Asia, Holiday packages, Hotels and resorts

Dubai rises like some shimmering mirage out of the Gulf deserts, a city of contrasts and excesses. Not so long ago this was an impoverished backwater but now it’s awash with iconic landmarks like the Burj al Arab hotel and some of the world’s most expensive motors purr along its wide tree-lined boulevards. But scratch the surface and a fascinating substratum of traditional culture is still there in the passion for falconry, camel racing and horsemanship, and visitors can snorkel and windsurf along the coastline as well as stroll around the biggest shopping mall in the world. Many luxury hotels in Dubai are seen to be the crème de la crème and here’s our guide to 5 of the best.

The Palm by One & Only

The Palm is ideally located for stunning views along the coast and out into the Gulf, on the Jumeirah peninsula. There’s a fine private beach and the cuisine is prepared by Chef Yannick Alleno, a Michelin-starred phenomenon. There are private villas with fully personalised service on the beach as well as suites in the main Manor House complex of the hotel that overlook a central pool. The choice of dining venues at The Palm is one of its major selling points, with 3 on-site restaurants as well as convenient water-taxi access to the 7 restaurants at the nearby One&Only Royal Mirage.

Royal Mirage by One and Only

The Royal Mirage has a particularly attractive location between the busy coastline and its many attractions on the one side and the shifting dunes of the desert on the other. Majestic palms nodding over an oasis lake complete the picture of idyllic loveliness, and the building itself is an elaborate and romantic confection of domes, towers, arches and courtyards in the traditional Arabic style. There are no fewer than 7 excellent restaurants here, along with a spacious rooftop lounge with great views across the city and Gulf.

Hotel Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa

Just 45 minutes drive out of central Dubai, this luxury establishment is located on the very edge of the vast desert and the local wildlife can be seen from the rooms’ balconies in the evenings. This is a world-class spa complex with all the latest facilities for a thoroughly healthy, relaxing and enjoyable stay, including temperature-controlled swimming pool and treatment rooms with professional masseurs available.

Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi

This exclusive Dubai hotel has a unique fusion of classical and contemporary influences in its sumptuous ambience and decor of high ceilings, railed balconies, majestic mirrors and carved interior pillars. It’s like something out of the Arabian Nights and visitors will feel themselves swept away on a luxurious magic carpet. The 180 deluxe rooms all have magnificent views across the sea, and there are two deluxe suites with dressing rooms as well as separate bedrooms. Four duplex suites are like small self-contained villas, with access to the upper floor via a sweeping staircase. For the ultimate pampering opt for the 9th floor suite with its huge Turkish bath, gym, Jacuzzi and Aigner toiletries.

Jumeirah Living World Trade Centre Residence

This fabulous luxury hotel is located right next to the World Trade Centre and has its own state-of-the-art gym as well as a heated rooftop pool and free Wi-Fi throughout. All of the apartments include private kitchens and spa baths, and have views of the nearby Zabeel Palace and Burj Khalifa, which are beautifully lit up at night. There’s easy access to the local private beach at Madinat Jumeirah and the famous Wild Wadi Water Park is also close by. The Club Restaurant on the World Trade Centre’s 30th floor serves a range of excellent international and offers panoramic city views.