Plane Spotting Dubai

Plane Spotting Dubai

Whilst there are no official locations for watching aircraft, the nearby hotels can offer superb vantage points  in Dubai. Caution must be used as spotting and photography of aircraft is reported tobe illegal at all UAE airports including Dubai. The hotels featured below are a guide to the views available from the hotels and do not condone photography or spotting from these locations. 

Nojoum Hotel Apartments

are now considered by many to offer the best sviews for Dubai Airport as well as offering good value. The apartments are located a couple of blocks away from the Sheraton Deira, they are set back further from the approach/climb out which enables a more side on perspective of aircraft for photography purposes. Ask for an high floor apartment (501 is excellent) facing the airport and you are all set. Each apartment has a large balcony where you can sit outside and watch the movements go by undisturbed. Flight Radar 24 is useful for monitoring movements after dark, or for movements not overflying the hotel.

Below is a list of rooms with views towards the airport, you ideally need floor 5 or above to get the elevation to see the majority of parking stands. Please note that unless stated otherwise the rooms below with airport views are 2 bedroomed apartments.


Airport View – Apartment  Room Nos

1st Floor





2nd Floor





3rd Floor





4th Floor





5th Floor





6th Floor


602- 3BR Apt


608 – 3BR Apt

7th Floor


702- 3BR Apt


708- 3BR Apt

Location: ***

Great location and great weather! A cheap supermarket can be found directly across the road from the apartments. Across the road from the apartments you will find the Al Kabayl discount centre which is the equivalent of an European supermarket which stocks food and drink at very reasonable prices. The apartments do not have a shuttle bus, therefore you are looking at a taxi ride from the airport (around £7) or the airport metro to Union Station followed by the metro to Abu Baker Al Siddique station which is then only a 5 minute walk to the apartments.

The large Deira Shopping Mall is only a short walk away, if you are not adventurous they have a great London Fish and Chip outlet which compares very well to those found in the Uk!

Viewing: *** Superb. Nothing will be missed from your balcony. Both side of the Emirates Terminal 3 are visible, along with most of the other terminals and the bizz jet/freight aprons (due to the distance involved you need to wait for the bizz to move in order to identify it). Request a high level, airport facing room by emailing the hotel after booking. The gym also has fantastic views over the airport with a power point that could be used for a laptop. The hotel management are used to spotters and will try their best to allocate a good room. If you get an airport facing room you could view from your balcony all night long.
Photos: *** A good location from the privacy of your own balcony. If you are unlucky enough not to secure an airport facing room the rooftop pool area offers similar views (note the apartments management only tolerate this in the event that you stay away from the edge of the roof and no other guests are at the pool area at the time (it is usually quiet up there). The airport is not visible from the roof pool due to the high wall shielding the view.
Value: ** Depending on the offer this maybe better value than the Sheraton with apartments varying from £70-£120 per night. If you were to be unlucky enough not to secure an airport facing room all is not lost, The Sheraton is only a 10 minute walk away where for a small fee you can use their rooftop pool facilities.

The hotel can be booked on the website of AGODA 


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Plane Spotting Dubai Dubai Airport Photography Nojoum apartments for plane spotting
Above :View of terminal 3 from the balcony of the Nojoum (double click picture to expand) Great departure views can be got from the balcony of The Nojoum, this was taken with a 300 lens. Above. View from the rooftop pool at The Nojoum demonstrates how you are further set back than at the Sheraton giving better side on views of aircraft(double click on photo to expand). Credit Tis Meyer


Above room 410, although on a lower level does offer the views from the balcony as shown above. Credit Scott Antico

There are many other UAE airfields to spot in the area, all between 60-120 minutes from Dubai. Whilst the roads are busy through the rush hour, you can avoid the traffic by setting of early (0500) or mid morning (after 1000). Friday is the beginning of the weekend in the UAE and roads can be very quiet all day. A popular (although long day) triangular tour from Dubai can take in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi, Bateen (Abu Dhabi bizz traffic) and the new Dubai World Central Airports. Nova Car Hire  offers a web comparison service  to find you the best online car hire rates for your UAE plane spotting trip.



Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Al Muraqabat

A new hotel in Deira located in the same block as the Nojoum Apartments. Only sketchy reports so far received from this hotel but they sound encouraging. This hotel may become the ready made replacement for the old Sheraton Deira which is no longer recommended on this site.

Location: ***

 In the same block as the Nojoum apartment, offset from the approach to Runway 30R

Viewing: *** A rooftop pool area with views out onto the airport from a similar angle as the Nojoum. Whilst further offset from the old Sheraton airport, traffic can be clearly seen. The pool area is understood to be open between 0700-2100. High level rooms to the front of the hotel have distant views over to the airport, as well as the climb out/approach to runway 30R
Photos: *** Early reports from one visit advised that there were no issues with photography from the rooftop pool area, to the extent that the pool assistant brought over additional seating to the group. It remains to be seen if the hotel remain tolerant to photography in the future. A 300 lens would be required in this area.
Value: *** Great rates from around £50 a night.

The hotel can be booked on the AGODA  which usually offers good deals

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Grand Excelsior Hotel Deira (Formally Sheraton Deira Hotel)

Note : This Hotel is now receiving extremely negative reports from recent visits to the point that we can no longer recommend it suitable for the viewing of aircraft. The hotel have introduced strict rules regarding the viewing of aircraft, to the point that cameras and binoculars are banned. There have even been reports that people have been stopped from using laptops and ipads displaying Flight Radar 24.

Additionally, the roof top bar area has been operated as an all night nightclub recently causing reports of night long loud music in the rooms which used to be favored for spotting. We believe that there are now better options for the enthusiast in the Nojoum, Hilton Garden Inn and Premier Inn Hotel.

Location: *** Great location and great weather!
Spotting: *

Rooms ending in 10-15 will also give views of the approach/climb out.

There are rooms with distant views of the airport/approach and climb out. Ask for a high level airport facing room. All Airport facing rooms have king sized beds only for may not be suitable for groups.

Expect to be hassled on the rooftop pool area if you try to view the traffic from up here.

Photos:   No longer allowed at this hotel and security will ask you to put your camera away.
Value: ** Between £70-£120. 

The hotel can be booked on the website of AGODA  If you are looking for flights, look no further than Netflights who now cater for 33% of the Uk-Dubai market. You can see a sample of their excellent fares by clicking here 

Please help support our site. We are constantly checking the links for hotels to find the best price offered for our readers. If the price on this site is the best quote you receive, please help us by booking your hotel from the link provided as we receive a small commission payment from the hotel. This helps contribute to the running costs of this site enabling us to continue to offer a great service. In the event that we do not offer the best price, please complete the  price beater form and we will try to search you out a better deal.

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Dubai Aeroplane Spotting    
 Above : View from roof of hotel with a 400 lens (double click photo to expand)    


 Above: Video shot from the pool area of the Sheraton Deira illustrates the views available. For more great aviation videos check out the channel of Lippstadtfan

Premier Inn Dubai Airport
Is located across the road from terminal 3
Location: ** Just over the road from the airport, unfortunately the road is a 4 lane highway therefore you would need to take the hotel shuttle bus to the terminal. A close inspection of google maps may give you a route to walk from here to the Emirates HQ Metro Station which is one stop from the airport.
Spotting: **

 If you do get a good airport facing room you will get the majority of traffic which moves, although Flight radar 24 is needed for anything not taxing around the back of terminal 3 (around 2/3 of the traffic). The hotel is only a short free shuttle bus ride away from the terminal, where if brave you can discretely view from the cafe in the terminal, or the Emirates headquarters Costa Coffee balcony (strictly no cameras and binoculars at the Emirates HQ).


The ground floor level of the hotel has a Costa Coffee with an associated outdoor patio area where similar views as to those described above can be had in an outdoor setting when the weather is cooler. Note the bizz jet aprons can not be seen from this hotel.

Report Credit from Paul Moiser Below:

On arrival at the Premier Inn I was allocated as per my request for an airport view and I was given room 412. The room is a decent size with one large bed and a small sofa in the corner next to the window. There’s everything you need in the room from a mini-bar to to a kettle and work desk etc as well as free wifi.
The views from this room are excellent! you can see the approach to runway 30L and departures can easily be seen as they roll-out in between a large gap between the terminals. With my scope I’ve been able to read off those taxiing-out as well as the movements taxiing in to the gates facing the hotel. Also directly outside this room there’s a large window which offers views looking further down the terminal. Again those parked on these gates can easily be read off. From this window you can also see climb-outs, so if you miss anything rolling in between the large gap between the terminals all you have to do is leave your room and you will see what you’ve missed climbing out. 

The hotel has a large rooftop pool area and from the pool you can see a few gates on T3. Arrivals can also be seen. Departures can be seen once airborne. For the best views base yourself at the furthest end of the pool where you can monitor all movements. SBS/FR24 is required for arrivals, some departures are readable on climb-out with a good scope-bins. Those parked on the gates directly facing the hotel can easily be read off. The free wifi works fine on the roof also. I’ve spent most of today on the roof at the Premier Inn chillin in the hot sun. The staff here have been very pleasant, the lads that I’ve seen working today have seen me using my scope and camera and they’ve said nothing apart from wishing me a good afternoon.

There’s a decent size pub which serves food. I ate here this afternoon and then this evening I went back down and enjoyed a couple of cold beers. There’s also a 24hr Starbucks adjacent to the pub which has an outdoor seating area. From here you can see departures, and you can also see the large gap between the terminals

Here’s a bit more info on the Premier Inn. This evening on the way back from the pub downstairs I noticed a couple of rooms which were open so I went in and had a look and both had views of the gates on T1 and T3 as well as a view of the active runways and taxiways in between the large gap between the terminals. Rooms on this row with confirmed views are 402/4/6/8/410/ (412 which I’m in) and 414. 491 also has views offering a similar view. The same applies to rooms on the 3rd floor, so 302/4/6 etc etc… Obviously the 4th floor being the highest will be slightly better than the 3rd floor views.
For the photographer the window in the room opens out enough to put your lens through. In last nights report I gave info on the views from the pool etc. This evening I ate again downstairs in the English pub which is called Mr Toad. Again as mentioned in last nights report you can monitor the movements from the pubs outdoor smoking area with the use of FR24. 
Photos: * Only distant photos could be had from here. Traffic of the taxiway in front of the airport can be seen, however numerous fences and obstacles can get in the way.
Value: *** Good value at around £50-60 a night.
Book:   The hotel can be booked on the website of  AGODA
Comment!   If you want to add or update anything, please use the comment form at the bottom of the page!

 Don’t forget to visit our online plane spotting shop prior to your trip for great prices on all spotting gear.

Spotting Guide Dubai Airport Image 3 (300px)
Above: View from one of the few airport facing rooms at the Premier Inn (double click on picture to expand)

Another view of the Bravo gates seen from the hotel. Credit  Tripadvisor 




Holiday Inn Downtown Dubai
Is not reported as frequently as the Sheraton above but offers similar facilities and at times can be a more economical hotel. The hotel has a rooftop pool which allows for great shots although you require a longer zoom than what you would use at the Deira.   
Location: ** In the vicinity of the Deira but located further away from the airport at about 1.5 miles from the runways
Spotting: ** No reports of actual airport views however depending on the runway in use you would see all of the inbounds, or outbound’s as they pass by the hotel. Ask for a high level room overlooking the car parks and you will be able to view the approach or climb out depending on the runway in use.
Photos: *** Good photos can be taken from the rooftop pool although a 400 lens is required. The hotel rooms are tinted but moderate shots are possible as shown below
Value: ** Moderately priced, should be a little less than the Deira above, although you do not get the views of the actual airport from this hotel
Book:   The hotel can be booked on the website of  AGODA or
Comment!   If you want to add or update anything, please use the comment form at the bottom of the page!



Location: * Located on the other side of Dubai Creek approximately 1.5 miles south west of the airport this hotel would probably cater better for families and couples who prefer to be a little closer to the centre of Dubai with spotting time secondary to sightseeing. The hotel has a very large pool and gardens complex making it an ideal family complex
Spotting: ** Ask for a high level room overlooking Dubai creek. This view is parallel to the runways which are about 1.5 miles away. Flight tracking software is required but all movements can be seen and the colours identified. If departing of the Runway 30R all departures will also be seen in the distance from the pool area. A high level room should also give isolated views of certain stands, as well as a gap between terminals where the majority of landing traffic can be seen rolling out for around a 10 second period.
Photos: * Too distant 
Value: * From around £170 per night for this top class hotel in a great location.
Book:   The best prices can be found on AGODA
Comment!   If you want to add or update anything, please use the comment form at the bottom of the page!

Hotel Report and photo credit :Andrew Whitmore

DXB_HYAT2 Plane spotting DXB  
 Double click to expand view  View from room 1011  

 For the ultimate guide to spotting points around Dubai airport please visit




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Posted in Middle East, UAE, World
  • Andy Smith

    Further information added for the Nojoum and Premier Inn. An additional photo from The Premier Inn added.

  • PSHcom

    New video showing view from The Nojoum Apartments

  • PSHcom

    Grand Hyatt Hotel added with 2 photos from the room

  • Fred Glassey

    Have been in contact with the Grand Excelsior and have been informed that the use of binoculars or cameras on the roof terrace is forbidden by the police. 15th October 2016

  • andy kelly

    just recently returned from Dubai and stayed at the grand excelsior ( formly Sheraton diera) stayed here many times now and still love this hotel, please be aware now that there are signs up around the roof top pool area saying NO PHOTOGRAPHY, BINOCULARS TELESCOPES ETC. although there were 2-3 groups of spotters there who took no notice of the signs , on the plus side there are more power points now to plug in your laptops tablets etc and they have built a BBQ area at the back where in the evening you can get kebabs, burgers etc. also EMIRATES are moving to DWC AIRPORT but not till 2025,

  • Kevin Hendry

    Just returned from a stay at the Excelsior (previously Sheraton Diera)
    Regrettable not good news for the future . Firstly they are on occasions enforcing the telescopes and binoculars ban but this depends who is on pool duty
    The main issues for the future are the building of a large apartment block on the waste ground in front of the airport facing rooms. the pictures on the hoardings show a 5 storey building and looking at the footings that were being installed last week it will be very close to the existing hotel
    Secondly they were measuring the pool area with contractors and the manager was present so I asked what was going on. The manager stated they were putting a roof over the area facing the airport but there would be windows. Hopefully not as dirty as the bedroom ones which are filthy. The whole pool area has been done out for evenings and entertainment there with music until about 3 am

  • David Collins

    Recently stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, spoke to reception before arrival and was upgraded free of charge to a room on top floor (7th) this had a great view of the ramp and runways. Basically this is roughly 100yds from the nojourm so has similar views. Roof pool is fine, no restrictions at all, the pool boy even took my camera and was shooting the departing planes. Food prices are reasonable, beer a trifle expensive, 10 quid for a Heinekin does hurt a bit but thats Dubai. Would stay there again.

  • andy kelly

    staying at the grand excelsior at the moment, nothing really changed since the last time I was here back in jan 2017. the new building which is being constructed next door isn’t even up 2 levels yet, so for me the views are the same as they have always been. didn’t have have any problems with security but keep my binoculars in my bag, had my SBS on and phone on and no problems with them, not sure how high the building next door is going but if higher that 5 floors then it might be a problem in the future, all in all its still the best hotel to spot from at the moment but that’s just my opinion, others will disagree.

  • John Millar

    Grand Excelsior have just told me that you now need to apply for a permit from Dubai Airport Police and the hotel do not allow taking pics there.l

  • Geoffrey Lee

    Just got back from the Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Al Muraqabat , this must be now one of the best Hotel,s to spot from . Rooms that over look the airport are 401 to 403 , 501 to 503 , 601 to 603 and 701 to 703 , the pool area looks right down both runways and also you can see both of terminal , the pool staff are great . I think this will be a great if not better place then the Grand Excelsior Hotel Deira as long as we plane spotters do not take over the pool area as it small .one of the boys read off the aircraft for me ??

  • andy kelly

    always stayed at the grand excelsior ( Sheraton diera) when I visit dubai but with reading so many negative reports over the last year I decided to give the Hilton garden inn a try and im NOT disappointed, pre booked room 405 24 hours before. on arrival at check in I was greeted by a lovely guy who told me room 702 was a great room for spotting from and so here I am in room 702, fantastic views of the airport, all arrivals and departures can be seen but you will need sbs or FR24 to tie everything up. rooms are typical Hilton, nice and spacious, clean and with all the mod cons, coffee, tea, kettle etc. buffet breakfast is available and is very good with a wide selection of hot and cold foods, its on offer at the moment at 30 dirhams ( around £6), evening meals I ordered room service, a nice salad and a big burger for around £25. roof top pool has even better views but it does get hot up there and theres not a lot of shade, there is a massive supermarket right opposite the hotel where you can get all your drinks and snacks, it looks like this is going to be my number 1 choice now everytime I visit dubai. they really welcome spotters here and go out there way to accommodate you. my only concern is I hope it doesn’t go the same way as the grand excelsior, lets look after this hotel.

    • John Millar

      Great news, I am staying 2 nights later this month.