There’s a reason why Dubai is known as the City of Gold. The extravagant, award-winning five-star hotels here are world-renowned, so smaller boutique stays may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of accommodation in Here’s our pick of where to stay when you’re visiting this Emirate – bookable on Culture Trip.
If you’re looking for a more personalised stay on your next trip to this tourist-drawing pearl, a boutique hotel is a winning option. From a polo resort in the desert to a traditional converted Emirati home, book a stay at one of Dubai’s best boutique hotels.
One&Only The Palm
Resort, Chain Hotel
4.9/5 (119 Reviews)
Courtesy of One&Only The Palm / Expedia.com | Courtesy of One&Only The Palm / Expedia.com
Privacy and pampering top the bill at this beautiful Andalusian-style property that sits on the last plot on the West Crescent of Palm Jumeirah, at the end of a gated driveway. The serene centrepiece is an enormous glittering pool, edged by verdant palms and plush recliners. Meanwhile, the stylish rooms also lend themselves to relaxation, with freestanding marble bathtubs, moreish Acqua di Parma amenities and private balconies. To top it off, there’s a private beach, a stunning Guerlain Spa and a nail studio by celebrity pedicurist Bastien Gonzalez, while the Stay by Yannick Alléno restaurant serves up a divine tasting menu.
The Dubai outpost of the luxury Anantara hotel chain boasts a private shoreline and the only floating water villas in the UAE. The luxurious beachfront abodes have private decks and plush Thai-inspired interiors with glass-floored living rooms for spying fish. Look out for the small boats crisscrossing the 10sqkm (3.8sqmi) network of lagoon pools, from which staff hand out fruit, water and scented towels under the hot sun. To feel like a real VIP, head to the state-of-the-art spa, with everything from Thai massages to Ayurveda treatments on offer.
On the outskirts of Dubai, Address Montgomerie sits on a 265-acre (107ha) plot, with direct access to an 18-hole golf course and beautifully-landscaped gardens. The hotel only has 21 rooms and never feels crowded. Bathrooms come with freestanding tubs for a relaxing soak, and the toiletry package includes some sweet-smelling bath salts. A big perk of this place is the large outdoor pool, with staff on hand to dish out water and cold towels as you relax in the desert sun.
This jewel in the crown here is the rooftop infinity pool, which gets a powerful view of the Burj Khalifa. The hotel is integrated into City Walk, a pedestrianised district popular with the local in-crowd. Inside, there’s a small spa with treatments using Anne Semonin and Neom products. There are black-and-white murals of City Walk in each room, while home comforts include super-soft grey robes, yoga mats and toiletries from Dutch brand Moooi.
Courtesy of Park Regis Boutique Hotel / Expedia.com
A sophisticated yet hip vibe runs throughout this charming property – slick modern furniture, exposed wood beams, naked light bulbs and contemporary art set the scene perfectly. There are 21 bright and airy rooms in total, and all have amenities catering to the 21st-century traveller, from mini-fridges to flat-screen TVs. Conveniently located on the upscale Jumeirah Road, attractions such as Wild Wadi water park, Souk Madinat Jumeriah and the iconic Burj Al Arab are on the doorstep. Other perks include an on-site bistro and a 24-hour front desk.
A five-star marvel in an underrated pocket of the city, Al Bandar Rotana sits on the north shore of the traditional and thriving waterway: Dubai Creek. This waterside hotel is close to the airport, DIFC, the Dubai Mall and all of the local souks. Rooms range from studios to three-bed apartments; all are decked out in plush furnishings and high-end perks. Book a table on the outside terrace at the Gusto Italian Restaurant. Located on the 18th floor, it’s got unbeatable views of the creek and Dubai’s skyline. The creamy burrata topped with black truffle also promises to satisfy.
Found in the heart of downtown Dubai, this quirky hotel is within walking distance of the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and endless dining options. It’s become a welcome destination for freelancers who are looking for good food and working space, with a section of the lobby offering plug ports and seating designed for tapping away. The decor is modern and sleek, with a selection of artwork hung on the walls that blend traditional flair with contemporary touches. Rooms are spacious, comfortable and ideal for those wanting to be close to all of the main attractions. The hotel also features a private in-house cinema, a perfect way to relax post-5pm.
Located on a stretch of beach favoured by kitesurfers, Roda Beach Resort is a hidden gem, away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai’s city centre – although a short taxi ride will easily get you there. This boutique hotel is next to one of the smaller, quieter malls in Dubai, aptly named Sunset Mall. Rooms are designed like apartments and include kitchenettes and washing machines, making this ideal for families, or if you’re looking for longer-term stays.
Media One Hotel is in the centre of Media City – home to advertising agencies and a grassy area around the lake for concerts – it’s no surprise that it has a uniquely hip vibe. It’s decorated with neon lighting in the lobby, and you’ll find a selection of fantastic bars and restaurants to unwind in after a long day of sightseeing. Rooms are beautifully designed with modern touches, conceptual artwork, and sleek yet comfortable beds.
Nestled in the desert, Melia Desert Palm Dubai is on a lush polo resort close to the Dubai Safari Park. This four-star hotel is perfect for those looking for solitude, away from the hectic city centre. This oasis has a 160-acre (65ha) polo estate, with a choice between double rooms and secluded villas complete with private pools. There are 45 horses, letting you sporty guests attend the polo and riding school on the premises. After a long day, dine at RARE, the signature restaurant famous for an oak wood fire grill that serves up chargrilled meat and fresh seafood dishes.
In the heart of the Greens (a grassy residential community next to the Palm Jumeriah), Zabeel House is an outpost of the world-famous Jumeirah Group. Devised by the same team as the Burj Al Arab, this affordable four-star hotel is beautifully designed: the decor is chic and modern, with bedrooms featuring balconies with views over the city. Definitely treat yourself to an evening at the vegan, Asian-infused Lah-Lah restaurant while you’re here.