The Best Hotels in Dubai and Beyond
I’ve been lucky enough to visit some mesmerising countries this year, but the one destination I am yet to tick off my list is Dubai. Dramatic desert landscapes, dazzling beaches, world-class shopping and spice-filled souks – this Arabian paradise boasts Old Town charm, pulsating nightlife and the world’s tallest building. But once you’ve made the decision to fly to Dubai, next comes the tricky part: where to stay. A host of opulent hotels stretch along the coastline of Palm Jumeirah, but which one is for you? To help you make that all-important choice, here’s our pick of the best:
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai
Renowned across the globe for being one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the distinctive sail of the Burj Al Arab is instantly recognisable. Here, floor to ceiling windows reveal jaw-dropping panoramas of the city or uninterrupted ocean views. Gold and fine silks are incorporated in the opulent design of the spacious suites. Spend the day on the private beach and choose from nine signature restaurants and the glorious Skyview Bar, 200 metres above the sea. And did I mention the high tea yet? A once-in-a-lifetime experience with delicious food, unparalleled service and the best views in the city.
Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai
Just minutes from Dubai Marina, the spectacular Habtoor Grand boasts three pools, a private beach and 16 restaurants offering an enticing array of international cuisine. Make yourself an appointment at the Elixir Spa and have your tensions eased with a luxurious treatment. For some excitement, take a jet-ski for a spin or choose from a range of activities such as sailing and tennis. There’s plenty to keep younger guests busy too; from the babysitting service and Junior Jungle Kids’ Club to the children’s pool with water slides.
Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
Arguably the most iconic hotel in Dubai, this award-winning resort combines luxury with a host of exciting attractions, including The Lost Chambers Aquarium – home to 65,000 marine animals. You’ll also have over half a mile of sandy beach at your disposal and superb views out over the ocean or The Palm. Nearly all of the guestrooms here are interconnecting, making it perfect for families. Enjoy all-day access to the Aquaventure Waterpark, which is packed with record-breaking rides and slides, and make the most of endless dining options. A total of 23 restaurants offer a range of varied and sumptuous cuisine, and 21 of those are included when you choose to stay on a half-board basis. My favourite is the Ossiano Seafood Restaurant, where you’re treated to views of the underwater lagoon from your table.
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai
A spa lover’s paradise, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray takes inspiration from Ottoman imperial palaces. You will find beautiful rooms and suites here, while the spa takes rejuvenation to another level, with 42 treatment rooms and eight hydrotherapy rooms. Be cleansed in one of three Turkish hamams, before relaxing in myriad steam rooms, saunas and snow rooms. Enjoy dinner and a show at the MusicHall as the youngsters play happily at Sinbad Kids’ Club, or take the family on the complimentary daily shuttle boat to and from Dubai Marina and explore the shops and restaurants.
Shangri-La Hotel Dubai
Imagine waking up in your luxurious suite to panoramic views of the cityscape. That’s the reality at Shangri-La Dubai, where you can feast on a breakfast buffet before retreating poolside with a good book. After a day of sunbathing, order a cocktail and return to the comfort of your balcony to watch the world slowly turn golden. You’ll find it almost impossible to pull yourself away from Chi, The Spa at Shangri-La, where candlelit walkways and rose petal pools set the scene for serenity. And be sure not to miss the weekly lobster night at the hotel’s vintage Victorian-styled theatre and restaurant, The Act Dubai.
Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
Relax into pure luxury at Emirates Palace, where you can arrive in style via helicopter or limousine. Here, rooms and suites are sumptuously decorated in authentic Arabian furnishings, combined with state-of-the-art amenities. After breakfast at Le Vendome, float around one of two blissful pools, relax with a yoga session on the beach, or sit and watch the world go by over a coffee at Emirates Palace Marina. The legendary Emirates Palace Spa features a traditional Moroccan hamam, two Jacuzzis and an ice cave, plus treatments can be tailored to your exact needs. The hotel even has its very own signature dish – a 24-carat gold camel burger!
The Chedi Muscat, Oman
A member of the Leading Hotels of the World and flaunting a stylish, sophisticated design, you can indulge your senses at the largest spa in Muscat at this resort. Try the Balinese and Ayurvedic treatment or a blissful reflexology session. Afterwards, savour a delicious homemade hibiscus tea, which you can enjoy alongside the longest pool in Oman, which stretches to 103 metres. I recommend feasting at The Restaurant at least once – blending Asian and Omani designs, four open-show kitchens provide a spectacular setting for dining.
The St Regis Doha
Steeped in Middle Eastern mystery, this extravagant resort is located in the heart of West Bay. Enjoy breakfast on the terrace of your St Regis suite, before a dip in the Olympic-sized swimming pool. Arrange a private cabana here and relax in your very own poolside retreat, complete with private sundeck and plunge pool, a living area and fruit baskets. No request is too small for the St Regis Butler Service; allow the team to arrange a thoughtful gift for your loved one, before you indulge at the All Remede Spa. World-renowned chefs have created a selection of delectable dishes across the 11 dining areas, including the award-winning Gordon Ramsey Mediterranean restaurant.