Dubai is a city synonymous with luxury and extravagance. The architectural marvels, ingenious man-made islands and colosseum-sized shopping malls never fail to dazzle visitors. We explore five popular neighbourhoods in this urban sprawl to help you choose where to stay.
Best for stopovers and shopping: Downtown Dubai
Downtown Dubai is a testament to Dubai's architectural prowess and vibrant energy. This area is perfect for those with limited time, as it’s close to the airport and has so much to see within walking distance. There’s the iconic Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, the mesmerising shows at Dubai Fountain and Dubai Mall isn’t just for retail therapy – an aquarium, opera house and even an ice rink is under its roof. Add the presence of celebrity restaurants and trendy nightlife venues, and you’ll be ready to rest your head after dynamic days in this district. Our top pick is the Taj Dubai, which has rooms with jaw-dropping Burj Khalifa views.
Best for sightseeing: Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence
Jumeirah Beach Residence is fantastic if you want to be out and about exploring. The lively beach promenade, known as ‘The Walk’ is lined with shops, eateries, pop-up markets and street entertainers. To be in the heart of the action, JA Ocean View Hotel is a fresh and contemporary hotel with sea views from every room. And don’t miss the Friday Bubbalicious Brunch at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina where you can expect free-flowing Champagne and an exquisite buffet of lobster, steaks and roasts.
A little inland from the beach, you’ll find Dubai Marina, a skyscraper-surrounded waterfront enclave with luxury yachts and speedboats gliding through its calm waters. Take leisurely promenade strolls (or catch a water taxi), head to the upscale Marina Mall for shopping and sky-high dining or hop on the Dubai Metro to explore other parts of the city. The Millennium Place Marina is only a 5-minute walk from the metro and is perfect for a great-value base.
Best for all-inclusive family fun: Dubai Islands
Dubai is a safe and welcoming destination that will captivate young imaginations. Aside from Aladdin-style desert adventures and mindboggling views from the top of the world, one of the top attractions for families is Dubai Parks and Resorts. It’s a sprawling complex about 30 minutes from downtown and is home to three theme parks and a water park, including Legoland® Dubai and Hollywood-inspired Motiongate™. One of our favourite places for families to stay in Dubai is Centara Mirage Beach Resort Dubai, a themed resort with an all-inclusive option, kids’ clubs and plenty of spots to cool off, including two beachfront swimming pools with waterslides, a splash zone and a lazy river. It’s also close to downtown and the spice-scented souks of Deira for a hit of culture.
Best for Instagram vibes: The Palm
If you crave the glitz and glam, Palm Jumeirah is your go-to address. This palm-shaped wonderland is a playground for the posh, featuring standout retreats like Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa and W Dubai – The Palm, as well as legendary hotels: Atlantis The Royal, Dubai’s hottest new hangout, and Atlantis The Palm, its sister hotel next door. Atlantis guests have unlimited access to Aquaventure Waterpark, but even if you’re not checked in here, it’s well worth a visit and we can arrange a day pass.
You’ll get the best panoramas of The Palm from above and you can do this in a couple of ways – opt for a scenic helicopter flight, experience the Dubai Balloon or visit The View at the Palm’s 360-degree observation deck on level 52 of the Palm Tower.
Best for gourmet guests: Jumeirah
Jumeirah, one of Dubai's most coveted stretches along the seafront, is peppered with some of the city’s most exclusive and mould-breaking hotels. There’s the glittering, wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the honey-hued Jumeirah Mina A’ Salam, as well as several other notable resorts from the Jumeirah chain, renowned for their world-class restaurants. Stay half-board at selected Jumeirah hotels, and you can go on a culinary adventure through Dubai, as complimentary dining at over 30 restaurants is included as part of the Jumeirah Flavours experience*.
Whether you're planning a city-meets-beach holiday here or stopping over enroute to your next adventure, let us plan your trip to this multifaceted metropolis. Read more about our Dubai holidays here or chat with one of our Personal Travel Experts for tailored advice.
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