Holiday Accommodation Options in Dubai

Taking a holiday in Dubai? Information on finding the right place to stay: self-catering, bed and breakfast, hotel or youth hostel...

Dubai is becoming a popular tourist destination and tourism contributes greatly to the Emirate's economy. Until recent years many of Dubai's visitors were business travellers, however, the number of leisure travellers increases each year. A wide variety of vacation accommodation is available in Dubai. There are hotels, desert camps, private villas and apartments as well as a few hostels.


Many of the well-known international hotel groups such as Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott, Radisson and Starwood Hotels all own hotels throughout Dubai.

There are also a number of boutique hotel groups such as The Address, Dusit International, and Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts that run several popular hotels in Dubai.

Hotel apartments

Hotel or serviced apartments are fully furnished apartments (with a kitchen) and come with access to hotel amenities. Rates are usually inclusive of utilities and if planning an extended stay, it can be cheaper than staying in a hotel. There are more than 180 hotel apartments in Dubai that range in quality from 3 to 5 star hotels.

Hotel Classification

The hotel ratings system in Dubai is managed by the Department of Commerce and Tourism Marketing (DTCM). Hotels and hotel apartments are classified separately.

The ratings scale for hotels ranges from one to five stars. At present there are 352 hotels and 188 hotel apartments in Dubai. These are classified as follows:

  • 5 star - 52 hotels
  • 4 star - 59 hotels
  • 3 star - 55 hotels
  • 2 star - 44 hotels
  • 1 star - 126 hotels

However, the DTCM is to introduce an updated ratings system that will take effect in 2011. New categories are to be introduced to classify hotels: beach, business, desert and heritage. Five star hotels are to be divided into three categories: silver, gold and platinum.

Hotel apartments are to be divided into three categories: basic, standard and deluxe.

Green Globe Certification

This certification is recognised by international environmental organisations and is awarded to businesses for their corporate social responsibility practices addressing carbon footprint and environmental impact.

Several hotels in the UAE have received the Green Globe Award:

  • Radison Blu Deira Creek
  • The Palace Old Town
  • Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort
  • Taj Palace
  • Dusit Thani
  • Dusit Residences Dubai Marina
  • For more information about Green Globe certification: Click here

Self-Catering Apartments and Serviced Apartments

Self-catering accommodation provides a cheaper alternative to some hotels and villas and apartments are available for short term holiday rentals. These often come equipped with linen.


There are no official campsites in Dubai, but there are plenty of opportunities for camping. A camping permit is not required, but camping is not allowed on public beaches and parks in the city. Most camping is done just outside of Dubai in Dibba, Fujeirah, Ghantoot, Hatta, Jebel Ali Beach and Khasab. Although there are no specific camping laws, there are a few things to remember:

  • Clean up the campsite before leaving
  • Drinking alcohol in public is illegal
  • Beware of drivers dune bashing when setting up a campsite

Desert camps

There are several tour operators that offer overnight desert camping experiences. These are usually only for one night and include sleeping bags at a bedouin-style camp.


For short term, budget accommodations, the Youth Hostel Association runs three hostels near the airport in Al Qusais 1. There is no age limit for guests despite the name. Rates for non-members are slightly higher than members.

Further Information

  • Information on hotels in Dubai from the DTCM: Click here