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The Palm or Downtown Dubai – Best Area to Stay

Downtown Dubai or The Palm - Where is Better to Stay? The Vacation Builder

When choosing Dubai for a vacation there are a number of key tourist area’s to consider. The fact that these area’s all have their own fantastic benefits and are all so very different means choosing can sometimes be difficult.

That’s why we put together these comparison articles to help you decide on where to stay in Dubai.

Today we take a look at The Palm Jumeirah vs Downtown Dubai. On one hand we have luxury beach living and on the other we have one of the most happening places to spend a city vacation in the world!

To find out where is better to stay we faced off the two for Location, Hotels, Nightlife, Things to do, Beaches & Accessibility.


The Palm or Downtown Dubai - Where is Better to Stay? Locations - Downtown Dubai | The Vacation Builder

First of all, let’s take a quick look at their locations. Both The Palm and Downtown Dubai offer fantastic scenery in different ways. The Palm offers its visitors unrivalled views of the Arabian gulf and gorgeous white sand beaches. Downtown Dubai presents awe-inspiring architecture in the form of some of the most prestigious buildings in the world.

As both areas offer something completely different, you cannot compare their locations on scenery alone. However, when it comes to the local area Downtown Dubai wins hands down.

The Palm presents luxury stays in the finest form, along with great views back to the city of Dubai and gorgeous beaches. However, that pretty much sums up the island in a nutshell as it’s quite secluded from the rest of Dubai.

Over to Downtown and you are surrounded by fast transport links, tonnes of tourist attractions, restaurants and things to do. Staying in Downtown Dubai also allows tourists easy access to both sides of the city due to its location in the centre.

Pros of Staying at The Palm vs Downtown Dubai

  • Views of the ocean as well as back at the city
  • Beaches
  • Quieter than most other areas

Pros of Staying in Downtown Dubai over The Palm

  • Views of incredible buildings such as Burj Khalifa
  • Several transport links in and out of the area
  • Lots to see and do
  • Other area’s such as JBR, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach are only a short trip away

The choice of location depends entirely on what you want from your vacation. However, for us Downtown Dubai offers more overall.

Verdict: Downtown Dubai

The Palm vs Downtown Dubai Hotels

With the hotels on offer in both area’s here, this could be the battle of the century for hotels. Dubai does hotels better than most other places on earth, and when it comes to the most luxurious areas to stay, both Downtown and Palm Jumeirah take the crown.

To set the two apart, we took a look at the 3 highest rated (according to TripAdvisor) and compared them on value for money.

HotelAreaPrice Per NightTripAdvisor Rating
Address Sky ViewDowntown1,550AED5/5
LEVA HotelDowntown330AED5/5
Address BoulevardDowntown1,260AED5/5
Sofitel The PalmPalm Jumeirah1,315AED4.5/5
Rixos The PalmPalm Jumeirah2,520AED4.5/5
Fairmont The PalmPalm Jumeirah1,415AED4.5/5

The three top rates hotels in Downtown Dubai had an average cost per night lower than those on The Palm, as well as a higher average TripAdvisor rating. LEVA Hotel Mazaya Centre offers a real low cost hidden gem in Downtown Dubai.

Verdict: Downtown Dubai

Palm Jumeirah or Downtown for Things to do?

One of the most important aspects of any vacation is things to do. Here we take a look at the best 5 things to do in each area.

Top 5 Things to do in Downtown Dubai

Burj Khalifa – At The Top60AED
Dubai FountainFREE
Dubai MallN/A
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo120AED
Dubai OperaFrom 150AED

Top 5 Things to do on Palm Jumeirah

Aquaventure Water Park110AED
Lost Chambers Aquarium110AED
The Pointe MallN/A
RIVA Beach ClubFrom 75AED
Brunch at Anantara365AED

Downtown Dubai definitely has the better of the two when it comes to entertainment. The advantage to entertainment on The Palm is that it contains water sports and a beach vibe, which any vacation should feature! However, Downtown offers so much more as a whole. The Dubai Mall alone makes the top 5 for things to do, yet inside the Mall itself hosts a whole lot more!

Verdict: Downtown Dubai

Palm Jumeirah or Downtown Beaches

The Palm or Downtown Dubai - Beaches - Palm West Beach | The Vacation Builder
To the left, Palm West Beach

It’s obvious that Downtown Dubai doesn’t have a beach, being a city centre destination; however Jumeirah Beach is just a ten minute taxi ride away.

Palm Jumeirah has its own public beach, Palm West Beach. Other than this, most of the hotels on the palm own their own private stretch of sand.

Out of Palm West Beach and Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach is definitely the best option. However, staying on The Palm gives you instant access to any of the beaches from your resort. For that reason, there is only one winner here.

Verdict: The Palm

Accessibility & Proximity to Other Areas

The Palm or Downtown Dubai - Accessibility & Proximity to Other Areas - Dubai Creek | The Vacation Builder
Guests of Downtown Should Take Advantage of Visiting Dubai Creek

Unless you’re happy lazing around the hotel and pool, accessibility is a huge deciding factor when choosing where to stay in Dubai.

When it comes to distance from Dubai Airport, Downtown is a clear favourite with a mere 15 minute taxi ride to the centre. However, it’s not too much further to the base of Palm Jumeirah at just over 20 minutes.

Other than this, getting around or to and from other places in Dubai from both Palm Jumeirah and Downtown is relatively easy.

There are tens of bus routes and the Dubai Metro going to and from Downtown every hour. Jumeirah & Dubai Creek are close by locations which visitors of Downtown should absolutely flock to.

Although Palm Jumeirah has significantly less transport links, The Palm Monorail is a great way to see the Island and also a cheap and easy way to get to the rest of Dubai. One advantage to staying on The Palm is the close proximity to Dubai Marina and JBR.

Both areas have their advantages when it comes to accessibility. Too close to call a winner here.

Verdict: Tie

Downtown or The Palm for Nightlife

Downtown or The Palm - Nightlife | The Vacation Builder

When it comes to nightlife, Downtown is the place to be. World famous DJ’s and artists visit to play in some of the hippest nightclubs in the city here. Palm Jumeirah has some great nightlife spots from many of the hotels but they just do not rival Downtown Dubai’s nightclubs.

Couple this with the tens of rooftop bars overlooking the city that Downtown has to offer and there is only one clear winner.

Verdict: Downtown Dubai

For more information on nightlife in Dubai and what nightlife is like in each area you can check our guide below.


Although Downtown Dubai wins this comparison by quite some margin, that doesn’t mean that a vacation on Palm Jumeirah should be overlooked. Anyone looking for luxury hotels with private beaches and unrivalled views of the ocean and city should consider The Palm.

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