Who hasn’t dreamed about being on the top of the tallest building in the world, admiring Dubai’s ultramodern architecture, visiting its luxurious shopping malls and swimming in the crystal-clear water of the Persian Gulf?
“The Golden City” is a metropolis with an array of tourist attractions spread out all around. When planning your trip, choosing the right location to stay in Dubai is the key to exploring the city without getting stuck in traffic and feeling exhausted.
Dubai is also known for its plethora of accommodations for all styles and budgets. But, with so many areas, hotel options and to-die-for resorts, it can be hard to decide where to stay in Dubai and you can end up feeling confused and overwhelmed.
During my visit, I stayed in three different areas. That’s why I’m writing this practical guide to the best areas to stay in Dubai, with the pros and cons of staying in each one of them, to help you plan your holiday.
Some of the most popular tours in Dubai
Table of Contents
Where to Stay in Dubai As a Tourist
Before you decide where to stay in Dubai, it might help to know more about this dream destination.
Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, has a surface area of approximately 35Km² (13.5 sq mi) and a population of more than 3.000.000 inhabitants.
You can move around the city by bus, metro (there are only two lines, Red & Green, covering 74.6 km and serving 47 stations), tram, taxi, water taxi, and Uber. You don’t really need to hire a car, but it can be easier and more convenient.
Travelling around this metropolis can take a substantial time of your day. Staying in a well-connected area is crucial, especially if it’s a short stay.
The six best areas to stay in Dubai for tourists are Downtown, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), Deira, Palm Jumeirah Island and Jumeirah Beach.
These neighbourhoods are well-connected, apart from the last two, easy to get around, and have plenty of shops and restaurants.
Featuring top-notch beachfront hotels, Palm Jumeirah Island and Jumeirah Beach are the perfect location if the focus of your trip is to spend more time on the beach.
The best places to stay in Dubai for first-time visitors are Downtown and Dubai Marina. These are the districts with most of the iconic tourist attractions that Dubai is famous for.
In the Downtown and Dubai Marina area, you can find a wide range of hotel options and Dubai’s most recognizable attractions. If it’s your first time in the city, you should stay in one of these areas, as they boast several points of interest and local amenities.
To help you choose where to stay in Dubai, I’ll share with you the pros and cons of staying in each of these main areas.
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Best Areas to Stay in Dubai
Downtown Dubai – Where to Stay in Dubai for the First Time
Downtown Dubai, the heart of the city, a busy tourism hub and a major attraction for visitors and residents, is the best area to stay in Dubai.
It’s home to the largest shopping mall, tallest tower, water-mouth eateries, beautiful promenades, exciting nightlife, and impressive dancing fountains.
From Downtown Dubai, it’s easier to explore the rest of the city whether you decide to take the metro, at the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Metro Station, a cab, or drive.
The location is perfect for those who are visiting Dubai for the first time and staying for a short time in the city (1 – 3 days).
I liked staying in Downtown Dubai, but everything is more expensive here. Plus, it’s hard to find reasonably priced accommodation with good value for money. Below you find some of the best accommodations in Downtown Dubai.
Points of interest in/near Downtown Dubai
- Burj Khalifa
- Sky Views
- Dubai Mall & Aquarium
- Time Out Market
- Dubai Opera
- La Mer Beach (15min drive / 45min by public transport)
Where to stay in Downtown Dubai
- Rove City Walk
This budget–friendly hotel is located only a 13-minute walk from the Burj Khalifa metro station.
Rove City Walk features many facilities, such as a fitness centre, a restaurant and bar, a game area, and a big outdoor swimming pool.
All the rooms include a desk, a flat-screen TV, air conditioning, a wardrobe, and a private bathroom equipped with a shower and a hairdryer.
- Rove Downtown Dubai
Rove Downtown, one of the best places to stay in Downtown Dubai, is conveniently located next to Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall.
The hotel has excellent value for money and provides spacious 26 sqm rooms, 24-hour meeting rooms, free WiFi, late checkout, a 24-hour gym, a laundromat and a boutique convenience store.
Dubai International Airport is a 20-minute drive while Burj Khalifa Metro Station is a 20-minute walk from the property.
- Vida Downtown
Vida Downtown is a mid-range boutique hotel with great value for money, located a 10-minute walk from the iconic Burj Khalifa.
The hotel features deluxe interior decorations with designer furnishings that distinguish all rooms. Each one has unique bathrooms with separate baths and showers.
You can relax in the outdoor pool or work out in the in-house gym.
- Address Sky View
Address Sky, a 5-star hotel located in the centre of Dubai, has one of the most famous infinity swimming pools in the city, as well as a fitness centre, a sauna and free bikes.
All the eight-room options are equipped with a desk, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, a wardrobe, etc. Some of them have a balcony and others also boast city views.
Breakfast is available, and includes buffet, à la carte and continental options. There’s also a restaurant serving international cuisine.
- Armani Hotel
If you ask me where to stay in Downtown for a luxury holiday, my answer is Armani Hotel.
Envisioned by fashion icon Giorgio Armani, this hotel occupies 11 floors of Dubai’s iconic skyscraper, Burj Khalifa.
The elegant curved lines rooms are decorated with Japanese tatami and luxury fabrics. Armani Hotel Dubai features sophisticated dining options, an extensive spa, and a trendy nightclub.
Dubai Marina – Where to Stay in Dubai for A Week
Another popular place to stay in Dubai and one of my favourites.
Dubai Marina is an affluent neighbourhood located around 20 km (12 mi) southwest of Downtown Dubai featuring a 7 km palm-lined beachfront walkway, shopping malls, al fresco dining, sandy beaches, luxury skyscrapers and magnificent views.
When staying at Dubai Marina, you can enjoy a pleasant stroll along the promenade, relax on the beach, enjoy the vibrant nightlife, take a boat tour, etc.
There are plenty of accommodation options and a great variety of restaurants for all tastes and budgets.
The cons of staying at Dubai Marina are the traffic and it’s a bit of a hassle to get to some tourist attractions (the closest metro station is around 1 km /13-min walk).
Dubai Marina is close to the following tourist attractions:
- Jumeirah Beach Residence
- Mall of Emirates (16min drive / 25min by metro)
- The View at the Palm (12min drive / 37min walk + tram + monorail)
- Ain Dubai Boulevard (16min drive / 30min tram & taxi)
- Dubai Miracle Garden (16min drive / 01h by public transport)
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Best hotels in Dubai Marina
- Skyview Host
Skyview Host is one of the best-rated inexpensive places to stay in Dubai Marina.
The hostel provides an outdoor swimming pool, shared lounge, terrace, free WiFi, evening entertainment and a shared kitchen.
The female-only and the mixed bedrooms are equipped with air conditioning, bed linen, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bath and a desk.
- 1 World Backpackers Dubai
Situated 10min away from Dubai Marina Walk, 1 World Dubai features accommodations with an outdoor swimming pool, a garden and a shared lounge.
This hostel, another cheap place to stay in Dubai Marina, offers city views, a terrace, a 24-hour front desk, and free WiFi.
Breakfast is available each morning, and includes buffet, continental and Full English/Irish options.
- Jannah Marina Hotel
Situated a 10-minute walk from JBR Beach and 13 min away from DMCC Metro station, Jannah Marina is a mid-range hotel offering air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi.
All the rooms have a flat-screen TV, a kettle, bathrobes, slippers, free toiletries, and a hairdryer. Some of them include a seating area where you can relax and admire the view.
The hotel has also an outdoor pool and views of the sea, a restaurant, private parking, hairdressers, and shops.
- Millennium Place Dubai Marina
Millennium Place Dubai Marina is a 4-star hotel with good value for money conveniently located 3-min away from Jumeirah Lake Towers metro station.
The rooms have air conditioning, a seating area and a private bathroom with a shower, free toiletries and a hairdryer. Some of them have a balcony, while others have pool views.
The hotel has also an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and a restaurant.
- Grosvenor House
Located on the Dubai Marina promenade, this upmarket beach hotel with spa offers panoramic views of Dubai Marina, an outdoor pool and an extensive range of culinary experiences.
The modern rooms and suites include 42-inch flat-screen TVs and floor-to-ceiling windows. The marble bathroom comes with Byredo amenities, a soaking tub and a rain shower.
Guests have full access to the beach, pool and leisure facilities at Grosvenor’s sister hotel, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa.
Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) – Best Place to Stay in Dubai for Singles and Nightlife
Set 1.2 km from Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence, or simply JBR, is a waterfront community with 35 residential towers on a 1.7-kilometre strip.
The bustling beachside boulevard is a popular promenade among residents and visitors. It features a variety of outdoor pop-up markets, eateries, street performances and an open-air cinema, and is one of the coolest places in Dubai.
The best thing about staying at JBR is its soft sand and crystal-clear water beach, which is Dubai’s best public beach.
But, similarly to Dubai Marina, the main downside of staying at JBR is the traffic. Furthermore, it looks a bit too artificial to me with all the buildings looking exactly the same…
Points of interest near JBR
- Dubai Marina Walk
- Palm West Beach (14min drive / 28min by public transport + taxi)
- Wild Wadi Waterpark (17min drive / 32min by metro)
- Burj Khalifa (24min drive / 45min by metro)
- Also visiting Qatar? Check here Where to Stay in Doha
Best hotels in Jumeirah Beach Residence
- JBR Beach Hostel
Located in Dubai, 450 yards from Marina Beach, JBR Beach Hostel provides accommodation with a garden, a shared lounge and a terrace.
This top-rated hostel provides air-conditioned rooms with a balcony, a desk, free WiFi and city views.
You can use a fridge, play billiards and even have access to a private beach area.
- Ramada Hotel & Suites by Wyndham
Located between Jumeirah Beach Residence, The Walk and Dubai Marina, this affordable hotel occupies a prime location on the main strip.
Ramada Hotel & Suites by Wyndham Dubai JBR offers spacious air-conditioned rooms with a cosmopolitan design.
It also provides a wide variety of international dishes, family entertainment activities and a spectacular view of the Arabian Gulf.
- Mövenpick Jumeirah Beach
Situated within walking distance from the Arabian Gulf beaches, the Mövenpick Jumeirah Beach is a reasonably-priced 5-star hotel in Jumeirah Beach Residence.
The hotel provides a variety of dining and award-winning bars and recreation facilities. It has also an outdoor pool, wellness centre and spa.
All 297 rooms are decorated in a contemporary style. Some rooms and suites have partial sea views.
- Rixos Premium Dubai
Located on JBR Beach, this 5-star hotel provides spacious rooms and suites with floor-to-ceiling windows.
The rooms feature at least one 48-inch flat-screen TV and a seating area. The bathrooms offer a separate rainforest shower and free-standing tub and luxury Chopard bathroom amenities.
The hotel also boasts great dining and entertainment, as well as a spa with 9 treatment rooms, and a fitness centre with stunning unobstructed views of the Gulf.
- Address Beach Resort
Address Beach Resort, one the best newly-opened hotels in Dubai, is located 350 yards from Marina Beach, in an award-winning building design.
This 5-star hotel offers rooms equipped with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a seating area, a desk, and a private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries.
The highlight is the stunning rooftop infinity pool, which provides incredible sea views.
Deira – Where to Stay in Dubai on a Budget
Deira is located on the opposite side of Dubai Marina and JBR, at the north end of Dubai Creek within an area known as Old Dubai. It’s a historically significant region and the oldest commercial district in Dubai, dating back to the mid-1700s.
It’s home to centuries-old Gold and Spice Souks, historic quarters, and buildings that differs completely from the modern city of Dubai with its futuristic skyscrapers, luxury hotels and opulent shopping malls.
Here you find an array of inexpensive hotels and restaurants, which makes Deira the best place to stay in Dubai for budget travellers. It’s also the perfect location for those staying one day in the city because it’s close to the airport.
One of the downsides of staying in Deira is that it does not feel like Dubai, or the Dubai you dreamed of – you won’t see all the glamour and wealth that you associate with “The Golden City”. And if you aren’t familiar with Middle East/Asia, you may feel a bit unsafe.
Points of interest in/near Deira
- Spice and Gold Souk
- Dubai Heritage Village
- Dubai Frame (13min drive / 27min by metro + taxi)
- Dubai Dolphinarium (17min drive / 34min by metro)
- Burj Khalifa (19min drive / 39min by metro)
Best hotels in Deira, Dubai
- Rove City Centre
Rove City Centre, one of the best cheap hotels in Deira, is located just a 7min drive from Dubai International Airport and the nearest metro station is only a 4-minute walk.
The hotel offers a year-round outdoor swimming pool and fitness centre, an all-day dining restaurant, and a self-service laundromat.
It has 270 air-conditioned spacious rooms with a flat-screen TV, a coffee machine and a private bathroom equipped with a rain shower and hairdryer.
- City Avenue Al Reqqa Hotel
This 3-star hotel offers non-smoking rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre, free WiFi, and a business centre.
City Avenue provides air-conditioned rooms with a wardrobe, a kettle, a minibar, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom.
A buffet, continental or vegetarian breakfast can be enjoyed at the hotel.
- Ibis Styles Dubai Deira
This 3-star hotel located close to the Gold and Spice Souks provides accommodation with an outdoor swimming pool, free parking, a fitness centre, a bar and a terrace.
All rooms are equipped with AC, a seating area, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, a safety deposit box and a private bathroom.
At Ibis Styles Dubai, one of the best places to stay in Deira, you will find a restaurant serving American, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
- Al Bandar Rotana
Al Bandar Rotana is an inexpensive 5-star hotel with a prime waterside location, on the edge of Dubai Creek.
All 190 rooms and suites offer stunning city or creek views, are stylishly furnished and feature the latest in-room amenities and technology.
The hotel boasts five dining venues, including The Deck Pool Lounge, a Fitness & Wellness Club, an outdoor swimming pool and sauna, and steam and massage rooms.
- Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers
This recently renovated 5-star hotel is located in a prime location in Deira, on the banks of the Dubai Creek, just an 8-minute walk from Union metro station.
All of the rooms at the Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers come with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the creek and the city.
The Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers also features a swimming pool, a fitness centre and saunas and offers massage treatments.
Jumeirah Beach – Best Area to Stay in Dubai for Families
In the past, Jumeirah was home to Arab fishermen, pearl divers and traders. Today, this coastal district is where you’ll find some of the best luxury hotels in the city, including Burj Al Arab, the only ‘seven-star’ hotel in the world, and Bulgari Resort.
Jumeirah Beach stretches along 5 kilometres. It boasts beautiful beachfront homes and prime resorts with private beaches, world-class restaurants, and plenty of activities to entertain the whole family.
You can still find reasonably priced hotels and restaurants in Jumeirah, but the public beach isn’t that great. In addition, there are no metro stations nearby, so you will need to hire a car or depend heavily on taxes/Uber to get around the city.
However, if you’re planning a luxury family vacation, Jumeirah Beach is the place to stay.
Points of interest on/near Jumeirah Beach
- Wild Wadi Waterpark
- Burj Al Arab
- Jumeirah Mosque (15min drive / 31min by bus)
- Dubai Marina (20min drive / 55min by bus)
- Burj Khalifa (11min drive / 48min by bus)
Best hotels on Jumeirah Beach
- Metropolitan Hotel
This affordable hotel in the Jumeirah Beach area features a spa centre with a hot tub and an on-site bar.
Every room is air-conditioned and has a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom fitted with a bath or shower, where you find bathrobes and slippers.
Certain units include a seating area and have views of the garden or city.
- Beach Walk Hotel Jumeirah
Beach Walk Hotel Jumeirah is a very affordable 4-star hotel located within walking distance of some of the best beaches in Dubai, good restaurants and cafés.
It offers accommodation with a fitness centre, free parking, a terrace, a restaurant, a business centre, a sauna and a concierge service.
The rooms come with AC, a seating area, a flat-screen TV, a kettle, and a private bathroom with free toiletries and a hairdryer.
- Crowne Plaza, Dubai Jumeirah
Modern and chic, Crowne Plaza Dubai – Jumeirah features a rooftop pool with sun loungers and stunning views of Dubai Skyline.
This 5-star hotel with great value for money is located 5 minutes away from La Mer Beach and has a pool bar, a spa, restaurants and a café.
Rooms are fitted with mahogany furnishings and display a contemporary décor. 55″ flat-screen TVs complement the modern layout with IPTV channels and tea/coffee makers.
- Jumeirah Beach Hotel
This 5-star luxury Dubai hotel has a private beach and features over 10 restaurants and bars, and 5 swimming pools.
Guests can enjoy free unlimited direct access to Wild Wadi Waterpark.
All the hotel’s rooms, suites and villas are spacious and have floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Arabian Gulf and Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Each features a Widescreen Interactive HD LCD TV, evening turndown service and free WiFi access.
- One&Only Royal Mirage Resort
Undoubtedly one of the most luxurious resorts in Dubai and one of the best places to stay on Jumeirah Beach.
One&Only Royal Mirage boasts 1 Km of beachfront and 65 acres of lush gardens, has 8 restaurants, a large temperature-controlled swimming pool, a water sports centre and a “KidsOnly” Club with daily programs.
The Arabian Styled stunning resort is made up of 3 distinct environments. Each one with unique rooms and themed restaurants.
Palm Jumeirah Island – Best Place to Stay in Dubai for Couples
If you ask me where the best place is to stay in Dubai for a luxury and stress-free holiday, my answer is no doubt Palm Jumeirah Island.
This palm-tree-shaped manmade archipelago is home to some of Dubai’s ultra-lavish resorts, including Atlantis and One&Only The Palm. There are also stylish apartment towers, upmarket global restaurants, such as Nobu and 101 Dining Lounge, beach clubs, and boisterous nightclubs.
The cons of staying in this famous and unique archipelago are that it’s quite isolated and you will need a car to get around. Accommodation and restaurants here tend to be more expensive.
However, Palm Jumeirah Island is the perfect choice if you want to spend more time relaxing on the beach rather than sightseeing and want to be away from mass tourism.
Points of interest at Palm Jumeirah Island
Best hotels on Palm Jumeirah Island
- Royal Central Hotel and Resort
Featuring a private beach area, Royal Central Hotel The Palm is one of the best affordable hotels on Palm Jumeirah Island.
It provides rooms fitted with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a mini bar, a kettle, a bath, a wardrobe, and a private bathroom with free toiletries.
The hotel also offers a continental or buffet breakfast, house restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine.
- Voco Dubai The Palm
This superb 4-star hotel with great value for money is located a few steps from Palm West Beach.
Voco Dubai The Palm offers accommodation with an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a fitness centre and a terrace.
Rooms are air-conditioned and come with a desk, a kettle, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom.
- Atlantis, The Palm
Atlantis, The Palm, one of the best and most famous hotels in Dubai, has an array of dining options, high-end boutiques and shops.
All the Arabian and oceanic décor inspired rooms feature a balcony, a flat-screen satellite TV, a seating area, complimentary tea/coffee-making facilities and a minibar.
Guests enjoy complimentary access to Aquaventure, the largest waterpark in the Middle East.
- Taj Exotica Resort & Spa
Another top-rated 5-star hotel on Palm Jumeirah featuring seven distinct restaurants, bars, lounges, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre, a bar, a private beach area and a tennis court.
All rooms are equipped with a balcony and sofa bed, a private bathroom, a safety deposit box and free WiFi. Some rooms have a terrace and others have sea views.
- Atlantis The Royal
Another brand-new high-rated 5-star hotel offering superb facilities and excellent customer service.
Atlantis The Royal includes rooms, suites and signature penthouses, featuring views of the Arabian Sea and Palm Island. With private balconies, terraces and private pools.
Home to 17 world-class restaurants, including 8 celebrity chef restaurants, Atlantis The Royal is a culinary destination in Dubai.
I believe that after this breakdown and hotel options, you will sort out where to stay in Dubai.
Remember that when you book using the links on my site, there are no additional costs, and you will help me keep blogging and bringing valuable information.
Safe travels and have a wonderful time in Dubai.
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