Last updated on 14 November 2023 | by Stefan Hotel Follower
Dubai is one of the best destinations for tourists in the Middle East. From the sky, Dubai looks like a peaceful paradise endowed with the tranquility of a calm sea. Unlike many famous tourist destinations which encompass old buildings, Dubai contains modern architecture including the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.
One of the main sightseeing feature in Dubai is the artificial island of Palm Jumeirah. The artificial island resembles a palm tree and a crescent at the end of the peak of the tree.
Unlike the familiar sight of green fields in the majority of tourist attractions, Dubai offers the contrary which is the desert tours. Book a desert safari and enjoy the view of the sun rising and setting at the horizon of sand and open sky. Beyond the dunes, there are numerous opportunities for team building activities.
The experiences in Dubai Creek will make you appreciate what nature has to offer. Take your fiancée at a romantic dinner at the canal dinner cruise in the creek by taking the glass-cased dhow. The river offers the best romantic experience through the various cruise bookings which are available at fantastic prices. The music and food will make you fall in love.
There are numerous indoor activities to enjoy during your visit to Dubai. While from outside people enjoy sand skating, people in the indoors enjoy snow skiing. Visit the underwater zoo and aquarium of Dubai. The stunning aquarium is home to more than 33000 aquatic animals spread over 140 species. The 48-meter tunnel exposes you to the amazing marine life.
Apart from the fantastic sightseeing and exposure to contemporary life, Dubai is an exotic destination for shopping. The Dubai Mall is located in Dubai’s downtown area. The mall is home to stores, restaurants, cafes and numerous leisure activities. The mall has an aquarium that has the world’s biggest gold open market. After shopping, allow the kids to visit the kidzania educational center. From Kidzania, children actively role-play adult profession like police, doctors and photographers among other activities.
What’s the best area to experience the city as a local or when visiting the first time, what’s the best district for shopping or local experience, with family or where to stay on a budget or honeymoon (couples) ? Read on below to find out more best neighbourhoods to stay in Dubai United Arab Emirates.
What is the Best Area to Stay in Dubai for Sightseeing ?
Best for First Time (Sightseeing): Downtown – Dubai Beach Hotels – Dubai Marina
For many tourists staying in one of the following districts is the best option;
When staying in downtown, you are only minutes away from the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa building.
The Marina district is differentiated by an impressive array of skyscrapers which are viewed better at night when they light up at the fall of darkness. The residential buildings in this district are modern and affordable. The best ground view of the palm islands is from Marina district.
For first timers, you cannot leave Dubai without visiting the white sandy beaches of The Palm Jumeirah or nearby Jumeirah Beach with 7 star hotel Burj Al Arab. While the artificial island is better viewed from the sky, you can take a boat ride around this amazing masterpiece.
Accommodation in Bur Dubai and Deira districts is quite affordable and ideal for a person on a budget.
What Area to Stay in Dubai – Map
Recommended Hotels in Dubai
- Best Luxury Hotels in Dubai
Burj Al Arab Jumeirah • One&Only The Palm Dubai
- Best Great Value – Top Rated Hotels
Rove Dubai Marina • Rove Downtown
- Best Cheap Hotels in Dubai
Al Khoory Inn Bur Dubai • Maisan Hotel
- Best Bed & Breakfast in Dubai
MAZMI CASA • XVA Art Hotel (Guest House)
- Best Budget Hostels in Dubai
Top Dubai Apartment • California Hostel Dubai
Best Areas to Stay in Dubai
What’s the best district to stay in Dubai for local experience ? Bur Dubai – Dubai Creek
At the western side of Dubai Creek is the old district of Dubai; Bur Dubai. This neighbourhood is rich in the history and culture which is securely kept at the Sheikh Mohammed center of cultural understanding. Bur Dubai has impressive hotels and shopping centers and is ideal for any person wishing to stay. Dubai Creek is a fantastic attraction which provides the chance to know and learn about the City. By taking a boat ride through the creek, you will have a better view of the different neighborhoods and learn how they came about.
Where to stay in Dubai for honeymoon (couples) ? The Palm Jumeirah or 5 Star Hotel – Desert Resort (Extended Stay)
Palm Jumeirah is the perfect honeymoon getaway. A boat ride around this fantastic neighbourhood will spice up your romantic experience. Palm Jumeirah has numerous five-star hotels and to wrap it up, the incredible beaches. If you prefer a more serene and quiet place for your honeymoon, take a 45minutes ride which will land you in the desert resort of Al Maha. From this destination, you will engage in desert activities like the desert safaris, camel riding, archery and nature walks. If you are planning for an extended stay, the desert resort is the perfect destination.
Best neighbourhood in Dubai with family ? The Palm Jumeirah – Beachfront Hotel
Dubai has amazing attractions, at the top of the list is the Palm Jumeirah. This area is self-sufficient having accommodation and touring sites. Hotels in this area are spacious for both big and small families. During the day, the family can engage in fun activities at the beach or other neighbourhoods. Beachfront hotels provide you and your family with a fantastic view of the different beaches in Dubai. Beachfront hotels offer unlimited access to private beaches. Check our our list of the very best family hotels in Dubai.
What’s the best district in Dubai for shopping ? Jumeirah – Downtown (Dubai Mall) – Al Barsha (Mall of the Emirates)
Shopping in Dubai is not just an event but an experience. Dubai Mall and Al Barsha are the top shopping destinations. The Mall of the Emirates is a magnificent complex with more than 500 stores; the mall has an indoor ski resort, theatre and a variety of restaurants. Dubai mall is a classy shopping multiplex having the biggest gold trade. The mall accommodates many stores and restaurants. There are numerous activities taking place in this mall besides shopping. If you need to purchase something, you will find it here.
Bur Dubai is a neighbourhood affluent in the history of Dubai. This area is renowned for people under a budget. There are many shopping centers, attractions and hotels. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for cultural understanding which is the core of the culture of UAE is found in this area. Deira is a busy neighbourhood which is famous for trading activities. Gold and expensive jewels from the world are traded in this area. This area is home to numerous hotels and shopping malls.
The 5 Best Areas in Dubai for Tourists (First Time Visit)
This is one of the best places to visit, regardless of what you intend to do in Dubai and the length of your stay. Stay here if you are looking to experience the part of Dubai with some of the tallest skyscrapers such as the Burj Khalifa. It has always been the best district to spend vacations and business trips due to its features, such as a lovely terrain, peaceful atmosphere and community, and affordable Dubai hotel apartments. In this district, you will find some of the most luxurious shops, as well as fancy avenues. Other than that, if you are the party type, there is a wide range of glamorous clubs and high-end dining restaurants and hotels waiting for you in Downtown Dubai.
Some visitors prefer staying in this neighbourhood because they want to be close to notable landmarks such as the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa. It is also a good choice if you are looking to stay not-so-far from the Old City.
This district might not be preferable if you are on a budget or if you want to be closer to the beach located in Marina. The beach is actually 23 km away from the Downtown. However, some accommodations are affordable and still provide the best experience for visitors. Some of them include The Solo Traveler, Movenpick Hotel Apartments, and Rove Downtown. Armani might be a good one, but it is luxurious and expensive. Note that most of these apartments and hotels are modernly designed, so you will be getting good value for your money if you pick any of them.
Downtown Dubai is perfect for those looking for both day and nightlife. It has pubs, restaurants, and bars that remain open 24/7. The Dubai Mall is also close, so you won’t have to spend time moving up and down if you need to grab something urgently. Better still, there are luxurious shops for those looking to window shop, as well as premium boulevards for easy movement within and around the place.
- Best Hotels: Palace Downtown • Address Boulevard • Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai
- Best Cheap Hotels / Great Value: Mövenpick Hotel Apartments Downtown Dubai • Manzil Downtown
The Dubai Beach areas include JBR Jumeirah Beach Residence, Burj Al Arab Area, The Palm Jumeirah, and the Four Seasons Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach area. You should stay in these places if you love to bask on the beach and play some water games.
These parts of town are perfect for visitors coming with their little ones and other family members. The beach areas of Dubai provide more than just a peaceful atmosphere to relax and reconnect with nature. Other than being strategically located to provide exquisite views of Dubai, they receive visitors from all parts of the world, so you will have the best time if you are an outgoing person. Other than being calm, the hotels and resorts also has private pools for those looking for additional privacy while enjoying their visit to the world’s most visited city.
Whether you are on a budget or you came to have the best time without worrying about the much you spend, some hotels and restaurants serve virtually any kind of dish you might ask for. You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to picking the best bars, restaurants, hotels, and apartments in this part of town. Thankfully, there is something for everyone, including those apartments and accommodations that provide premium services but are still spacious and affordable.
When it comes to food, we advise that you try all of them out if you will be staying long enough. You will learn that the restaurants hire highly qualified staff who can speak more than three languages, so you can be sure about getting exclusive customer experience while living in Dubai Beach areas. There is a lot going on in Dubai, and luckily, most beaches in the city are easily accessible from Emirates Airline if that is what you intend to use. Also, there are many other airline options in the city, which make moving around the place unbelievably easy. Finally, choose these locations if you are not looking to live in the busiest parts of town.
- Best Hotels: Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai • Jumeirah Al Naseem • Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa Dubai
- Best Cheap Hotels / Great Value: Hilton Dubai The Walk (Aparthotel) • Hawthorn Hotel & Suites by Wyndham JBR
3. Dubai Marina
Currently, Dubai Marina is regarded as one of the most developed parts of the city. If you are looking to live in a place that lets you walk and experience more, then Dubai Marina is the place. According to us, this makes it the best place to stay in Dubai. JBR is an abbreviation used to refer to the beach and every building that is situated in the first line. From there, everything else is known as Marina. This includes the tallest buildings and the canal.
If you are looking for where most European expats live, then this is the place. You will find most of them living here, thereby making you feel at home. There is a wide range of bars, and the people living in this place enjoy almost no restrictions. For instance, there are no restrictions on the way people are supposed to dress at the beach. You should choose this place because you will be staying where the most fun is found. Other than plenty of restaurants and the beach, there is a canal and impressive skyscrapers.
Unfortunately, this is not the right place for you if you only came to Dubai for shopping. You will not find impressive options in Marina, but that does mean you won’t find somewhere to buy stuff in this place. But if you need to access Mall of the Emirates, which is the second-largest mall in the city, it is just 7 km from Marina, which is not supposed to be too far.
The other downside of this location is that it is not very close to Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa and is even farther from Deira and Old City. If you are looking for the cheapest hostel in Marina, consider visiting Backpacker Tina and Pearl Marina Hotel. Though they are some of the most affordable, they still have great amenities that will make you enjoy your stay in the area. However, if you need something more luxurious, then try Address Dubai Marina.
- Best Hotel: Grosvenor House Hotel and Apartments
- Best Cheap Hotels / Great Value : Pearl Marina Hotel Apartment (Aparthotel) • Rove Dubai Marina
4. Bur Dubai
This location is the hub of the Old City of Dubai. Stay here if you are looking to experience the narrow alleys, traditional architecture, and real bazaars. It is simply the soul of the city. This is one of the few locations that have been inhabited for more than 100 years and still manages to stand out in terms of development and activeness. Mostly, you will find Indians in this place, and that is how it has been ever since it was founded. Therefore, it is the one location to stay if you are looking to have a one-on-one experience with the actual culture.
Even if you want to stay in inexpensive hotels, you will still find affordable apartments and budget friendly hotels in Bur Dubai. Actually, compared to other locations, it offers some of the most affordable accommodations. Also, if you choose this location, you will experience some of the most affordable Indian hotels and restaurants in town.
Therefore, if you are on a budget and are interested in learning about the culture, this is the best place for you. But do not choose Bur Dubai if you need nice bars and excellent dining options. Unfortunately, it is not very close to the famous extravagant Dubai Monuments. There are still very cheap apartments if you need to save money. For instance, AI Raien Hotel Apartment is unbelievably affordable but is still a nice place with a cool environment to spice up your stay in Dubai.
Compared to Raien Hotel Apartment, Ambassador Hotel is nicer and seems to be more modernised. But you will have to spend a bit more to book the space. They also have more apartments such as Citymax Hotel Bur Dubai and Movenpick Hotel. If this hotel was in another location, it would have been very expensive. Note that while Bur Dubai is a nice place, it might not be the best option for someone looking to have a lot of fun and experience the luxurious life of the city. If that is the case, you should consider other areas.
- Best Accommodations: Raffles Dubai – Palazzo Versace Dubai
- Best Cheap Hotels / Great Value: Hampton by Hilton Dubai Al Seef • Premier Inn Dubai Al Jaddaf
For those on budget, this is one of the best places to stay in Dubai. Deira looks more like a continuation of the Old City but is a little bit more modern. Therefore, you want to stay here if you are not looking to experience a very luxurious life. Also, it is one of the largest traditional hubs in the city, so you will enjoy an authentic old culture. In this region, you should not expect anything more than normal streets that have normal shops. Again, it is a walkable area, so you can take a walk to explore the area. Despite being less developed compared to other parts, Deira is undergoing modernisation, so its current state is likely to change after some time. The government has started to construct some cool structures around.
You should stay in this place if you are on a budget or prefer being very close to the International Airport. Also, it is an excellent alternative to Bur Dubai, which is mostly traditional with old buildings. Currently, Deira has many attractive buildings and a wide range of restaurants and bars for those who love the nightlife. However, it is worth noting that since it is close to the airport, it means it is very far from everything else.
Therefore, if you choose to live in this place, forget about easy access to beaches and famous landmarks. However, you might still be lucky as it is perfectly connected to the metro. If you need the cheapest accommodation, then you can find some places such as AI Jawar Metro Hotel and Lavender Hotel Deira. However, if you are ready to spend a little more, then try Rove City Center and AI Bandar Rotana Dubai Creek.
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