Where to stay in Dubai: Best areas + hotels

Are you traveling to Dubai and are wondering which are the best areas to stay in Dubai? If so, it is very important that you analyze the different neighborhoods in the city, since it is huge and your experience in it can vary a lot depending on your hotel's location.

To give you an idea of how large Dubai is, the distance between the Burj Khalifa and the Marina, two of the best places to visit in Dubai, is 23 kilometers. Or, even further apart from each other, the distance between Deira, one of the main neighborhoods in the city, and the Marina is 35 kilometers.

Since the distances between places are so large, Dubai is not a city where you can walk from one tourist attraction to another. Therefore, it is important to choose a hotel in Dubai that is close to a metro station, unless you are going to get around by car.

It is also important that you choose an area to stay in Dubai according to the activities you wish to do during your stay: getting to know all the tourist attractions, going shopping, partying, going to the beach, etc. Likewise, the perfect location for you will depend on whether you are traveling alone, as a couple, with friends or as a family with children.

Lastly, you should consider your budget before choosing where to stay in Dubai. The city of luxury does not have many affordable hotels options; however, it is still possible to find relatively affordable hotels in Dubai, at least compared to other hotels in the city. On the contrary, if you are looking for luxury and comforts, you will have plenty of options.

Table of contents

Best areas to stay in Dubai

There is a wide variety of neighborhoods to stay in Dubai. As I do not want to make the task of finding a hotel in Dubai even more complicated for you, I have selected only 5 areas where to stay in Dubai.

1. Downtown Dubai, a great option to stay in Dubai

where to stay in dubai
Downtown

Whether or not you decide to stay in Downtown Dubai, I am sure you will pass through this area during your visit to the city, as it is where the famous Burj Khalifa is located. You will also find the Dubai Mall, the most popular shopping center in the city, and the Dubai Fountain, where various water, light and music shows are held every night.

Staying in this area of ​​the city will allow you to visit several places just a few meters from your hotel. The Dubai Mall, apart from having many shops and restaurants (be sure to visit the Time Out Market), has other attractions, such as an ice rink, numerous movie theaters, a virtual reality room, a trampoline park for children, a digital art exhibition, and more.

When it comes to hotels, Downtown Dubai has some of the best luxury hotels in Dubai. However, in recent years, more affordable options have also been implemented in this area of the city.

As I mentioned previously, if you are going to move around the city by public transport, choosing a hotel close to a metro station is ideal. In this case, you won’t issues, since the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall metro station is just a few minutes’ walk away.

Although the city of Dubai does not have a center per se, this area, is quite centric. That being said, its good connection to the rest of the city by public transport, makes it an ideal area to stay in Dubai if you are interested in visiting most of the city’s tourist attractions.

It’s also a great option for families traveling with children.

Best hotels in Downtown Dubai

where to stay in dubai
Source: Booking
  • Address Sky View. If you aren’t traveling on a budget, don’t hesitate, stay in this hotel. Its rooftop pool with views of the Burj Khalifa will make you never want to leave Dubai. It also has a bar, restaurant, gym, sauna, sun terrace, etc.
  • Sofitel Downtown. This hotel is located just 2 minutes away (walking) from the Dubai Mall metro station, which makes it one of the best hotels in Dubai if you want to move around the city very easily. It has bars, restaurants and even a bakery. It also houses a gym and an outdoor pool with spectacular views
  • Ramada Downtown. This hotel is not bad for the price, considering where it’s located. In addition, as it is an apartment/hotel, you will have a kitchen where you cook breakfast or prepare a meal. They have apartments for up to 12 people, which makes it a great option if you are traveling as a group.

2. Dubai Marina, for an unforgettable stay

Ain Dubai
Dubai Marina

If you’re visiting Dubai to relax on a beach, enjoy incredible sunsets, practice water sports, take long walks and be surrounded by a friendly environment, the Dubai Marina is the best area to stay in Dubai.

It is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the city. Here you will find an extensive beach of golden sand and clear water, a large variety of bars and restaurants, a huge port and the Dubai Marina Mall, another of the main shopping centers in Dubai.

On the other hand, it is one of the best places in Dubai to go for a walk. As I already mentioned, this city is not very pedestrian friendly. However, the Dubai Marina has two long promenades where you can enjoy long walks: The Promenade and The Walk.

Due to the large number of activities in this area of Dubai, this residential neighborhood is ideal for any type of traveler. Above all, it is a popular destination for couples and groups of friends.

Despite being located in the southern part of Dubai, the Dubai Marina is well-connected to the rest of the city by metro. If you intend to stay in this part of the city, I recommend booking a hotel as soon as possible, since many places sale out quickly.

Bes hotels to stay in Dubai Marina

  • Millennium Place. This 4-star hotel is located in the Dubai Marina. Its strong point is the pool with views of the skyscrapers. It also has a fitness center, restaurant, bar and free private parking. It is a very good option if you travel as a couple.
  • Crowne Plaza. It is located just a 10-minute walk from one of the best beaches in Dubai and one minute away from the Dubai Marina Mall. It has rooms for up to 5 people, which is ideal for families or groups of friends. The hotel has 5 restaurants, an outdoor pool, a gym and a bar.
  • Sonder at JBR The Walk. If you want your trip with family or friends to have a good dose of luxury, this may be one of the best hotels in Dubai for you. They only offer suites for 4 or more people (up to 10 people). It is located right in front of the beach and also has a huge swimming pool with hammocks and umbrellas.

3. Bur Dubai, the historic center

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Bur Dubai

If you like modernity and luxury but prefer to be surrounded by a more traditional atmosphere, I recommend staying in Bur Dubai.

In this neighborhood located south of the Dubai Creek (a stream used for commerce and transportation) you can walk through narrow streets while appreciating the oldest buildings in the city, you can eat traditional emirati cuisine in the local restaurants and visit important commercial centers.

Be sure to stroll through the charming neighborhoods of Al Fahidi and Al Seef, also, do not forget to visit the Dubai Museum or purchase local product in one of the many craft shops. 

If your budget is tight, here you have more possibilities to find affordable hotels. In addition, it is a good starting point to get to know the rest of Dubai since, despite being far from areas such as the Dubai Marina, it is very well connected by metro.

Best hotels in Bur Dubai

where to stay in dubai
Source: Booking
  • Al Seef Heritage Hotel. If you want to witness the history and culture of Dubai without leaving your hotel room, you will love this hotel. Located along the Dubai Creek, it features traditional architecture and décor. The hotel has a restaurant.
  • Doubletree by Hilton M Square. This hotel is located 10 minutes away (walking) from the Burjuman metro station, which has access to both Dubai metro lines. This makes this hotel an ideal choice to stay in Dubai if you want to have access to the entire city by metro. In addition, the hotel has a restaurant, a fitness center and an outdoor pool. The hotel’s decoration is very nice.
  • Rose Garden Hotel Apartments. Well-priced apartment/hotel in Bur Dubai locates near two metro stations. They offer studios and suites with private kitchens. It has a rooftop pool, spa and gym. It also offers free private parking.

4. The Palm Jumeirah, where to stay in Dubai if you are seeking luxury

where to stay in dubai
The Palm Jumeirah

If you want to savor luxury and immerse yourself in Dubai’s culture, I can’t think of a better place than The Palm Jumeirah, an artificial island shaped like a palm, to stay in Dubai. Some of the best restaurants in Dubai and many of the most expensive and luxurious hotels are located in Jumeirah. One of them is the famous Atlantis The Palm hotel.

It is a great option if you are looking for relaxing places nearby, such as spending the afternoon on you hotel’s private beach or a beach club, which combines luxury and gastronomy. If you are traveling as a couple, even if it is your honeymoon, staying at The Palm Jumeirah is a good option.

Do not forget that sleeping on this artificial island is expensive. Both hotels and restaurants are high class. Therefore, if you don’t intend to spend a lot of money on your trip to Dubai, I don’t recommend sleeping here.

Lastly, staying at The Palm Jumeirah is not the best option if you plan to visit several touristic places in Dubai as the location is not the best.

If you are going to get around by taxi, staying in Jumeirah may not be a very big disadvantage. However, if you plan on using public transportation to get around, in order to get to the metro, you will first have to take a monorail to get off the island.

Best hotels in The Palm Jumeirah

  • Atlantis The Palm. Staying at the famous Atlantis hotel will be quite an experience. It has a private beach, wide variety of restaurants, complementary access to the Aquaventure water park, exclusive boutiques, spa, swimming pool… You will not lack anything to enjoy a luxurious vacation.
  • One&Only The Palm. It is one of the best hotels you will find in The Palm Jumeirah. Everything is taken care of in detail and guarantees an unforgettable stay. You will find a pool with palm trees, a spa with a variety of treatments, a hairdresser, a nail salon, a fitness center and several restaurants. As you can see, you can pamper yourself pretty well.
  • Rixos The Palm Luxury Suite Collection. If money is not an impediment for you, this all-inclusive hotel in Dubai guarantees a pleasant stay. You will only find suites, some of them with a private pool. It has several bars, restaurants, spa, gym, outdoor pool and a long private beach.

5. Deira, where to stay in Dubai on a budget

where to stay in dubai
Deira

If you are traveling to Dubai on an average or low budget, Deira is one of the best options to stay, since hotels in this area are generally much cheaper. At least by city standards.

Deira is located across the Dubai Creek, north of Bur Dubai, the historic center of Dubai. Deira is also one of the oldest parts of the city and has a more local feel. The old port and the first business area were once in Deira.

Today, you will find numerous souks, don’t miss the spice and gold one, and traditional restaurants.

On the other hand, it is the closest district to the airport, therefore, if you are planning on visiting Dubai for a short period of time, it may be the best area to stay in Dubai.

Despite being very far from the city center, it is a good starting point to get to know the rest of the areas, since it has numerous metro stations nearby.

Best hotels in Deira

  • Super 8 by Wyndham. This 2-star hotel is located in one of the oldest areas of the city. The hotel’s decoration is minimalist in style with a traditional touch. It has a restaurant.
  • Coral Dubai Deira Hotel. It is a 4-star hotel. Located 350 meters from the metro station. It features a rooftop pool, fitness center and sauna. It also has a restaurant.

Where to stay in Dubai on a budget

hotels in dubai
Al Fahidi

If you aren’t concerned with the location of your hotel and finding an affordable place is your top priority, take a look at my selection of cheap hotels in Dubai. All of them are reasonably close to a metro station and have a minimum rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Don’t expect really affordable hotels. Dubai is an expensive city and finding very cheap accommodation that is good is very difficult. In addition, hotel rates vary a lot depending on the season. If you travel during peak season, from November to March, the prices will be much higher.

5 cheap hotels in Dubai

  • California Hostel Dubai Beach. If you want to stay in a hostel in Dubai, this can be a good option. It is located in the Dubai Marina, a very good location. Men and women are in separate rooms. There is a swimming pool, shared kitchen, terrace and a small lounge.
  • City Avenue Hotel. This 3-star hotel is located in Deira, 10-minute away from a metro station. They offer standard and deluxe double rooms. Both types of rooms are quite spacious. They serve breakfast.
  • Ibis Mall of the Emirates. This 3-star hotel is located on Sheikh Zayed Road. It is a 5-minute walk away from a metro station and 2 minutes from the Mall of the Emirates. They serve buffet breakfast and have an Italian restaurant.
  • Le Wana Hotel. This 3 star hotel located in Deira. It is very close to a metro station, so it will be easy to visit the rest of the city. A continental breakfast is served each morning and there is also a restaurant. The rooms are quite spacious.
  • Urban Al Khoory Hotel. A 3-star hotel located on Al Waha Street. It is located 6 km from Burj Khalifa. It has a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness center. They offer different types of double rooms.

Map of the best areas to stay in Dubai

In the following map of Dubai, I’ve marked the different areas of the city where I recommend staying (blue icons). I have also marked the main tourist attractions in Dubai (red icons), so you can get an idea of ​​the distance between places.

By the way, did you know that Dubai is home to the only 7-star hotel in the world? Its name is Burj Al Arab. It is also the tallest hotel. Only a few will have the opportunity to stay in this hotel since it is very expensive.

Don’t miss my UAE travel guide if you are traveling to this country and take a look at my itinerary to visit Dubai for 3 days and the best day trips from Dubai.

I hope this article on where to stay in Dubai has been informative and very useful to you in planning your trip to this incredible city in the United Arab Emirates. If you have any questions, I encourage you to leave a comment. See you next time!

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