In a resort scene where luxury, pampering and an international spirit converge, this sun-blazed holiday city has some of the world’s finest spas. Whether a skyscraper with views of the sea and skyline or a sprawling resort set in tropical beachfront gardens, your Dubai base is likely to have an impossibly serene spa – usually with lashings of marble, enormous hammams and oud-scented relaxation lounges. And if it doesn’t, one of the city’s best will be a short taxi ride away.
Close to the airport and souk-filled old town, in Dubai Creek, the Park Hyatt is famous for its overwater restaurant, Boardwalk, lavish brunches at Traiteur Brunch and undulating infinity pool styled like a beach, with loungers on the sand. But its Amara Spa, too, sings with stylish simplicity – book the two-hour Amara Signature Ceremony, where you’ll be scrubbed down with Dead Sea salt and then cocooned in a nourishing full-body wrap.
The Jumeirah hotel brand has a handful of glorious resorts across the city, each appealing to a slightly different crowd but all with sumptuous Middle Eastern design, fabulous destination restaurants and an Arabian-Nights-vibe Talise Spa. This skyscraper hotel, with its futuristic glass-pod elevators leading the cutting-edge design, is away from the beach in swanky Za’Abeel. However, its spa makes it feel like an urban oasis, in addition to an enormous gym and outdoor pool in which to stretch your limbs.
Well located for business meetings and city conferences, this Marriott property has room to play and work. It’s home to a seemingly floating dining terrace surrounded by water, a swish wine bar for tastings and nibbles, and a peaceful spa, set away from the hubbub. Essential-oil scents fill the latter, thanks to upmarket Neom products, and expert therapists conduct swish, results-driven Anne Semonin facials. The light-filled rooms are modern, with polished-wood floors and murals sketched on the walls.
Dubai’s Media City is close to public beaches and local marketing and publishing companies, making it a hub for after-work socialising. The Grand Plaza hotel’s wellness scene starts at its mellow rooftop pool, with its thick, white-cushioned daybeds and elegant palms, and extends to sauna and massage therapists, along with a techy gym with huge windows looking out over the city. The overall look of this skyscraper hotel is modern elegance, with high-ceilinged restaurants and glassy spaces making the most of the view.
The luxury Address brand started in Dubai, focussing on microscopic attention to detail and first-class guest services – it now has several hotels across the city. The Montgomerie is a country-clubby stay in the golf-mad area of Emirates Hills, with an 18-hole course, wedding-cake exterior and glossy, lush gardens. As well as a bracing round of golf and an outdoor pool, there’s a world-class spa, with low-lit, wood-panelled treatment rooms and invigorating aromatherapy massages.
Set away from the coast in smart Business Bay, the Dreamworks Spa inside DAMAC Maison Cour Jardin draws on the spa traditions of Southeast Asia – including Thai and Balinese massages – in its orchid-dotted, mosaic-tiled spa. This family-friendly hotel also has a vast, lounger-trimmed pool backed by a verdant living wall and a well-stocked gym, along with spacious rooms decorated in soothing, understated shades.
Cutting-edge interior design and hip, convivial dining spaces characterise this hotel set in the Greens, a sought-after development close to Dubai’s public beaches and Jumeirah Palm development. Its millennial-feel, Brooklyn-esque Native Club is no less fabulous, with crocheted bean bags and hammocks by the vast outdoor pool and chic wooden floors and potted palms in the training zone, where group classes help you get a sweat on, and “more than a gym” is the motto.
Donatella herself unveiled this Versace-themed, palatial resort, with a spa fit for the fashion crowd, complete with shimmering black mosaic tiles, mother-of-pearl detailing, two hammams and facials employing luxe ingredients from caviar to 24-carat gold. Elsewhere, you’ll find rococo furniture and embroidered fabrics inspired by Italian palazzos, high tea in marble-clad Mosaico and swish loungers and towering palms around the enormous swimming pool, with its base embossed with a huge Versace Medusa-head logo.
India’s luxury hotel brand brings a service-centred opulence to Dubai’s Downtown, with its highest skyscraper suites blessed with views of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. The Jiva Spa taps into India’s traditional healing traditions, such as ayurveda, with Indian head massages, herbal compresses and coconut exfoliation all on offer. Rooms and suites give a flavour of the subcontinent with carved-wood headboards, brightly embroidered fabrics and thick, expensive rugs.
Another mega-fabulous Indian brand, the Oberoi has a vast, thoroughly modern spa using the vegan, cruelty-free Aussie brand Sodashi. Book an au naturel treatment such as a pink clay mask or a green tea body scrub, then retreat to your suite, bright with colour-pop paintings and fresh flowers, as well as eternally elegant wooden floors and cream sofas.
For a stylish and cultured stay in the City of Gold, see the best boutique hotels in Dubai and book your stay with Culture Trip. For more relaxing spa hotels check out the best spas to pamper yourself in Dubai, or if you want even more accommodation options, read our guide to the best hotels in Dubai.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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meet our Local Insider
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WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.