A Dubaian landmark, the wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel is the city’s best-known piece of architecture after the Burj Al Arab. For all its outer grandeur, however, it’s a down-to-earth hotel patronised in the main by young European families in search of a spot of winter sun. In the shadow of its arching blue glass walls there’s a decent children’s club and a family adventure playground; just across the road lies the Wild Wadi flume park, home to aquatic tomfoolery on an epic scale.
The hotel’s beach hosts Beit Al Bahar, a series of luxury villas that offer an idyllic Gulf-side retreat, overlooked by the lowering hulk of the Burj. Whether you decide to stay in the spacious, colourful rooms of the main hotel or in the refined chic of Beit Al Bahar, you’d be crazy not to tool up at the hotel’s dive centre and pay a visit to the man-made coral reef just off shore.