In a short space of time, Dubai has been transformed from a sleepy, desert backwater into a glamorous, feast-for-the-eyes destination for A-listers. With its iconic buildings, buzz-worthy restaurants, and world-class shopping, Dubai is an international hub of commerce, style, and design. Despite its over-the-top reputation, Dubai is an affordable destination if you do a little planning. The beauty of Dubai is that there is something for everyone and all budgets.

When choosing a hotel in Dubai, try to plan the area you want to be in because traveling around Dubai can be time-consuming and frustrating in traffic. Public transportation is inexpensive and efficient if you’re adventurous but the heat can be prohibitive in the peak summer.

So pick a neighborhood and enjoy exploring with your affordable hotel as a base. Downtown Dubai provides the backdrop of dazzling skyscrapers. Here is where you’ll find all the record-breakers: the world’s tallest skyscraper-Burj Khalifa, the tallest hotel-J.W. Marriott Marquis, and the largest mall-Dubai Mall.

Jumeirah Beach is the place to stay if you want to fill your Instagram feed with photos of the iconic Burj Al Arab Hotel. The aquamarine waters and golden beaches are perfect for families and travelers looking for a beach holiday.

Dubai Marina strikes a perfect balance with the Dubai Creek meandering gently past your hotel and tons of great al fresco restaurants to choose from. With so many hotels, we’ve narrowed the list to give you options, some you can afford and some you can’t afford to pass over. Dubai is an experience like nothing else, so start packing.

20 Shangri La Dubai - Downtown Dubai: Bright Lights, Big City

Let’s start strong. The Shangri La Dubai is all class and international luxury. Completed in 2003 and located just a 15-minute drive from the Dubai International Airport, you’ll be in the thick of it here with Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai in your sights. The hotel offers 302 rooms with the choice of smoking or non-smoking rooms. This is important if you are a non-smoker and haven’t yet experienced the throwback culture of smoking that exists in the Middle East. Rooms are influenced by the Dubai landscape with original artwork and neutral color schemes that incorporate wood and lots of texture.

Before you write this hotel off as being too pricey, check out their offers which are particularly generous for suites. As at other Shangri La properties, Horizon Club members enjoy specialized services as well as access to the Horizon Club lounge. For everyone else, the hotel offers five restaurants and two bars, so you should be able to find something to eat and drink. Shangri La spas have an excellent international reputation and this one is no different. Chi Spa is a tranquil break from the hectic pace of Dubai. Tennis and squash courts will appeal to racket enthusiasts. Sun, swim, and spa at this elegant hotel in the heart of the action.

19 Fairmont Dubai - Views From The Roof

If shopping is your thing, you couldn’t be better placed than the Fairmont Dubai, a ten-minute taxi ride from the Dubai Mall where you will enjoy 13 million square feet of shopping choices. Dubai is famous for its shopping and you won't be disappointed. For those keen to explore, the hotel is directly linked to the metro system so you can easily navigate your way around town independently.

With the on-site Cavalli Club, designed by Roberto Cavalli, you can be sure of some good nightlife and you won’t have a long walk home when you’ve done enough dancing.

Whether day or night, you’ll enjoy the magnificent views of the Dubai skyline from the two rooftop pools. This hotel has some great restaurants. On the ninth floor, you’ll find the delightful Dokuz Turkish restaurant. Relax over good food and enjoy smoking shisha like the locals as you gaze over the night scenes of this magical city. Unique to this hotel is Noire, a dining in the dark experience, the only one in the Middle East. The hotel recently completed a $9.5 million refurbishment so everything feels fresh and new, ready for you. It’s going to be at the high end of your budget, but worth the splurge.

18 Sofitel Downtown Dubai - Sofitel Is Magnifique For Adults And Children

Sofitel is my favorite international hotel chain. From the scent that hits you favorably when you walk through the doors, to the impeccable service and seasoned staff, Sofitel is always an excellent choice. They just do everything so well. Their Dubai location is no exception. You’re close to all the attractions of Downtown Dubai with the added bonus of being a short 12-minute walk from Kidzania. If you have children, Kidzania is a place you’re going to want to know. They offer a unique experience where children can role-play and experience 100 different careers from chef to surgeon within a scaled city. It’s fun, educational and provides a great break for parents. It’s bound to be the most memorable part of the trip for your children. Notably, this hotel caters very well to families with a Children’s Club, babysitting services, and an onsite playground. You can even request an early check-in at 8 am which is perfect when traveling with tired, cranky children. The hotel was built in 2014 so it feels crisp and stylish in the understated way Sofitel does so beautifully. This is a great choice for luxurious simplicity in an area teeming with grandeur.

17 City Premiere Hotel Apartment - Budget Savy Travelers Will Love This One

The local attractions are a little further away from this hotel, but the price is right and you’ll still be in the shadow of Burj Khalifa with nearby access to the Business Bay Metro Station. Exploring the city is convenient and safe on the metro and a better way to move around when traveling in a group. Travelers really enjoy the space and flexibility of hotel apartments and the hotel industry has noticed and is providing a great range of options like this one.

With 271 suites, choosing from standard or city views, with up to four bedrooms, this hotel is great for groups and those who prefer the flexibility of cooking themselves. Kitchens are well-equipped and if you’re feeling less inspired, you can always order from the 24-hr room service menu.

Little touches like turndown service and the convenience of in-suite laundry facilities make this a winning choice for longer stays. In fact, you'll probably want to stay when you see all there is to do from this location. There’s a free beach shuttle and a free mall shuttle so you’ll be spoiled for choices of activities. If you’ve never stayed in a hotel apartment, this could be the game changer for your future traveling plans.

16 The Armani Hotel Dubai - The Designer Hotel

Here’s the splurge: an exclusive designer hotel inside the Burj Khalifa. With exclusive residences as well as the hotel, this is an experience destination. It doesn’t get more Dubai than this. Can you afford it? Or can you afford not to? That is the question you’ll be asking yourself once you do the research. Staying here will really give you something to talk about when you go back home. In true Armani style, every detail has been meticulously thought through to offer guests an unforgettable experience that feels almost like living in the pages of Vogue.

From the rooms and suites whose rather moody tones create a subdued luxury and include Armani designed furniture, to the special touches like the personal butler station, you won’t be disappointed. Those whose budget can stretch to a suite will find themselves cradled in dreamy luxury and the bucket list factor of staying in the tallest building in the world. The food doesn’t disappoint either, with an international selection of flavors available. No fine hotel is complete without a world-class spa. The Armani Hotel Dubai offers luxurious treatments and personalized sensory experiences within a tranquil environment. You are almost guaranteed the full Dubai experience when you stay at the Armani Hotel Dubai. Aren't you worth it?

15 Hilton Dubai The Walk - Dubai Marina: Walk, Eat, Shop On The Arabian Gulf

This is an excellent choice for your first trip to Dubai. It’s a gentle introduction to a new place within familiar surroundings. You get the security of a brand you trust in a location you’ve dreamed about.

With a choice of standard rooms, loft-style suites and multiple room apartments, there’s accommodation for every configuration. You’re at the epicenter of Dubai’s golden Jumeirah Beach and the famous shopping mile, known as “The Walk”.

Choose between the private beach or the two pools. When you’ve had enough sun and sea, then head to one of 12 restaurants on site. Pure Sky Lounge and Dining offers a rooftop experience where you can enjoy a Dubai sunset while sipping your cocktail. One of the great things about Dubai is how well the hotels and restaurants cater to little ones. In a nod to the family-friendly atmosphere of this hotel, children under six eat free in the restaurants and children between 6-12 receive a 50% discount on their meals. There’s also a kid’s club, beach playground and games room to keep the little ones happy. It’s a good mid-range option with the brand standards you would expect from this longstanding and successful hotel chain. A slam dunk for the whole family.

14 Jumeirah Beach Hotel - Life's A Beach In Dubai

With its wave-inspired design and blue plated glass as a nod to the aquamarine water it’s reflecting, this property is everything you imagine Dubai to be. Innovative, exciting and mirrored. With 618 choices of rooms and suites, including 19 beachfront villas, the sheer size of this hotel may not appeal to everyone. But with so many activities on offer, it won’t feel like there are a lot of people around because everyone is always busy. Besides six swimming pools and a private beach, your booking includes complimentary access to Wild Wadi Waterpark for the duration of your stay. You may, in fact, find yourself spending more time on the lazy river at Wild Wadi than in the hotel. Diving, watersports, tennis and squash courts, as well as a climbing wall, make this a great choice for the active traveler. At the end of a fun-filled day, choose from Indian, Latin American, Middle Eastern and even contemporary British cuisine to satiate your appetite. Dubai is famous for brunches and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel is a popular place to polish your all-you-can-eat skills. Rub shoulders with the locals and expats alike for a unique view of the Dubai life.

13 Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach - Be A City Slicker Or A Beach Bum In This Location

A smart, affordable choice, you’ve still got the Gulf views with more money left in your pocket. Jumeirah Beach offers an abundance of hotels and restaurants that you can visit and rate for your next visit.

Five minutes from the beach and tram, you can sun and sightsee at this location close to the Dubai Marina and Burj Khalifa. Promenade along “The Walk” while taking in the juxtaposition of Middle Eastern vs beach culture. This hotel offers everything from traditional rooms to multi-roomed apartments (over 45 floors).

All the usual amenities are included along with six restaurants on-site and the added touch of complimentary newspapers in the lobby. As Dubai has become a major commerce hub, offerings for business people and conferences are expanding. This hotel offers a practical and economical choice for business travelers. The hotel offers an entire floor plus open terrace on the 35th story for business meetings and events. With a location convenient to Media City, Internet City, and Knowledge City, Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach could become your new international meeting place. This is a solid choice in a great location that won’t break the bank. If you're expensing it, your boss will thank you.

12 Burj Al Arab Jumeirah - The Icon

No list would be complete without the iconic Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Built in the shape of a sail and visible from many parts of the city, Burj Al Arab is truly unique. This landmark has become synonymous with Dubai and even if you can’t afford to stay here, there’s a good chance that it may appear in your photos. Completed in 1994, it’s the third tallest hotel in the world. Built on reclaimed land, at one point during peak construction, there were 2000 workers daily invested in completing this iconic project. The results are spectacular. Here is where you’re going to find that fabled Middle Eastern elegance and rich decor.

There’s absolutely nothing understated about these rooms and suites, Arabian splendor abounds. Remember that even if you can’t afford to stay here, you can visit the fabulous restaurants and get a feel for the hotel. Head to Al Awan to begin your immersion in Arabian delicacies and atmosphere. Remember to check the dress code for each of the hotel’s restaurants and bars, though. This is a place where you want to look your best and you never know who you might run into here. There’s a reason this hotel maintains its exclusive reputation and it wasn’t built on flip-flops. Dress to impress.

11 Beach Hotel Apartments - Cheap And Cheerful

For those of us with less cash and designer clothes but a desire to see Dubai, the Beach Hotel Apartments are the perfect destination. Still, within the sight lines of Burj Al Arab, you can enjoy all that Jumeirah Beach has to offer in a more relaxed and casual atmosphere.

After all, holidays are about fun, not dress codes. Rooms and suites are well decorated with the Roof Top Suite being a particular winner for its private outdoor lounge which boasts stunning views across to the Arabian Gulf. The Grand Mosque is nearby and certainly worth a visit if you want to understand the real culture of this Gulf Emirate.

Remember to dress modestly, no shorts or sleeveless shirts. The Beach Hotel Apartments only offer a breakfast buffet but the location more than makes up for it with over 100 restaurants within walking distance and the ability to order food to your room from a variety of nearby options. There’s a picturesque rooftop pool with a decidedly Mediterranean vibe and even a small spa. This is a great destination for budget-savvy travelers who still want to be close to the action. You’ll find lots of atmosphere without the stuffiness of the large hotels.

10 Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort - Sheraton Perfection On The Beach

The first Sheraton property on this list, you always know what you’re going to get with a Sheraton and this one exceeds expectations. Located at the beginning of “The Walk” of the Dubai Marina, this elegant property is the perfect mid-range choice. Standard rooms, club rooms, and suites are all kitted out with the features you know and expect from the Sheraton brand.

The Garden Suite at this location is particularly lovely overlooking the lush garden and swimming pool, a true oasis. With two bedrooms and two bathrooms, this would be a great choice for a holiday with the in-laws. The private beach gives it a luxurious feeling of having your own resort, with beach volleyball lending a casual atmosphere to this relaxed destination. This is a hotel where you can feel free to dress up or dress down. There are plenty of culinary choices to suit everyone. Eating in an authentic Arabian tent should be on the list for any visit to Dubai. You can't beat the ambiance. The Al Hadiqa Restaurant And Tent offers a nostalgic experience with a garden view and Arabian delights aplenty. A great hotel to build memories and Starwood points, with the in-laws.

9 Roda Amwaj Suites - Live The Loft Life

Another affordable option on the strip at Jumeirah Beach. Capitalizing on the popularity of apartments, the Roda Amwaj Suites offers multi-room suites as well as lofts.

The trendy two-level lofts boast minimalist designs and floor to ceiling views that take in the Gulf and Palm Jumeirah. Who hasn't always wanted to stay in a loft? The Penthouse suites are also on two levels and decorated in a more ornate fashion than the simplicity of the lofts. With gorgeous views, either of these rooms will provide the space, views, and design you’re looking for.

This property has a small Lebanese restaurant that offers delicious treats and guests are encouraged to leave the property and strike out to one of the many varied culinary choices within walking distance. Why not give your taste buds a holiday from their regular fare and be adventurous. There are two outdoor pools to enjoy and the Health Club offers a variety of exercise classes like Zumba and yoga if you want to be more active. For discerning travelers looking for something beyond the ordinary, the Roda Amwaj offers a great balance of room choices and local neighborhood interest. This is an excellent starting point to explore Dubai and relax in well-designed spaces.

8 Jumeirah Mina Al Salem - Holiday Like Carrie Bradshaw

This could be your Sex in the City-takes-U.A.E experience. You’ll be struck with the same breathless wonder as Carrie and her girls were when they discovered the Emirates. Rooms are full of opulence and fine detailing with mosaics in the bathrooms and rich purple tones throughout. Little touches like Arabian inspired lantern sconces add to the wonder and delight. The Arabian Gulf Suite, complete with a large terrace is truly swoon-worthy. This boutique hotel screams girls trip and you’ll want to make this an annual event.

The spa with 26 treatment rooms is the perfect place to unwind after a morning of shopping. Make sure to take the Abra tour of the resort during your stay. This 20-minute trip will acquaint you with the resort as you relax in the traditional, wooden Emirati boat. In true, decadent, Dubai style, you can eat to your heart's content with over 40 restaurants to choose from and nearly every international cuisine represented. The Friday brunch is an event not to be missed, popular with both locals and tourists alike. This hotel will probably bust the budget, but it will be so worth it to pretend you're Carrie Bradshaw for a few days.

7 Rixos Premium Dubai - The New Kid On The Block

This property has a name you’re never going to remember and that’s too bad because as a destination, it has a lot to offer. Newly built in 2017, the aesthetic of this hotel is modern Arabian chic. Purple accents combine with neutral tones and simple, elegant furniture plus big views. A lot of planning has gone into ensuring that rooms and suites have the latest for tech-savvy guests and business travelers. The Natureland Spa is an oasis of calm and healing with all the beauty of an Ottoman Hammam, their signature treatment. When you’ve finished relaxing in the spa, head outside for high voltage activity water sports like Jet Skis and parasailing.

This hotel is angling for the stylish business traveler who cares about design and exercise, with a state-of-the-art fitness facility overlooking the Arabian Gulf. The restaurants on-site reflect the level of detail and design that runs throughout this hotel and gives it a light, airy, sophisticated feel.

The beachfront is spectacular and looking back towards the city, you’ll have a full appreciation of the dramatic addition to the skyline, this hotel has made. The Rixos Premium Dubai is sure to be a popular destination for business travelers and others. One to watch out for.

6 Marina Byblos Hotel - Pub Life Abounds In Dubai

With 184 rooms and suites, this hotel is smaller than some of the others featured on this list and that will appeal to many travelers who don't want to feel like anonymous guests. It's situated in a great location, overlooking the Dubai Marina and Yacht docks. Yachts in Dubai can be pretty amazing so it's worth wandering down to take a look. With a blue and gold color scheme running throughout, the Marina Byblos Hotel feels comfortable while retaining stylish features and the general aesthetic of Arabia that travelers are looking for when visiting Dubai. The hotel has a rooftop swimming pool and a free shuttle to the beach so that you can experience all that the area has to offer. Catering to the large English expat community, the Nell Gwynne English pub on site is a popular watering hole and features live music most nights as well as the ever-popular quiz night. The Sunday roast dinner is a draw and there is a cheerful and friendly atmosphere among the revelers.

If you’re from the U.K. you’ll feel right at home. It should be noted that it is only legal to consume alcohol in a licensed hotel and public intoxication is illegal. If you’re looking for an authentic cultural experience, move on, you won’t find a lot of Arabia here, but atmosphere abounds.

5 Armada BlueBay Jumeirah Lakes Towers - All The Views Without The Price Tag

Five minutes from the Jumeirah Beach, this hotel is a great deal for travelers who want to experience the glamour of Dubai without the price tags. With 351 rooms and suites, your budget will go a long way here. You’ll get city views, a comfortable bed and pleasant furnishing and decor, once again, done in classic Arabian purple tones. The hotel is located in one of the Armada Towers by the Jumeirah Lake. It’s not mind-blowing but you’re well positioned to get out and explore Dubai with the Dubai Marina nearby where you can shop and eat to your heart's content. The metro is a 15-minute walk away but you may decide you’re happy just being local in this bustling location. If you like cigars you may enjoy the hotel's Cigar Lounge, along with drinks. There are enough food options in the hotel with Greek cuisine and an international buffet. If high-rises are not your thing, then this hotel will disappoint as it sits bang in the middle of a large cluster of high-rises. This hotel is perfect for the budget-conscious traveler who doesn’t intend to spend all of their time in the hotel.

4 Le Meridian Fairway - Perfectly Situated For Lazy Afternoons In The Irish Village

This is a great, small property close to the airport and efficient when you don't want to fight Dubai traffic in a taxi. It has the added bonus of being within walking distance of the ever popular Irish Village, an Irish pub beloved by the expat community. Many popular concerts and sporting events happen at the Aviation Club, situated beside the Irish Village. So if you’re in town for the Dubai Tennis Championships, Le Meridian Fairway is your perfect choice. During the annual Dubai 7's, the Irish Village is full of life. This hotel has everything you need on a small scale, with a pool and gym as well as spacious, comfortable rooms for a good price. Yes, there is purple decor. There are no real dining options on site, with only a small lobby bar but that just means you’ll have to get out and explore.

With the money you’ll save staying here, taxi fares will be no issue and you can splurge on dinners around town or simply enjoy the British classics in the Irish Village which was custom built and opened in 1996.

The terrace at the Irish Village can accommodate up to 3500 people so plan for a lively evening out during your stay at Le Meridian Fairway. This is a hotel that's pleasantly good for the price and the entertainment.

3 Palm Beach Hotel - Beware The Nightclub

There’s nothing particularly special about this hotel, besides the price and perhaps the kitschy entrance. It’s going to cost you a taxi ride to get to any of the major Dubai attractions but this is a good choice for budget travelers who don’t need all the bells and whistles and will enjoy a bit of an adventure off the Premier Inn path. You’ll get all the standard amenities like wifi and a bar fridge. The rooms are spacious and comfortable but it’s all very generic and a little tired. If you’re looking for the decadence that is Dubai, you’re not going to find it here. Still, there is much on offer with three restaurants, two bars, and a nightclub. Note to first-time Dubai travelers, beware the dubious call of the Dubai nightclub which can often be a disappointing, smoky and confusing experience. Every year there seems to be a tourist who ends up in jail because of their behavior in a nightclub. As a caution, stay out of the nightclub and this hotel should offer everything you need as a base for exploring Dubai and you’ll get to return home at the end of your trip.

2 Premier Inn Dubai International Airport - A Familiar Place To Rest Your Head

The Premier Inn is one of Britain's biggest hotel chains and if you've ever traveled in the U.K, you've probably stayed in a Premier Inn. They do budget travel well and it is their success and their niche. This property is no different. Located opposite terminal three of the Dubai International Airport, this is a practical choice for the traveler who has both limited time and a limited budget. It’s especially handy for late arrivals, making the transition from airport to hotel smooth and fast. The arrivals hall in terminal three, links with the Dubai metro so in theory, you could simply go back to the airport and travel on the cheap using the metro to get around Dubai. The hotel does provide a shuttle to local attractions but be mindful of the traffic in this area, it’s going to be a slow ride.

The Premier Inn offers a certain standard that is consistent across their properties and this is what you’re signing up for when you book a room. It won’t be fancy but it will be comfortable and clean and that’s just fine. There’s a 24-hour Costa Coffee shop in the lobby so you can still drink the coffee you’re used to while you plan to be more adventurous in your dining choices. Of course, nearly every hotel in Dubai has a pool and this one is no exception. Enjoy the rooftop pool, close your eyes and imagine you’re somewhere more glamorous while you save money.

1 Sheraton Mall of the Emirates Hotel - Shop, Eat, Sleep, Repeat

Now here’s a winner. The Sheraton brand you know in a mall you can’t wait to explore. The Mall of the Emirates is a destination in itself with over 600 brands represented and activities for everyone, including Ski Dubai. If you've never been to a mall in Dubai, you are in for a treat. This is a great choice for a family who have varied interests and need to keep a lot of people happy. The hotel itself is everything you would expect from the Sheraton brand, refined elegance, and reliable service. Some of the rooms have trendy features like glass-walled bathrooms. There are luxurious suites and the standard Sheraton Club Lounge. There are a rooftop pool and the Shine Spa on the 24th floor. For sightseeing, it doesn’t get much better than having a direct connection to the metro on the first floor of the mall. You can enjoy exploring Dubai without the traffic headaches and taxi fares. A dedicated Shopping Concierge will help spend your money and make the shopping experience more enjoyable with features like “hands-free shopping” and styling consultations. You’ll have the best of all worlds when you stay at Sheraton Mall of the Emirates Hotel.