Where to stay in Dubai

Recline in an oasis of Arabian mystical charm at the Royal Mirage, or while away the hours at the arty XVA Gallery against the backdrop that is Dubai.

One & Only Royal Mirage Hotel

What's so special

Dubai isn't short of fancy hotels, but this is nonetheless one of the most luxurious. It is perfect for a romantic trip the whole place exudes a mystical Arabic charm.

How they rate it

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The hotel is "enchanting", says Lara Dunston in The Daily Telegraph. "Imagine a modern Arabian palace decorated with mother-of-pearl inlaid wooden furniture, vibrant kilims, tiled corridors illuminated by Moroccan lanterns, palm gardens with tinkling fountains, and even an Oriental hammam." The bedrooms are "opulent", with thick carpets, large marble bathrooms, Oriental lanterns and "beautiful toiletries". The service is "impeccable" and the staff trained carefully to respect guests' privacy. It's expensive, but "if you're after a romantic holiday to remember and money is no limit, look no further".

The menu

"This is Dubai's best hotel for eating and drinking. You could stay a week and never have to leave." Moroccan, Indian and modern-fusion restaurants are all available and several other excellent restaurants are nearby.

The cost

Rooms cost from £170 per night. For more information, visit Royalmirage.oneandonlyresorts.com or call 00 971 4 399 9999.


What's so special

The XVA Gallery is one of the very few boutique hotels in Dubai. Step away from the skyscrapers and check into this small hotel that is attached to an art gallery and situated in an old townhouse in the historic Bastakiya quarter.

How they rate it

The XVA stands up against the huge, sprawling resorts of Dubai and proves that "small can be beautiful too", says Annabelle Thorpe in The Observer. It offers just eight bedrooms, but alongside them is "a neat courtyard with a few tables, and walls displaying contemporary art". The hotel "feels more like a Moroccan riad than one of the opulent palaces Dubai normally specialises in", but those differences are the key to its success. Despite its size, you won't be roughing it with a stay here. All the rooms have private bathrooms and "each has been designed and furnished by a collective of artists who bring contemporary, kitsch and vintage design from modern Arabia" to the hotel, says Laura Collacott in Business Traveller.

The menu

Gordon Ramsay named the hotel's caf as his favourite in Dubai. It serves an array of vegetarian sandwiches and salads as well as ice creams.

The cost

A double room costs from £68 per night. Find out more at www.xvahotel.com or call 00 971 4 353 5383.

What the travel writers are saying


Don't want to leave the dog at home next time you go away? Try a dog-friendly hotel, says Alastair Sawday in The Times.

Tiroran House on the Isle of Mull (pictured) is a ten-bed shooting lodge built in 1850. It enjoys a "magnificent setting", with 17 acres of gardens leading down to Loch Scridain. "It's a great place for a winter break, with open fires, games and books in the drawing rooms." Doubles from £165 (Tiroran.com).

The Montpellier Chapter in Cheltenham is a "meticulously restored" Victorian townhouse that "mixes old-fashioned hospitality with up-to-date technology" you can check out the local attractions on your in-room iPad. Dogs get their own beds, water and food bowls and there's even a list of recommended walks. Doubles from £140 (Themontpellierchapterhotel.com).

Kempsford Manor in Fairford, Gloucestershire, is a 17th-century house in "beautifully tended gardens" that lead to an orchard and canal. "Crunch up the gravelled drive to find floor-to-ceiling windows, dark floors with patterned rugs, wood panelling, a piano and a library." Dogs get homemade breakfasts of scrambled eggs and there is a dog-sitting service. Doubles from £65 (Kempsfordmanor.com).

Oak House in Grislingham, Suffolk, is a "charming, higgledy-piggledy, Grade II-listed Suffolk farmhouse". It has lead windows, crooked stairs, inglenook fireplaces, and a doggy welcome pack, with bed, bowls and biscuits. Doubles cost from £55 (Oakhousesuffolk.co.uk).