It was the opulent Burj Al Arab that first coined the term “seven-star” hotel. While that designation doesn’t actually exist, it certainly set the tone for what was to come in Dubai: pure luxury. And while that’s still the case, there are plenty of budget and boutique properties too, the latter offering travellers a comfortable, affordable stay in a unique setting. Here are a few of the most interesting options to explore…
Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens
There are a collection of hotels in the Zabeel House series, including Zabeel House Al Seef, in the older part of town, with more to come. One of the most popular, however, is the property at the Greens, a residential development in a part of town often overlooked by tourists. It’s an urban social hub, featuring custom-produced design elements, locally sourced artworks and trendy, New York loft-style rooms. It’s also well known for its restaurants, which include busy and buzzing pan-Asian hot spot Lah Lah.
XVA Gallery Art Hotel & Café
Smack bang in the heart of old Dubai is this art-inspired property. It’s nestled in the alleyways of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, known for its merchants’ houses that have been revamped into heritage spots and museums. The hotel features a central courtyard and predominantly vegetarian café, as well as a gallery that showcases work by international and regional artists, plus 15 gorgeous rooms, each with their own theme based on Emirati cuture, including the Henna Room and the Gutra Suite.
The towering, glass buildings of downtown Dubai surround this chic four-star property on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Boulevard. The rooms and suites are beautifully designed, with minimalist aesthetics throughout, and the stunning outdoor pool is a real selling point, not to mention the restaurant, well known for its popular picnic brunch. The hotel is not far from the Dubai Mall, the Burj Khalifa or Dubai Opera, so the location is perfect for curious tourists. There are also VIDA hotels at Emirates Hills and by the Dubai Creek.
Melia Desert Palm
Along Al Awir Road sits this elegant property on a 160 acre polo estate. It’s as different as you can get from expectations of Dubai’s deserts or cosmopolitan city vibes, even though it’s only 20 kilometres from the centre. Surrounded by palm trees and stunning vistas, the hotel offers guests a range of accommodation, from a standard deluxe room to the three-bedroom presidential villa, all of which can be booked with activities, including horse-riding or polo. There is a bevy of on-site facilities, including a spa, a fitness club, even a polo and riding school. Hot air balloon rides and desert safaris can also be booked from here.
Rove Dubai Marina
There are lovely Rove properties all over, from downtown Dubai to Healthcare City and Dubai Parks and Resort, but the three-star Dubai Marina hotel offers guests direct access to one of the most popular areas in the emirate. It’s within walking distance of the city’s best beaches, Dubai Marina promenade and The Walk JBR, and close to Palm Jumeirah. On-site amenities include a 24-hour gym, a pool and a sun deck, not to mention the spacious and well-appointed rooms.
La Ville Hotel & Suites City Walk
Set in the heart of City Walk, this boutique hotel is part of the Marriott’s Autograph Collection and distinctively stylish in its architecture and interior design. It’s home to four restaurants and bars, popular among Dubai’s residents and tourists alike, and the rooms are minimalist and spacious, offering fabulous views of the city. All of this is within walking distance of some of the emirate’s top attractions, too, including the Coca-Cola Arena – Dubai’s biggest indoor concert venue – and the Green Planet, an indoor tropical rainforest with more than 3,000 plant and animal species.