Dubai hotels are incredible fantasy playgrounds, trying to impress guests with real snow, underwater rooms and waterparks. Here’s our pick of the top five quirky hotels.

1. Atlantis the Palm 5*

This is an epic fantasy playground. Opened in 2008, this multi-billion dollar resort on Palm Island is ready to indulge your inner child. In Aquaventure, plummet down the near-vertical Leap of Faith and slide through a shark-infested lagoon (they’re real). Ride the river rapids for over a mile, swim with dolphins, or stay in an underwater suite where you can watch 65,000 fish and marine species float around you in the lagoon while you drift off to sleep.

2. Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa 5*

Framed by the Hajar Mountains, this resort looks like a Bedouin-style camp dotted across the desert landscape. Each eco-friendly suite has a pool, where you can take a dip and watch gazelles or the rare Arabian oryx skipping across the reserve. You can dine among the dunes under a chandelier of stars and spend days trying archery and falconry. This is one of the Leading Small Hotels of the World.

3. Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates 5*

This unique hotel features stylish rooms – and ski chalets. This hotel is part of a mega shopping and entertainment complex, which includes the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort – Ski Dubai. Temperatures are kept below freezing, so you can ski and snowboard across real snow all year round. Upgrade to an alpine-themed ski chalet and enjoy views over a winter wonderland each morning. Then head outside to the sunshine...

4. Burj Al Arab 5*

Dubai’s most iconic – and rumoured to be the world’s most luxurious – hotel, you may wonder what’s so quirky about the Burj Al Arab. Situated offshore on its own manmade island, complete with beach, the Burj Al Arab is memorable for its Al Mahara restaurant and the unique simulated submarine ride you take to get there. If that doesn’t get you in the mood for seafood, what will?

5. Jumeirah Beach 5*

Stay at the Jumeirah Beach and you’ll have unlimited access to Wild Wadi, one of the world’s most technically-advanced water parks. Hurtle 50mph down the Jumeirah Sceirah flume, be fired uphill in an inflatable ring on a Master Blaster slide, or try your hand at surfing on the Flowrider experience.


Dubai, a land of opulence, wealth and mind-defying architecture that will never fail to impress.

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Indian Ocean & Arabia 2019/20