On the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, Dubai sits as a stirring principality that blends elements of tradition with imaginative and futuristic vision. From the moment you touch down at Dubai International Airport (DXB), you’re greeted with a small preview of the pillared architecture, nuanced lighting and overflowing opulence that awaits.
Beyond the incredible shopping and the extravagant nightlife, not to mention man-made peninsulas, “The World” archipelago and an indoor skiing hall at the Mall of the Emirates, Dubai’s hotel properties are a world of their own. Here are three of the best.
Atlantis, The Palm
For nearly 10 years Atlantis, The Palm has been stunning visitors to Dubai due to its massive water world. The hotel and park grounds span 46 hectares on the fanned out, man-made Palm Island, with 17 hectares dedicated entirely to water park attractions. The hotel is known for its Signature Underwater Suites, which immerse guests in a marine experience thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that look into the Ambassador Lagoon and its 65,000 inhabitants. A one-night stay starts at 18,200 AED (about $5,000 USD).
The crown jewel of the property, however, is the 924 square meter Royal Bridge Suite. Situated at the center of the hotel, between the Royal Towers, the room offers complete privacy and incomparable panoramic views of the Arabian Sea. The room also has its own guarded entrance and elevator, in addition to a team of butlers and chefs standby ready to make your sure your stay is beyond compare. Lavish bedrooms top off the spacious suite, which includes a library, games room and media center, in addition to a majlis (sitting room) and massage room.
A stay in the Royal Bridge Suite includes a number of amenities, such as complimentary massages, personal training sessions, access to the ShuiQi Spa, a private cabana at the pool or beach and access to the Lost Chambers Aquarium. The experience costs upward of 56,000 AED (about $15,250 USD) per night.
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
Perhaps the most photographed hotel in Dubai, the Burj Al Arab stands as a glimmering beacon of luxury and modernism in Dubai. Designed by WKK co-founder and known architect Tom Wright, the building mimics a billowing sail, stretching 1,000 feet into the air. In the evenings, it becomes aglow for an Eiffel Tower–like light show.
The hotel spares no expense in creating the ultimate guest experience. Rolls-Royce and helicopter departures and arrivals are available, in addition to private beach access, discreet reception areas on each floor and personal staff butlers to deliver the ultimate in hospitality.
The Royal Suite offers the very best of the Jumeirah property. Two floors, 780 square meters of opulence and uninterrupted views of the Arabian Gulf are complemented by beautiful natural light and opulent details, such as the marble and gold decor and sunset-coloured tapestries.
Hermès products line the bathrooms, so take a soak between relaxing in your private library and watching a movie in the suite’s cinema room before tucking yourself into the master suite’s rotating canopy bed. Two private bars reside in the enclosed space. A stay in the Royal Suite starts at 33,000 AED (about $9,000 USD) per day.
Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa
Bedouin-style luxury awaits on the outskirts of Dubai. Situated within a desert conservation reserve, the Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa is a true oasis, surrounded by rolling sand dunes with a backdrop of painterly golden hour skies. A more traditional alternative to the futuristic hotels on the sea, Al Maha also features 42 well-appointed tent-style suites, each featuring its own private pool and unique views. Adventurous guests will enjoy the guided walks, wildlife drives, camel treks, archery and falconry sessions, dune drives and horseback riding.
Starting from 12,500 AED (about $3,400 USD) per evening, the Presidential Suite has the most to offer. Handcrafted furnishings complement earthy woods and patinaed metals and Arabian antiques, art and artefacts add an element of discovery. The palatial quarters include rooms for your own staff, as well as custom-made super king-size beds that lull restless sleepers into deep slumbers. The rooms also feature open courtyard, chef’s kitchen, spacious lounge and a private infinity pool. The suite’s perks extend to included spa treatments, private activity bookings, private deck dining and a desert picnic.
Dubai’s well-rounded personality is on full display at these three contrasting resort hotels. Each throws a spotlight on the emirate’s elemental properties—water, air, or earth—and each is seemingly a mirage, with the pinnacle of luxury accommodations and amenities at your feet.