The tourism capital of the Gulf nations, the UAE offers year-round sunshine and glamorous resorts. Its two main cities: Abu Dhabi and Dubai are glitzy playgrounds, edged by a perfect coastline with azure blue seas. Dubai is home to the tallest tower on the planet, Burj Khalifa, a major draw for visitors and some of the world’s most opulent hotels. But it’s not only the more populated areas that attract visitors. Trips out to experience the country’s fascinating Bedouin desert culture offer an opportunity to view and engage with a culture completely disparate from the Western world. Here are our top places to stay in the United Arab Emirates.
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi
Backed by the prestigious St. Regis name, this hotel is an urban resort that caters to business and pleasure travellers alike. Located on the Abu Dhabi Corniche and connected to the Nation Galleria Mall, you’ll enjoy the utmost in luxury, relaxation, and shopping. Each of the rooms and suites is plushily decorated and offers stunning views of the sea or the city. Dining options abound with several cuisine types as well as a bar and cantina. Don’t miss the selective treatment menu at the hotel’s exclusive spa.
Rosewood Abu Dhabi
Extravagance is the name of the game at the Rosewood with a hotel modelled after the beauty of the Arabian Sea and that evokes a feeling of true relaxation in the middle of the city. Not only does the hotel offer a series of luxurious rooms, but the exclusive suites are a true wonder to behold. The hotel boasts a golf and beach club as well as a fitness centre, pool, and spa. Dining options are varied and include nine bars and restaurants to choose from. No matter what you’re in the mood to eat or drink, there’s something here for everyone.
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
True to its name, this island resort is a beautiful blend of city living and waterside relaxation. The seductive Arabian Gulf outside the doors of the hotel offers an escape from the everyday and the golf club gives you a reason to enjoy the great outdoors. Located Saadiyat Cultural District, the hotel is minutes from a wildlife refuge and downtown Abu Dhabi. There are three decadent pools to enjoy in addition to the sand and surf. Dining is eclectic, a selection of international cuisines. For a true respite, the St. Regis will always deliver.
Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island
The Four Seasons name is one that you know will always deliver luxury and opulence and this hotel is no exception. Location within a collection of 200 islands, the hotel calls to business travellers, but is also a destination for vacationers and shoppers. The Dahlia Spa offers an extensive selection of decadent treatments including a variety of massage options. There’s also a rooftop pool with panoramic views of the city to be had. Each room is thoughtfully decorated and ready to welcome you right in for a relaxing place to unwind and enjoy some downtime.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
Luxury is always at its best at the Ritz-Carlton and the Abu Dhabi location is no exception. Beautiful lush greenery welcomes you in and lovely visions of the Al Maqta Creek and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque will delight your love of nature and architecture. Inside you’ll find plush bedding and delightfully decorated rooms that are a traveller’s dream, whether you’re there for business or pleasure. The hotel boasts an indoor waterpark, an exclusive spa, and a wonderful mixture of cuisines at the hotel’s eight restaurants that serve up everything from steak to noodles and everything in between.
Bab Al Qasr
True opulence awaits you inside the Bab Al Qasr hotel with its lobby filled with palms and plush seating in shades of cream and red. Beautiful views abound outside the window of each luxurious room designed for the ultimate in rest and relaxation. The hotel features an exclusive collection of restaurants and a distinct Moroccan influence in both dining and decor. Relax and rejuvenate in the hotel’s spa or lounge poolside and soak up the sun. The hotel also boasts a fitness centre and a hair salon, and can organise tours and excursions.
A true palace, this hotel will never let you down with its lavish design and luxurious hospitality. Located in the heart of Abu Dhabi, the hotel is near the pristine waters of the sea and also boasts a decadent pool and spa for your rest and relaxation. The rooms and suites are beautifully furnished and have state of the art sound systems, private balconies, and lovely views of the city. Delectable food can be found at any of the hotel’s bars or restaurants, whether you desire a full meal or just a couple of cocktails.
The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
The Waldorf Astoria Dubai hotel is an astonishing destination and is located on the Palm Jumeirah. It offers luxurious rooms, a remarkable private beach, and distinctive signature restaurants. The hotel offers a mix of dining experiences in its amazing 6 restaurants. Serving Arabian dishes as well as Southeast Asian tastes, the Waldorf Astoria makes sure you’re completely satisfied. Make sure you visit the Serafina Bar where you can enjoy a cocktail and enjoy live entertainment in the evenings.
ME Dubai by Meliá
Located in striking Opus building in the cultural heart of Dubai, the ME Dubai is a cosmopolitan hotel designed to be more than just a hotel, connecting guests with a combination of art, cuisine, fashion and music. Designed by Zaha Hadid, ME Dubai offers architecture and design lovers something to marvel at with a spectacle of a façade and intricate masterpieces that adorn the interiors. Minimalistic style flows through the rooms and suites – many of which boast instagrammable views across the city. From a contemporary expression of Japanese Robatayaki cuisine in Roka to gin and tonics and gastro bites in Botanica or a flavour of South America in Deseo to a world-class selection of delicacies in The Atrium by Zaha Hadid there is something for every international gourmand. The span and wellness centre is a haven for relaxation, whilst energetic guests can make use of the rooftop pool or ultra-modern Technogym Biocircuit gym.
Raffles The Palm
Palm Jumeirah island is the address for this plush and lavish 5-star hotel designed to offer guests profound wellbeing and palatial pleasure. The ornate style of the spacious rooms and suites, resonates throughout the rest of the hotel. Hotel guests can enjoy a choice of three upmarket restaurants, each excelling in its speciality cuisine; from contemporary Japanese, alfresco dining through to traditional Afternoon Tea – there is something top suite all tastes and occasions. The outdoor or indoor pools are a great place to reenergise whilst the private beach area is perfect for those who love the sun. Guests can also make use of the extensive spa facilities, yoga studio and fully equipped gym. Raffles the Palm is perfect for those who enjoy style and variety.
The St. Regis Downtown
Located along the Dubai water canal and just a short walk from the world’s largest shopping mall is the St. Regis Downtown. As to be expected in Dubai the spacious rooms and suites are lavishly appointed and overlook local landmarks – with floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests can expect the highest standards of guest care with the signature St. Regis Butler Service providing round-the-clock anticipatory service. There is an excellent choice of bars and restaurants to suite a range of tastes and guests can take sanctuary from the bustling vibe of Dubai in the hotel’s infinity swimming pool or with a treatment at the spa. Stay here and discover Downtown luxury at its best.
One & Only the Palm
One & Only The Palm Resort is a jewel in Dubai. Located on the Palm Island, it’s the reflection of stylish and prestigious design. You can enjoy astonishing panoramic views from your suite or take a walk on the lush private beach on the Palm Jumeirah. The One & Only has elegant and spacious rooms, suites as well as villas which are perfect if you’re traveling with your friends or family. The Beach Villas offer customised service and direct access to the amazing private beach. If you’re a fan of healthy dining, make sure you book your table at the over-water Marina Restaurant, Bar & Lounge. Guests can also enjoy dishes offered by the One & Only Royal Mirage in its 7 restaurants. You’ll have to take a water taxi to get there, though.
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
If you want to feel like royalty, make sure you stay at the Burj Al Arab Hotel. Located on its own island, the Burj Al Arab features ultra-modern and splendid suite. All of the Burj Al Arab suites have floor to ceiling windows and are equipped with ultimate technology. The hotel’s 9 restaurants and great staff will make sure you enjoy excellent dining experiences. If you’re a thrill seeker, go ahead and drink a cocktail or have your coffee at the Sky View Bar which is suspended 200 metres above sea level.
Palazzo Versace Dubai
The Palazzo Versace is located in the centre of the Culture Village and is an 8-minute walk from Downtown Dubai. The hotel’s interior design is custom-made by the House of Versace. The 215 hotel rooms and suites, as well as the 169 residences, have tailor-made Italian furnishing. The hotel offers excellent fine dining in its 8 restaurants with al-fresco terraces and 3 spectacular pools featuring mosaic tiles. For a bit of fun, The Palazzo Versace offers complimentary access to Nikki Beach Resort & Spa’s pools and beach.
St Regis is part of the Al Habtoor City development and only 10 minutes away from the Dubai Mall. It’s now named the Habtoor Palace. The 234 rooms range from Deluxe to Grand and Royal Suites. You can enjoy an afternoon coffee at the French Café and grab a quick snack at the Brasserie Quartier. For a bit of an American feel, you can have a Golden Mary at the St Regis Bar. After that, book your table at the J&G Steakhouse. You’ll have an amazing time staying at this hotel.
Inspired by the pyramids of Egypt, the Raffles Dubai hotel is designed to mix Egyptian culture with Dubai’s contemporary style. All of the hotel’s rooms have customised and handmade ornaments and luxurious fabrics. You’ll be pampered in the extravagant saunas and steam rooms and can enjoy outdoor relaxation by the luxurious swimming pool. The hotel’s 7 restaurants include Japanese cuisine as well as traditional Arabian dishes. If you’re looking to do a little bit of shopping, you can go to Wafi Mall which is right next to the hotel.
Armani Hotel Dubai
This hotel occupies 11 floors of the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, but it has a separate private entrance. All rooms have Japanese tatami furnishing and lush fabrics. A prestigious dining experience is offered by each of the hotel’s 7 restaurants. For a night to remember make sure you go to the Armani Privé club. If you want to relax, you can enjoy the luxurious Armani Spa to enjoy special treatments with exclusive products.
Atlantis the Palm
The Atlantis hotel offers extraordinary views of the Arabian Gulf and has an amazing underwater aquarium. The Atlantis’s rooms have an oceanic inspired décor and feature Arabian styles. Culinary experiences are diverse at the Atlantis. The restaurants serve from traditional Chinese dining at the Yuan restaurant, to Japanese cuisine at the Nobu or British dishes at Gordon Ramsay’s. Guests are offered complimentary access to Aquaventure which is the most famous water park in the Middle East where you can enjoy thrilling slides at the Tower of Neptune or the Tower of Poseidon.
The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah – A Ghm Hotel
This hotel underwent a complete rebranding in March 2020 and is housed in a group of heritage homes. These buildings have been repurposed from their former roles as private residences, but have been well preserved to retain their character. With its own museum, library cigar lounge and jewellery boutique The Chedi Al Bait is quite unusual. 53 elegant bedrooms are decorated in a contemporary Arabic meets Asian design. There are two restaurants, one offering international fare, with the other specialising in gourmet food served family-style. Both have indoor and outdoor seating. Sip on Turkish coffee at the cafe and enjoy sweet treats at Al Bareed. The hotel also has a spa, providing holistic Middle Eastern treatments.
Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa
The city’s newest beach resort comes under the international Sheraton banner, making it popular with western visitors seeking an international vibe with five-star facilities. It’s also a family-friendly choice, offering babysitting services, a kids’ club, a games room and a dedicated pool for guests with children. The Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa also has 349 bedrooms, a private beach area, another outdoor pool, a gym, a beach grill, a seafood market, a buffet restaurant, a cafe and a cigar lounge. While it is a cosmopolitan hotel, there’s plenty of Arabian influence, not least in the decorative accents. Some rooms have balconies and sea views, while the top room — the Presidential Suite, is a palatial affair with three bedrooms and a private pool.
This uber-trendy hotel places you at the heart of the cultural action in the Al Taawun area of town. The rooms here have an urban-chic style, with plenty of mod cons, such as wireless Bose music players, huge TVs, dining areas (even in the standard category of rooms) and Roger & Gallet bath products. Coffee is served in the lobby bar, while the Al Khan restaurant has live cooking stations and an adventurous menu served day and night, as well as frequent all-you-can-eat seafood banquets. Fresh juices and snacks can be enjoyed by the infinity pool by day and guests have access to the spa and fitness centre.
Kingfisher Retreat Sharjah
Offering something completely different, this resort is in fact set on an island, off the city’s coast. Here, wildlife including turtles, birds and gazelles roam in the Eden-like eco-setting. Guests arrive via a private launch and are accommodated across 20 deluxe tents each with its own private ocean-side pool. Earthy hues encourage the sense of returning to nature, without compromising on comfort. Healthy, organic cuisine is served indoors and out at Al Qurm, or in-room bespoke dining alternatives can be arranged. The Kingfisher Retreat also has a small spa and direct beach access. access.