Bucket list hotels in the UAE

/Bucket list hotels in the UAE

Bucket list hotels in the UAE

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You won’t have to walk far to find one of the most luxurious world class hotels in the UAE, the country is full of them. As a result, I have produced my bucket list hotels throughout the UAE that I have stayed in the past, or I wish to stay in the future and why I specifically chose them.


1. Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa

Al Maha Resort

Although we have not stayed here it is definitely on our bucket list. If you want to experience the ‘real’ UAE with sand dunes and a stunning desert landscape this is the perfect resort. Whilst it is secluded, you will most likely encounter wild Arabian Onyx and Gazelles grazing around the resort. Two complimentary desert activities every day are also included in your stay. It is also one of the highest rated resort throughout the whole UAE!

Click here to get the best rate on Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa

2. One&Only Royal Mirage

Royal Mirage Dubai

Emma has stayed at this stunning Arabic designed One&Only hotel back in 2014, and absolutely adored it. Situated just off the Palm with stunning views of it from its own private beach is unbeatable. Walking along the beach you also have great views of Dubai Marina and its many impressively designed skyscrapers. We would say it is one of the best located hotels in Dubai due to the surrounding views. For food lovers, there are also 8 different restaurants with a range of gourmet dishes from around the world. The hotel itself is separated into three distinct environments, The Palace, Arabian Court and Residence & Spa, each with unique rooms. During low season, you can find great deals on this hotel, so keep an eye out if you are wanting to visit Dubai around summer.

Click here to get the best rate on the One&Only Royal Mirage

3. Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab

Probably the most iconic hotel in Dubai. It is famous for supposedly being the only  7*  hotel in the world. Set on its own island overlooking the Palm, it is also the worlds fourth tallest hotel, so expect to have great views of Dubai from your hotel room! However, to live up to these standards it is one of the worlds most expensive hotels to stay in. The cost of staying in a suite begins at USD$1,000 per night and increases to over USD$15,000 per night; the Royal Suite is the most expensive, at USD$28,000 per night. Even though the average traveller could never justify spending this much on a hotel. It is definitely worthy of our list, as who wouldn’t want to stay there?!

Click here to get the best rate on the Burj Al Arab

4. Atlantis the Palm

Atlantis Dubai

Another iconic hotel, famous for being the first hotel built on the Palm. Situated at the very end of the Palm with views over the Arabian Gulf, it is impressive to say the least. It is BIG with 1,539 rooms, so don’t expect a secluded stay whilst here. The resort has an underwater aquarium, opportunities to swim with dolphins and complimentary access to the Aquaventure water park and the Lost Chambers Aquarium. Not to mention, it is also rated the best valued hotel in Dubai, for what you get!

Click here to get the best rate on The Atlantis The Palm

5. Anantara the Palm Dubai

Anantara the Palm

Located in the eastern crescent of Dubai’s man-made Palm Jumeirah harbour islands. This sophisticated, Thai-themed hotel has individual villas set around a lagoon-style swimming pool. Its large swimming pool is fringed by a beautiful white sandy beach, and the resort provides a wide range of eating options. Lit up at night, The Anantara has to be one of the prettiest resorts in Dubai. Even if it is as far from traditional Arabesque architecture as you can get. For what you get, the resort offers fairly good value for money, with rooms starting at around USD$460 a night. But do check during low season as prices may be lower.

Click here to get the best rate on the Anantara The Palm

6. Waldorf Astoria the Palm

Waldorf Astoria

Yannick has stayed at this beautiful resort on the Palm. It is located right next to the Anantara. And we love it for the value you can get out of it. Especially if you own Gold status with Hilton, you’ll be able to get their amazing suites for as much as you pay for basic rooms in the surrounding places. So yea, this is actually a somewhat affordable hotel on the palm. And the room design is amazing, probably one of the most modern in the world. The whole hotel is made of white marble, which you’ll also find in the rooms, especially the huge bathrooms.

Get the best rate on the Waldorf Astoria The Palm

Abu Dhabi

1. Jumeriah at Etihad Towers

Etihad Towers

Photo by: Dr. Norbert Heidenbluth via Flickr

The Etihad Towers is currently the top rated Abu Dhabi property on TripAdvisor, thousands of people cannot be wrong in loving this hotel. Emirates Towers is a mixed use office, condominium and hotel.  It includes a luxury shopping mall, should you feel the need to visit Hermes, Tom Ford or even Waitrose during your stay.  It also has a fairly good beach situated right next to it.

Get the best rate on the Jumeriah Etihad Towers

2. Zaya Nurai Island

This fairly new island resort is honestly pure luxury. Previously a small, uninhabited natural island close on the coast of Abu Dhabi. It offers well-equipped beach villas, private pools, excellent service, and a wide choice of restaurants and boat transfers, near Saadiyat Island. The island has been developed as both an upscale resort and an exclusive real estate development. The resort is mostly clustered on the north-eastern side of the island, where 32 one bedroom villas line a crescent-shaped beach. Due to the limited hotel rooms you are guaranteed privacy and relaxation, whilst only being a 10 minute speedboat ride from downtown Abu Dhabi.

Get the best rate on the Zaya Nurai Island Resort

3. Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Resort

Another stunning island resort. However, it is slightly different to any other resort throughout the UAE. The Anantara resort is a small collection of villas surrounded by an Arabian Wildlife Park. Which is home to thousands of free-roaming animals including Arabian oryx, sand gazelle, Arabian (mountain) gazelle. As well as larger animals such as cheetah and hyena (the resort is fenced from dangerous animals). The resort feels like you are more in Africa than in the UAE, especially during sunset overlooking the savannah and surrounding landscape.

Get the best rate on the Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island

4. Yas Viceroy

Yas Viceroy

Iconically designed, and a hotel honourably on our bucket list. In addition, we has previously stayed here and loved every minute of it. If you’re a fan of the Formula 1 you will have most likely seen this hotel during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Especially after dark it transforms into what looks more like a space ship than anything else. Literally every part of this very special hotel has been thoughtfully designed so you’ll be amazed wherever you look. There are two rooftop pools, one of them with a bar, with great mood lighting all around. And best of all – go during the very hot summer months and you’ll be able to snag a room here from as low as 80USD or even one of their amazing suites with wraparound balconies and panoramic track and marina views for under 200 USD. But do your wallet a favour and don’t go for the Formula 1 weekend – prices will be starting at a few thousand dollars per night even for the basic rooms!

Get the best rate on the Yas Viceroy

Do you have any further questions, additional hotels you think I missed, or you just enjoyed and found this guide useful? If so, do not hesitate to comment below on your thoughts! I love hearing from you guys!

Happy Travels!

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By | 2019-01-21T15:32:08+00:00 November 7th, 2016|Middle East|9 Comments

About the Author:

Hey there I'm Emma! A luxury and adventure travel blogger. I've currently travelled to 53 countries with no plans to stop! I hope I can inspire you to travel the world with my travel guides, travel and blogging tips, as I believe travel is for everyone. So come and travel well for less with me!


  1. Christina 11/08/2016 at 2:19 am - Reply

    Love the idea of this post. As someone who loves to splurge on hotels I found this pretty awesome! Great info with a variety of different luxurious hotels. Life is too short to stay at so many amazing hotels. What to choose what to choose 🙂 Thank you!

  2. Katrina | Aqua & Ink 11/08/2016 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Definite bucket list hotels! I am adding all of these to my iPhone notes list of hotels…. Maybe one day I’ll get to stay in one!!!

  3. Clare 11/08/2016 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    I have never put hotels in a bucket list but I guess that’s because I always stay in hostels and can’t afford to. They look like great hotels and maybe one day when I am making money from my blog I will be able to have a few nights of luxury in places like these 🙂

  4. Lewi 11/11/2016 at 1:32 am - Reply

    Such a great list. Just makes we want to go there now and stay in them all. Its hard to pick a favourite but i think the Atlantis the Palm looks most appealing to me!

    • Luxurybackpacking 11/12/2016 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      Hi Lewi!
      The Atlantis is amazing, especially looking at it from the outside and also their food buffets! But if you want a more modern design, head to the Waldorf Astoria or Zaya Nurai Island 🙂

      Happy Travels!
      Emma & Yannick

  5. Vyjay 11/13/2016 at 12:35 am - Reply

    All these hotels are spectacular and the heights of luxury. Many of them have featured in movies too. The Atlantis is the pick of the lot for me. It is really magnificent.

    • Luxurybackpacking 11/14/2016 at 11:42 pm - Reply

      Hi Vyjay!
      Yes we agree, in Dubai it is SO hard to pick a hotel as there are just so many! The Atlantis is definitely unique and has got a lot of charm and character, so we are not surprised it is your favourite 😀

      Happy Travels!
      Emma & Yannick

  6. Flunkingmonkey 11/14/2016 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    This is great! I’m actually planning to go to Dubai next year with some family members! I just sent it over to them as we’re looking for hotels to stay at! Thanks for the help 🙂


    • Luxurybackpacking 11/15/2016 at 12:11 am - Reply

      Hey Flunkingmonkey!
      Dubai is an incredible city, you will have an amazing time for sure! That’s great glad we could help. All the hotels we have picked are world class and any would be perfect! If you have time, make sure to head out to the desert on safari!

      Happy Travels!
      Emma & Yannick

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