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Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai 

Jumeirah Beach Road
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4366 8888
view web site ›'s insider take:

Dubai's answer to Vegas's Venetian Hotel, complete with 2.3 miles of meandering waterways navigated by electricity-powered abras (traditional water taxis), sounds tacky but is in fact utterly enchanting. This huge Arabian-themed resort is the site for two hotels: the flagship 292-room Al Qasr (The Palace) and the 292-room Mina A' Salam (Harbor of Peace). Mina A' Salam's rooms, restaurants, and bars are grouped around a harbor with uninterrupted views of the sea and the Burj Al Arab. Al Qasr was loosely modeled after the palace of the current ruler's grandfather. The impressive entrance, flanked by sculptures of gold Arabian stallions, is in keeping with the glittering interior, with its sparkling chandelier and massive floral displays. Despite the two hotels' being of similar size, Al Qasr feels far more exclusive and luxurious; expats consider the Koubba Bar Terrace one of the town's intimate spots for drinks. Interiors generally follow traditional gold, maroon, and dusky ocher color schemes, with dark carved wooden furniture. There are also 29 ultraluxurious villas (with ten rooms in each that can be booked separately). The Gulf villas have the prime beach sites, while the Arabian villas are dotted around the resort with three villas sharing their own pool and private butler. This resort also has a sprawling Arabian-themed shopping area called the Madinat Souk.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
This beachfront resort comprising two properties and a group of villas re-creates life on Dubai Creek in the late 1800s, complete with waterways, abras (water taxis), and a souk. Rooms have dark-wood finishes and local touches. Dining options include Italian, Moroccan, and Asian. Talise Spa, in a garden of frangipani and hibiscus, offers crystal and light therapy. "Service is consistently high."

(874 rooms)
—2011 Gold List
Overall Score: 92.8
  • Activities: 91.5
  • Design: 93.6
  • Food: 91.3
  • Location: 93.6
  • Rooms: 95.6
  • Service: 91.3

Also appeared in the Gold List in 2010, 2009, 2008

Amenities: Beach, Golf, Pool, Spa, Tennis, Water sports

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