This is why our favourite Dubai hotels are Bulgari, One&Only the Palm, Four Seasons Jumeirah, Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah and Jumeirah Al Naseem.
Dubai is constantly changing. Every year there are new five-star hotels, while formerly amazing hotels start feeling old and tired. Late last year we inspected nine Dubai hotels and we’re always listening to the feedback from our clients.
The best Dubai five-star hotels are not necessarily the most expensive. These are our trusted favourites, when considering design, service, suites, amenities and overall quality.
Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah
Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah is a great all rounder, suitable for just about anyone visiting the UAE. We didn’t recommend it last year, due to the construction work and redevelopment going on. This is mostly now complete.
Among the hotel’s new additions are two penthouses on the rooftop, each measuring over 500 sqm and with a private pool. And this redevelopment was for a hotel that only opened in February 2019.
This prime beachfront hotel still feels new and has some of the best swimming pools in Dubai. Rooms are very spacious, with great views over the city and the sea.
It’s become a flagship Mandarin Oriental property and we love how they’re keeping everything so up to date. Like Dubai’s best fitness centre, a world-class spa with separate men’s and women’s facilities, plus Tasca, a legendary restaurant by Portugal’s most famous chef.
With more than 250 rooms it’s not small or especially romantic, yet the quality of the service does make it a good choice for couples. It’s not specifically a family hotel either, but the discreet Little Nomads kids club is excellent. There’s also a children’s pool and babysitting service.
Overall, Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah delivers for everyone because of the service. Here they can really tailor an experience to their guests.
Bulgari Resort Dubai
Across the water from Jumeirah Beach, Bulgari Resort Dubai is significantly different in style to the Mandarin Oriental. It’s a low-slung resort with a glamorous Mediterranean inspired design, one you’d expect from such a prestigious brand.
This is our favourite Dubai five-star hotel for architecture and design. From the spa to the suites, you really feel you’ve stepped into a unique space.
There’s handcrafted Italian furniture, marble bathrooms with Bulgari toiletries, and vintage trunks converted into minibars.
All the rooms and suites have private balconies. We love the private villas, as they come with outdoor terraces, butler service and a private pool. And the in-room dining options are phenomenally good – no need to order a club sandwich here.
Resort Dubai does have children’s facilities, but the standouts here are design and service. So unless you stay in a villa, there are better options when travelling with a family. Also, the beach here is artificial and not the best. For a beach holiday stay across the water instead.
Two of the hotel’s restaurants won stars in the 2022 Michelin Guide to Dubai. The spa is also outstanding. These are two more factors why we tend to prefer Bulgari Resort Dubai mostly for couples.
One&Only the Palm
Space is the ultimate luxury at One&Only the Palm. It’s one of Dubai’s most elite places to stay, one of few Dubai hotels we can call boutique.
Unlike our other favourites, One&Only the Palm is not central. It’s located on a secluded branch of the Palm, with a superb private beach. So it’s super tranquil but don’t choose it for an active itinerary.
We love the low-rise style, how it feels so familiar and European while respecting local architectural sensitivities. Like Bulgari, this is hotel design you really will remember.
What sets most One&Only properties apart is the attention to detail, from the design to the service. You feel special and individual here, as the brand’s name suggests you will.
The overarching serenity suits couples. Restaurants like the two Michelin star STAY by Yannick Alleno and the private dining options are very romantic, as are some of the other spaces around the hotel.
At the same time, the villas here rival those in the Bulgari Resort, meaning this can also be a good choice for families.
Jumeirah Al Naseem
Jumeirah Al Naseem can really divide opinions. It is a great five-star hotel that’s not for everyone.
We personally love the hotel’s refreshingly contemporary perspective on Arabic architecture. It’s great when you travel to the Middle East and want to feel that you’re in the Middle East, without giving up modern tastes.
Located on a long sandy beach in the Madinat Jumeirah compound, it offers over 50 restaurants and a Wild Wadi waterpark. Bars, boutiques, spa, there’s even a turtle rehabilitation lagoon.
There’s everything for a holiday here. However, because it’s so big you can spend a lot of time simply moving about the resort. The service is professional and formal, but doesn’t really make you feel personal or special.
Still, for some of our clients, Jumeirah Al Naseem is an absolute winner. They return with glowing praise. It’s certainly a better choice than the hotel that’s opposite, the world-famous Burj Al Arab.
We don’t think there’s anything at the Burj Al Arab to justify the cost per night. Some people want to see it and the design is unique, a kind of bizarre Russian-style luxury. Overall, it doesn’t have five-star service, not even a beach. It’s certainly not seven stars as many unprofessional travel agencies claim.
Four Seasons Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
Along with Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah, the closest beachfront hotel to downtown Dubai, with the high-quality service and signatures you’d expect from the Four Seasons brand.
Like almost all Four Seasons properties, it’s a great choice for families, delivering all the valuable amenities and services for children, while preserving a smart and elegant atmosphere.
Two examples. The Kids for All Seasons activity centre stays open until 11pm on weekends, when there are five independent restaurants you could be dining at. There’s baby baths and babysitting, more crucially for your peace of mind, the rooms are childproofed for crawling babies.
Four Seasons Dubai at Jumeirah Beach has some of the largest rooms in Dubai. This is consistent with our recent inspections of Four Seasons Madrid and Four Seasons Ritz Lisbon. You don’t need to book a suite to have a lot of space and comfort.
The hotel balances a classic Four Seasons style with opulent Middle Eastern touches, like gold-leaf ceilings and marble floors. You won’t remember forever like at Bulgari, but you will be impressed.
While the hotel does have a nice stretch of private beach, we always recommend booking a private beach cabana in advance, as only a few of them are available.
New Five-Star Hotels in Dubai
So what’s coming next in Dubai? We are so excited about Atlantis the Royal, a sister property of Atlantis the Palm. It will be the new iconic landmark of Dubai, we’re sure of that. EliteVoyage CEO Petr Udavský will be among the very first guests, when it opens on 10th February. He’ll report back next month.
In 2023 we’re also expecting the first five-star hotel in Dubai Creek Harbour, a Cote d’Azur resort on the World Islands and W Dubai Mina Seyahi.
Your Favourite Five-Star Hotel in Dubai
What’s your favourite hotel in Dubai? Where has most impressed you in the Emirate?
We’ve visited most of Dubai’s five-star hotels in the last couple of years and can give you very personalised recommendations.
The best five-star hotel in Dubai will be different depending on what you want. And that’s why we’re here to help.