Last updated on January 11th, 2022
An extraordinary mix of luxury, exclusivity, extravagance and eastern mystery: this is Dubai. The best hotels all offer the very best services; many reserve surprises or unexpected details that serve to make a visit to Dubai an unforgettable experience.
The following list describes the most unique hotels in Dubai with that extra something special.
What are the Most Iconic Hotels in Dubai?
This is our handpicked list of 10 unique hotels in Dubai.
Looking for the most luxurious hotels ? Then check our list of the best 5 star hotels in Dubai as well.
1. Burj Al Arab Jumeirah (7 Star Hotel)
This dynamic building is unique in many ways. Despite its mammoth size, its sweeping elegant design gives it an artistic flair that teases and pleases the eye. Burj Al Arab seems a glorious ship with its great sail billowing in the wind. The unique sailing-dhow design reflects Dubai’s sea-going heritage and has become the icon that represents Dubai.
An English architect, Tom Wright, born in Croydon, London, in 1957, designed and built this wonder during the 1990s. Completed in 1999, it is world-famous as the first seven-star hotel, so expect top-level luxury. Another unique feature is its location: it stands on its own island just off the lovely Jumeirah Beach area. It’s definitely one of the must see hotels when in Dubai.
2. One&Only The Palm Dubai (Most Romantic)
The Palm Islands in Dubai form the largest man-made archipelago in the world; they are referred to as the “eighth wonder”. These romantic islands, just off the Jumeirah beach resort, are designed in the shape of palm trees. There are three clusters of islands; the middle one, the Jumeirah Palm, is completely finished and offers luxury hotels, homes, shopping and entertainment areas.
Located on a private peninsula on Jumeirah Palm Island, the luxurious One&Only The Palm Hotel sits in beautiful palm tree gardens and offers the best romantic setting for that once-in-a-lifetime dream holiday.
3. Armani Hotel Dubai (In Burj Khalifa)
Giorgio Armani has visions beyond fashion, including the fabulous and unique Armani Hotel in Dubai. Located in the record-breaking Burj Khalifa skyscraper, this hotel has luxury spas, superb views, first-class dining options and private entry from the Dubai Mall.
The Armani Hotel, apart from its famous fashion connections, has another claim to fame: it is located within the tallest building in the world (828 metres) in the downtown district. The Burj Khalifa, completed in 2010, boasts many world records: the highest restaurant (122nd floor), highest swimming-pool (level 76), etc. In 2010, it was the location for scenes for Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol with Tom Cruise.
4. Queen Elizabeth 2 Hotel (Cruise Ship)
Ever wondered where they go when they are decommissioned? Those majestic ocean liners that once stylishly crossed the Atlantic often get recycled. The stately Queen Elizabeth 2, the QE2, is now a splendid luxury hotel moored at Port Rashid and forms part of Dubai’s unique hospitality line-up.
The vessel, which opened as a hotel in 2018, has been lovingly restored in its original style. Guests stepping on board can feel the history and experience a cruise that moves through time rather than water. The QE2 was built on the Clyde; completed in 1969, she carried passengers across the Atlantic in grand style until 2008. In 1982, she was commissioned as a military vessel and transported troops to the Falklands. History is part of the package when you stay at the QE2 Hotel.
5. XVA Art Hotel (Historic Hotel)
This hotel has just 15 themed guestrooms, it is quirky and exclusive, small and intimate, almost secret, it reflects the history of the region. The decor is decorative Arabic-traditional, it could be the setting for ‘The 1001 Nights’. There are three shady courtyards full of history and charm; if Scheherazade appeared you would not be surprised.
Experience the lifestyle of old Dubai: the hotel is the former residence of a prominent Dubai family, and the traditional atmosphere has been well preserved. The XVA Art Hotel displays traditional arty items in every corner and, creating a curious contrast, you can also visit its Contemporary Art Gallery and admire modern avant-garde works by the best artists of the region.
6. Gevora Hotel (Tallest Hotel)
In the lobby, you can admire the Guinness Book of Records plaque that makes it official. The Gevora hotel stands 356 metres high: the tallest all-hotel building. The two runners-up are close by; this is Dubai’s high-rise district near the World Trade Centre. Stay in any of this record-breaking hotel’s deluxe rooms and you are guaranteed far-reaching sweeping views over the city.
Enjoy the heights: relax in the spa on the top floor or have fun in the two swimming-pools on the roof. There is a fitness centre with another pool on the twelfth floor, along with meeting rooms and shops. There are three restaurants with two more planned. Welcoming, modern, shining with marble and gold, the tallest hotel can meet any tall order when it comes to hospitality.
7. Atlantis The Palm, Dubai (Underwater Suites)
Put together fantasy, hospitality, legend, water, luxury, aquatic theme park and a desire to impress, and you have the incredible, already legendary, phantasmagorical Atlantis The Palm Hotel. Inspired by the legend of Atlantis, many features are under the sea, including luxury Neptune & Poseidon underwater suites, and a restaurant.
Also, the aquatic park area takes you below the waves to explore the depths. Location is amazing: this grandiose top-class hotel (1539 rooms) is perched on the outer rim of the circling island of the Jumeirah Palm archipelago, the open sea is your playground, great for boating or underwater diving. The hotel’s aquatic park includes an 11-acre Dolphin Bay where guests can swim with dolphins. It’s one of the best family hotels in Dubai !
8. Al Maha (Desert Resort)
The Al Maha Desert Resort is located 45 minutes from Dubai, in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, and offers the surrounded-by-sand-dunes real desert experience. At the same time, it is a spa and boasts 43 temperature-controlled swimming pools, one to each suite, plus the full-sized central pool in the Timeless Spa.
From watery spa to sandy desert, there is much to discover and enjoy. Al Maha tenderly pampers its guests, then proposes tough outdoor adventures. This is your chance to get to know the desert, from camel rides to jeep safaris, from falconry to horse riding, from archery to nature trekking to 4-wheel-drive careening over the dunes.
9. Palazzo Versace Dubai (Designed by House of Versace)
Palazzo Versace is a noble Italian palazzo. The decor, the layout, the atmosphere, the feel of the place is fashionable and exclusive. The outfitting and furnishings, as well as the accessories, fabrics, drapes, colour schemes and decorative details, are pure House of Versace.
With 215 rooms/suites, 169 residences and 8 restaurants all exquisitely furnished, this is where elegant high fashion meets opulent hospitality. Even the exterior panorama is fashionable. Each room enjoys top-class views over the picturesque Dubai Creek and Jaddaf Waterfront.
10. Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates (Aspen Ski Chalet Rooms)
22500 square metres of snowy ski-slopes in the middle of the desert: this is Ski Dubai, an indoor artificial snow area with sub-zero temperatures that offers five ski-runs, chairlifts, bobsled and tobogganing and other cold-weather activities.
The adjoining Kempinski Hotel provides typical accommodation in keeping with this winter wonderland; the Aspen Ski Chalet rooms and suites all have that alpine feel to them and look out over the snow-covered Ski Dubai ski-slopes.
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