The Best Resorts in Dubai, UAE

Staying at Jumeirah Al Qasr is a heady, romantic, extravagant experience
Staying at Jumeirah Al Qasr is a heady, romantic, extravagant experience | © Katherine Young / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Alex Allen
29 December 2020

On the surface, the blingiest city in the Middle East seems to be all about size, scale and showing off. And if it’s a break from reality you’re looking for, there’s nowhere that delivers quite like Dubai. 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 hotel to hole up in. Here are our top picks.

Mandarin Oriental Jumeira

Resort, Luxury
4.8/5 (80 Reviews)
Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai / Expedia
Normally, when it’s a choice between a sea view room and whatever the alternative is, it’s a no brainer. The sea view wins every time. Here, however, you might want to think twice. Yes, the sea views – over the sapphire-blue waters of the Persian Gulf – are gorgeous. But those from the back of the hotel are arguably even more mesmerising: aimed directly at the city skyline, where the implausible syringe-like structure of the Burj Khalifa rises like glitch in the fabric of reality. Either way, the blend of Parisian elegance (panelled walls, warm grey colour scheme) and Emirati embellishments make for a sublime stay.
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Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa

Resort, Chain Hotel, Luxury
4.7/5 (980 Reviews)
Courtesy of Le Royal Meridien 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.
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Four Seasons Resort at Jumeirah Beach

Resort, Hotel
4.7/5 (275 Reviews)
Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach / Expedia
This is the one that looks like a monumental riad, an almost-half-kilometre 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.
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Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai

Casino Hotel, Hotel, Luxury
Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach / 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 over-sized Roman coin artwork, to Roman motifs in the rugs and the little alabaster Caesar-head statues.
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Jumeirah Al Qasr

Hotel, Luxury
4.8/5 (652 Reviews)
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.
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  • Address Boulevard Dubai

    Resort, Chain Hotel
    4.7/5 (110 Reviews)
    Courtesy of Address Boulevard / 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.
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    Bulgari Resort Dubai

    4.7/5 (76 Reviews)
    Courtesy of Bulgari Hotel & Resorts, Dubai / Expedia | Courtesy of Bulgari Hotel & Resorts, 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 a pâtissiere’s lightness of touch. And if that wasn’t enough, you can literally feast in your choice of the hotel’s five cafés and restaurants. For an overdose of minimal-chic, pick Japanese Hōseki.
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    Rixos Premium Dubai JBR

    Resort, Chain Hotel, Luxury
    4.4/5 (381 Reviews)
    Courtesy of Rixos Premium Dubai JBR / Expedia
    With its glassy, asymmetrical, neon-lit towers which appear like giant video-game consoles, this is a palace for the young and wealthy to frolic in: and it certainly cuts the mustard, with a boredom-proof schedule of live entertainment, parties and boozy brunches. Contrastingly the rooms are uneventful affairs, devoid of the usual soft furnishings, reading chairs and cosy lighting that you’d expect to find in a Dubai den. Not that they’re spartan – presumably the designers realised guests would be spending most of their time partying the days and nights away.
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    Jumeirah Mina A'Salam

    Hotel, Independent Hotel
    4.7/5 (919 Reviews)
    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, baubled 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.
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    These recommendations were updated on December 29, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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