Zabeel House
Opt for a quiet moment... Or seek the thrills at a theme park near you. Dubai's budget-focussed hotel brands are revising strategies and rates to bring back guests. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: The city that is known for having one of the worlds’ highest numbers of five-star hotels, is now standing out for its budget boutique hotel offerings. The UAE in general has seen a shift towards budget category hotel with the growing importance of tapping into the market of millennial travellers.

Budget hotels, not to be confused with “basic hotels”, especially in Dubai, offer modern, artsy furnishing, free Wi-Fi and breakfasts made with organic ingredients. Some even stand out with outdoor cinemas and or access to a massive theme park. The new breed of budget hotels appeals to younger travellers or locally-based families looking to get more for their money on their next staycation.

The brand is considered the affordable arm of Emaar, who own the luxury Address Hotels. “Currently, we have an offer at our Rove At The Park property, where rooms start from Dh199 per night, inclusive of two Dubai Parks & Resorts tickets,” said Paul Bridger, the Corporate Director at Rove Hotels. Their prices have usually always been this competitive. They just added more value and perks. “Our rates have not changed in comparison to previous years. Rove At The Park continues to be our best value staycation destination in Dubai for families.”

We introduce promotions that apply to all – including office rooms, long-stay rates or family staycation deals

- Paul Bridger of Rove

When Rove plans their staycation offers, they try and tick every box. “For this reason, we introduce promotions that apply to all – including office rooms, long-stay rates or family staycation deals. In fact, since the reopening of the Dubai Parks and Resorts, we've seen an increase in our staycation bookings, trading at even higher occupancies than last year. ”

A theme park association serves Rove quite well. As well as having room rates from Dh199 a night.

Luxury brands adding budget properties to their roster

Jumeirah, the Dubai-born luxury brand, launched their affordable collection of boutique hotels, Zabeel House by Jumeirah, in early 2018 to target those who want to “experience Jumeirah in a more relaxed and casual setting.” A clever way to allude to a more budget-friendly spot without really referring to it as that.

One of Zabeel House, The Greens’ biggest draws is their F&B offerings. Their restaurants are trendy, popular and always marketed with the words “urban” and “street food eateries”. The hotel has even included a brunch, as part of a staycation offer dubbed “Brunch and Stay” which includes an overnight stay inclusive of a house beverage brunch package for two at Lah Lah and four post-brunch beverages each as well as breakfast the next day for Dh450 per person.

Zabeel House 2
If in the next few weeks hotels can push occupancy levels into 50% and more, that would be some relief for their operations and cashflow. The launch of flight services to Israel should be another boost in the making. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

“We have always tried to have the best experiences connected to our hotel stays such as F&B and spa offers and we give guests free tickets to different leisure hotspots and waterparks,” said Luke James, General Manager, Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens.

“Another one of our popular deals is the “Splash, Play and Stay” package, which offers a night stay with complimentary breakfast, complimentary access to Laguna Waterpark and Green Planet, plus F&B and spa discounts at a price of Dh350 for two. We’re really happy to see continual growth in room nights since we reopened. Additionally, our long-staying local residents are really supporting us.”


The hospitality industry was hit hard during the pandemic, so right now, the budget-boutique hotel concept appeals to all segments. Holidaymakers want the best, but at a rate that’s deem as being more affordable.

One of the Marriott’s more budget-friendly properties is the Aloft at Deira City Centre. Their ‘Shop & Dine’ package guests are given discounts of up to 25 per cent across select stores. Kids on staycation will get Magic Planet (Arcade) credit and heavily discounted rates to Ski Dubai and to the Outdoor by VOX Cinemas located within the hotel itself.

Additionally, each guest gets a Dh75 voucher to use at the spa and credit of Dh150 per day to use for F&B. Rates for this offer start at Dh241 per night. According to Gurnoor Bindra, Hotel Manager, “We are considered a one-stop-shop hotel for corporate travellers, leisure travellers and families.”

In a city that’s known for its five-star and super-luxury hotel options, budget hotels and their rates have managed to convince quite a few to go a little more basic. In the weeks and months ahead, an aggressive room rate strategy and building up on experiences, should give them access to a wider guest base.

Of course, rates of Dh200 or thereabouts will always help.