The Best Resorts to Book in Dubai, UAE

Habtoor Grand Resort is the perfect place to relax and recharge
Habtoor Grand Resort is the perfect place to relax and recharge | Courtesy of Habtoor Grand Resort / Expedia
Alex Allen

On the surface, the blingiest city in the Middle East seems to be all about size, scale and showing off. But care to look deeper, and there are nuggets of romantic history and culture to be found, particularly in the older Bur Dubai, and the atmospheric Gold Souk. But first, you’ll need to decide which palatial resort to hole up in. Here are our top picks.

1. JA Beach Hotel, for family beach days

Hotel

The pool at JA The Resort - JA Beach hotel overlooking the hotels private beach
Courtesy of JA The Resort - JA Beach hotel / Expedia

Backed by a vivid green golf course emerging unexpectedly from the yellow desert, and fronted by a marina and a sweep of golden sand, JA Beach Hotel is the very vision of Dubai. Plenty of resorts in Dubai do luxury, but not many do the beach resort experience in such an approachable way. Families love the kids club, riding centre, seven pools and wandering peacocks; grown-ups love the impressive collection of restaurants, the sleek modern rooms and the nine-hole golf course.

2. Habtoor Grand Resort, for international flavour

Resort, Hotel, Luxury

Dining room in cream tones at Habtoor Grand Resort overlooking the Dubai Marina through panoramic windows
Courtesy of Habtoor Grand Resort / Expedia

A prime location near Dubai Marina isn’t the only thing that makes the Habtoor Grand Resort stand out amongst the luxury resorts in Dubai. Art objects in alcoves, curved window frames, mosaic-tiled bathrooms and luxurious finishes add character to rooms and suites that bring in warm desert colours from outside. Bars, restaurants and lounges offer up flavours from as far afield as South Africa, Italy and India, and the views over Dubai’s soaring skyline are superb.

3. Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa, for a futuristic aesthetic

Resort, Chain Hotel, Luxury

Aerial view of large pool, pool-side bar and splash pool at Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa
Courtesy of Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort and Spa / Expedia

Smack-bang in the centre of Dubai’s futuristic-feeling marina, where little electric trams move noiselessly between buildings and over the water, this boomerang-shaped hotel is as cutting-edge cool as they come. The lobby, all spaceship-like recessed LED lighting, textural wall art and organic-feeling furniture, comes on like a wood-panelled Millennium Falcon: it makes a stunning first impression. Rooms don’t disappoint, either, with big pendant lights, informally arranged abstract art prints and swathes of dark-wood veneer cocooning you in retro-modern, space-age cool.

4. Four Seasons Resort at Jumeirah Beach, for sprawling opulence

Resort, Hotel

Elegant lobby in cream tones at Four Seasons Resort at Jumeirah Beach featuring a grand piano, a gold sculpture and a large chandelier
Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort at Jumeirah Beach / Expedia
This is the one that looks like a monumental riad, an almost half-kilometre (0.3mi) of towers, arches and tiled roofs, overlooking the white sandy sickle of Sunrise Beach. Inside, rooms mix trad luxury – velvet chaise longues, black-quartz-and-wood bathroom vanities and chintzy floor lamps – with a contemporary, muted colour scheme. Of the seven lounges, bars and restaurants to choose from, the Sea Fu bar, with its sunken lounge encircling a fire pit, is the undisputed star, for evenings sipping cocktails under the violet, star-studded night sky.

5. Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai, for a household-name brand

Casino Hotel, Hotel, Luxury

Aerial view of the large outdoor pool and lounge chairs at Caesars Palace Bluewaters and the hotels private beach beyond
Courtesy of "Caesars Palace Bluewaters / Expedia

If you’re imagining the Las Vegas-style, Greco-Roman version of Caesar’s Palace, you’d be wrong. This incarnation is much more in keeping with Dubai’s slick, modern skyline. Still, you can’t miss it. On the outside, the hotel doesn’t have a lot in common with its Sin City-based cousin, but there are plenty of not-so-subtle reminders of the brand’s roots in the rooms, from the oversized Roman coin artwork to Roman motifs in the rugs and the little alabaster Caesar-head statues.

6. Jumeirah Al Qasr, for sheer extravagance

Hotel, Luxury

Aerial view of the exterior of the Jumeirah Al Qasr and the resorts incredibly large outdoor pool
Courtesy of Jumeirah Al Qasr / Expedia

Nestled among the rambling, citadel-like Madinat Jumeirah Beach Resort complex, this 1,001 Arabian Nights-inspired hotel is the epitome of Dubai’s OTT personality. Take the grandiose, drawbridge-like driveway that culminates in a parking area populated with supercars, and a huge horse-themed centrepiece fountain. Inside, rooms are full-on riad-trad, with decorative porticoes, Arabic-style tiled coffee tables and gloriously clashing patterned rugs, cushions and sofas. It’s a heady, romantic, extravagant experience that feels a world away from the glass-and-steel modernity just a couple of blocks beyond.

7. Address Boulevard Dubai, for Burj Khalifa views

Resort, Chain Hotel

Aerial view of the Dubai skyline and Burj Khalifa
Courtesy of Burj Khalifa / Expedia

The thing about staying in the world-famous Burj Khalifa is that you can’t see the world-famous Burj Khalifa. Besides, you won’t get better views of the record-breaking building than from this neighbouring ‘scraper. If you’re easily affected by vertigo, you might want to keep your eyes averted when hitting one of the three outdoor pools – as they all look directly up at the cloud-piercing monolith. Feeling a little dizzy? Retreat to the igloo-like calmness of your room, with its Carrara marble-covered bathroom, ice-white bed covers and high, chicly corniced ceilings – also in white.

8. Bulgari Resort Dubai, for avant-garde architecture

Hotel

View of the unique, exterior architectural details of Bulgari Resort Dubai
Courtesy of Bulgari Resort Dubai / Expedia

Looking like a giant brandy-snap stacked mille-feuille with its lacy roof layers, this hyper-luxe designer resort is a feast for the eyes. Everything here – including the rooms, which are a stylish symphony of dark and light wood, floor-length windows and plush rugs over floorboards – seems to have been created with the lightness of touch of a pâttisiere. And if that wasn’t enough, you can literally feast in your choice of the hotel’s five cafes and restaurants. For an overdose of minimal-chic, pick Japanese Hōseki.

9. Jumeirah Mina A'Salam, for boutique-style chic

Hotel, Independent Hotel

Middle-eastern style bedroom at Jumeirah Mina ASalam, complete with arches and chandeliers
Courtesy of Jumeirah Mina A'Salam / Expedia
It’s part of the same Madinat Jumeirah beach Resort Complex as Jumeirah Al Qasr – but this is a smaller, boutique wing with a range of rooms: there’s full-blown Arabian opulence with ornamental lanterns in arched alcoves, and at the other end of the scale, a more modern, pared-back iteration, with trad furnishings and finishes. If you’re looking to add a splash of excitement to your break, you’re also just minutes from the Wild Wadi waterpark.

Joe Bindloss contributed additional reporting to this article.

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