2015-opened luxury resort with its own private beach
30-minute drive from Dubai, plus free Sahara and Dubai Mall shuttles
Sumptuous rooms have sea-facing balconies and smart TVs
Sleek bathrooms have glass showers and separate tubs
Four restaurants with a variety of cuisine and terrace dining
Large outdoor pool with a shallow kiddy pool and ample loungers
Late-night bars, a swim-up bar, and a hookah pipes
Full-service spa with spoiling treatments, plus a 24-hour fitness center
Function rooms and a grand ballroom
Valet parking and Wi-Fi throughout are free
Immediate area is empty and gritty
Long drives to Dubai are traffic-packed
Bars close during month of Ramadan
Overlooking the magnificent Arabian Gulf, the Fairmont Ajman is a sleek, five-pearl property a 30-minute drive from Dubai. Glistening from its 2015 opening, high-end finishes here knock out the area's competition. All 252 rooms are stylishly outfitted and have furnished balconies with sea views, state-of-the-art tech, and deep tubs and separate showers. The eight bars and restaurants include a beach bar, swim-up pool bar, an Italian eatery, and buffet dining. The large outdoor pool overlooks the ocean, and guests can indulge indoors at the pampering spa. A kids' club, spacious modern gym, and function rooms round out the amenities. The beachfront Ramada Beach Hotel Ajman is a more affordable option.
Ritzy hotel with private beach and sleek interiors
Ajman is the smallest of the seven emirates, and hotels here have grown popular for their Dubai-level luxury at a lower price tag. The 2015-opened Fairmont's shimmering interiors do not disappoint, and everything here is exquisite. The 14-story atrium lobby has floor-to-ceiling marble, seating areas in muted grays and powder blues, and geometric shapes in gold reception desks, star-patterned windows, and bronze wall accents. Rich textures in restaurants match rich menus, though more casual beachfront, swim-up pool, and hookah bars are also found here. Terraces around the outdoor pool extend to the private beach, where rock jetties evoke a bay feel. Excellent service and exquisite rooms make this one of the top luxury properties in the area, but it's worth comparing rates with the similarly decadent Ajman Saray, A Luxury Collection Resort. Despite grandeur drawing luxury-seeking couples, the hotel equally welcomes families.
Beachfront Ajman location, a 30-minute drive from Dubai
Avoiding Dubai prices means compromising on location. The 30-minute drives to the iconic city get lengthier during peak traffic times. The hotel does provide free daily shuttles to Dubai Mall's designer boutiques, and neighboring Sharjah emirate's more-affordable Sahara Centre. Aside from other hotels lining the shore, immediate streets have a nondescript feel, and they're somewhat rundown. Ajman, nevertheless, has a life of its own, and eight-minute drives (or half-hour walks) to its Corniche offer shopping, restaurants, and a vibrant Iranian "souq" market. Sharjah Airport is a 22-minute drive, and it's 27 minutes by car from Dubai International Airport (without traffic).
All with glass-paneled, furnished balconies overlooking the Arabian Sea, plush rooms start at a spacious 453 square feet (42 square meters). The stylish and sumptuous rooms have slightly varying decor by category, but most have neutral palettes with the occasional accent color, marble floors topped with rugs, wood furniture and wall paneling with geometric accents, and gold or silver lamps and wall sconces. Artwork resembling agate gemstones is lovely, as are comfy beds and seating areas. Lower-category rooms have a desk with a computer chair and another armchair, while upgrades include large separate living spaces with L-shaped couches. Bathrooms are a standout with deep soaking tubs (some stand-alone and other large corner tubs) and glass-wrapped rainfall showers, plus New York Le Labo-branded toiletries, fluffy robes, and hairdryers. Family Rooms and larger suites add guest bedrooms. Standard amenities include large flat-screen TVs with interactive media connectivity, Nespresso machines, kettles, minibars, and closets with safes, ironing facilities, and slippers.
Private beach and an outdoor pool, quality bars and restaurants, plus a spa and kid's club
Extensive features here are largely geared toward couples. Firstly, the private beach is lined with loungers under umbrellas, and food and drink service is available from its Caribbean Driftwood Bar. Plenty more loungers line the large outdoor pool, which has its own swim-up bar and a shallow pool for kids. Cabanas are available for a fee, and guests can dine al fresco on poolside terraces.
Numerous dining options are available for guests, although they're unsurprisingly pricey. Display kitchens at Spectrum flaunt the international buffets (including breakfast) on offer, while draped silks amid Arabian lanterns are in sync with Kiyi's Turkish menus. Wood-fired pizzas and Italian fare are served at Gioia, while the late-night XOLO Bar has TVs showing sports and a pool table. More drinking spots dot the hotel, including a Lobby Bar and hookah spot. Note that bars close during Ramadan.
The Nine Degrees Spa is elegant, and aromatherapy treatments are indulgent in its eight treatment rooms, which accompany a sauna, steam room, and Turkish hammam. Free apple lemonade is provided at the 24-hour fitness center with modern Technogym equipment. The kids' club takes care of little ones with poolside movies and activities, including treasure hunts. Seven meeting rooms have hi-tech equipment, and the ballroom has a 1000-person capacity. While airport transfers are at a fee, daily shuttles to Dubai Mall and Sahara Centre are free, as is on-site valet parking and property-wide Wi-Fi.