Hotels in Dubai

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Best Dubai Hotels

Gleaming out of the desert, Dubai is literally an urban oasis. It also happens to be one of the most thrilling and cosmopolitan cities on the planet – a place where East intersects with West, and where contemporary chic meets millennia of tradition. Steel and glass skyscrapers, almost impossibly tall, give the city a futuristic skyline, while the shopping malls are so gigantic you can explore them for days. Bright sands and diamond-speckled waters make it a haven for sun-worshippers, while the bars and restaurants throng with well-heeled business travelers and tourists alike.

Things to see

Shoppers will be in their element when visiting the city. A veritable cathedral of retail, Dubai Mall forms a major part of the Downtown Dubai complex, so – as well as giving you the opportunity to explore hundreds of big name stores and designer boutiques – you can also head for the Dubai Aquarium, home to more than 400 sharks and rays, and also see the light shows and dancing water jets of Dubai Fountain, which can reach up to 500 feet in the air. Another huge draw for shopaholics is the Mall of the Emirates – of course, this being Dubai, there are more than just stores here as well. Kids will love the fairground rides which the complex also houses. Elsewhere, Jumeirah Beach is one of the great sunbathing destinations of the UAE, and the park there features over 12 hectares mingling grassy fields and sandy stretches, as well as picnic tables, sports facilities, and snack kiosks. One building you have to see while in Dubai is the instantly iconic Burj Khalifa – the tallest man-made structure of all time. Whoosh up this needle of steel to take in gobsmacking views from the floor-to-ceiling windows of the observation deck. If you have time, you might also want to go on an idyllic boat ride down Dubai Creek.

Hotels in Dubai

The phrase "high-end" doesn't quite cover some of the hotels in Dubai. The five-star accommodation here is among the most majestic in the world. Sumptuous silks and linens, four-poster beds of deepest mahogany, as well as butler service, ivory-white spas, and views of the Arabian Gulf will make any guest feel like a celebrity (or royalty, for that matter). While the city is not renowned for being a cheap place to visit, there are also some good hotels in Dubai suited to smaller budgets – though you may have to stay a little further out from the action of central Dubai.

Where to stay

The Dubai Mall and Downtown Dubai area is a very popular place to stay – booking a Dubai hotel here will put you right in the thick of Dubai's vibrant atmosphere, and it'll make carrying home your shopping much easier. If you're here for the sea, then one of the hotels on Jumeirah Beach is for you – many of these have private beaches which lucky guests can take advantage of. For an even more immersive experience you can check in to a hotel on the Palm Jumeirah archipelago, which juts right out into the stunning blue sea, and where some of the complexes boast their own aquariums and water parks.

How to get to

Dubai International Airport is the major gateway to the area, with flights coming from a wide range of major cities across the world. It's only around 3 miles from Dubai. Flights from across the Middle East and Africa also fly into Sharjah International Airport, which is around 10 miles from Dubai – although traffic congestion can mean the journey by road takes longer than you might expect.

When are the best times to travel to Dubai?

Dubai boasts year-round sunshine, so whatever time of year you travel, you’re sure to enjoy hot temperatures. Travel in Dubai’s winter months, from November to March, for crystal-clear blue skies and pleasant temperatures – perfect beach weather. Several festivals take place across the season, too, like the Dubai International Film Festival and the Dubai Shopping Festival. Travel during the late spring and early summer months, when temperatures soar, for low Dubai hotel rates and discount hotels.

What are the top must-see attractions in Dubai?

You can’t miss Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, a mega-tall glass and steel skyscraper championing a neo-futuristic design that resembles enormous stacks of silver coins topped by a sharp point. There’s an observation deck on its 148th floor, providing sweeping views out across the glimmering Persian Gulf waters. After, visit the Burj Al Arab, another futuristic architectural masterpiece. This dizzying 56-floor structure – based on a tiny artificial island – is built in the shape of a sail. For complete contrast, see the serene whitewashed Jumeirah Mosque, which celebrates traditional Fatimid-style architecture.

What are the best types of food and restaurants in Dubai?

As a thriving international city, Dubai offers a wide range of cuisine styles. The traditional street food vendors and small locally-owned restaurants – in abundance across the residential Karama district and historic Bur Dubai area – cook-up classic shawarma, a spiced meat dish served in pitta. In the Satwa area’s Little India and Little Manila, you’ll find plenty of Indian and Filipino restaurants, while the modern downtown areas are speckled with classic American fast food chains. The luxury hotels in Dubai, meanwhile, offer fine dining at its best.

What are the top things to do in Dubai?

Sun seekers should venture to Jumeirah Public Beach, a vast stretch of white-gold sands, curving into the warm pastel-blue Gulf waters, and fringed by a palm-shaded park. Shoppers, meanwhile, could spend days splurging in the designer clothing stores, flashy cosmetics boutiques and electronics emporiums in the mega Dubai Mall. If you need to cool off from the Dubai sun, visit Ski Dubai, a mammoth, snowy indoor ski resort that even contains a black diamond run.

What are some fun facts about Dubai?

No one actually knows where the city’s name comes from. Some have proposed that Dubai was named after an Islamic proverb, “Daba Dubai”, which means “they came with much money”, due to the city’s traditional trading prowess. Others believe it comes from an alternative of “daba”, meaning “baby locust”. The city constantly combines the traditional with the futuristic – this is made most clear in the flashy camel racing contests, where the riders are robots. Dubai also loves to go big: Dubai Mall is the largest in the world.

What kinds of public transport are there in Dubai?

Dubai boasts a smooth-running and easily navigable public transport networks of metro lines, monorails, trams and buses. Combined, this network will get you around the whole city, from the historic areas down to the beaches and out to the airport. Despite this extensive public transport network, many visitors find it most convenient to whizz around the city via taxicab as it’s a lot faster. Taxicabs are in abundance across the city streets, but easily found outside one of the malls or Dubai hotels.

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