Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
Arguably as iconic as the Burj Al Arab, the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, with its mirrored wave-shaped exterior, was the first of Jumeirah's beachfront resorts, opening in 1997. Admittedly the clashing primary-colored interior looks a little dated now, but it remains the perfect family beach resort, with 598 huge rooms, 20 restaurants and bars, and a multitude of water-related options, including five swimming pools, unlimited access to the adjacent Wild Wadi water park, the Pavilion Marina & Sports Club, yacht charters, a dive center, and free shuttle service to many malls. The Sinbad Club keeps kids occupied, while the low-key Uptown Bar, Ibiza-style 360°, and the Polynesian-themed, Kate Moss–patronized Mahiki provide entertainment for grown-ups. Seventy rooms in the north wing have been enlarged for families, but for spacious luxury, book one of the 19 Beit Al Bahar (House by the Sea) villas tucked on the beach, away from the main hotel. Each villa has its own terrace, outdoor dining area, large sunken baths, and plunge pool; there are also dedicated butlers and concierges. The villas' decor is in an Arabic style (high ceilings, wooden beams, and warm maroons) far removed from the slightly garish interiors of the main hotel.—Updated by Susan Hack
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