Not every vacation has to be far away from home.
Sometimes, the best holidays are in our very own backyard. Forget the hassle of airports (and still feel a world away) when you book a staycation in some of the most luxurious hotels in the world — right here in the United Arab Emirates. Whether you're looking to enjoy some alone time, a romantic getaway, or simply hoping to spend more quality time with your loved ones, check out our picks for the absolute best staycation spots in the UAE.
Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental is on everyone's bucket list for a reason, and ever since Mandarin Oriental took over the legendary Abu Dhabi landmark to give it some much-needed upgrades, it has only gotten better. With modern, newly-renovated suites, incredible dining options, and unbeatable seven-star service, this is hands-down one of the best hotels in the country. The little ones will love the kids club, slides, lazy river, and pools, while the adults will feel perfectly at home relaxing in the renowned spa or setting up camp for the day in one of the beach cabanas that are like your own mini living room. Also, if you value sustainability and cruelty-free experiences, you must try the new vegan rooms where everything from the furniture to the bedding, treats, and decor are all 100% vegan.
We recommend eating at Talea by Antonio Guida, the latest culinary addition to the Palace with some of the most authentic Italian flavors this side of the world, as well as Hakkasan (both of which recently earned one Michelin star in the inaugural list for Abu Dhabi). If you want to experience one of the best, most traditional Indian restaurants in the UAE, it does not get better than Martabaan by Hemant Oberoi. We'd also recommend booking one of Emirates Palace's legendary afternoon teas either outside by the patio, or inside, just underneath the lobby's iconic dome. Honestly, you can't go wrong with being treated like royalty and staying in a palace. Just saying.
The Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah
The Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah is one of the most exquisite and serene staycation destinations in the United Arab Emirates. Designed by the eminent Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni, the resort boasts a contemporary and minimalist architectural style. The main hotel consists of several independent buildings that are interconnected by naturally lit walkways, and the inner courtyard houses shallow pools where you'll find the main restaurant and other facilities. The outer cladding of wood panels creates a striking interplay of light and shadow as the sun sets, and the resort's vast open spaces and natural white-and-beige color palette blend in seamlessly with the panoramic ocean views and long stretches of sandy beaches.
Each villa is bathed in natural light and offers breathtaking views of the garden and sea. Every detail has been meticulously planned to ensure that guests are provided with the utmost comfort and pleasure. The personalized in-room services are a highlight, as well as the lush green mangroves on one side and the crystal clear waters of the Gulf on the other. But what is truly impressive is the resort's outstanding sustainable initiative, which includes the use of environmentally friendly, sustainably-sourced, and organic ingredients, wherever possible, as well as the importance placed on preserving the natural splendor of Al Zorah and promoting long-term environmental sustainability for current and future generations.
Bvlgari Resort & Hotels, Dubai
Forget the UAE. Bvlgari Hotel and Resorts, Dubai is quite simply one of the best places in the world for the perfect staycation. It’s Bvlgari, so don’t expect anything less than the finest of quality and luxury in everything: design, dining, amenities, spa... well, everything. Whether it’s the deluxe suite or a two-bedroom villa with a private pool, the service is impeccable and the stay is absolute perfection. We know we usually recommend a spa treatment, but if you are staying at the Bvlgari, it’s no longer a recommendation – it’s a must.
As it sits on a small man-made island off of Jumeirah, it should come as no surprise that the venue is private and quiet. You will literally feel like you are out of the country. Perhaps this is why every celebrity visiting Dubai stays at the Bvlgari Hotel.
Address Beach Resort Fujairah
Address Beach Resort Fujairah is one of the newest openings of the hotel giant, and we love it just as much as we love the other Address resorts we’ve had the pleasure of visiting. Situated between the sea and Hajar mountains, the Address Beach Resort Fujairah boasts the best of the United Arab Emirates in one place: world-class diving and snorkeling excursions, a plethora of hiking trails with wadis and vistas, beach activities, high-end dining venues, signature spa treatments, and massive grounds with multiple pools for exploring, sunbathing, relaxing, and enjoying.
Fujairah may be one of the furthest Emirates to get to in terms of travel, but it is worth the two-hour scenic drive through the mountains. Even if it's technically Sharjah, you must pay a visit to Khorfakkan’s impressive outdoor theater (we can’t wait to see some Shakespeare there), or go on a visit to Dibba Bay Oyster Farm – yes, the same one that is connected to the cute little oyster shack on the water in Umm Suqeim. Take a deep-sea fishing trip into the Indian Ocean or perform our favorite holiday ritual, which involves rotating between beach, pool, spa, restaurant, room, and repeat.
Ritz Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert
If you’re looking to indulge yourself with a trip to the desert, but aren’t quite yet ready for a glamping experience, then we highly recommend you book a stay at the Ritz Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert. Check in to one of the villas with an open view of the desert and a private pool simply so you can wake up to the desert wildlife exploring their home right in front of your eyes. With opulent Arabian decor, tented coves, and charming Bedouin touches around every corner, you will love discovering your surroundings as much as the curious wildlife who come to call in the morning.
We love coming to this retreat for some much-needed R&R. Surrounded by desert, you'll feel so isolated and removed from the hustle and bustle of life, which is exactly what makes it the perfect little getaway. It’s only about an hour from Dubai, but it truly feels like a world away.
Chedi Al Bait
If it’s an escape into Emirati culture you’re seeking, enter into the heart of Sharjah with one of the most incredible stays at the Chedi Al Bait. This stunning hotel is situated in what was the old city of Sharjah, with each group of suites occupying a former family home all those years ago. The enchanting halls echo with stories that are waiting to be discovered. You can expect beautiful, decadent furnishings, luxurious details around every corner, and a strong sense of Emirati culture permeating through every walk. Enjoy a trip to the spa, relax in the pool (which feels like an oasis spring in the middle of this historical sanctuary), or peruse the many books in the library before playing a game of chess.
Stop and chat with the locals who sit at the café in front of the property, grab a bite from Reif Othman’s Nomani, take a leisurely stroll along the river, or visit the Heart of Sharjah for an incredible inside look into the unique history of this lesser-known emirate. The Sharjah Art Foundation also sits within walking distance of the hotel and houses some magnificent indoor and outdoor galleries and installations. Meander through the souk right next door, and if you make it to the end of the souk with only a few bags of spices and souvenirs, you may still be able to get your hands free to take a picture of one of eL Seed’s paintings on the face of an old apartment building just outside. The Chedi Al Bait is one of those rare hidden gems in the United Arab Emirates, but once you know, you know.