In this article, we focus on where to stay in Dubai for first-time visitors. This large city is among the most popular destinations in the world and it feels like there is a brand-new attraction that is open every single day. Those visiting Dubai for the first time often want to see all the highlights it has to offer in just a few days. But you must know that these highlights are spread all over the city, which makes it a little bit difficult to pick the right area to stay in Dubai the first time. Each recommended area in this article is described in detail along with its pros and cons. With that being said, let’s jump straight to the results.
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where to stay in dubai first time

best area to stay in dubai first time
Where to stay in Dubai first time? Keep reading!
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In short:
 

What are the best areas to stay in Dubai for first-timers?


The best areas to stay in Dubai for first-timers are Downtown Dubai, Bur Dubai, Dubai Marina & Jumeirah Beach Residence, Jumeirah Palm, Jumeirah, Al Fahidi & Deira and Al Barsha. A general rule of thumb is that the closer you're staying to the city's highlights or the palms, the pricier your hotel room will be. But Dubai has plenty of affordable hotels to offer and each of the recommended areas in this article has its unique selling points. In the next paragraphs, we dive deeper into each recommended area. 
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best area to stay in dubai first time

best area to stay in dubai first time

best area to stay in dubai first time

best area to stay in dubai first time

best area to stay in dubai first time
An impression of this impressive city full of modern architecture.
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Where to stay in Dubai for first-time visitors:

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1. Downtown Dubai - Sightseeing area


Downtown Dubai is the most popular area in Dubai for first-timers as it’s the tourism hub that features the famous Burj Khalifa along with the Dubai Fountain, Souk Al Bahar and the Dubai Mall. These iconic city highlights represent the impressiveness of Dubai, where the sky is the limit. Picking a hotel in Downtown Dubai is pricy, but you are located near the most popular city highlights, meaning it’s perfect for sightseeing. 

Around the four earlier mentioned attractions lays the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, which is the most famous street in Dubai. Car-spotters can eat their hearts out, but the street has more to offer than loud Lamborghinis and Ferraris. Around this street are many famous restaurants located and as it’s a pedestrian area, walking through the streets with all these large skyscrapers makes you feel so incredibly small. 

One of the benefits of staying in an area with Dubai’s highlights is that you have great access to public transportation. There is a dedicated metro station near the Burj Khalifa that allows you to travel easily from North to South. The Dubai Frame, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and the Jumeirah Mosque are other highlights that are within reach, but what lacks is proper access to the beach. For that, you have to travel a bit. 

Like many touristic areas in cities like Dubai, it’s as commercial as it can get. For the majority of the tourists, this is not a problem. In fact, most tourists tend to appreciate it when everything is well-organized, especially families and don’t mind paying the premium price. Many of the highlights are within reach, which makes it ideal for those visiting Dubai for the first time. But those looking for more authenticity should stay in another neighbourhood. 
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For who: sightseeing tourists (especially those who only plan to stay a few days)

Pros: The best location to see Dubai’s highlights, good access to public transportation.

Cons: Pricey, not direct access to a beach. 


Some of the best hotels in Dubai for first-time visitors in this particular area are visually listed below.
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2. Bur Dubai - Sightseeing area on a budget


Bur Dubai is the area above the previous recommended Downtown Dubai, the area where you can find the Dubai Frame, which is located in Zabeel Park where in the evening, light shows are held. This area is among the older parts of the city and is home to a variety of authentic markets, known as Souks. This whole area borders Dhabi Creek and a visit to the Al Seef is mandatory when staying in this iconic area to witness the river and its beautiful houses. 

The prices for a room in one of the many hotels are more reasonable compared to Downtown Dubai while you still have good access to the city’s highlights. Similar to that area, you have good access to public transport. In fact, you have access to both the Red and the Green line. The Green Line allows you to visit Deira, which is the oldest neighbourhood in Dubai, which is a huge contrast to the modern buildings in Downtown Dubai. But unfortunately, like Downtown Dubai, you don’t have direct access to a beach. 
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For who: sightseeing tourists on a stricter budget.

Pros: Good, central location, access to both the Red and Green metro line, reasonably priced hotels.

Cons: not as vibrant as Downtown Dubai, no direct access to the beach. 


Some of the best hotels in Dubai for first-time visitors in this particular area are visually listed below.
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3. Dubai Marina & Jumeirah Beach Residence - Nightlife area


Dubai Marina is located right under the artificial Palm Jumeirah and is known as the nightlife area of Dubai. Home to many luxury shops, higher-end restaurants, trendy bars and rooftop bars, you can imagine that it attracts tourists with a big wallet. Alcohol is not illegal, but there is a strict policy on being drunk in public and alcohol is heavily taxed.

A stroll around the Dubai Harbour and the Dubai Marina Walk can be done easily and here you can spot exclusive yachts while enjoying the incredible skyline. Although common highlights are not located close by, most tourists who stay in this area tend to enjoy luxury, the nearby beach with the famous Burj Al Arab in the background and their comfortable stay in one of the many great hotels nearby and book day trips to see the highlights. Many hotels in offer these tours but also offer (free) taxi rides to the tourist areas. 

As you might expect, hotels are pricy, but far from over-the-top. Yes, there are luxury resorts like the Ritz-Carlton including large swimming pools, but you can find up-scale hotels that are still reasonably priced. Those who like to play golf should get excited as there are several golf clubs nearby. Also, many tourists often combine a visit to Abu Dhabi during their stay in Dubai, and from the Dubai Marine, you can be in Abu Dhabi in an hour as you’re staying right near the connected highway. 

Note: Jumeirah Beach Residence is part of Dubai Marine, and is often listed as an individual area. However, it will be a bit repetitive so we grouped both Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence. Jumeirah Beach Residence is known for its abundance of food. You can find a huge variety of restaurants, both international and typical Middle Eastern. Also, as you’re located near the beach, there is a ton of activities to discover, ranging from water sports to skydiving. You won’t be bored for a second in this area!
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For who: tourists who combine nightlife and a comfortable holiday with the city’s highlights.

Pros: Plenty of nightlife and restaurants, direct access to the beach, and upscale hotels that are not over the top expensive.

Cons: located a bit far from the city’s highlights, expensive, especially when you go for a party. 


Some of the best hotels in Dubai for first-time visitors in this particular area are visually listed below.
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4. Jumeirah Palm - Luxury area


We all know those iconic man-made palm islands, and the name of the palm island that’s full of luxury hotels is Jumeirah Palm. Each artificial palm leaf has its own beach, which makes these hotels extremely exclusive. Those who can and are willing to spend a few hundred bucks per night are in for a treat as there is an abundance of luxury hotels on this iconic palm island. It’s all about luxury and the sky is the limit here. At the top of the palm, the island is the impressive and iconic Atlantis, The Palm where you can also find Aquaventure Waterpark, which is one of the best waterparks in the world. Another highlight nearby is the Palm Fountain, which is a lightship that attracts plenty of tourists every night. As you might expect, there is plenty of things to do for the hedonistic traveller and while the beaches are relatively quiet during the day, in the evening the nightlife scene does come to life. 
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For who: luxury travellers.

Pros: the most luxurious area for tourists, private beaches.

Cons: expensive, city highlights like the Burj Khalifa are not close by.


Some of the best hotels in Dubai for first-time visitors in this particular area are visually listed below.
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5. Jumeirah - Beach lover's area


This area is different from the previously recommended areas which all carry partly the same name, which makes it slightly confusing. This area of Jumeirah, which is actually the central coastline of Dubai, is located near Downtown Dubai where you can find the Burj Khalafi and as the name already suggests the famous Jumeirah Mosque. Jumeirah is divided into different sections, which are numbered. Especially when you want to enjoy the beach and are located near all the sightseeing highlights, Jumeirah is a great area to stay at. You also have good access to the metro, which comes in handy when you want to discover the palm as well as the older parts of Dubai. 

Dubai is home to many beautiful malls and when temperatures are rising, cooling down in these enormous air-conditioned buildings is what many tourists will do. You can find basically malls in every recommended area. The Mercato Shopping Mall, however, is among our favourite malls as the architecture is simply stunning and brilliant and is located nearby Jumeirah. Beach lovers can access public beaches that include Jumeirah Beach, La Mer Beach and Mercato Beach and those looking for a more active, yet refreshing activity should check out the nearby Laguna Waterpark, although the Aqueventure Waterpark at Jumeirah Palm is more impressive. There is a good variety of hotels ranging from mid-range to luxury. Especially in the Northern parts, around Daria Island and Pearl Jumeirah, you can find incredible hotels.


For who: tourists who want to combine the city’s highlights with the beach.

Pros: Good variety of hotels in any price class with direct access to the beach, city’s highlights are not that far from this area.

Cons: Some parts of this area are quiet, you have to travel for entertainment during the night.


Some of the best hotels in Dubai for first-time visitors in this particular area are visually listed below.
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6. Al Fahidi & Deira - Authentic, culture and budget area


Al Fahidi is a small area located near the previously recommended Bur Dubai and Downtown Dubai but as it’s the oldest district of the city, it’s worth mentioning even though it’s small. Those looking for authenticity and culture and want to explore the famous Souks (market), such as the Spice Souk and the Gold Souk, should stay in this area. But these Souks are actually located in Deira, a larger area right above Dhabi Creek. You are still close to the popular highlights, which are massively visited by tourists, yet you can retreat in these older, authentic parts, which are in fact renovated but still look as in the travel brochure.

As these areas are located in more local districts, the prices of a hotel room are reasonable. You have access to both the Red and the Green Metro and in this area, you can find cultural highlights including good museums. Other cultural highlights in this area include the Heritage Village, Dubai Old City, Al Seef and Deira Clocktower. East of Deira lies Dubai’s international airport. Those with a busy schedule should consider staying in Deira as you’re there in no time. On the other hand, you might have some noise pollution due to the overflying aircraft. There are also no beaches nearby. For that, the previously recommended Jumeirah is your best option, which is easily accessible by the metro. 


For who: Tourists who value culture, tourists who are on a stricter budget.

Pros: Good location near city highlights and metro system, the cultural epicentre

Cons: No beach, you have to travel for entertainment during the night.


Some of the best hotels in Dubai for first-time visitors in this area are visually listed below.
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7. Al Barsha - Budget-friendly area


Al Barsha is the area “behind” Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeriah and Jumeriah. As you don’t have direct beach access, most tourists tend to stay at Jumeriah, so you can expect to pay less when staying at Al Barsha while still maintaining a central location. You have access to the Red Line but you’re not near the city highlights like the Burj Khalifa. So, overall, Al Barsha is quite the area for the budget traveller or those travelling with family. Al Barsha is also home to one of the most bizarre buildings in Dubai, namely Ski Dubai. This is the largest indoor ski centre in the world and it shows how bizarre Dubai is. The race course for horses named Jebel Ali Racecourse is also located in this area, which plays a vital role among the citizens of Dubai. Other than that, there are no noteworthy attractions nearby, but because of that, you don’t pay much for a good hotel. 


For who: Tourists on a stricter budget, families.

Pros: Affordable hotels, close to the palm islands.

Cons: Not direct access to the beach, not many city highlights nearby.


Some of the best hotels for first-time visitors in Dubai in this area are visually listed below.
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Map of the best areas to stay in Dubai for first-timers

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There you have it, all our recommendations to your question about the best areas to stay in Dubai for first-timers. We hope you enjoyed it and hopefully, you can make a good decision and have the time of your life in this amazing, modern city!
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