Last updated on February 16, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Middle East

Where to stay in Dubai

Over the last several years, Dubai has steadily risen in ranks as one of the most popular metropolitan tourist attractions.

This United Arab Emirates city is a hub for luxury shopping, lively cultural experiences and architectural wonders.

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that you are considering a trip there and all I can say is that you are in for a treat.

In the sections below, you will learn all that you need about where to stay in Dubai and what to expect from your trip.

The best part is that all our recommendations and reviews have just been updated. No close restaurant or hotels in need of care.

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If you want more information on the latest news in Dubai before your visit, check out Gulf News

Where to stay in Dubai – In a nutshell

The best areas to stay in Dubai are mostly along the coastline (if you are after some beach time) or just 3/4km from it (if you prefer to focus your stay on activities).

If you fly in during the day, try to get a seat next to the window. The view is just magnificent.

You will notice as well that the city is actually quite big. Dubai coastline is over 40km long and the train from the Airport to the Marina takes almost 50 minutes.

Here below it’s a map with all the best areas to stay in Dubai, the ones we suggest based on the type of holiday you are looking for, with family and kids or, on the other side of the spectrum, for some nightlife.

Best area to stay in Dubai
Best area to stay in Dubai
  • Where to stay in Dubai with family: you have two options; you can spend your stay in Dubai with kids at the beach, with pools and slides, in a hotel/resort and in this case you should book your accommodation either at Jumeirah Beach or The Palm. Alternatively, if too hot (especially in July-August) or the beach is just not your thing, then Downtown is the place to be, with plenty of activities for children and the biggest shopping mall in the world. Read more below about a stay with a family, including hotels, restaurants and playgrounds
  • Best area to stay in Dubai on a budget: the cheapest areas in the city are Deira and Bur Dubai. They are both close to the airport and they both have a Metro station that will connect you to the neighbourhoods of Downtown (~20 minutes) and the Marina (~40 minutes), besides the other beaches. Deira is more business-oriented meanwhile Bur Dubai has more infrastructure for tourists. Deira and Bur Dubai are the areas where it all started, with still a bit of old feeling. Read more below on a budget stay, with the best deals in Dubai
  • Best place to stay in Dubai for nightlife: the Marina is the newest area of Dubai, a very popular one, also thanks to the beaches around, some of them private. You will see mostly western people, beers and drinks are openly served. Hotels in this area are new, usually with a beautiful design and lovely interior. It’s a great location with a wide choice of accommodations, from luxury to economy. Read more below about a stay with nightlife in Dubai
  • Best area to stay as a tourist, close to everything: if you are looking for some beach time but still easy access to the Downtown area then Mercato Beach could be the place for you. It’s not a popular area, there are only a few hotels. Grab a taxi and you will be in Downtown in 10 minutes, that easy. Read more below about a stay close to everything
  • Where to stay in Dubai for couples: for a quiet and romantic stay then The Palm is a great solution and the Aloft Palm Jumeirah is a lovely, colourful and well-priced Hotel with amazing views. For more action then stay at the Marina and the Rove Dubai Marina is another great value place to stay.
  • Where to stay in Dubai for a honeymoon: stay at The Palm for the most relaxing and romantic stay. The Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai is an amazing resort and if you want a crazy day then head to the closeby Aquaventure Waterpark
  • Beach vs city/downtown: it’s a totally different experience, although you can always more from one to the other for a swim or some shopping. For a long stay (a week or more) the beach may be a better option, however, for just 2/3 days the city offers a ton of activities, perfect for anyone that is not into sunbathing. Read more below about all the differences
  • Where to stay in Dubai for the beach: Jumeirah and JBR are the two most popular beaches, and possibly the best ones in Dubai. Read more below about these beaches.
  • Where to stay in Dubai for new years eve: usually fireworks and laser shows are in Burj Khalifa (Downtown Dubai) and at The Palm. For the best view try to book your hotel in one of the two areas. The Aloft Palm Jumeirah in The Palm is a great solution as you will have also a view of the city skyline.
  • Places to stay in Dubai Marina: This is where you will have the best nightlife in Dubai and also where you will find one of the best beaches, JBR Beach. Read more on the Marina Dubai below
  • Best area to stay for shopping: no doubt that the best place to book a hotel for shopping is Downtown. Consider that you can get easily lost for days in The Dubai Mall (the world’s biggest shopping centre). Read more on Downtown here.
  • Where to stay for one night: for a quick stay then Dowtown can be the best solution with plenty of activities and a visit to Burj Khalifa (the famous skyscraper with a viewing deck). 
  • Best place to stay in Dubai for 2 nights: for some relax and quick access to Downtown you can stay in Mercato Beach. You will kill two birds with one stone. For more action and access to downtown by Metro (20-30 minutes) then the Marina is the place to be.
  • Where to stay in Dubai for 3 nights: Marina is a great place to be based for 3 days as you will have access to plenty of restaurants and bars for the night. Jumeirah Beach is also a good option if you are looking for a more exclusive solution
  • Where to stay in Dubai for a stopover: the Dubai International Terminal Hotel is the easiest solution as you will not have to leave the airport at all. Another great solution at a fraction of the price Flora Inn Hotel, a few hundred meters from the Airport and including a complimentary shuttle to the Terminal.
  • Top 5 experiences to have in Dubai:
  • Do you want to go straight to your hotel? Pre-order an airport transfer that will wait for you directly at the airport. So easy.
The long beach of Dubai
The long beach of Dubai

Where to stay in Dubai with family

Jumeirah Beach or The Palm (for a beach break)

Jumeirah Beach is located on the coast of the Persian Gulf and offers amazing views of the Dubai city skyline on one side and the iconic Burj Al Arab on another.

With its pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, it is a perfect place to have a seaside day out as a family.

Here I suggest a stay at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. This 5-star hotel is ideal for the families looking for a luxurious experience, with multiple pools to choose from and a service that take the kids need in great consideration.

From the outside, you will be greeted by a beautiful and futuristic work of architectural art. The high-end décor inside is every bit as mesmerizing with the hotel maintaining the perfect balance between minimal and flashy.

When you are not lounging in your comfortable room or soaking up the sun and views from your patio, you could always take the kids to Wild Wadi Waterpark. Here they will get to try everything from aquatic roller coasters to surf wave pools.

Check availability at Jumeirah Hotel

Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Jumeirah Beach Hotel

The Palm is a collection of three artificial islands in the shape of a palm tree. This alone is enough to earn it a spot on every family’s travel bucket list.

It is home to both residential neighbourhoods and beach resorts.

For you as a family, there is a lot to do including shopping, water sports and even swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Bay.

While here, it would be a crime to not stay at the iconic Atlantis The Palm hotel. This waterfront hotel features a unique fusion of modern western and traditional Arabian architectural styles.

This style is also reflected in the décor of the rooms ensuring that wherever you are in or near the hotel you are surrounded by beauty and grandeur.

Something that the kids will really enjoy about this one is the fact that it has an underwater aquarium in one of the in-house cafes. What a way to have your breakfast. They will also love the complimentary access to attractions like the Aquaventure Waterpark and the Lost Chambers Aquarium both of which are a short walk away.

Check availability at Atlantis

Atlantis The Palm
Atlantis The Palm

Downtown Dubai (for activities)

If you want a more active schedule during your trip then you might want to book your family stay in Downtown Dubai.

It is easily one of the liveliest parts of town but manages to offer so much so effortlessly.

Downtown Dubai
Downtown Dubai

Below are a few things you could throw into your itinerary for a fun family day out.

When it comes to booking a hotel, one of the best options you have is Rove Downtown. This place is every kid’s travel dream come true with its large outdoor pool, in-house movie theatre and free Wi-Fi just to name a few.

It features simple and homey décor vibes that make it feel like a home away from home. It is also conveniently close to all the major Downtown attractions.

Check availability at Rove

Rove Downtown
Rove Downtown

Where to stay in Dubai on a budget – Deira and Bur Dubai

Dubai is a very opulent and flashy city with most high-end districts offering only pricey options.

However, there are a few neighbourhoods with just as much class and pizzazz but much friendlier on your travel budget.

These are Deira and Bur Dubai. Here is more about them and what each has to offer.

Bike delivery in Bur Dubai
Bike delivery in Bur Dubai

Deira (more cosmopolitan)

Deira is a cultural hotspot owing to its status as a hub for expatriates.

Here, you will find Asian grocery stores, Thai clothes shops and even Russian restaurants like Ekzotica Restaurant which is a casual family-friendly spot with amazing Uzbek pilaf.

They also have Arabian restaurants in which case is Kababji Grill a must-visit with its awesome Lebanese-Mediterranean fusion menu.

Its overall affordability does not mean that there is a compromise on quality with Deira fitting in perfectly with the rest of Dubai’s high-end vibes.

While here, make sure to visit the iconic Deira Clock Tower and the nearby Bait Al Banat Women’s Museum.

In Deira, consider staying at Le Wana Hotel. This is a 3-star accommodation offering a comfortable and affordable stay close to numerous local attractions like the clock tower and Dubai Museum. The hotel itself features very stylishly dynamic décor with everything from earthy vibes to dark romantic tones.

Check bargain at La Wana

Le Wana Hotel
Le Wana Hotel

Bur Dubai (more local)

Bur Dubai is on the other end of Dubai Creek from Deira and is every bit as affordable and comfortable.

It features more local cultural influence than Deira and is therefore ideal if you are looking for a more immersive experience.

One way to enjoy this is through the food in which case Lebanese Village Restaurant is one of the most popular options around.

You could also check out Al Fahidi Arabian Tea House which has awesome Arabian breakfast options.

Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai is a great place to stay while here for many reasons including the rooftop pool, free private parking and free Wi-Fi. It features a predominantly rustic theme that is perfectly executed to give a sense of luxury despite the affordability.

Check price at Citymax

Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai
Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai

Best place to stay in Dubai for nightlife – Marina

The Marina district is on a manmade canal from the Persian Gulf and is best known for its iconic skyline as well as the occasional city visits by sharks and whales from the ocean.

Imagine walking down the street minding your own business then you see a shark’s fins in the canal. There is truly nothing like it.

Dubai Marina
Dubai Marina

While the Marina is a wonder by day, it is at night that you truly get to enjoy the magic of this district.

It is home to numerous clubs, bars and late-night restaurants for you to explore while on your night owl escapades.

The restaurants, in particular, are pretty spectacular with Pier 7 being one of the most noteworthy. In addition to the awesome food, you will have spectacular nighttime views of the city and the canal.

JB’S Gastropub is another great option. They are particularly known for having a wide selection of beers and cocktails as well as having the best fish and chips in town.

So what are the best place to stay in Dubai for nightlife in the Marina?

The DoubleTree by Hilton is one of the winners. From the warm chocolate chip cookie welcome to the breathtaking views, it is easy to see what makes this beachfront 5-star paradise so popular. It offers a state of the art fine living experience with access to amenities like free Wi-Fi, a gym with ocean views and private pool cabanas. It is also right next to the beach and close to attractions like the Beach Mall.

Check availability at DoubleTree

DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach
DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach

The Rove Dubai Marina is a more economical option and though less ritzy is still very classy and comfortable. It comes with free parking, free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool and a fitness centre. It is particularly beautiful at night offering awesome views of the surrounding highrise buildings all lit up in the dark.

Check price at Rove

Rove Dubai Marina
Rove Dubai Marina

Where to stay in Dubai as a tourist, close to everything – Mercato Beach

As a tourist in Dubai, there is no shortage of attractions for you to visit and activities for you to try out.

It, therefore, goes without saying that it is always best to stay as close to the action as possible.

Walking on the beach
Walking on the beach

That way you knock off a lot from your bucket list without the inconvenience and cost of long cross-city commutes.

Here, Mercato Beach is one of the best option offering quick and easy access to everything, from a lovely beach to relax to the vibrant Downtown which is just 10-20 minutes away by taxi.

In addition to being close to everything, Mercato has several amazing hotels and resorts for you to choose from.

The Mandarin Oriental Jumeira is a world-class hotel that oozes luxury with its beautiful architecture and modern high-end décor. These, however, dull in comparison to all the amazing views from pretty much every side of the hotel. You have the ocean on one end, the city on the other and there is truly nothing more breath-taking. The hotel is also close to numerous malls for some retail therapy including Mercato Mall, The Village Mall and City Walk Mall.

Check availability at the Mandarin

Mandarin Oriental Jumeira
Mandarin Oriental Jumeira

The Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa is a great option for a low budget stay, still close to all the action. The hotel features a more laid back style with minimalistic décor. However, where it lacks in flashiness it more than makes up for in amenities including an on-site night club and restaurant, a spa and 3 swimming pools.

Check price at the Dubai Marine

Dubai Marine Beach Resort
Dubai Marine Beach Resort

If you want to know what it feels like staying on an artificial island then the Bulgari Resort is the hotel for you. It is a little further from the attractions than the other two but it compensates with a very unique experience. Located on iconic Daria Island, the Bulgari Resort features a Yacht club, a large outdoor pool, beachfront access and a spa and fitness centre.

Check availability at Bulgari

Bulgari Resort
Bulgari Resort

Where to stay in Dubai beach or city

Dubai beach and Dubai city may share a name but the similarities end there.

These two offer vastly different experiences to visitors.

The City/Downtown has a livelier and more vibrant vibe and offers access to a wider variety of activities.

There are plenty of activities for both adults and kids alike. Here below just a few experiences that you can add to your bucket list:

In the city, I would suggest staying at the Rove Downtown Hotel

The Beach, on the other hand, has more of a laid back vibe.

You can sunbathe the whole day, have sunset drinks and enjoy the nice sea breeze at dinner on the beach, even in the cold “winter” months.

Most activities and attractions are water-related, from a jet-ski tour to snorkelling and scuba-diving.

Best places to stay at the beach

The two most popular beaches in Dubai are Jumeirah Beach and JBR Beach. They both offer a fantastic beach environment, however, they do differ in style and type of experience.

Jumeirah Beach offers great views all around including a view of the tallest and most luxurious hotels in the world: Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.

This beach location is ideal if you want a luxurious experience with high-end facilities.

The classic Arabian architecture, the luxurious décor and the private balcony views are just a few of the things that make the waterfront Jumeirah Mina A’Salam Hotel a boutique experience you will never forget. It also comes with a golf club, a kid’s park, a theatre and a spa to ensure that your stay is not just luxurious but also fun.

Check availability at Mina A’Salam

Jumeirah Mina A'Salam
Jumeirah Mina A’Salam

The Park Regis Boutique Hotel is a more economical option, still offering a real boutique experience with its white walls and Arabian windows that make it feel like you are living in a traditional Arabian mansion. It offers a wide variety of amenities including free Wi-Fi and an on-site restaurant. And although it does not have its own pool it is conveniently close to the nearby Public Beach

Check price at Park Regis

Park Regis Boutique Hotel
Park Regis Boutique Hotel

JBR Beach is one of the busiest beaches in Dubai and with its easy public access, sandy white beaches and mesmerising skyline views it is not so hard to see why.

There is a wider choice of accommodation along this beach however two of them stand out.

The Sonder — JBR Suites is a bright and airy hotel with a minimalist décor theme that still manages to ooze as much luxury as the flashiest and ritziest of hotels. It is designed to offer a home away from home experience with comfortable rooms some of which have well-equipped kitchens and living rooms. It also offers close access to the beach and a variety of attractions including the Mall of the Emirates

Check price at Sonder

Sonder — JBR Suites
Sonder — JBR Suites

If you are after a serviced apartment close to the beach than the Dream Inn Apartments offer a more affordable but equally comfortable stay in the JBR area.

They come with a living space, a kitchen and even a formal dining space which is perfect for group trips. It also offers amazing surrounding views with the magnificent floor to ceiling windows in most rooms.

Check bargain at Dream Inn

Dream Inn Apartments
Dream Inn Apartments

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Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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