Dubai has no shortage of world-famous hotels, from palazzos on artificial islands to one-of-a-kind resorts. Here are the starriest of them all.
Little known until the 1990s, Dubai has since become a popular destination for guests looking to stay in luxury hotels – from grand palaces to architectural gems located in the proximity of the beach or on an artificial archipelago that resembles a world map when seen from space. Each hotel offers something special, for a truly unique holiday.
Undoubtedly the most famous hotel in Dubai, the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is a work of art. The Burj is the fifth tallest hotel in the world, and the blue-and-white sail-shaped structure is a sight to behold. With a staggering seven stars, the hotel – managed by the Jumeirah Group – has become renowned among those looking for the height of luxury, whatever the cost. The 202 suites are spread across 28 double-storey floors, with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the Gulf and the private beach, and offer uninterrupted views of Dubai’s skyline, huge four-poster beds, gilded decor throughout (with plenty of marble), and a 24-hour butler service. There are a whole host of dining and drinking at the Burj Al Arab, each headed up by internationally renowned chefs; the Al Mahara Restaurant is perhaps the most recognisable thanks to its wall to its dazzling aquarium setting.
The A-list favourite Palazzo Versace Dubai, which looms over the Jaddaf Waterfront, has been designed in the style of a 16th-century Italian palace, with nods to Neoclassical and Arabian architecture. The decor is exactly as you’d expect from the famed fashion house: the label’s iconic ‘Pietra di Fiume’ Medusa motif extends throughout and opulence abounds from the entrance hall through to the lagoon pools, reflection ponds and manicured gardens. The 215 rooms, 169 residences and nine bars and restaurants are swathed in leather, suede and silk, but the real beauty lies outside; you can make the most of the uninterrupted views of Dubai Creek from the hotel’s three magnificent pools, which are surrounded by towering palms and adorned in mosaic tiles.
The One&Only Royal Mirage complex is one of the most prestigious resorts just outside of central Dubai. The hotel is housed in an absurdly ritzy building, with hand-painted ceilings and vaulted arches – all set within 65 acres of lavish gardens, complete with infinity pools and a private one-kilometre stretch of beach. The 451 rooms at the One&Only Royal Mirage are split between the main palace building, the Arabian Court, Residence & Spa and the beach garden villa. Each room or suite offers lavish interiors and sweeping views of the sea. There are 16 drinking and dining options, and once you’re sated you can relax on the beach or in the traditional hammam spa.
Dubai’s Armani Hotel is located on the first eight floors of the towering Burj Khalifa. Everything inside the hotel is designed by Armani, from the shops on the ground floor to the fashion accessories in the Armani/Galleria or the Armani/Spa on the third floor. The 160 rooms and suites are decorated in an elegant brown, grey and black colour scheme, and offer views over Dubai and the choreographed water jets of the Dubai Fountain. There are seven Armani joints to eat and lounge in, and a cuisine for every mood – from Japanese and Middle Eastern to Italian and Mediterranean. The outdoor terrace is the place for sundowners against a backdrop of the Dubai skyline.
Popular with pop stars and royalty, Atlantis is a luxurious resort on Palm Jumeirah, Dubai’s artificial palm-tree-shaped archipelago. This palatial hotel, the first one to be built on the island, is set in 46 hectares of lush tropical gardens. Fans of an intimate, boutique experience should look elsewhere – the sprawling resort is home to 1,539 family-friendly rooms and suites, and a staggering 23 restaurants and bars. Its design merges elements of Arabian classical architecture – like the keyhole-arch bridge that connects the two central towers and the east and west wings – with the ocean theme of the resort. Expect a rich palette of neutral tones, intricate panelling and, of course, spectacular views from every room. Guests of the hotel have unlimited access to a vast Aquaventure water park, Lost Chambers Aquarium and multiple dining options, with menus courtesy of Gordon Ramsay, Nobu and Locatelli.
Courtesy of The Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah
The Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah is a palace-like building designed to showcase the luxury of Dubai’s exclusive Jumeirah Beach area. The 244 two and three-bedroom apartments are sumptuously decorated with white marble floors and chandeliers. The children’s swimming pool, playground and club make it ideal for families, and the beautiful private beach means you can relax in style. At night, the palm-fringed pool is dimly lit and the hotel’s two restaurants serve meals overlooking the sea and the Dubai skyline. For more casual dining, there is a bonfire beach barbecue and a swim-up bar open from morning to late afternoon.
The Jumeirah Al Qasr is located near Souk Madinat Jumeirah in a property designed to resemble the summer residence of a Sheikh. The grand exterior, with wind towers and arched bridges over streams, houses award-winning bars and restaurants serving every cuisine a traveller could want. Each of the 294 luxury rooms and suites are stylishly decorated with Arabesque motifs, carved oak and glass tables, mosaic lamps and contemporary touches. Many rooms have private balconies and unrestricted views. There is an on-site spa and fitness centre, a private beach, a rooftop terrace, a whole range of restaurants to choose from and complimentary access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark.