Mina A' Salam, Madinat Jumeirah

Giant hotel with its own Venetian waterways, beach access and an indoor souk

The Mina was the first hotel completed as part of the Madinat Jumeirah resort. Built around 3km (2 miles) of Venetian-style waterways filled with abras that ferry guests around the resort, the Mina is a gobsmackingly ambitious project that aims to marry Dubai’s modern-day opulence with its old-world architecture.

The sand-coloured buildings are topped with legions of wind towers, and the interior is palatial. Each of the 292 sea-facing rooms are styled in keeping with the Arabian theme: heavy studded doors give way to Moorish arches hung with ornate lanterns, and the beds are piled high with exotic dark blue, red and gold fabrics.

The real hook, however, are the large terraces which jut out towards the water, ideal for sitting and sipping a leisurely G ’n’ T as the sun goes down. With walkways along the harbour, al fresco restaurant terraces and a souk full of lavish boutiques, Mina has a distinctly village feel to it – albeit a village full of the deeply affluent.

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