The Most Budget-Friendly Hotels in Dubai

The view of Dubai from the rooftop pool at Aloft City Centre Deira
The view of Dubai from the rooftop pool at Aloft City Centre Deira | Courtesy of Aloft City Centre Deira / Expedia
Photo of Sarah Hedley Hymers
Travel Writer8 February 2021

You might not think Dubai has many budget-friendly hotels but you’d be wrong. In recent years, a crop of innovative, design-led, and affordable hotels has popped up across the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates. And they’re far from basic too, from the former ocean liner moored at Port Rashid, to four-star hotels with a rooftop cinema in Dubai’s Old Quarter and in a shopping centre right next to the Burj Khalifa and City Walk retail area.

Queen Elizabeth 2 Hotel

Independent Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Queen Elizabeth 2 Hotel / Expedia
Dubai’s first and only floating hotel occupies what was the British Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner, now permanently docked at Port Rashid. You get all the benefits of a cruise ship, with the nightlife, dining and entertainment, plus an interactive exhibition telling the history of the vessel. Alfresco afternoon tea features hot canapes, finger sandwiches, cakes and, of course, warm scones with preserves and clotted cream.
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Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai

Chain Hotel, Boutique Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai / Expedia
This Hilton is right in the heart of Dubai’s Old City in a traditional building next to the British Embassy on the banks of the Creek. You get access to the hotel’s pool, spa, fitness centre, free transportation to certain locations, a vintage playground, a concierge and the Saba’a restaurant serving traditional Middle Eastern and Emirati-inspired food. Try for a room with a view of the Creek, and you can sip an espresso on your balcony while enjoying views of the gold souks across the water, which are reachable by water taxi.
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The Canvas Hotel Dubai – Mgallery Hotel Collection

Chain Hotel, Budget Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of The Canvas Hotel Dubai / Expedia
You get a lot for your money at the five-star Canvas Hotel in historic Dubai, with a 1,000sq m spa, air-conditioned rooms and a rooftop hangout with a swimming pool and views of the skyline. You can take a free shuttle to La Mer Beach and Dubai Mall and return to the hotel for dinner, made by celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor. The rooms boast Italian-designed furniture and king-sized beds.
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Leva Hotel and Suites, Mazaya Centre

Chain Hotel, Budget Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Leva Hotel and Suites / Expedia
The Dubai Leva Hotel and Suites is in the Mazaya Centre, a shopping mall in downtown just across from the Burj Khalifa, with great views on offer of the world’s tallest skyscraper and the City Walk shopping area of the city. You’ve access to a gym, a pool with a view of the skyline and an all-day restaurant. If you can stretch to it, it’s worth upgrading to a room with its own kitchenette and balcony.
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Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens

Budget Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens / Expedia

With its hip bar-restaurants Social Company and LAH LAH, four-star Zabeel House by Jumeirah has become a social hub in The Greens, a previously overlooked residential area near the Palm Jumeirah. It’s popular with after-work drinkers and the Friday brunch crowd and is just off Dubai’s main highway, Sheikh Zayed Road. You’ll stay in New York loft-style rooms with Smeg accessories and have access to a fully organic spa, gym and pool. More branches of this chain can be found next to the Dubai Creek in the Al Seef development, near Al Fahidi Historical District.

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Aloft City Centre Deira, Dubai

Budget Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Aloft City Centre Deira / Expedia

At this four-star hotel on the Deira side of Old Dubai, there’s a rooftop cinema crowned by a retractable ceiling where you can watch the stars on the big screen while snacking on popcorn in reclining seats. The suites are inspired films, with Bollywood, Hollywood, Agent or Superhero themes. The soup dumplings at Han Shi Fu are excellent, as are the skyline views from W XYZ Bar.

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Rove Downtown Dubai

Boutique Hotel, Budget Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Courtesy of Rove Downtown Dubai / Expedia

Despite having only three stars, this hotel on Happiness Street boasts a PlayStation gaming booth, 24-hour gym and a rooftop pool facing the Burj Khalifa. There’s luggage storage and a launderette and the lobby has abstract artworks made from Emirati ephemera, including a framed flower print made from burqas and a caravan of model camels climbing the wall. Rooms feature a magnolia colour scheme and have televisions and single pull-out sofa beds. There’s another Rove hotel in Dubai Marina and one in Dubai Parks and Resorts.

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  • Hatta Damani Lodges Resort

    Budget Hotel, Glamping
    Map View
    Courtesy of Hatta Damani Lodges Resort / Expedia

    In Wadi Hub, at the base of the Hatta mountain area, the Damani Lodges Resort features individual units made from container cabins cantilevered into the sloping rock face. Inside, there are ensuite shower rooms, air-conditioning and televisions, while furnished terraces extend the living space. The cafe, food truck and adventure playground, offering activities such as axe-throwing, archery, rope courses and zorbing, are shared with neighbouring Hatta Caravan Park, which provides luxurious, fully fitted caravans. There is also the Sedr Trailer Resort, which offers rooms fashioned from vintage-style Airstream trailers that include individual porches.

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    XVA Art Hotel

    Boutique Hotel, Hotel, Budget Hotel
    Map View
    Courtyard 3_12
    Courtesy of XVA Gallery, Hotel and Café
    Among the maze of alleys that make up Bur Dubai’s Al Fahidi Historical District, where the first Emiratis settled, is the XVA Art Hotel. There are courtyard-facing double rooms, a contemporary art gallery, concept store and cafe serving vegetarian food. Even if you’re not staying here it’s worth popping in to soak up Dubai’s history by wandering through the old coral limestone buildings. You can also browse the latest exhibitions and dig through vintage and handcrafted wares.
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    FORM Hotel Dubai

    Budget Hotel
    Map View
    FORM Hotel Dubai
    Courtesy of FORM Hotel Dubai / Expedia

    A 136-room, four-star hotel, FORM has spacious, art deco-style rooms overlooking Dubai Creek. Its location in Al Jadaf may seem a bit isolated but the area has a metro station linking to all the main attractions. The hotel boasts a rooftop gym and half-Olympic-length swimming pool, plus a number of healthy dining options. Close by is the over-the-top Palazzo Versace Dubai hotel, which hosts elegant afternoon teas amid walls papered with the fashion brand’s famous prints. Only a short walk away is Jameel Arts Centre, which is free to enter and hosts excellent contemporary exhibitions.

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    Studio One Hotel

    Budget Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of Studio One Hotel / Expedia

    Thanks to its remote Dubai Studio City location, between the gated community of Arabian Ranches and Motor City, this hotel offers nightly rates that are consistently among Dubai’s lowest. Perhaps best suited to the business traveller who can expense cab fares, this four-star hideaway offers plenty of perks. Facilities include a mini-cinema, gym, pool, spa and launderette. All rooms feature rain showers, yoga mats, pop art and Audrey Hepburn murals and come in family-friendly configurations — doubles with sofa beds, lounge space and kitchenettes and bunk beds if you ask . You can pick up snacks at self-service pantries on each floor and the grab-and-go counter in the lobby, or dine in at the on-site American restaurant, The Maine Street Eatery.

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    Aimee Heckel contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on February 8, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.