if you have a medium-length connection (or an overnight), and you’re flying through Dubai T3 (which you will be if you’re flying Emirates, or T1), using the airside hotel might be a good option. i’m currently on an 8 hour layover on my way home from Tunis (arrived around midnight) so i decided to give it a shot.
the hotel is called Dubai International Hotel and they have rooms in Terminal 3A, 3B, and 1C. i don’t know how Emirates terminals work out, but i suspect most A380 destinations leave out of T3A (don’t quote me on that), so that’s where i booked my room. normally they can be quite expensive (about $200/night), but i booked a prepaid offer through their website for a total of 528 AED including tax for one night. that comes out to a little less than $150, which is probably what you’d spend at a nice hotel in town anyways.
the best thing about this hotel is that it’s airside in all of the terminals it operates in, so you don’t actually have to go through customs and all that jazz — just head on to the hotel from your incoming flight. that also means you will need to bring whatever you need with you in your carry-on. they made me check my spinner when i departed SFO on my way to Tunis, so beware this might happen. (they didn’t make me when i left Tunis, but i was prepared and had my toiletries and change of clothes in my backpack in case.) despite it being right above the departure gates, the rooms are quiet and spacious.
indeed it’s a full-featured hotel, as you can see in the pictures below; you don’t even need toiletries if you’re not picky! my only beef is that the wifi isn’t working, but i am able to use the airport’s wifi (via Boingo).