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msafi ri From 7- Star palaces to traditional Arabian boutique hotels, Gavin Thomas rounds up some of the best places to stay in the ever- expanding city of Dubai 82 ACCOMMODATION DUBAI PILLOWS PICK OF THE JUMEIRAH BEACH HOTEL WHERE Umm Suqeim WHY Opened in 1999, this was the fi rst of Dubai's über- hotels: a stunning, wave- shaped construction combining 5- Star luxury with futuristic architectural whimsy, which set the tone for all future developments in the Emirate. It's now been rather overtaken by later and ever more extravagant constructions – most notably the neighbouring Burj Al Arab – but remains one of the city's most appealing places to stay, thanks to its wonderful beachside location and host of amenities, including a vast spread of restaurants, a chic nightclub and the beautiful 360° bar, perched out at the end of a breakwater and offering drop- dead- gorgeous views along the coast. It's great for families too, with some of the city's best children's facilities. CONTACT www. jumeirahbeachhotel. com 1

msafi ri 83 BURJ AL ARAB WHERE Umm Suqeim WHY Often cited as the world's ultimate hotel, the Burj Al Arab has become as much an icon of modern Dubai as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Its enormous but strangely elegant outline, inspired by the shape of a dhow's sail, looms over the southern city: an elegant cotton- white by day; magically illuminated like a huge glowing lantern by night. Inside is pure extravagance: a huge atrium, big enough to swallow up the Statue of Liberty, with masses of gold- plated columns and a fi sh tank so deep that the cleaners have to don scuba- diving gear to scrub it out. The in- house facilities are just what you'd expect from the world's fi rst 7- Star hotel ( it actually awarded itself the extra two stars, though no one seems to mind) including the underwater Al Mahara seafood restaurant at the foot of the hotel, reached via a miniature submarine, to the sky- high Al Muntaha restaurant and cocktail bar at its summit, plus the sumptuous Assawan spa. CONTACT www. burj- al- arab. com 2