Most of the western-style hotels are in the downtown area, or along the Jumeriah beach strip. There are some at Jebel Ali too, but that's only a few kilometers down the road. In between there's The Palm, The World and The Burj.
The local-style hotels are concentrated along the Jumeriah Beach strip, but of course there are a few more restrictions on what is acceptable there.
Here's a guide to the local customs and laws so you don't get into trouble.
Phil from the safety hub about 5 years ago
Barsha is not a bad area to stay - handy for the metro as well as Mall of the Emirates and also access to Jumeriah Beach. Good range of hotels and apartments to suit all price brackets.
Jumeriah Beach has nice hotels and has a nice vibe to it. Tends to be more high end hotels but there will be deals on during Ramadan (July-August) so it makes it a good option too. about 5 years ago