Concierge.com's insider take:
One of the smallest five-star hotels in town, the 138-room Ritz-Carlton may have excellent service, but apart from the Bedouin-inspired Amaseena restaurant, in tents on the beach, you could be in a Mediterranean mansionthere isn't an Arabian lantern or buff-colored wind tower in sight. Built in 1998, this low-rise resort sits on 8.6 acres of green landscaped gardens leading directly to a broad sandy beach. While the Dubai Marina's huge yellow skyscrapers now dwarf this hotel, it still manages to feel like a calm, private retreat. Culinary highlights include the hotel's signature Italian restaurant, the low-lit Splendido (Wagyu beef ravioli with morel mushrooms and pine nut sauce, and goat-cheese-crusted lamb chops with eggplant caviar), which houses one of Dubai's best-stocked (but pricey) wine cellars, the Amaseena (serving a traditional Arabic buffet), and French La Baie; make sure you don't miss the excellent afternoon tea. Prime rooms include those on the ground floor that lead out to the pools and have roomy patios.