The Madinat Jumeirah is my favorite hotel in Dubai. By hotel, I mean sprawling, massive resort complex. Madinat Jumeirah means "The City of Jumeirah" and you could never leave the hotel except to visit the must-see sights of Dubai (malls, Burj Khalifa, other hotels). It's on two miles of beach, with a beautiful canal, and a modern shopping complex called Souk Madinat. There are two boutique properties within Madinat Jumeirah called Mina A'Salam and Al Qasr as well as courtyard summer houses called Dar Al Masyaf. Al Qasr was my favorite area of the complex as it resembles a sheik's summer palace with striking marble and tile features, huge displays of fresh flowers, sparkling chandeliers and beautiful fountains.
Because you can only drink alcohol on hotel properties in Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah is extremely popular for its restaurants within the hotel and at the souk. There are 44 restaurants and bars. Feel like spaghetti in the Middle East? Head to Toscana. In the mood for French bistro dishes? P is the place for you. We hosted one of our Good People: Great Dinners at Al Hambra and it was truly magical as the night went on and the candles were lit as we enjoyed Spanish-Moroccon fusion tapas.
From most points on property, there are views of the "seven-star" Burj Al Arab hotel, which is Dubai's Eiffel Tower and the landmark you see on TV. If you have dollars to spare, paying for this view from your room is worth it. A view is always worth it to me.
There are almost 900 rooms in the Madinat Jumeirah complex and they are decorated in mock-Arabian style. The rooms have a "new car" smell, beautiful bathrooms and lots of space to unload your suitcases and settle in for your time in Dubai.
I found a beautiful tunic at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah, where there are 75 stores and stalls to browse in. I found more I wanted here than at Dubai's old spice market and famous gold souk. The clothing and jewelry selections here are unique and I'd recommend finding your souvenirs to take home from this area. The malls in Dubai are large but you'll walk by store after store that you can find in America (Pottery Barn & Banana Republic for example). Here, there is more authenticity.
Madinat Jumeirah proudly calls itself a recreation of an Arabian fantasy and does that well. Like most of Dubai except for the old souk, culture has had to be manufactured. Knowing that and knowing that most Dubai hotels feel a bit Disney-esque will help when you arrive in the city. And then just sit back and enjoy the spectacle that is Dubai and its hotels. The Madinat Jumeirah is luxurious, fun, and a center of Dubai life.