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Best areas to stay in Dubai

Top areas to stay in Dubai

Dubai has a vast range of accommodation, much of it aimed squarely at big spenders. There’s also a decent selection of mid-range places, although sadly nothing for real budget travellers. At the top end of the market, the city has some of the most stunning hotels on the planet, such as traditional Arabian-themed palaces like Al Qasr and the One&Only Royal Mirage.

  1. Enjoy staying in the lively Deira area near the Gold Souk
  2. Head to the edge of the city centre for a memorable stay
  3. Make the most of the Sheikh Zayed Road and Downtown area
  4. Head to the Umm Suqeim suburb for a beachfront stay
  5. Discover the world’s biggest man-made island

When it comes to creature comforts, all of Dubai’s top hotels do outrageous luxury as standard, with sumptuous suites, indulgent spa treatments, spectacular bars and gorgeous private beaches. The size and style of the very best places makes them virtually tourist attractions in their own right. There are plenty of outstanding areas to stay in Dubai. Think the Deira for the cheapest hotels on offer with the Gold Souk nearby and the Umm Suqeim which is home to the iconic Burj al Arab landmark, you are spoiled for choice of where to stay in Dubai. Inspired? We’ve got you sorted! Take a look at our excellent selection of Dubai holidays.

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1. Enjoy staying in the lively Deira area near the Gold Souk

Deira has easily the city’s biggest selection of budget hotels (by Dubai’s standards!), with literally dozens of cheap and comfortable places around the Gold Souk and along Sikkat al Khail Road. There are also innumerable lower mid-range places clustered together in the Al Rigga district, plus a few top-end establishments located alongside the Creek. In terms of area highlights, it remains the city’s best place for wandering, and even a short exploration will uncover a kaleidoscopic jumble of cultures, with Indian curry houses jostling for space with Iranian grocers, Somali shisha-cafés and backstreet mosques - not to mention an endless array of shops selling everything from formal black abbeya (male and female robes) to belly-dancing costumes.

Vibe: Budget Dubai

While you’re there: The Perfume Souk is another great pot. You can make up your own fragrance here.

2. Head to the edge of the city centre for a memorable stay

There isn’t a huge selection of places to stay in the inner suburbs, although the area does boast Dubai’s two finest city hotels - the opulent Raffles and the idyllic Park Hyatt. Fringing the southern and eastern edges of the city centre - and separating it from the more modern areas beyond - is a necklace of low-key suburbs: Garhoud, Oud Metha, Karama and Satwa. Southeast of Deira, workaday Garhoud is home to the Dubai Creek Golf Club, with its famously futuristic clubhouse, and the adjacent yacht club, where you’ll find a string of attractive waterside restaurants alongside the lovely Park Hyatt hotel. Directly over the Creek, Oud Metha is home to the quirky Wafi complex and the lavish Khan Murjan Souk, while west of here the enjoyably downmarket suburbs of Karama and Satwa are both interesting places to get off the tourist trail and see something of local life among the city’s Indian and Filipino expats, with plenty of cheap curry houses and shops selling designer fakes.

Vibe: An interesting area away from the typical tourist route

While you’re there: Creek Park is also in the area which is great for an afternoon stroll with pleasant views over the Creek.

3. Make the most of the Sheikh Zayed Road and Downtown area

Sheikh Zayed Road is lined with a long sequence of mainly upmarket hotels aimed mainly at visiting businessmen, with superb views and classy facilities - although, of course, no beach. There are several places to stay dotted around the Downtown Dubai district, including a trio of establishments tucked away in the “Old Town'' development, and the flagship Armani hotel in the Burj Khalifa itself, the world’s tallest building. The whole area of Sheikh Zayed Road and Downtown Dubai is an extraordinary sequence of neck-cricking high-rises which march south from the landmark Emirates Towers. This is the modern city at its most futuristic and flamboyant, and perhaps the defining example of Dubai’s insatiable desire to offer more luxury, more glitz and more retail opportunities than the competition, with a string of record-breaking attractions which now include not just the world’s highest building but also its largest mall, tallest hotel and biggest fountain.

Vibe: The superlative architecture of Dubai.

While you’re there: If you’re looking to do some serious shopping in Dubai head to Dubai Mall. It’s home to over 1200 shops.

4. Head to the Umm Suqeim suburb for a beachfront stay

The suburb of Umm Suqeim is home to some of Dubai’s most memorable beachfront hotels, including the world-famous Burj al Arab - though not surprisingly, none of them come cheap. The big Jumeirah Al Naseem hotel, occupies a prime plot of empty beachfront between Mina A’Salam and Wild Wadi - a sparkling five-star with crisp modern Arabian styling which should add a welcome dash of contemporary chic to the faux-antique architecture of the Madinat Jumeirah. There are further attractions in the area at the thrills-and-spills Wild Wadi water park and at Ski Dubai, the Middle East’s first ski slope, while more sedentary pleasures can be found at the vast Mall of the Emirates, next to Ski Dubai, of whose snowy pistes offers superbly surreal views. This is the best neighbourhood to stay in Dubai if you’re looking for some adrenaline thrills.

Vibe: Adventure

While you’re there: Al Mamzar Park is also home to some fine sand, it’s one of Dubai’s biggest parks.

5. Discover the world’s biggest man-made island

Fifteen years ago the Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina district was the largest building site on the planet - at one point it was estimated that Dubai was home to a quarter of the world’s total number of construction cranes. Now the building crews have gone, leaving a new city and the world’s largest man-made island in their wake, with a forest of densely packed skyscrapers lined up around the glitzy marina itself and the fronds of the Palm spreading out into the waters beyond. It is in the Dubai Marina where you’ll find the majority of the city’s big beachside resorts, lined up in a long row along the seafront. There’s also a growing number of more business-oriented hotels slightly inland, like the suave Grosvenor House and Address Dubai Marina, wedged in amid the skyscrapers of the Marina proper. A further string of ocean-front resorts can be found lined up around the outer rim of Palm Jumeirah, including the supersized Atlantis. This is one of the best areas to stay in Dubai to really be in the heart of some of its best modern developments.

Vibe: Flashy resorts

While you’re there: There are plenty of water sports available in the area, think jet-skiing, wakeboarding and parasailing.

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