One&Only Royal Mirage
A kind of über-Arabian fantasia built in the style of an ancient palace and fortress, the Royal Mirage occupies prime Dubai real estate. The compound of buildings—all vaulted sandstone arches, gleaming columns, and intricate tile work, topped by a gloriously painted dome and mirrored by a palm-lined reflecting pool—sits right on Jumeirah Beach, and is surrounded by 65 acres of gardens. The property includes two main parts: The Palace, with 246 units, and the Arabian Court, with 172 units; both sections have rooms and suites that are plush if rather European in style, with private balconies or terraces overlooking the sea and lushly landscaped gardens. There's also the more exclusive 50-room resort-within-a-resort, the Residence & Spa, which has its own reception, private dining room, and bar, plus the hotel's most spacious and exotically decorated rooms and suites (lots of carved and inlaid wood, elaborate tile work, and silky embroidered fabrics). The eight on-site restaurants range from Moroccan to Asian, and Mediterranean to casual beach side seafood; but wherever you eat, be sure to hit The Rooftop lounge (at the Arabian Court) for pre- or post-prandial cocktails overlooking Palm Island Bay.