Yes, there are three-star hotels in Dubai, but as with all hotels there are some that are preferable to others. So, which are the best 3 Star hotels in Dubai?
Firstly, let’s talk about what a three-star hotel does and does not mean in Dubai. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the room will be small as it does in Europe. Quite often the rooms, especially in the older hotels around the City Center in Deira, are spacious and have opulent furnishings and Arab-style drapes. The more modern ones tend to be more austere while still a decent size. All rooms have air-conditioning and, unlike an experience I had in Italy where the air-conditioning was turned off at 10.30am, it will function 24 hours a day. If you have any doubts about the coolness of the room, ask for it to be serviced and keep asking until it is done. Service can be slow, but polite persistence pays dividends.
A three-star hotel is not going to be on the beach front even if appears to be near a beach on the map. But it is very likely to have a pool. So put some thought into what you want from your hotel and the whole experience of Dubai before you decide. Also, think about what the purpose for your trip is and what part of Dubai you want to be in. Dubai is not a huge city, but it is a long thin city that has spread along the coast from the Bur Dubai side of the Dubai Creek in both directions. At peak times, it can be very frustrating getting around on the roads, though the Metro is a cheap and efficient alternative.
Initially, Dubai huddled around the Creek and what is left of the old buildings, not much in fact, is still in that area. Many of the three-star hotels are also in the areas on either side of the Creek. The Bur Dubai side of the creek tends to be made up of small streets and the hotels that are not on main roads are jammed close together. I have met visitors passing through, admittedly people who knew little about the relative safety of Dubai, who were put into three-star hotels in this area and felt anxious about the bustle of people of many different nationalities. Others have loved it and found the ambiance stimulating.
The Suite Novotel Mall of the Emirates & Citymax Hotel
Further back towards the center of Dubai along Sheikh Zayed Rd are The Suite Novotel Mall of the Emirates and Citymax Hotel in the Al Barsha area, both good picks. It is in a relatively new part of Dubai on the Bur Dubai side of the Creek. The rooms in both are a respectable size, with the Novotel being the bigger, and there is even a small rooftop pool in both hotels. It is not a major distance to Jumeirah Beach Park by taxi from these hotels. If you like shopping, these places are near to the Mall of the Emirates or part of the complex, basically. From there, you have easy access to the Metro and that means most of Dubai central is open to you for very little in travel costs. Both hotels suffer from complaints about the wifi which is not available in the rooms. For the business traveler this might be a deal breaker these days, but for a family holiday, these two hotels offer good facilities at the three-star level.
The Chelsea Tower Hotel Apartments
The Chelsea Tower Hotel Apartments are a good budget option for families. The apartments are a good size and provide all the basics for an economical holiday without being dreary. The pool is lovely and a good place for the family. For a beach option, it is a short taxi ride to the Jumeirah Beach Park, but Monday is ladies only day. The hotel is situated in Bur Dubai and near a metro for easy access to the rest of Dubai. It is also a short taxi ride from some of the interesting older areas of Dubai such as Satwa where it is possible to buy a vast range of fabrics for very little.
Many of the older hotels in Deira have a similar ambiance, but one of the dangers is that some of them have noisy bars or restaurants and that noise can permeate several floors. On my first night in Dubai, a long time ago, I had this experience and I have heard from others that it still happens. The best way to avoid this is not to select hotels that boast about their night-clubs or bands. Also, as these areas of Dubai have tightly packed buildings, there is every chance that you will have no view. This makes plush drapes an advantage.
For a desert experience the Desert Palm is a high-end three star hotel. The rooms are modern, elegant and spacious. There are even villas with their own pools. But it is at least 20 minutes’ drive from the coast where many of the shopping malls and other attractions are located. If you want a calm, desert oasis experience, with a touch of elegance, this is the best priced option in Dubai. It is also a short taxi ride further out into the desert to the Dubai Outlet Mall, a place I can always find a bargain whether it’s a pair of designer shoes at half price or an equally attractive winter coat for a label-basher on a budget.
Availability is often an issue. Do book ahead as, despite the number of hotels available, it is not always possible to get a bed in your top pick at short notice.
The Hawthorn Suites by Wyndam Dubai (JBR)
The Hawthorn Suites by Wyndam Dubai (JBR) is described as an aparthotel, so it is possible to get a range of accommodation, some with a sea-view. This hotel is in the Dubai Marina area, a man-made canal and marina complex with apartments and hotels. It is a fantastic concept and some places have fabulous views of blue water, but it is rather built-up, and the roads are narrow, even congested at times. The rooms are spacious and sparsely furnished in a modern style. There is also a pool and spa available. The Dubai Marina is a long way from other parts of Dubai. However, there are malls at that end of Dubai such as Ibn Battuta. It is not far from Palm Jumeira and The Atlantis Hotel where there is a spectacular aquarium.