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Transit hotel in Dubai Airport: Brilliant for a layover!

Please only travel when it’s safe to do so.

Flying long haul on Emirates Airlines?

Got a long layover in Dubai?

Get some zzzz’s at the transit hotel in Dubai Airport.

That’s what we did when flying Emirates Airlines in Economy Class between Seattle and Africa via Dubai.

Transit Hotel in Dubai Airport

Layover at the transit hotel in Dubai Airport

Both ways on our long-haul flights, we stayed overnight at the Dubai Airport Hotel (also called the Dubai International Airport Hotel) to break up the long trip.

Dubai transit hotel – brilliant!

The hotel is a transit hotel in Dubai Airport, Terminal 3.

We didn’t have the luxury of a private First Class suite on our flights.

Nor could we shower onboard (which First Class passengers can do on several long-haul Emirates Airlines A380 planes).

Emirates Airlines First Class shower
Imagine singing in Emirates’ onboard First Class shower! (Credit: Emirates Airlines)

But at least we got a proper night’s sleep in a decent hotel mid-way through our flight journey.

And because the Dubai Airport transit hotel is located within the airport’s security gates, we didn’t have to go through security again for our onward flight.

Hotel staff even met us right at the plane to escort us quickly to the hotel.

Dubai stopover

Dubai transit hotel
Dubai: Famous for its luxury shopping, high-rise hotels and man-made island parks

All Emirates’ flights from North America (e.g., Seattle, San Francisco, Toronto) to Africa or Asia stop in Dubai, its hub.

About Dubai:

Dubai is one of the seven kingdoms making up the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Emirates Airlines, Dubai’s airport and the transit hotel in the Dubai airport are all owned by the Dubai government.

Surprisingly, there’s enough to see and do to justify spending seven days in Dubai. And in future, we’d like to spend more than just an overnight in Dubai.

Overnight layover in Dubai:

If you don’t have the time to visit properly, however, Dubai at least makes for a great stopover to get some sleep.

You have many options when booking your flights through Dubai. 

From Seattle, we could have flown all the way to Africa with an approximate 3-hour layover in Dubai; the same was true for our return flight.

But for about the same ticket price, we could overnight in the Dubai Airport transit hotel before our onward journey.

Transit Hotel in Dubai Airport
The Dubai International Hotel is located in Terminal 3 (Credit: Dubai International Airport Hotel)

This was a very attractive option for us – just an extra $200 to $250 USD a night for the hotel, and a nice treat to ourselves. (And way cheaper than a Business Class seat with a lie-flat bed.)

Both ways, we arrived in Dubai in the evening (local time), and our onward flights left the next morning about 9:30 am.

(By the way, there are other ways to spend a layover in Dubai, like using the gym or getting a massage at the airport, if your stopover is only a few hours long.)

Recommended reading: Check out the carry-on essentials you need for a better flight!

What’s special about this Emirates Dubai layover hotel?

A transit hotel is super convenient.

Normally you have to go through security on an international layover to overnight in a hotel. But the Emirates stopover hotel is right inside security – a true transit hotel.

Transit hotels are found in busy transfer hubs like Singapore’s Changi Airport and New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.

When you stay at a transit hotel, you don’t have to throw out liquids and go through security again when you board your next flight.

At the transit hotel at Dubai Airport, you simply walk direct from your room to your departure gate, getting there the required 30+ minutes before boarding begins. (So for a 9:30 am departure, you can sleep until 8:00 am.)

Dubai transit hotel
As you’d expect, the Dubai Airport is huge and very modern

Dubai Airport transit tips

Checked luggage:

Because this is a Dubai Airport transit hotel – within security – you cannot collect your checked luggage (or you’ll exit security and not be able to get to the hotel). Your checked bags should be checked through to your final destination. (They’re automatically stored during your overnight layover in Dubai.)

Hand luggage:

Be sure you have what you need for your hotel stay in your carry-on bag!

Location of this Dubai Airport hotel

The hotel is found in Terminal 3 of Dubai Airport.

There are three concourses (A, B and C) in Terminal 3, and the hotel rooms take up the top two floors of each concourse.

Each concourse has its own hotel reception – so it’s like three separate hotels.

Dubai Airport transit hotel pool
Each hotel in the three concourses has its own pool too (Credit: Dubai Airport International Hotel)

Emirates hotel in Dubai airport: rooms

The hotel rooms are just above the flight departure gates.

A thick glass wall is between the room corridors and gates below, so rooms are well sound-proofed.

Each of the three hotels has its own spa and small swimming pool with hot tub.

Is one concourse nicer than the other?

Not really. We stayed in two different concourses, and while the room décor and color scheme differed between the two, they were much the same otherwise.

Dubai Airport transit hotel review
A typical room (Credit: Dubai International Airport Hotel)

The Dubai International Hotel is considered 5-star.

Most important are the beds – comfortable, with cool white linens and duvets.

Note: The lower-category room type we booked offered one queen bed or two twin beds, not a king-size bed.

You’ll find toothbrushes, hand lotion, shaving gear, etc. in the bathroom (useful in case you don’t have those with you in your carry-on bag). Air conditioning is strong and quiet.

For an airport hotel, this Emirates airport hotel is great, but it’s not as luxurious as you’d want for a 5-star city hotel or resort. (The hotel is very busy, so there’s a lot of turnover and that translates into some “wear and tear.”)

Hotel service

Despite arriving at night (early in the wee hours for the second stay), we were processed extremely quickly.

Hotel reception staff are adept at getting you to your room in record time.

2 Tips for booking this Emirates transit hotel

1) Ask for Concourse B:

Dubai’s airport is massive, and it keeps on expanding because there’s so much wide open flat land (desert) around. (It’s the second largest building in the world by floor space.)

Terminal 3 is dedicated to Emirates flights only, and there are three huge concourses or buildings (A, B and C) in Terminal 3 alone.

Ideally, you’d book your overnight hotel room in the concourse where your flight departs the next morning. But the Emirates departure gates can change from day to day.

Your best bet, therefore, is probably to book a room in the middle in Concourse B.

2) Email in advance:

The Dubai International Airport Hotel says it aims to meet all guests at the plane, but it can’t promise this.

After making our booking, we emailed the hotel in advance, asking for a staff member to please meet us at the plane – and we were met both times. (Really nice!)

Dubai Transit Hotel

For more information, see the transit hotel’s website.

You may, however, find better rates on Booking.com. Check rates and availability here.

See more of our airline reviews

Read our posts on:

EVA Air | We’ll fly Economy on EVA Air again!

Qatar Airways | What’s it like to fly in Economy Class on Qatar Airways?

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Transit hotel in Dubai Airport

About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the owners and founders of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, luxury hotel reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

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Sherry

Friday 22nd of November 2019

I really appreciated your write-up here. I booked a restricted flight with a layover at Dubai and after booking I found out my passport expires within 3 months and I can't go through UAE immigration for a transit visa. Knowing that I can stay in this airport on the airside without going through immigration and security is a life saver!!!

Janice and George

Friday 22nd of November 2019

We're so glad our write-up of the Dubai transit hotel helped! It's a really convenient hotel, for sure, and there are plenty of shops and eateries in the airport to entertain you if you still have a few waking hours to while away after getting a good sleep.

Janet Hogan

Friday 19th of April 2019

Andy and I stayed last Sept due to missing our flight after AFRICA AIR delayed flight to JOHNUSBURG where we missed our EMIRATES flight TO LAX. We flew business class both ways. We enjoyed the rest versus staying in the business class lounge for 10 hrs between flights. Rooms were clean and well stocked. Staff was very helpful and we were close to the departing gate and Emirates business lounge so we could still enjoy the perks.

Janice and George

Friday 19th of April 2019

Business class lounges are great. But sleeping in a real bed in a hotel room (with a private bathroom) is a lot more comfortable, isn't it? Thanks for sharing your experience!

Irene S. Levine

Sunday 18th of November 2018

This looks like a wonderful place to relax after a long flight!

Janice and George

Sunday 18th of November 2018

Very much so :-). A good night's sleep can make all the difference when making a long journey.

Carol

Sunday 11th of November 2018

I didn’t realize the airport was one of the largest in the world. I whipped in and out but a stopover would have been great. I flew on points though and it wasn’t an option.

Janice and George

Sunday 11th of November 2018

Next time we fly through Dubai, we too would like to visit Dubai for a couple of days - gotta see the 2,722-ft high Burj Khalifa at least once with our own eyes!