meetings, let off steam with a workout in the 24-hour fitness center, a signature massage in the sleek spa, or swim laps in the rooftop pool, which is chilled or heated, depending on the season. A client dinner of mussels and steak at Café Belge or single malt scotch at Flair 5 lounge is sure to close the deal.

Best Hotel For Families: Atlantis, The Palm

Atlantis, The Palm

Who Will Love It: Families seeking fun, sun and sea

All-Star Amenities: World’s largest waterpark; Underwater Suites; family-friendly dining from celebrity chefs

What Not To Miss: Speeding down waterslides at Aquaventure waterpark

Location: Palm Jumeirah

Home to the world’s largest waterpark, Atlantis, The Palm is a fun-filled getaway for water lovers of all ages. The smallest travelers will appreciate the vivid underwater frescoes while adults will appreciate the signature Underwater Suites with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto an aquarium with 65,000 marine creatures.

On the resort grounds, there are temperature controlled swimming pools, a private white sand beach and thrilling watersports. Aquaventure waterpark—access is complimentary for resort guests—has record-breaking slides and rides and shark diving in the aquarium. Challenge your tribe to a round of 10-pin bowling at Wavehouse, an all-ages entertainment hub with arcade games, live music and laidback outdoor dining. Even fine dining restaurants like Gordon Ramsay and Giorgio Locatelli have kid-friendly menus or book a babysitter for a date night at Nobu, Hakkasan or Ossiano, a romantic restaurant with views of the aquarium.

Best Island Hotel: Bulgari Resort Dubai

Bulgari Resort Dubai

Who Will Love It: Heiresses and sophisticates

All-Star Amenities: Private yacht club; cabana-lined pool; sophisticated dining; indoor spa pool

What Not To Miss: Exquisite Italian at Il Ristorante – Niko Romito, and a splurge in the Bulgari boutique

Location: Jumeirah Bay Island

Situated on a seahorse-shaped island off the coast of Jumeirah, Bulgari Resort Dubai blends European glamor with Middle Eastern tradition. The coral-like awnings are inspired by the region’s intricately carved mashrabiya or screens, but the luxury Italian brands’ flair for opulence is on full display. Sleek Bulgari marble is a featured throughout the communal areas and sumptuous guest rooms, offset by black granite and expansive glass walls have windows framing the turquoise sea. The jewel box spa has multiple pools including a vitality pool inspired by the ancient Caracalla Roman baths.

You will want to dress the part whether sporting designer swimwear by the pool or a crisp linen shirt for lunch at the Bulgari Yacht Club overlooking the resort’s marina. Make an extra effort for dinner at Il Ristorante – Niko Romito. The two Michelin star restaurant serves flawless Milanese cuisine. Or secure a coveted booking at Hōseki, an omakase experience with just nine chef’s counter seats.

An Architectural Icon: ME Dubai Hotel

ME Dubai Hotel

Who Will Love It: Design devotees

All-Star Amenities: Zaha Hadid architecture; eye catching interiors; rooftop pool

What Not To Miss: Mexican and South American cuisine at poolside Deseo

Location: Business Bay

The only hotel to be designed by the late, great Zaha Hadid, ME Dubai Hotel displays her signature style of sinuous structures and organic forms. Housed in the mirrored Opus building in Business Bay, the hotel’s retro-futuristic interiors are straight from The Jetsons. The soaring atrium is a curvaceous and light-filled space with aubergine-colored pods for casual meetings and a coffee shop.

The futuristic theme carries over into guest rooms with curved leather beds and undulating artworks inspired by desert dunes. With a view of Business Bay’s towering skyscrapers, the rooftop swimming pool is an urban oasis for travelers mixing work and play. Poolside restaurant and bar Deseo transports you to Tulum with vibrant Mexican dishes and mezcal cocktails.

Best Boutique Hotel: XVA Art Hotel

XVA Art Hotel

Who Will Love It: Travelers who love history and culture and want a taste of Old Dubai

All-Star Amenities: Art gallery; bespoke rooms; sun-dappled courtyard restaurant

What Not To Miss: Getting lost in the alleyways of Al Fahidi

Location: Al Fahidi Historical District

Hidden among the charming alleyways of Al Fahidi Historical District in Old Dubai, this bijou bolt-hole is one of the city’s cultural treasures. Once the home of a prominent merchant family, the 15-room boutique hotel is set within a typical Emirati house featuring sandy toned stucco and soaring wind towers, the region’s original air conditioning method.

Dubai heritage is also highlighted in the Bedouin-style textiles and original works by local artists on display in the art gallery, gift shop and individually-decorated guest rooms. At the heart of the hotel sits the XVA Café, a vine-shaded courtyard serving vegetarian Middle Eastern cuisine—the frozen lemon and mint drink is a must in summer. Beyond the hotel’s carved timber doors, Old Dubai’s souks are waiting to be explored. Take a traditional wooden boat or abra across Dubai Creek for an authentic and memorable experience.

Best Luxury Glamping: Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa, Dubai

Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort and Spa, Dubai

Who Will Love It: Modern adventurers

All-Star Amenities: Bedouin-style tents with private pools; in-suite dining; curated desert adventures

What Not To Miss: Spotting wild oryx and gazelles as you sip a sundowner

What Not To Miss: Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

A 45-minute drive from Downtown Dubai, Al Maha is a world away from the city’s bustling business district. Here, among the russet-colored dunes of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, sits a collection of 42 Bedouin-inspired tents. This is not your average camping experience. Each of the luxury tented suites is filled with local antiques and handcrafted furnishings, and private plunge pools overlook an endless expanse of desert. Watch camels, oryx and gazelles casually saunter by from the comfort of your sun lounge.

For an even more up close wildlife encounter, Al Maha’s field guides lead safaris through the reserve via 4×4, camel or horseback. Try your hand at falconry or archery, or simply enjoy a sundowner as the sun slips behind the dunes and the sky fills with stars.

Best Spa Hotel: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

Who Will Love It: Spa aficionados, plus beach-loving families

All-Star Amenities: One of West Asia’s most sumptuous day spas; 10 restaurants; oversized marble baths

What Not To Miss: An authentic Turkish hammam session at Talise Ottoman Spa

Location: Palm Jumeirah

You can tell a lot about a hotel by the quality of its bathtubs – and the oversized marble versions at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray are grand indeed set within carved marble alcoves. It’s on-brand for this opulent Ottoman-inspired resort, which elevates pampering to an artform.

The hotel on Palm Jumeirah’s West Crescent has an 88,000 square-foot spa. Access to the wet areas is included in your stay, inviting you to slip between the steam rooms, snow caves, saunas and saltwater pools. Treatments inspired by Ottoman heritage include a Turkish hammam session on a heated marble slab and an intensive black diamond facial. The pampering continues beyond the spa in guest rooms with Turkish marble baths and Arabian sea views. There are also 10 restaurants, a 190-foot-long pool and a private beach where doting attendants will be happy to clean your sunglasses while you soak in some rays. Junior guests will love the mini waterpark and private cinema.

About Sarah Gamboni, Your Dubai Guide

I have been a travel and food writer for close to two decades. I’ve reviewed the world’s best boutique hotels as an editor at Mr&Mrs Smith and sought out authentic flavors in far-flung destinations from Sicily to Sri Lanka. My love of endless sunshine and pristine beaches led me to live in Australia, Thailand and Hong Kong. For the past five years, I’ve lived in Dubai where I’ve worked as a restaurant and hotel reviewer keeping my finger firmly on the pulse of this fast-paced city. I’ve also written travel guides and articles for Emirates Open Skies, British Airways High Life, Gourmet Traveller, Mercedes-Benz Magazine, Delicious, Vogue Entertaining + Travel and many more.