Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai's high-end hotel portfolio is unrivaled, with new hotels -- they seem more like palaces in many cases -- debuting frequently. They include an Armani hotel, designed by the Italian couturier and scheduled to open next year in the Burj Dubai skyscraper.

Prices at luxury hotels are astronomical, but summer discounts, which can be 50% or more, are sometimes available if you don't mind 120-degree temperatures.

Here is some of what I found. To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (international dialing code), 971 (United Arab Emirates) and 4 (code for Dubai).

HILTON DUBAI CREEK

227-1111, www.hilton.com

This is a strikingly stylish hotel not far from Dubai Creek and the gold souk; its Verre restaurant, created by celebrated chef Gordon Ramsay, is considered one of the city's best. Doubles begin about $370 in high season and can drop to $185 in low season.

JUMEIRAH EMIRATES TOWERS

330-0000, www.jumeirah.com

Located in a pair of landmark skyscrapers on Sheikh Zayed Road, this sleek, well-heeled hotel has sterling views and is attached to the ritzy Boulevard mall. Doubles begin at $525 in high season and may drop to $245 in low season.

MADINAT JUMEIRAH

366-8888, www.jumeirah.com

This is an Arabian fantasy of a hotel with half a mile of man-made waterways and a fine stretch of waterfront. Its Pierchic restaurant is perched at the far end of a long pier, and it has its own Middle Eastern bazaar, the Souk Madinat Jumeirah shopping center. Doubles begin at $725 in high season but can drop to $300 in low season.

ONE&ONLY ROYAL MIRAGE

399-9999, www.oneandonlyresorts.com

This is a lushly landscaped complex of three hotels on exclusive Jumeirah Beach, with fantastical Arabian architecture and decor and a smashing swimming pool; doubles around $814 in high season, dropping by more than half in low season.

AL MUROOJ ROTANA

321-1111, www.rotana.com

A hotel and luxury apartment complex near Burj Dubai where the standards are high and the rates slightly lower than at other high-end places; doubles from about $472 in high season, dropping to about $370 in some parts of low season.

Many of Dubai's big malls are connected to hotels. The Deira City Centre has the Sofitel City Center; there's a Kempinski Hotel at the Mall of the Emirates; Dubai Festival City has a new InterContinental and Crowne Plaza; and at Wafi Center, there's an opulent Raffles, modeled on the Egyptian pyramids, that opened in November.

Moderately priced hotels are hard to find in Dubai, and budget digs virtually nonexistent, though an EasyHotel (from the folks who brought you EasyJet) is to open in the coming year, with doubles for about $80. Here are some lower-priced accommodations:

IBIS AND NOVOTEL HOTELS

332-4444, www.ibishotel.com 332-0000, www.novotel.com

At Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center on Sheikh Zayed Road

These are part of the reliable French Accor chain; the Novotel is slightly more elegant and has a pool; doubles from $105 at the Ibis and $130 at the Novotel.

XVA

353-5383, www.xvagallery.com

This is a highly recommended eight-room guest house and cafe in the heart of historic Bastakiya, connected to one of Dubai's most prominent art galleries; doubles from $177 to $218, including breakfast.