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Raffles Dubai, Dubai 

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Sheikh Rashid Road
Wafi City
United Arab Emirates
Tel: 971 4324 8888
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

Although attached to a shopping mall with an ancient Egyptian theme, the pyramidal Raffles is a lesson in not judging a hotel by its exterior. The external kitsch conceals some of Dubai's largest, most stylish hotel rooms, all 248 loftlike in feel with oversized terrace balconies. The friendly and efficient staff beat the liveried pants off their counterparts at other Dubai luxury hotels; unlike many new arrivals from far-flung worlds, Raffles employees actually take messages, summon taxis, and can expertly direct guests around the city. Thoughtfully conceived facilities include two artificial-current lap pools in addition to the main pool, a large gym, and a spa whose sex-segregated Jacuzzis and saunas are open to hotel guests regardless of whether they book massage treatments. Botanical gardens occupy the pyramid's center, and the glassed-in trilevel top contains two Asian restaurants, a nightclub with no minimum drink requirement, and a champagne bar.

—2008 Hot List

When to go: November through March, to avoid the desert heat.

Which room to book: Rooms ending in 17 have perfectly framed views of the business district's skyscrapers, including the new Burj Dubai.

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