The Best Areas To Stay In Dubai – An Ultimate Guide

Find out the best areas to stay in when visiting Dubai, and answer the burning question of whether you should choose attractions, beaches, cultural immersion, nightlife, cheap stay, or luxury?
Dubai Burj Khalifa
The ultimate guide to the best areas to stay in Dubai. Photo: Maria Charizani | Pexels

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It only took several days of sightseeing in Dubai for me to realize why it’s one of thee hottest travel destinations in the world, pun intended.

Dubai is full of grandiose attractions, architecture, artwork, hotels, cruises, beaches, cuisine, malls, and positive vibes. Sidenote *Hey, isn’t that what we’re all looking for when we travel?* It was also clean, safe, very diverse, and beaming with progressive development.

And now, you’ve landed here because you’re ready, or at least, thinking, of making Dubai your next vacation destination. But first things first, let’s get the most important question out of the way. Sit back, relax, grab your coffee, and let’s review my ultimate guide to where are the best areas to stay when visiting Dubai.

Dubai is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Photo: Kostiantyn Stupak | Pexels

Downtown is the Best Place to Stay in Dubai

Let’s just get this out of the way: Downtown is my top recommendation for areas to stay in Dubai. It’s got everything—top-rated attractions, colossal skyscrapers, a variety of restaurants, mega shopping centers, ongoing events, popular nightclubs, and convenient access to transportation.

Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, and Burj Khalifa, easily Dubai’s most prominent landmarks and top places to visit, are the centerpiece attractions of downtown, and together, they bring in endless hordes of tourists to the area every day.

Plus, downtown Dubai is oozing with family-friendly experiences to keep the kids entertained, like At the Top observatory, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, KidZania, and Burj Park. Moreover, if you’re a kid-free traveler and are looking to have a fun night out in town, Mafia Club, Mantis, and Buhayra Lounge are top rated nightlife venues not just in downtown, but in all of Dubai.  

And for transportation? You’ve got easy access to the metro, public buses, and taxis that can get you to the beach, Palm Island, and other popular places nearby within a reasonable time. Dubai Mall’s also the central meeting point for Big Bus Tour Dubai, which I highly recommend.

Downtown Dubai is full of tourists, attractions, hotels, and convenient transportation. Photo: Olgaozik | Pixabay

Stay at Jumeirah Residence Beach for Endless Fun Under the Sun

You absolutely, positively, cannot leave Dubai without hitting the beach. It’s just one of those unwritten rules of the city. And the best beach to visit, and my 2nd top recommendation for best areas to stay in Dubai, is Jumeirah Beach Residence beach.

Welcome to a stunning 1.1 mile stretch of sandy beach, luxury apartments and hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and jaw-dropping views of the Arabian Gulf.

There are just so many things to do in and out of the water at Jumeirah Beach Residence beach. You can go from sailing, jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking, snorkeling, and swimming in the warmest natural water you may ever get to experience, to playing beach volleyball, barbecuing, jumping out of an airplane with Skydive Dubai, and hitching a ride on Ain Dubai, the world’s largest and tallest Ferris wheel.

Plenty of foreign tourists visit and stay at hotels in the area, too, and you better believe that Jumeirah Beach Residence beach receives lots of crowds daily. By evening’s time, beachgoers can explore a multitude of bar, lounge, and club options to choose from.    

And although there’s nothing like sipping tasty cocktails and dancing the night away while surrounded by sweeping waterfront views, if you’re truly set on experiencing the best of Dubai’s nightlife scene, you may want to book a stay just a stone’s throw away from Jumeirah Beach Residence beach …

Jumeirah Beach is one of the best areas to stay in Dubai for tourists. Photo: Shabaz Akram | Pexels

Dubai Marina is Home to Dubai’s Best Nightlife Scene

Outside of downtown, Dubai Marina is one of the top areas to experience Dubai’s energetic nightlife. You’ll find happy hours, live bands, sports bars, rooftop bars, gastropubs, wine and dineries, highly decorative, themed lounges, and clubs with huge dance floors.

But let’s backtrack a little—what exactly is Dubai Marina? Vibes. As one of Dubai’s most affluent neighborhoods, everything, from the 2 mile stretch of towering apartments and hotels, to the luxury yachts and traditional dhows passing through the marina canal, is carefully crafted to exude elegance, extravagance, astounding beauty.

It’s the perfect area to stay in Dubai for sightseeing, activities, dining, leisurely strolls, and being in very close vicinity to the beach. It’s home to Dubai’s Tallest Block—a collection of the tallest residential buildings in the world—Marina Mall, XLine, the longest urban zipline in the world, a yacht club, art gallery, and Dubai Marina Walk, a 4.3-mile scenic walkway.

And thus, it’s not hard to see why at night Dubai Marina becomes one of the hottest places in town to grab a drink and party. You’ll want to visit Buddha-Bar, Siddharta Lounge, Pier 7, Lock, Stock, and Barrel, and Amadeus Club, just to name a few.

Dubai Marina is home to some of the city’s best nightlife venues. Photo: Bruce Kamm | Unsplash

Your Cultural Immersive Experience Lies in Bur Dubai

Let’s say you’re visiting Dubai and prefer a more … immersive experience. The eye-popping architecture, fancy beaches, and glamours malls are one thing, but you’d rather live, eat, and sleep like a local. You’re more interested in learning about Dubai’s history, culture, and daily practices of its people. So, where’s the best place to stay?

Two words: Bur Dubai. One of the city’s more traditional neighborhoods, a stay in Bur Dubai is a great way to glimpse at old Dubai—life before the grand transformation into one world’s most gleaming metropolises.

You can visit Dubai Museum and Dubai Heritage Village to learn of the city’s history and observe local customs. View exhibits about Islam in the UAE and eat a traditional Arabic breakfast at Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, and shop for handmade crafts, fabrics, and souvenirs at Old Souk Market and Meena Bazaar, where you can also try delicious local street snacks.

What’s more, Bur Dubai’s home to exciting experiences that’ll add a little extra entertainment to your cultural stay. How about a traditional dhow cruise along Dubai Creek? What about exploring a colorful, illuminated garden filled with more than 10-million LED lights at Dubai Garden Glow? And don’t forget to check out Dubai Frame, one of the city’s notable landmark architectural wonders.

Passengers ride traditional boats up and down Dubai Creek. Photo: Aman Tyagi | Unsplash

Deira is a Great Budget-Friendly Place to Stay

Okay, so maybe you fear that Dubai could be too expensive for your budget. With all the luxurious-looking hotels, pools, attractions, and activities you’ve seen across social media, you’re left to think: Are there any cheap or affordable places to stay in Dubai?

There is, and Deira, located right across from Bur Dubai on the north side of Dubai Creek, is the best place to stay in Dubai for cheap lodging that’s still located near popular tourist attractions.

One search of “Hotels in Deira Dubai” and you’ll find accommodation that ranges from $20-$70 per day, which, as sure as day turns to night, is a big relief for the budget conscious traveler. Plus, downtown Deira is but a mere 15-minute car ride from Dubai International Airport, and a 20-min car ride from the Burj Khalifa, making access to ‘happening’ spots around town convenient to reach by taxi.  

As far as things to do in Deira? Try shopping at various souks and shopping malls, knocking down a couple of holes at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, flying in a seaplane over Dubai with Seawings, exploring several museums, and even joining a desert safari tour that departs from the area.

Cheap hotels are very commonplace in Deira, Dubai. Photo: Francisco Anzola | Flickr

There are Plenty of Luxury Hotels in Dubai to Choose From

And then there’s the luxurious side of Dubai, which from pictures, seems just about everywhere. But maybe money doesn’t matter to you. Maybe you’re willing to shell out whatever it cost to stay in the most extravagant hotels, dine at the swankiest restaurants, and experience top-notch attractions.      

With that, I’ll recommend 4 specific, luxurious places you should stay in Dubai: Burj Al Arab, Atlantis the Palm Resort, Address Sky View, and Armani Hotel Dubai.

Experience Burj Al Arab, an icon of Dubai

Trust me, you’ve more than likely seen photos of Burj Al Arab across social media without even realizing it. After all, it is considered one of Dubai’s most iconic hotels and landmarks. Remember the hotel that resembles the sail of a ship and sits on its own island 919 feet into the Arabian Gulf? That’s it!

It’s Dubai’s one and only “7-star hotel” (Actually, it’s a 5-star hotel, but a 7-star rating from a British journalist has stuck ever since). It’s got 199 suites with 24/7 butler service, spas, a yacht charter, turtle sanctuary, an Ocean Terrace pool with a swim up bar, 8 restaurants, and its own Wild Wadi Waterpark at its door steps. Oh, and did I mention the helipad?

A stay at Burj Al Arab is lavish living at its best, and in Dubai, it only gets better.  

Burj Al Arab is Dubai’s one and only “7-star” hotel. Photo: halidullinasvetlana | Pixabay

The Atlantis Palm

Now, if you have never seen it, Atlantis the Palm Resort looks like a deluxe castle straight out of a Disney fairytale. Seriously, it’s that much of an architectural masterpiece.

Located at the edge of another one of Dubai’s most prominent engineering feats, Palm Island,

Atlantis the Palm is fitted with over 1,500 rooms, including underwater vistas, celebrity restaurants, the world’s largest waterpark, and a Lost Chambers Aquarium with over 65,000 marine animals. By the way, visitors can enjoy scuba diving in the aquarium, too!

Surrounding the hotel are artificial islands teeming with upscale private residences, businesses, and hotels. Even if you choose not to stay in any of them, you’ll want to at least drive around the island just to experience upper-class life in Dubai. Hey, it’ll leave you with something to aspire to!

Dubai’s Atlantis the Palm Resort resembles a castle right out of a Disney movie. Photo: 8268513 | Pixabay

Take a Dip in a High-Rise Infinity Pool in Downtown

You can quote me on this: “Infinity pools are the greatest inventions of the century.” Okay so not really, but you can’t deny that they’re fantastic creations that should be a requirement of every high-rise hotel.

Dubai’s got plenty of them, but the best infinity pool in town belongs to the Address Sky View Hotel, located in downtown and but a few blocks from the Burj Khalifa. Its lavish infinity pool gives guests an unobstructed view of the world’s tallest skyscraper from 54 floors up, making it one of the most memorable experiences to have in Dubai if you’re not traveling on a budget.

Here’s what I’d like for you to do: Go on Instagram, search for “infinity pool Dubai” and see what pops up. I’ll wait … There they are! Spot all of the cool looking photos of people posing in front of Burj Khalifa while in Address Sky Views infinity pool? Yeah, make sure you bring your best camera, because you’ll need that picture, too.  

A stunning view of Burj Khalifa from Address Sky View’s infinity pool. Photo: Adam Neiland | Unsplash

Experience Dubai With a Luxurious Hotel Stay Inside Burj Khalifa

If you’ve ever thought about actually staying in the Burj Khalifa, well, you can! In fact, the Armani Hotel Dubai occupies 11 floors—concourse level to 8, 38 & 39—of the record-breaking skyscraper and provides incredible views of the city.

In addition to 7 fine dining restaurants and a premium lounge, terrace, and club, the hotel provides a wide range of wellness amenities such as spas, saunas, a relaxation pool, and a beauty experience.

When you’re not in your room, pay a visit to the world’s largest mall, Dubai Mall, step foot inside the world’s highest observatory (1,821 ft.), housed in Burj Khalifa, and see jet streams of water shoot as high as 500ft. in the air during a show at one of the world’s largest fountains.

Boy, what having lots of money can get you in Dubai!

You can stay at a hotel inside Burj Khalifa. Photo: Nick Fewings | Unsplash

Where Have You Decided to Stay?

So, now that you know the best areas to stay in Dubai, which are you going to choose? Do you prefer to be nestled in downtown or near the beach? Are you touring Dubai on a budgeted trip or are you able to spend your hard-earned money on any and everything you want? No matter the choice, I’ve just hoped you’ve learned from my mistake: You’d better stay in Dubai longer than 4 days! Safe and happy travels!


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