Destination focus: the hottest new luxury hotels in Dubai

A perennial favourite with luxury event planners, Dubai will be firmly in the spotlight later this year when the much-anticipated World Expo opens its doors.

Running from 20 October 2020 until 10 April 2021, the expo promises to deliver ‘a world without borders’ with a flavour of 192 countries to be discovered within the pavilions, more than 200 restaurants and 60 shows a day at the region’s first World Expo.

Unsurprisingly in the build-up to such a major event, the emirate’s hotel stock has once again been on the rise. So, we round up some of the most exciting openings worth checking out…

Recent arrivals

Mandarin Oriental made its debut last February with the opening of Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai. The property features 178 rooms and 78 suites including the recently unveiled Royal Penthouse, an 850-square-metre haven on the top floor of the luxurious beachfront resort, with sweeping views over the Arabian Gulf with its own private lift.

A 650-square-metre glass-walled ballroom features a beachfront terrace and is complemented by four additional meeting spaces, while the six restaurants and bars include Tasca by Portuguese celebrity chef José Avillez and Netsu, a Warayaki-style Japanese steakhouse by Australian-born chef Ross Shonhan.

Other notable arrivals in 2019 included W Dubai – The Palm, set on the west crescent of Palm Jumeirah, next door to the Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai (which opened late 2018).

W Dubai – The Palm features 350 rooms and suites with views of the Dubai skyline and the Arabian Gulf, a rooftop bar, AWAY spa and several dining options including Massimo Bottura’s first restaurant outside Italy. Eight meeting rooms include the 1,215sqm Great Room, while fashion shows, concerts, beachside gatherings and other outdoor functions can be staged around the property.

Waldorf Astoria also expanded presence in Dubai last summer with opening of Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), treating guests to a unique check-in experience from the 18th floor as well as sky-high dining and wellness facilities.  The 275-room hotel, which occupies the 18th to 55th floors of the Burj Daman, offers a range of event spaces including a grand ballroom and a unique library concept which houses an open kitchen.

2020 openings

Among the first new arrivals in 2020 will be the much-anticipated ME Dubai, which is taking bookings from 1 March (main image above and below).

Designed by the late legendary architect Zaha Hadid and housed in the iconic Opus building in the Burj Khalifa district, ME Dubai offers architectural and design lovers something to marvel at, with interior and exterior masterpieces galore. The property will offer 93 rooms and suites as well as 96 serviced apartments, with dining options including authentic Spanish dishes at Central, The Maine Oyster Bar and Grill and Roka by Zuma.

Accor will open its biggest Sofitel in the emirate this year, the Sofitel Dubai Wafi with 501 luxury guestrooms. The property will offer a number of dining concepts including an Asian specialty restaurant, gastro pub, a unique destination restaurant, bar and lounge on 43rd and 44th Floors, a French lobby café, an all-day restaurant and a pool bar. Event planners will have ten meeting rooms to choose from in addition to a 1,115sqm ballroom.

Fans of Atlantis The Palm will be excited to check out its new sister property, The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences, due to open in late 2020. This neighbouring resort will offer its own distinctly opulent vibe with two properties stretching out across a whopping 63 hectares of land and more than 2km of beachfront. 

The newest behemoth on the emirate will be 43 storeys high and approximately 185 metres above sea level, with the infinity Sky Pool on level 22 offering incredible views across the city, while the lobby bar area will be home to the world’s largest jellyfish tank, housing approximately 2,000 jellyfish.

Meetings spaces abound and include a 1000sqm ballroom for 660 guests and six meeting rooms, while 13 bars and restaurants including Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Hakkasan and Milos by Costas Spiliadis, will provide exciting opportunities for dine-arounds.

Other properties due to open this year include the SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences, The Palm Jumeirah St Regis, a second Mandarin Oriental property on the Sheikh Zayed Road, the Dubai EDITION and the Middle East’s first Legoland Hotel.


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