Dubai is a city where nothing is done in moderation. Whether it's the biggest building in the world staring down onto the planet's most expensive hotel, or its man-made luxury islands fronting its ancient medieval souks, Dubai writes its story in big bold capitals. Once a simple market and pearl-diving village, decades of building – big and bold – have transformed it. Now, well-heeled tourists from across the globe flock here to luxuriate, shop or simply to marvel.
But where to stay in this most marvellous – and expensive – of global cities? Finding a hotel to suit both your holiday plans, and your budget, is no easy matter, especially in a city that the super-rich call their playground. Don't despair, though. Here at Expedia.com.nz, we have run through Dubai's exhaustive list of hotels and districts, and found the best. Time to have a look at what Dubai's luxury lodgings can offer you.
Of course, "looking" is about all you can do for the most exclusive of hotels in the City of Gold, especially when it comes to now mythical Jumeirah, right in the heart of south Dubai's opulence. This gilded strip is home to what is billed as the most luxurious hotel in the world – the seven-star Burj Al Arab. If you have won the lottery and fancy a room with a personal servant, this beautiful sail-shaped hotel may be just for you.
If not, but you want to be close to Jumeirah, just so you can have it – and its cluster of fabulous five-star hotels on Palm Jumeirah Island – in your hotel balcony photos, try Al Barsha. A little to the north, this district's hotels also include plenty of first-class sumptuousness. But Al Barsha also has a large number of quality mid-priced hotels, too. And if you're keen to shop 'til you drop, the never-ending retail pleasures of the Mall of the Emirates are close by.
Even better in the affordability stakes is Bur Dubai, a little closer to the centre of Dubai's old town. Here, there is a thicket of well-appointed, mid-range hotels. They may not be as daring or as graceful as in south Dubai, but at least they don't charge the earth. The district can also put you in touch with Dubai's history, with its museums and the beautifully reconstructed Al Bastakiya quarter.
While Bur Dubai's hotels aren't particularly close to the city's long seafront and white, sandy beaches, that isn't something that can be said about the area around Dubai Marina. Looking over its yacht-crowded waters, you'll find some rather fabulous hotels with fantastic vistas. The prices may be steep, but the service and location certainly merit it.
Finally, if you fancy putting aside the glittering gloss of modern-day Dubai to really get in touch with its market-place origins, look at staying in Deira. This district is the oldest part of the city, home to its labyrinthine souks, its creaking dhow harbour and its noisy fish market. Not that luxury is forgotten here – exotic spices, gold jewellery and fine silks are the staples of its markets. The same can be said for its hotels. Less showy (and costly) than in south Dubai, they nonetheless exude class and opulence. What else would you expect in Dubai?