Dubai is one of the most known destinations in the Middle East, and because of that the hotel scene is more competitive than ever.
From over-the-top iconic establishments like the Burj Al Arab to more extravagant and eclectic ones like the Bulgari hotel, Dubai offers an ample hotel choice.
Luxury has a new definition in Dubai, it shapeshifts into opulent decorations, impressive suites and relaxing spas with Arab aesthetics. This is why choosing the best hotels in this city is so hard, but Elite Traveler gave it a shot.
One&Only The Palm
One&Only The Palm is an exclusive island enclave, comprising just 90 guest rooms and suites plus four opulent beachfront villas. It is incredibly private with a feeling of expansive space and acts as a private escape for guests to enjoy spectacular views of the city skyline. A private marina makes the exclusive island getaway easily accessible by private boat or swift water taxi to explore Dubai’s extensive shopping and leisure attractions.
Guests are invited to stroll along the private beach, bask in the sun on oversized daybeds by the swimming pool, and relax in one of the six air-conditioned poolside Cabana Suites with indoor and outdoor lounge areas, LCD screens, wet bar, en-suite bathroom and shower or unwind in the adjacent all-suite One&Only Spa facilities.
Its three destination restaurants indulge guests with an array of spectacular local and international cuisine. Light meals, refreshments, and afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the inviting Dining Lounge or in the privacy of your suite with a 24-hour in-room dining menu.
Although the culinary options at the hotel are of a world-class standard, guests can also venture by swift water taxi transfer to the resort’s sister property One&Only Royal Mirage to dine at any of the eight restaurants or transfer by private limousine to alternative exciting restaurant venues at Atlantis, The Palm.
Top Suite: Grand Palm Suite
Right in the middle of the resort, you find the Manor House, and the Grand Palm Suite occupies the top floor so the views of Jumeirah Beach and the Dubai skyline are far-reaching. There’s no better way to take in the Arabian Gulf than from the suite’s outdoor terrace with majlis-style seating and a private sun deck. Inside, the one-bedroom, 2,691-square-foot suite is Arabian opulence at its best with Moorish archways, carved wooden features and glimmering lanterns. A private host is available at every hour of the day to ensure you have everything you need.
Burj Al Arab
Needing little introduction, the Burj Al Arab is known the world over for its inconceivably grand design and top-notch amenities. An absolute riot of color, pattern and overt lavishness, the hotel’s bold decor is not for minimalists. Jutting 1,000 feet into the Arabian Gulf on its own man-made island, it was created to represent the shape of a billowing Arabian dhow sail.
Often voted as the most luxurious hotel in the world (and a regular in Elite Traveler’s Top Hotels and Top Suites lists), it has a helipad, Rolls-Royce transfers, a private beach, five swimming pools, nine restaurants and bars, and over 200 gorgeous duplex suites. There’s also the highest staff-to-suite ratio in the world (8:1), so your every need is more than taken care of.
Top Suite: Royal Two-Bedroom Suite
The Royal Two-Bedroom Suite is an over-the-top sensory delight with an opulent color scheme of sunset shades accented with gold leaf and intricate prints. The expansive views of the Arabian Gulf are a tranquil contrast to the decadent interiors. Have in-suite cocktails in the majlis (sitting room) served by one of your many butlers—the two-floor, 8,400-square-foot suite has the world’s largest group of butlers, available 24/7.
Al Maha Desert Resort
Far removed from the hustle and construction of Dubai, Al Maha is located 40 miles into the desert along the Dubai-Al Ain road. There are now a numalber of luxury desert escapes in Dubai, but Al Maha was the hotel that first blazed the trail.
Here, 42 tented suites, each with a private pool, are scattered across the golden dunes and the palm groves of the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. This reserve is one of the largest formally protected conservations in the Gulf and gives its guests complete tranquillity and a freedom to wander on foot or horseback.
Guests can finish the day watching the sunset over the dunes while sipping luxury cocktails at the Terrace Bar before dining at Al Diwaan. There is also the option to have a picnic out on the dunes or dine in private in your suite. The hotel also comes with the ultimate in personalized service with a ratio of three staff to every one guest.
Top Suite: Presidential Suite
With 6,200 square feet of meticulously designed luxury, this suite is the ultimate in desert sophistication. Its tranquil inner courtyard holds two fountains and leads to a large wooden deck with a private pool overlooking miles of sand dunes. Three bedrooms, each with their own bathroom, and a majlis lounge are adorned with original antiques and artifacts.
Set apart from the other rooms and suites the luxury of this suite is in its privacy, but it also benefits from Al Maha’s meticulous service; everything from the temperature of your coffee and swimming pool to the personal itineraries can be customized before your arrival. Every extravagance is catered for; the Presidential Suite even has quarters for your private staff.
The Ritz-Carlton Dubai
An exclusive beachfront address right in the heart of the fashionable Dubai Marina and surrounded by gardens, the Ritz-Carlton Dubai has an aura that is more akin to the Mediterranean than the Middle East.
This is not so much a hotel as a citadel. The substantial grounds contain beautiful landscape gardens, six swimming pools and no less than eight restaurants. Guests can – and regularly do – remain on the grounds for well over a week and still not experience all it has to offer. The most lively of the restaurants is Caravan where international buffets, including the famous London Social brunch, are served. This Friday brunch was good enough to be included in our list of the best eight brunches in Dubai.
If you over-indulge (and you will) during your stay, you have plentiful options to burn of the extra calories. The hotel is adjacent to two championship golf courses, the Emirates and Montgomery, and also has its own tennis courts and fitness spa. As a result, the Ritz-Carlton Dubai is a popular destination for the active.
[See also: The 13 Best Restaurants in Dubai]
Top Suite: Ritz-Carlton Suite
This traditionally furnished suite features opulent Italian marble and mahogany accents in the living room, dining area and two bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. The lounge flows through into the dining room, which includes its own kitchen, making this suite ideal for entertaining. The marble bathrooms are truly luxurious, boasting a sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. Positioned on the fifth floor of the hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Suite offers the finest views of the surrounding garden, pool and turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf.
It is somewhat of a challenge to make a stir in the luxury hotel scene in a place as extravagant as Dubai, but if anyone is up to the task, it is Bulgari. Set on a seahorse-shaped island in Jumeirah Bay, the hotel’s unmistakable white coral-esque structure was designed by Antonia Citterio Patricia Viel and opened in 2017. It brings an Italian style to the heart of the Middle East with every aspect of the hotel crafted to the same standards as a piece of Bulgari jewellery.
Within the Dubai hotel grounds, there’s a plethora of amenities: six gourmet restaurants, private beach, manicured gardens, mosaic-design outdoor swimming pool, an 18,300-sq-ft spa, beauty salon with hairdressers and barbers, and Bulgari’s first-ever Marina and Yacht Club, with 50 boat berths available. The standout restaurant is undoubtedly Il Ristorante by three-Michelin-starred chef Niko Romito. Here you can sample world-class Italian fare made with the freshest ingredients while looking out over the sparkling marina. The hotel is also surprisingly family-friendly with a kids club and a separate pool.
Top Suite: The Bulgari Villa
In addition to being the resort’s biggest accommodation, the 5,812-square-foot three-bedroom Bulgari Villa has its own beach, a huge oval pool and an imposing garden. Despite its immense size, the villa feels intimate and cozy with the warm decor in earthy tones. Private security ensures you and your family are in safe hands.
Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
The Waldorf Astoria sits proudly on Dubai’s artificial Palm Jumeirah and looks out towards the iconic Burj al Arab in the distance. Guest can even spot the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, all the way in Downtown Dubai on a clear day.
All of the hotel’s rooms have a balcony, the vast majority of them with a sea view. The poolside Palm Avenue restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a relaxed setting while Peacock Alley specializes in afternoon tea.
Social by Heinz Beck is a must for anyone with a penchant for fine dining. With a menu curated by the three-Michelin-starred chef, it serves an unforgettable five-course tasting menu celebrating Italian cuisine.
Top Suite: Royal Penthouse Suite
Occupying the entire top floor of the hotel, the 16,867-square-foot Royal Penthouse Suite is fit for royalty. A private elevator takes you directly to the suite, which has double-height ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, and is outfitted in Italian marble and rich wood.
The lavish space has a staggeringly large 3,702-square-foot living room, but if that’s not enough, the 20-person majlis should suit your entertaining needs. Right off the living room is the terrace, with views of the Dubai skyline, including the iconic Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab.
Should you prefer a more intimate setting, head to the master bedroom, which connects to a 1,001-square-foot terrace and a white Italian-marble bathroom.
Armani Hotel Dubai
The Armani Hotel is the first hotel from the world-famous Italian designer and bears all the hallmarks of his typical Italian flair. Guests are welcomed into the lobby by towering bronze arches that are designed to complement the architecture of its iconic home: the Burj Kahlifa.
Its high ceilings succeed in retaining the appropriate sense of scale; after all, you are in the tallest building in the entire world. The 160 rooms are sophisticated and elegant, all falling in line with the typical Giorgio Armani style.
All three of the hotel’s restaurants (Armani Hashi, Armani Amal and Armani Ristorante) are recognized as wonderful outlets in their own right. Ristorante, serving fine-dining versions of classic Italian dishes, is considered to be one of the best restaurants in the entire city and is certainly one of the most popular.
Top Suite: Armani Dubai Suite
You’d expect a hotel designed by Giorgio Armani to be stylish, and the Armani Dubai Suite has all of his signature hallmarks—it’s all clean, subtle sophistication. The suite occupies the 39th floor of the building, offering bird’s-eye views of the bustling city below without the crowds.
The calming, neutral decor is a refreshing palate cleanser to the outrageous designs seen elsewhere in Dubai, but with glossy touches such as the polished wooden bathtub. The 4,200-square-foot sanctuary has two bedrooms, living and dining rooms, full-service bar, pantry, private gym and study, and all rooms blend seamlessly into one another—there are no door handles, only sleek sliding doors, which add to the zen-like atmosphere.
[See also: A luxury guide to Dubai, the gity of gold]
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
The closest beachfront hotel to Downtown Dubai, this Four Seasons Resort is ideally located for those keen to explore the 1,200-store Dubai Mall. The property has touches of classic Four Seasons style but takes a lot of inspiration from Arabian and Middle Eastern culture.
Designers opted for understated luxury, which goes against the over-the-top style that many of its competitors have championed. Gold leaf ceilings and flickering lanterns adorn the walls of the lobby, which looks like the palace of an ancient Arabian sheik.
The hotel has five restaurants, including the family-friendly Suq where an incredible Friday brunch is served. There is also reserved space for those without children with one of the two pools designated for adults only. The rooftop Mercury Lounge is the perfect place to watch the spectacular Arbaian sunset with the Burj Khalifa in the background.
Top Suite: Royal Suite
The Royal Suite is situated on the fifth floor and is accessed by its own private elevator. The 6,458-square-foot space is a marvel in opulence. A dramatic living area has been designed to feel like a ballroom with adjacent floor-to-ceiling mirrors giving the illusion of endless space.
Venetian chandeliers and a baby grand piano set the scene for a glamorous hosting space. The master bathroom is clad in high-quality white marble with gold touches. An oversized bath is a perfect place to relax after a long day. There is also a dedicated treatment room as well as catering facilities and a large sea-view balcony.
Atlantis, The Palm
Sitting at the tip of the world-famous Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis has become a tourist destination in its own right as well as one of the best hotels in Dubai. It is Dubai’s second-biggest hotel with 1,500 rooms and 23 restaurants.
As the name suggests, there is a distinct underwater theme running throughout the hotel and you are never far away from a splash of blue or a shell-patterned rug. The aquarium is also one of the biggest in the world, proudly hosting 65,000 inhabitants.
With a bowling alley and a giant waterpark, this is not the place to go for a peaceful stay, although relaxation can be found in the SuiQi Spa. The dining options read like a who’s who of world-class chefs. Hakkasan, Ossiano, Nobu and Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen are all located somewhere in the expanse.
Top Suite: Royal Bridge Suite
One of the most sought-after suites in the whole of Dubai, this expansive space is located above the hotel’s iconic gap. The 3,000-square-foot suite has played host to some big names in the past, including Kim Kardashian and Kanye West – make of that what you will.
It has its own guarded entrance and a private elevator and comes fully staffed with dedicated chefs and butlers. It has an expansive lounge, a 16-seat dining room and a private library. The balconies offer uninhibited views out to sea or across the Palm and the rest of Dubai.
Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai
Located in close proximity to Four Seasons Dubai and Bulgari Dubai, the Mandarin Oriental is in good company along a prime stretch of beach. But on a street littered with luxury hotels, this one manages to stand out spectacularly.
Guests are guided through the lobby by the Forest of Lights – two lines of bronze trees with leaf-shaped bulbs. You are already in a world of wonder before you check-in. Bronze trees are substituted for real, towering palms in the stretched-outside lap pool (one of five swimming pools) leading to the ocean.
The spa is easily on par with any other in the city while the fitness center offers beach-based fitness classes in the morning before the sun gets too strong. The hotel really excels in the dining sector with the prominent Portuguese chef José Avillez serving Michelin-level fare at Tasca. The low ceilings and ambient lighting make it feel as if you are in one of Lisbon’s beautifully understated yet accomplished restaurants. Netsu serves terrific Japanese food while delicious treats can be found in the Mandarin Cake Shop.
Top Suite: Two Bedroom Suite with Terrace
The unimaginative name may suggest a lack of effort, but the level of detail in the hotel’s top suite suggests they have gone to great lengths to ensure optimum comfort. Situated on the highest floor of the hotel, the space boasts unrestricted sea views from the private balcony and through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Contemporary décor and a marble bath give the suite an unmistakable sense of understated luxury synonymous with the Mandarin Oriental brand. A downstairs dining area and large living space make it perfect for entertaining guests.