Where to Stay in Dubai 🇦🇪: 8 Best Areas, Hotels & Tips From a Local

Planning a trip to Dubai and not sure where to stay? Don’t miss this guide to help you plan your perfect trip.

I’ve written a full guide where to stay in Dubai to help you choose the perfect spot to suit your travels.

My Favorite Dubai Hotels

Dubai is a futuristic metropolis that has absorbed all the best that the modern world has to offer for comfortable living and entertainment. This city of contrasts surprises and delights. Luxurious skyscrapers shoot up into the sky next to traditional Arab neighborhoods, and modern shopping centers are next to picturesque beaches and desert dunes.

Dubai is made up of many neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and flavor. To get to know all the neighborhoods of Dubai is to understand the true spirit of this unusual city, which combines Eastern traditions and Western comfort.

In this article we will take a closer look at the main neighborhoods of the city, their attractions and atmosphere.

Remember: Dubai is a very touristy city and accommodation prices can be high, especially in high season. My advice is to always book accommodation in advance to have more options to choose from and, most importantly, to find the best deals.

Quick Guide to the Best Areas in Dubai

1. Dubai Marina – The Best Location for a First Visit

🔥 One of the hottest: Dubai Marina is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Dubai among expatriates and tourists. Known for its picturesque views and ornate beaches, this neighborhood is ideal for a first visit to Dubai. Its proximity to Media City and Internet City also makes it popular among those working in the media, IT and technology industries.

⌚ Near major attractions: One of the main advantages of Dubai Marina is its proximity to many of Dubai’s major attractions. It is just a short drive from downtown Dubai, Palm Jumeirah Island, Dubai Parks and Resorts. Attractions such as the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain are less than 20 minutes away.

🚇 Well-connected by metro: Dubai Metro’s Red Line has two stations within Dubai Marina, making it easy to access other parts of Dubai. Extensive pedestrian walkways and tram services also connect to nearby attractions. Many buildings have parking facilities, while ride hailing services like Uber provide transportation around Dubai Marina.

🌆 Great atmosphere: Outside restaurants, cafes and stores create an atmosphere perfect for socializing and nightlife. In addition, Dubai Marina concentrates a huge number of entertainment venues for every budget: nightclubs, bars, lounges, karaoke. Definitely, this neighborhood will be a great choice for your first trip to Dubai

All hotels in Dubai Marina →

Where to Stay in Dubai Marina?

Luxury Hotels:

Mid-range price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Torch 77 – simple and inexpensive hotel with basic amenities.
  • Skyview Host – budget hostel with basic amenities such as Wi-Fi, shared kitchen and lounge area.

2. Jumeirah Palm – The Best Place to Stay in Dubai for Couples

🏝 Island luxury: Jumeirah Palm, located on the famous artificial palm islands along Dubai’s coastline, is a floral neighborhood that appeals to luxury lovers. The area’s main advantage is its prime location in the heart of Palm Jumeirah Island, just minutes from Atlantis The Palm resort, Aquaventure water park, The Pointe restaurant and entertainment center, and some of Dubai’s most pristine sandy beaches such as Nasimi Beach. This way, you will never have to travel far to enjoy world-class amenities.

🚶🏻‍♂️ Go car-free: Walking paths along The Palm allow residents to walk, jog or bike at their leisure. Relaxing on the sand, renting a yacht or admiring the Dubai panorama creates a casual yet sophisticated atmosphere.

👮🏻‍♂️ Safety first: Security is paramount in this neighborhood, with gated entrances and 24-hour surveillance keeping residents safe. The infrastructure is also immaculate, from well-lit palm-lined avenues to meticulously manicured gardens.

In short, Jumeirah Palm offers unparalleled luxury living against a vibrant backdrop of coastal beauty and the cosmopolitan energy of Dubai. For those seeking sand, sun and sophistication without compromising on convenience, Jumeirah Palm is paradise.

All hotels in Palm Jumeirah →

Where to Stay in Jumeirah Palm?

Luxury Hotels:

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

3. Jumeirah Beach Residence – Dubai Resort for Beach Lovers

🏖 Beach resort: Jumeirah Beach Residence, also known as JBR, is a modern, luxurious neighborhood along the beautiful Dubai coastline that appeals to beach lovers, families, and young professionals alike. With its prime beachfront location, abundance of attractions, and excellent transportation options, JBR has become one of Dubai’s most popular areas.

🏐 Various beach activities: JBR is ideal for those who enjoy soaking up the sun and sand. Also the pristine stretch of beach provides plenty of water sports activities like kayaking, jet skiing, and kite surfing. Families are also drawn to JBR’s laidback, resort-like atmosphere and range of family-friendly hotels.

⌚ Close to attractions: One of JBR’s biggest perks is its close proximity to some of Dubai’s top attractions. It is right next door to the famous man-made Palm Islands and the lively Marina area full of dining and entertainment. Additionally, the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, are just a short 10 minute drive away.

🏪 All facilities: New luxury hotels are continuing to open along the waterfront. The neighborhood also has supermarkets, clinics, laundromats, and other conveniences for residents. Overall, JBR’s outstanding amenities make it a premier Dubai address.

Thus, the perfect combination of beachfront location and modern attractions makes JBR a favorite destination for those looking for the best that Dubai has to offer.

All hotels in JBR →

Where to Stay near Jumeirah Beach in Dubai?

Luxury Hotels:

  • Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa – a luxury beach resort with upscale service and a wide range of facilities.
  • The Ritz-Carlton – an elegant hotel with sophisticated interiors and personalized service on the beachfront.
  • Rixos Premium – fashionable hotel with luxurious rooms, a private beach and superb views of the Persian Gulf.

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

4. Downtown, Dubai – Business Center

🏰 Main attractions right there: Downtown Dubai, with its mighty skyscrapers, luxury signage and landmarks, is the business center of the city and one of the most vibrant areas. The center of the district is the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world with a height of 828 meters. Dubai Mall, located next to the Burj Khalifa, has more than 1,200 stores and 150 restaurants. Other major attractions, such as the Dubai Fountain music and light show and the Dubai Opera House, surround the Burj Khalifa in the convention center of the city.

Downtown Dubai
Downtown Dubai
Downtown Dubai
Downtown Dubai
Downtown Dubai
Downtown Dubai

⛲ On earth and in heaven: The tall skyscrapers house offices, apartments, hotels, stores and many restaurants. And below, you can admire the dazzling dancing fountains on Burj Khalifa’s 30-acre man-made lake.

👨🏻‍💼 High-level facilities: The luxurious apartment towers provide 24-hour concierge services, rooftop pools, gyms and more. The neighborhood also offers parks, playgrounds, daycare centers and schools for families in the heart of Dubai.

🚇 Well-connected by metro: The Dubai Metro runs right through the neighborhood with stops at Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall and Financial Center stations.

In short, if you’re a business traveler or just want to be in the heart of luxury and the hustle and bustle of the city, Downtown is a great choice.

All Downtown Hotels →

Where to Stay in Downtown, Dubai?

Luxury hotels:

  • Armani Hotel Dubai – a luxury hotel with exquisite Armani design inside the Burj Khalifa skyscraper.
  • The Dubai EDITION – a trendy hotel with sleek design and chic rooms in the center of Dubai.
  • Address Sky View – an elegant hotel with panoramic views of the city, offering luxurious rooms in contemporary style and a high level of personalized service.

Medium price range:

  • Vida Downtown – a modern hotel in Downtown, offers stylish mid-range rooms, 2 restaurants and a rooftop pool.
  • Address Dubai Mall – a comfortable hotel with a convenient location near Dubai Mall.
  • Manzil Downtown by Vida – a mid-range hotel with a cozy atmosphere and affordable prices.

Inexpensive hotels:

5. Deira – For Those Who Want to Experience The Local Culture

🗿 Historic Dubai: Deira’s winding streets and traditional architecture offer a glimpse into historic Dubai before ultra-modern high-rises dominated the skyline. Atmospheric spice and gold souks, where vendors sell goods in covered markets, create a sensory experience for visitors. Historic sites such as the Al Ahmadiyya School provide a glimpse into Dubai’s past as a center of pearl mining and trade.

🚍 Any transportation of choice: Transportation in Deira is easily accessible with the red metro line, buses, abra (traditional water cabs) and dhow bays (traditional wooden ships). The metro takes you to attractions such as the BurJuman shopping center and the Dubai Tennis Championships.

🎢 There is something to do: Although Deira has grown rapidly, it has retained much of its Arab culture. Families can enjoy the rides at Al Mamzar Beach Park and take in the views of the beach. Lively streets such as Al Rigga are home to many authentic Middle Eastern restaurants and stores.

Deira is considered a fairly safe neighborhood. However, visitors should take common sense precautions, such as avoiding unlit alleys at night.

All hotels in Deira →

Where to Stay in Deira?

Luxury hotels:

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

6. Al Barsha – Quiet Residential Area of Dubai

⌛ Near the main one: You will find that Al Barsha is conveniently located 15 minutes from downtown Dubai and Dubai Mall, providing quick access to world-class shopping and entertainment. The pristine beaches of Marina and JBR are just a 20-30 minute drive away. For nature lovers, Al Barsha is a short flight to Safa Park and a quick trip to the desert where you can conquer the dunes.

🛍 Lots of supermarkets: The neighborhood itself is teeming with supermarket chains such as Carrefour and Choithram’s for groceries. Shopping centers such as Mall of the Emirates, home to the famous Ski Dubai snow park, are a 10-minute drive away.

🚙 Easy mobility: Getting around Al Barsha is easy thanks to smooth, uncongested roads and the Dubai Metro Green Line running through it. Cabs, too, are cheap and plentiful.

With its vibrant mix of convenience, amenities, proximity to attractions and community, it combines Dubai’s signature energy with everyday needs and comfort. It suits young professionals looking for convenience and an energetic atmosphere.

All hotels in Al Barsha →

Where to Stay in Al Barsha?

Luxury hotels:

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

7. Bur Dubai – Dubai on a Budget

👱🏻‍♂️👨‍🦳 Suitable for everyone: With its rich history and cultural attractions, Bur Dubai is ideal for newcomers and locals alike. Located along Dubai Bay, it is in close proximity to some of Dubai’s top tourist spots such as the Dubai Museum, the Grand Mosque and lively souks. Listen to the calls to prayer coming from the minarets as you pass by the historic mosques. Experience everyday local life by browsing the textile and spice markets.

🌆 Great atmosphere: The neighborhood is buzzing with action but maintains a laid-back atmosphere. Travelers can comfortably stroll around during the day and relax in cozy cafes and hookah lounges at night. With a plethora of budget hotels, Bur Dubai offers a relatively affordable option to stay in the heart of the city.

👮🏻‍♂️ Safety first: While the hustle and bustle is part of Bur Dubai’s charm, you don’t have to worry about safety. The streets are well-lit, patrolled by police, and safe for travelers.

In general, Bur Dubai with its exciting mix of old and new gives you a taste of traditional Dubai without a noticeable hit to your wallet.

All hotels in Bur Dubai →

Where to Stay in Bur Dubai?

Medium price range:

Inexpensive hotels:

8. Al Fahidi – Ideal for Lovers of Arab Culture

🐪 Most historical: Nestled along the southern side of Dubai Creek, the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood transports you back in time to Old Dubai. With its labyrinth of winding lanes, traditional Arabian architecture, and bustling souqs, this historic district gives you a glimpse into traditional Emirati life.

🕖 Journey back in time: From the spice merchants of the fragrant Spice Souq to the gold dealers of the glitzy Gold Souq, Al Fahidi is a paradise for those looking to immerse themselves in Emirati culture. Meander through the narrow alleys while admiring the impeccably preserved coral stone buildings, some dating back to the early 1900s. History buffs will love visiting the Al Fahidi Fort and Dubai Museum to uncover the emirate’s fascinating past.

🚇 Well-connected by metro: The historic district is serviced by the Al Fahidi Metro Station on the Green Line, making it easy to reach from other parts of Dubai. For longer day trips, it’s a quick taxi ride to Deira’s bustling markets and attractions.

With its old world charm, history and proximity to major attractions, the Al Fahidi Historic District offers an authentic Dubai experience. For a glimpse into the emirate’s past, definitely choose this neighborhood.

All hotels in Al Fahidi →

Where to Stay in Al Fahidi?

Luxury hotels:

  • MAZMI CASA – a luxury boutique hotel in traditional Arabian style with upscale service and gourmet cuisine.
  • XVA Art Hotel – an exclusive hotel showcasing contemporary art with a unique design and atmosphere.

Medium price range:

  • Admiral Plaza Hotel – a modern hotel in the center of the district, offering comfortable rooms and good service at a reasonable price.
  • Heritage Home Guest House – a traditional Arabic-style hotel with a homely atmosphere and friendly staff.

Inexpensive hotels:

  • Grand Astoria Hotel – simple and inexpensive hotel with basic amenities, suitable for budget travelers.
  • WeStay Hostel – youth hostel with shared rooms and facilities at the lowest price.

Best Area to Stay in Dubai for Tourists

Downtown Dubai is perhaps the most convenient and vibrant neighborhood for tourists coming to Dubai. Located right along Dubai Creek, it is in close proximity to many of Dubai’s major attractions such as the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, Dubai Mall, the largest shopping mall in the world, and the amazing water shows of the Dubai Fountain.

Getting around the city center is easy with a well-developed metro system, affordable cabs, and even abrams (small wooden boats) for crossing the creek. The area is also very walkable, making it easy to explore on foot. For first-time visitors who want to be right in the heart of the action, it’s undoubtedly the premier area to stay during your Dubai holiday.

How to Get to City Centre from Dubai International Airport?

Here are a few ways to get from Dubai International Airport to the city of Dubai:

  • 🚇 Take the Dubai Metro – The Red Line runs from the airport to downtown Dubai. It’s cheap, fast, and easy to use. Just follow the signs in the airport to the metro station. The rides takes about 30-40 minutes.
  • 🚖 Take a taxi – Taxis are available right outside the arrivals area. Make sure to only take the official Dubai taxis that are clearly marked. The ride to downtown takes 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. Agree on the fare beforehand.
  • 🚙 Use a rideshare service like Uber or Careem – You can book a car through the apps before you arrive or once you exit the airport. Fares are generally comparable to taxis. The cars are often nicer and you don’t need cash.
  • 🚍 Take the bus – Public RTA buses leave from the arrivals area about every 30 minutes. Bus routes 4, 11, 15, and 33 go to the city center. This is the cheapest option but takes 1-1.5 hours.
  • 🚘 Rent a car – If you want flexibility to explore Dubai, consider renting a car. All major agencies have desks in the arrivals hall. Driving is on the right side of the road. Have an international license and drivers permit.

I’d recommend the metro or a taxi as the quickest and easiest ways to get into central Dubai from the airport. The metro runs frequently and taxis are plentiful. Just decide based on your budget and convenience.

Best Neighborhoods in Dubai on a Map

FAQs about Dubai

Is it better to stay in a hotel or apartment in Dubai?

Both hotels and apartments have their advantages in Dubai. Hotels often have more amenities and services, while apartments give you more space and privacy for a lower cost. I’d recommend an apartment if you want to cook some of your own meals and feel more like a local. Go with a hotel if you want luxury features and don’t mind less space.

How many days do I need in Dubai?

You probably need at least 4 or 5 days to see the major sights in Dubai. Allow extra time if you want to go on desert safaris, take day trips to Abu Dhabi or other emirates, or visit more attractions like Global Village. I’d plan on a full week to have a comfortable, unrushed stay.

Do I need visa to stay in dubai?

Yes, you need a visa to visit Dubai, since it’s part of the UAE. Many nationalities can get a visa on arrival, but check the latest requirements to be sure.

Where do most foreigners stay in Dubai?

Many foreigners opt to stay in newer areas like Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina, or Palm Jumeirah. These have lots of hotels, restaurants, and attractions. More budget conscious travelers stay in Deira or Bur Dubai for cheaper apartments near the metro and airport.

Is it better to stay at the Palm or Downtown Dubai?

It depends on what you’re looking for! Downtown is best for sightseeing, while Palm Jumeirah offers a more relaxing, resort-like experience. However, keep in mind the Palm is quite isolated. I’d recommend first-timers stay in Downtown or Marina for the best overall experience.

Where do influencers stay in Dubai?

Influencers often stay at luxury beach resorts like Atlantis, luxury hotels on the Palm like One&Only or Anantara, or 5 star hotels in Downtown like Armani or Address Hotels. But there are lots of influencer hotspots all over Dubai.