When you think about Dubai, it’s probably the image of a busy city with tall skyscrapers, the Burj Khalifa at one end, smooth roads and highways crisscrossing each other, and the dazzling lights that stay on all night long.
The city is one of the seven Emirates of the United Arab Emirates and has the highest population.
Dubai is located on the Persian Gulf and is known for its year-round sunshine, Arabian-styled charm, and modern skyscrapers. If you plan to visit this emirate, you must research before choosing where to stay in Dubai.
Lucky for you, I’m here to help you out! In this article, you will find an in-depth guide about the best areas to stay in Dubai.
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Table of Contents
Overview of the Best Areas to Stay in Dubai
Unlike its compatriots – Singapore and Hong Kong, Dubai is not a walkable city. The distance between different places to visit is enormous. The public transportation in Dubai is also not very comprehensive and will eat up a lot of your sightseeing time.
Hence, depending on what you want to do as a tourist and your budget, you will have to decide which area would be best for you to stay in Dubai.
First, let’s understand the Dubai city layout. The city stretches long and is spread out in a 40-kilometer (25 miles) shoreline area with 14 main districts. Lining the Persian Gulf creek are the oldest buildings in Dubai.
The new city center is, however, the areas lining the Sheikh Zayed road. The Emirates Tower, Burj Khalifa, and Dubai International Financial Centre are notable attractions here.
On their periphery lies the Burj al-Arab that houses a luxurious hotel. Further south is the human-made marina and several human-made lakes.
Here’s a quick overview of the best areas to stay in Dubai with hotel recommendations for each area.
Best Areas to Stay in Dubai
Wondering where to stay in Dubai? Don’t worry, I got you covered! In this article, you will find all the best areas to stay in Dubai, together with a bunch of useful information about each area, pros and cons, and some hotel recommendations.
If you’re a visual type, you can use the below map for getting familiar with each area mentioned in this article. Let’s dive right in!
1. Dubai Marina and Jumeriah Beach Residence – Best for nightlife and fun lovers
Dubai Marina is the only properly walkable part of the city, which makes it one of the best areas to stay in Dubai. Jumeriah Beach Residence refers to the beach, the promenade, and all the buildings along the impressive 1.7 kilometers (1 mile) long beach-line.
In contrast, the Marina area is everything behind it, including the canal and the tallest skyscrapers.
Here, you can visit the Dubai Marina Walk for midnight strolls, go jet-skiing, parasailing or skydiving, and enjoy your time eating at the upscale bistros, nightclubs, and bars. Also, both Palm Jumeriah and the Jumeriah beach are a short ride away from Dubai Marina.
You can book your stay in hotels housed in skyscrapers that offer fascinating views of the sea as well as the skyline.
Pros and cons of staying in Dubai Marina
- This area does not have any restrictions on the way women dress at the beach
- Massive variety of hotels available in every price range
- Famous tourist destinations are located within walking distance
- Overcrowded by tourists
- Pretty expensive area to stay in and alcoholic drinks are served at very high prices
- Far from top attractions like Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall
Best places to stay in Dubai Marina
LUXURY – Address Dubai Marina
Address Dubai Marina is directly linked to the Dubai Marina Mall, while the beach is nearby. The property has an infinity pool on level 4 and has outdoor dining, a poolside bar, and views of the Dubai Marina and beyond. The air-conditioned rooms of Address Dubai Marina are decorated with natural, warm colors and wooden furniture.
MID-RANGE – Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina
Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina has 5 dining outlets, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and a bar in Dubai. Boasting family rooms, this property also provides guests with a sun terrace. The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk, room service, and currency exchange for guests.
BUDGET – Rove Dubai Marina
Located in one of Dubai’s most vibrant and spectacular neighborhoods, Rove Dubai Marina is the perfect destination for leisure travelers. All guest rooms in the hotel are fitted with a flat-screen TV with cable channels and rooms are complete with a modern bathroom.
2. Downtown Dubai – Best for shopping and major sightseeing
Located between old and new Dubai, Downtown Dubai houses the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building) and the Dubai Mall (the world’s largest mall).
Other highlights in Downtown Dubai include Dubai Opera, Dubai Fountain (a vast fountain with incredible water shows), and Souk al Bahar (an outdoor area with several restaurants and bars).
The most luxurious boutique shops, fancy boulevards, and fine-dining restaurants are located in Downtown Dubai, making it the best area to stay in Dubai for shopaholics.
If you’re planning to visit Dubai for the first time, you will surely visit the Downtown area to see the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. Hence, you should arrange your stay at this place itself.
Pros and cons of staying in Downtown Dubai
- Important landmarks are close-by
- Well-connected by metro rail line, hence easy to get to other parts of Dubai
- The best location to stay in Dubai for shoppers
- Accommodations are quite expensive
- The beaches of Dubai Marina are quite far away
Best places to stay in Downtown Dubai
LUXURY – Address Downtown
Towering high at 302 m across 63 levels, Address Downtown is a veritable landmark of luxury, situated in the very center of Downtown Dubai. The hotel directly overlooks The Dubai Mall (the world’s largest shopping mall) by a pathway bridge. Guests can choose among 9 unique restaurant concepts.
MID-RANGE – Sofitel Dubai Downtown
Located in the heart of Downtown Dubai, connected to The Dubai Mall and 10 minutes away from City Walk, Sofitel Dubai Downtown is an idyllic oasis that blends urban sophistication with refined luxury, features air-conditioned rooms and free private parking.
BUDGET – Ramada Downtown Dubai
Ramada Downtown Dubai is located in downtown Dubai, overlooking the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain, and is situated right next to Dubai Opera. Guests can enjoy downtown living in 181 suites comprising studio rooms, one and two-bedroom suites, and a magnificent penthouse.
3. Palm Jumeirah Island – Best for honeymooners and luxury seekers
Palm Jumeirah is a man-made palm-shaped island on the western coast of Dubai city. There are many luxurious resorts located on this island to stay in. Most offer romantic dining, suites with jacuzzis, and waterfront views that make it the best area to stay in Dubai for honeymooners.
Palm Jumeirah is also one of the best areas to stay in Dubai for tourists looking for incredible sea views. From here, you can see Dubai’s skyscrapers covering the horizon.
Best viewed from a height, you can also hire a seaplane to reach your hotel at the Palm. You can visit the Atlantis on the island – the most luxurious property in Dubai, and the Pointe – a waterfront destination with the best dining restaurants and cafes.
Pros and cons of staying in Palm Jumeirah
- Houses incredible powdery white beaches
- As it is away from the bustling mainland, it is the best place to stay in Dubai for privacy seekers
- Ample outdoor and water activities
- Quite far from the major sightseeing attractions in Dubai
- Requires private car transportation to reach Downtown Dubai
- Heavy on pockets – not for budget travellers
Best places to stay in Palm Jumeirah
LUXURY – Atlantis the Palm
Located on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah Island and enjoys a private sandy beach, the 5-star Atlantis offers stunning views of the Arabian Gulf. It provides an underwater aquarium and complimentary access to the Aquaventure water park and the Lost Chambers Aquarium.
MID-RANGE – Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel
Situated on Palm Jumeirah, Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel brings a world of British charm with cosmopolitan luxury. Guests can lounge around in the lazy river or enjoy an array of water sports on the beachfront.
BUDGET – Aloft Palm Jumeirah
Located on the Eastern crescent of Dubai’s iconic landmark, Aloft Palm Jumeirah brings a distinct lifestyle experience to the region. 206 loft-inspired rooms with unmatched views and a vibrant social scene with 7 restaurants and bars, provide bold experiences.
4. Bur Dubai – Best for tourists looking for the real soul of Dubai
Bur Dubai is located in the center of the old city of Dubai. It houses the city’s most exquisite old buildings, religious sites, and museums.
The top attractions in Bur Dubai include the Dubai Museum, the Iranian mosque, several authentic souks, and historical neighborhoods like Al Fahidi, Al Seef, and Al Jaddaf.
Bur Dubai is also one of the best areas to stay in Dubai for tourists traveling with family or friends, as it is filled with a lot of culture and friendliness. The area lies close to Dubai Creek, where you can find floating restaurants and local eateries.
Pros and cons of staying in Bur Dubai
- Very well connected by metro stations, hence you can easily venture out to the rest of Dubai
- The accommodations, as well as food, are quite affordable
- Not very far from Dubai International Airport
- Not the best area to stay in Dubai for foodies, as there are limited options for fine-dining
- The area is full of noise, crowd, and traffic
Best places to stay in Bur Dubai
LUXURY – Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk
Situated in Dubai, 3 km from Dubai World Trade Centre, Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk features accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a fitness center, and a bar. This 5-star hotel offers a kids’ club, a concierge service, and free WiFi.
MID-RANGE – Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf Dubai
Located 5 minutes drive from Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), Dubai Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf offers modern accommodation along with free Wi-Fi in public areas. There is an outdoor pool, a gym, and a hot tub.
BUDGET – Gulf Inn Hotel Al Nasr
Gulf Inn Hotel Al Nasr (formerly Roda Links Al Nasr) features a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and a shared lounge in Dubai. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a sun terrace. Gulf Inn Hotel Al Nasr offers a continental or buffet breakfast.
5. Deira – Best for budget travellers
Deira is the best area to stay in Dubai for tourists who are traveling to the city for a short stay or for the ones who have a day or two to spend in Dubai between connecting flights.
Deira is located very close to the Dubai international airport and it has several metro stations that connect it well with the tourist attractions in Dubai.
It is located on the periphery of Dubai Creek, with Bur Dubai on the other side of the creek. The area is a bit more modern than Bur Dubai. Deira houses Dubai’s largest traditional souk and spice market.
If you choose this area to stay in, you can walk up to the waterfront restaurants to enjoy traditional food.
Pros and cons of staying in Deira
- Extremely close to the airport
- Accommodations and food are really cheap
- The best area to stay in Dubai for bargain shoppers
- Located far from the main attractions in Dubai
- Some hotels are quite dated, hence choose wisely
Best places to stay in Deira
The Radisson Blu lies within the beautiful Deira Creek area of Dubai, a short walk to the bus and metro stations and only 7 km from Dubai International Airport. The hotel, first built in 1975, is a classic fixture of Old Dubai. This area teems with shopping malls as well as traditional souks such as the Spice Market.
MID-RANGE – Mövenpick Grand Al Bustan
Within 1 km from Dubai International Airport, Mövenpick Grand Al Bustan features modern, luxurious accommodation and 7 restaurants serving different cuisines. It offers a temperature-controlled outdoor pool, a kid’s pool, squash courts, tennis courts, and extensive spa treatments.
BUDGET – Rove City Centre
Offering a year-round outdoor swimming pool and fitness center, Rove City Centre is located just a 7 minutes drive from Dubai International Airport and 20 minutes by car from Dubai Mall. Guests can enjoy the on-site all-day dining restaurant, The Daily.
6. Al Barsha – Best for food-lovers
Al Barsha is an area that is close to both Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai. It is connected by metro to all the major attractions in Dubai. Al Barsha houses the Mall of Emirates, which is filled with high-end boutiques and fashion shops. Hence, it is often called a shopper’s paradise.
The sightseeing places in Al Barsha include Tranquil Al Barsha Pond Park and Dubai Miracle Garden. It also houses world-class restaurants serving global cuisines, including Arabic, Indian, and Pakistani food.
If you don’t want to spend a fortune staying in the Marina and Downtown area but still want to stay connected to these areas, Al Barsha is the best area to stay in Dubai for you.
Pros and cons of staying in Al Barsha
- Located close to the Mall of Emirates, the second largest mall in Dubai
- Cheaper than the Marina and Downtown areas but pretty well connected
- Houses plenty of restaurants and bars for every type of traveller
- Not the best area to stay in Dubai for people who want to stay near landmarks
Best places to stay in Al Barsha
LUXURY – Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates
Directly connected to the Mall of the Emirates, the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates is centrally situated with close proximity to areas such as Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina, and Palm Jumeirah. The hotel features the unique Aspen Ski Chalets, the only hotel room in the region with a view onto skiing slopes (of Ski Dubai).
MID-RANGE – Sheraton Mall of the Emirates Hotel
All suites and rooms at the Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates offer views of the city skyline. Each features free WiFi, a flat-screen TV, a minibar, and an en-suite bathroom. Some suites include a living room and a kitchenette complete with a dining area.
BUDGET – Flora Al Barsha Hotel At The Mall
Flora Al Barsha Hotel is located in a prime location on Sheikh Zayed Road in Al Barsha near the famous Mall of the Emirates. The hotel’s 186 rooms are elegantly designed and spaciously sized including Classic, Deluxe, Premiere, and connecting Rooms and Suites, fully equipped with stylish interiors featuring king or twin beds.
7. Al Seef and Al Fahidi – Best area for history lovers
Both these areas beside Dubai Creek are the city’s oldest neighborhoods. The buildings are constructed out of traditional materials like stone and wood.
Al Seef houses Dubai’s oldest Arab village souk, whereas Al Fahidi houses the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, where you can learn about UAE’s culture.
The areas have, however, been modernized and have several elite hotels and trendy restaurants. The old buildings are converted into quaint cafes and artists’ workshops. Both Al Seef and Al Fahidi are some of the best places to stay in Dubai for history lovers.
Pros and cons of staying in Al Seef and Al Fahidi
- The old city remains are retained in these areas even after renovations
- Chance to try the local delicacies from the traditional restaurants
- If you are looking for a thoroughly modernized area, this won’t be the best place to stay in Dubai for you
- Far from the major tourist spots of Dubai
Best places to stay in Al Seef and Al Fahidi
LUXURY – MAZMI CASA
Located in Dubai, a few steps from Grand Mosque and 5 km from Dubai World Trade Centre, MAZMI CASA provides accommodation with free WiFi, air conditioning, a restaurant, and a bar. All units come with a seating area, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, and a private bathroom with a hairdryer and shower.
BUDGET – Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai
Ideally set in the Bur Dubai district of Dubai, Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai is set 6 km from Dubai World Trade Centre and 10 km from Dubai Mall. All rooms are fitted with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, a hairdryer, and a desk. At the hotel, the rooms come with a private bathroom.
8. Dubai Media City – Best for keeping away from crowds
If you love being in a less overbuilt and less crowded place, Dubai Media City is the best area to stay in Dubai for you. Dubai Media City is connected to both Jumeirah Beach Residence and Dubai Marina by metro.
The Mina Seyahi beach next to this area is a beautiful beach with a vast white-sand shoreline expanse.
The International Cricket Council that governs cricket around the world is headquartered in Dubai Media City. The area is also famous for outdoor concerts, exhibitions, award shows, and gourmet festivals.
There are several cafes and eateries in Dubai Media City where you can enjoy a delicious meal on an outdoor terrace.
Pros and cons of staying in Dubai Media City
- Well connected to other areas of Dubai by the metro rail line
- A less crowded area with less traffic, best for calming your mind
- World-class resorts are here offering the best services to the visitors
- Far from the major tourist spots of Dubai
- Not the best area to stay in Dubai for shoppers, as this area is more of a business hub
Best places to stay in Dubai Media City
Facing the bay of Palm Island and overlooking the Arabian Gulf, this luxury resort boasts 1 km of beachfront and 65 acres of lush gardens. The Arabian Styled resort is made up of 3 distinct environments: The Palace, Arabian Court, and Residence & Spa. Each with unique rooms and themed restaurants.
Occupying a prime location on Jumeirah Beach, The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi is a 5-star beach resort. It features spectacular 5 resort pools, a 500 m private beach, luxurious rooms, and 8 restaurants. Panoramic views over the Arabian Gulf and the Palm Jumeira can be enjoyed from most rooms and parts of The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort.
BUDGET – Media One Hotel
Media One Hotel offers trendy accommodation in a convenient location, just 2 km from Dubai Marina. Guest facilities include free Wi-Fi access, an outdoor pool, and a fully-equipped gym. All guest rooms at Media One include LCD satellite TV, internet access, a minibar, and tea and coffee making facilities.
9. Dubai Creek – Best area for vibe and culture
Dubai Creek is an outlet of the sea that flawlessly combines old Arabia with modernized Dubai. This is a place where you can find the traditional water taxis and floating restaurants lined up offering the best delicacies.
Dubai Creek area is well connected with the transportation system (metro) for tourists’ convenience.
Popular areas like Bur Dubai and Deira lie on either periphery of the Dubai Creek. You can have a fantastic view of Dubai city, go for a dinner cruise, or walk along the creekside while staying here.
Ras al Khor bird Sanctuary is the mighty Dubai Creek’s endpoint, where you can spot rare bird species. Hence, to soak in the city’s vibe and culture, Dubai Creek is the best location to stay in Dubai.
Pros and cons of staying in Dubai Creek
- Water taxis, culture centres, museums, and floating restaurants are close by
- Transportation is easy and you can conveniently reach other parts of Dubai
- The commute from Dubai Creek to other sight-seeing spots is a bit of a stretch
Best places to stay in Dubai Creek
LUXURY – Park Hyatt Dubai
Nestled on the shores of the Dubai Creek, Park Hyatt Dubai boasts a 100 m infinity lagoon leading into a beautiful private sandy beach. It also features a 25 m pool set among palm trees. Park Hyatt Dubai has rooms with deluxe bedding and feature floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto a furnished balcony.
MID-RANGE – Al Bandar Rotana – Dubai Creek
Al Bandar Rotana is a striking, ultra-modern hotel with a prime waterside location in the city’s original heartland. Ideal for business and leisure travelers, the elegant five-star property, which sits on the edge of Dubai Creek is close to several attractions.
BUDGET – Riviera Hotel
Overlooking Dubai Creek, this 4-star hotel is a 2-minute walk from transportation links offering service to Dubai Museum. It has 3 on-site restaurants and offers spacious guestrooms with satellite TV. Rooms at the Riviera Hotel feature balconies with city or creek views.
10. Dubai Desert – Best for the adventure seekers
There’s more to Dubai than the huge skyscrapers and the gleaming lights. Beyond Dubai’s towering landmark buildings and high-end hotels lie vast rustic dunes that stretch towards the Arabian desert.
These sweeping desert landscapes house some of the finest hotels and safari camps. These properties offer adventure activities like quad biking, sandboarding, hot air ballooning, or a simple desert safari from glamping style villa tents to full-scale luxury resorts.
If you’re interested in taking a desert tour while in Dubai, check out my post about the best desert safaris in Dubai!
By staying in the Dubai Desert, you can experience a chance to be close to the wilder side of the Arabian Peninsula with camels, falcons, and oryx.
The Dubai desert is the best area to stay in Dubai for people who have already been to Dubai’s landmark sightseeing destinations, have extra time in hand, and looking for something more unique and adventurous.
Pros and cons of staying in the Dubai Desert
- Away from packs of tourists and crowds
- Best location to stay in Dubai for some visitors seeking calm and peacefulness
- Opportunity to understand the Bedouin culture
- Dubai deserts will not please first-time travellers to Dubai who want to do the usual sightseeing
Best places to stay in the Dubai Desert
At Al Maha, the luxurious Bedouin-style tents combine the heritage of Arabia with luxury, and all come with private temperature-controlled swimming pools, private sun decks, a large bedroom with seating arrangements, and a spacious bathroom with a soaking tub.
MID-RANGE – Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa
Set among the dunes around Dubai, this 5-star luxury resort features an infinity pool overlooking the desert. The Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa is built in the style of a traditional Arabic fort. Courtyards with fountains, gardens, and stone alleyways pave the way for appointed guest rooms, designed in an Arabic style.
BUDGET – Mysk Al Badayer Retreat
Situated in Sharjah, 43 km from Sharjah National Park, Mysk Al Badayer Retreat features accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a garden, and a terrace. With free WiFi, this 5-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and room service. The hotel has an indoor pool and a concierge service.
Useful Info for Planning Your Trip to Dubai
How to get to Dubai
Being the biggest hub between Europe and Asia and one of the busiest airports in the world, Dubai International Airport (DXB) welcomes a huge number of airlines and connects the city with the rest of the world.
Located only 15 km (9.3 miles) from Downtown Dubai, flying to DXB is the most convenient way to get to the city. Once you land, there are several ways to get into the city center: you can take a taxi, the metro, or even the bus.
Although DXB is the biggest airport in Dubai, you can also choose to fly to Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC). This airport is located in the Jebel Ali area, about 50 km (31 miles) from Downtown Dubai, and it mostly handles cargo flights and low-cost carriers.
How to get around in Dubai
Dubai is an enormous city and getting around can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re not used to such big metropolises. The good news is that there are plenty of options when it comes to transportation.
Public transportation – Dubai has both metro and public bus systems in place. Although the metro is the most efficient way to get around, it only covers certain areas of the city. The bus system, on the other hand, covers a larger area but it can be quite slow during rush hour. This is definitely the cheapest way to get around Dubai, however, it can be pretty time-consuming.
Taxis – Taxis are widely available in Dubai and they’re relatively affordable, especially if you’re splitting the fare with someone. Your best bet is downloading the Careem app, which is similar to Uber, and lets you order a traditional Dubai taxi or a private vehicle.
Car rental – If you want the freedom to explore Dubai at your own pace, then renting a car is the way to go. Just keep in mind that traffic can be pretty bad during rush hour, so you might want to avoid driving during those times.
Best time to visit Dubai
The best time to visit Dubai is between November and March when the weather is cooler and more bearable. This is also the peak tourist season, so you can expect higher prices and bigger crowds.
If you don’t mind the heat, then you can visit Dubai during the summer months (June to August), when temperatures can reach up to 40°C (104°F). Each and every place is air-conditioned in Dubai, so you can take refuge from the heat indoors.
Just keep in mind that outdoor attractions such as gardens and water parks will be much less enjoyable during this time and it’s practically impossible to swim in the ocean because of the high temperatures.
If you want to avoid the crowds and get cheaper rates, then April, May, September, and October are the best months to visit Dubai. Prices will be lower and the weather will still be relatively pleasant.
Another thing to keep in mind: Ramadan takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar but the exact dates change every year (usually it falls between March and May).
During this time, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and many restaurants and cafes will be closed during the day. Alcohol is also not served during Ramadan. However, nightlife carries on as usual and many hotels offer special rates during this period.
If you’re not Muslim, then you can still visit Dubai during Ramadan, you just need to be respectful of the local customs and traditions.
So this is the end of the list of the 10 best areas to stay in Dubai. Whichever area you select for your stay in Dubai, just make sure you are residing at walking distance or a short ride away from a metro station, which will help you navigate the city easily.
Of course, you can always use taxis or ride-hailing apps to get around in Dubai as well, so you can be more flexible on where to stay.
Always remember that the place of stay is crucial when it comes to the satisfaction of a trip. Make sure that you plan and book the accommodation beforehand! I hope you liked this article about the best areas to stay in Dubai and it will be useful for you when choosing where to stay in Dubai.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email, I always love helping you out! Do you know some other great areas to stay in Dubai? Let me know in the comments!
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