What Dubai Hotels Allow Unmarried Couples?


What Dubai Hotels Allow Unmarried Couples?


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While it may be known as one of the most extravagant destinations in the world, Dubai has a very conservative culture. Governed by Sharia Law, the country has certain guidelines for social behavior.

Many of the laws and guidelines the UAE sets concern couples, with different expectations held for married couples and unmarried couples. These laws are usually on the minds of unmarried couples traveling to Dubai, as it is illegal for a couple to share a hotel room unless they are married.

So, what Dubai Hotels allow unmarried couples? Despite it being illegal for unmarried couples to sleep in the same room, most hotels won’t even question it. In general, high-end hotels that cater to tourists will accept unmarried couples. 

If you want specifics, the following list of hotels should be fine for unmarried couples:

  • Al Maha 
  • Atlantis, The Palm
  • Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
  • Grosvenor House 
  • Hilton Dubai Jumeirah
  • Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
  • London Suites Hotel
  • Shangri-La Hotel

This article will take a look at several questions concerning travel in Dubai for unmarried couples and what hotels allow them to share a room:

  • Why aren’t unmarried couples allowed to share a hotel room in Dubai?
  • What Dubai hotels allow unmarried couples?
  • What happens if someone finds out we have been sharing a hotel room in Dubai without being married?
  • What can we do to avoid getting caught as an unmarried couple sharing a hotel room in Dubai?
  • What else do we need to be aware of being an unmarried couple visiting Dubai?

Why aren’t unmarried couples allowed to share a hotel room in Dubai?

Dubai has quite a conservative culture, and this means that some behavioral expectations differ from western cultures. 

The city is governed by Sharia Law, which dictates acceptable behaviors for couples. For instance, it is not acceptable for couples to hug or kiss in public. It is also not acceptable for unmarried couples to hold hands in public; however, hand holding by married couples is tolerated.

Sharia Law states that it is illegal for unmarried couples to live together or share a room. People of the opposite sex can only live together if they are related or have already been married. This rule means that it is technically illegal for a couple to share a hotel room if they are not married.

In reality, it is unlikely that a hotel will deny an unmarried couple or even ask to check the status of a relationship. Tourism is a massive industry in the city, and hotels want to do everything they can to accommodate guests.

What Dubai hotels allow unmarried couples?

If you are an unmarried couple staying in Dubai, you will likely be safe in any of the hotels that cater to tourists. High-end or luxury hotels do not tend to check marriage certificates or even question your relationship status. However, they do have the right to check.

As mentioned above, if you are an unmarried couple traveling to Dubai, you should consider staying in one of the following hotels:

  • Al Maha 
  • Atlantis, The Palm
  • Burj Al Arab Jumeirah
  • Grosvenor House 
  • Hilton Dubai Jumeirah
  • Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
  • London Suites Hotel
  • Shangri-La Hotel

What happens if someone finds out we have been sharing a hotel room in Dubai without being married?

It is highly unlikely that anyone will find out you are an unmarried couple sharing a room. 

Unlike other countries governed by Sharia Law, the UAE does not have processes where police check individual residences to confirm relationship status. Hotels do not typically check for a marriage certificate or even ask couples whether they are married, so there should be no issue checking-in.

Unmarried couples only tend to get caught if there is some other type of trouble. If you are making too much noise or are misbehaving, the hotel might report you to the police. And when the police get involved, the risk significantly increases. 

A certain level of etiquette is expected at all times in Dubai. If somebody is too disruptive or inappropriate in public, the police will likely be called. If the police get involved, they will probably be obligated to conduct an investigation. This investigation usually includes verifying your relationship status. If you get caught out, there are likely to be legal consequences.

Most tourists will never have an issue, though. Therefore, unmarried couples will be allowed to stay in a private hotel room.

What can we do to avoid getting caught as an unmarried couple sharing a room in Dubai?

The best way to avoid getting caught as an unmarried couple staying together in a hotel room is to stay under the radar. You can do this by ensuring your behaviors blend in with the locals so that you don’t stand out. If you don’t cause any trouble or attract unwanted attention to yourselves, there is unlikely to be a problem.

Make sure you do not engage in obvious public displays of affection. It is illegal for couples (married or unmarried) to kiss and hug in public and locals will not take kindly to this. 

In luxury hotels, you will probably get away with it, but it is nice to show respect to the local custom.

Hand holding is acceptable for married couples, but not unmarried couples. Chances are people will assume you are married if you are holding hands, and you won’t encounter any issues. Still, it’s best not to make your unmarried status known if you do decide to hold hands in public. 

It is also a good idea to refer to each other as ‘husband’ and ‘wife, rather than ‘boyfriend’ or ‘partner’ to avoid any unnecessary suspicion.

What else do we need to be aware of being an unmarried couple visiting Dubai?

Unmarried couples regularly visit Dubai with no problem. 

While it is technically illegal to share a hotel room as an unmarried couple, hotels turn a blind eye most of the time. As long as unmarried tourists remember to behave appropriately and not draw unwanted attention to themselves, they will be able to share a hotel room in Dubai.

Unmarried couples are often concerned about checking-in to a hotel, but it is best to act normal. 

You shouldn’t bring up the proof of marriage issue, as it is unlikely the hotel will ask for a marriage certificate, and this would cause unnecessary trouble. 

Hotels do require passports from every individual, but there is no need to worry that surnames are different. As most UAE brides do not take their partner’s surname, it won’t be out of the ordinary in Dubai.

Summary

Here are the main points you should take away from this article:

  • Most high-end and luxury hotels in Dubai allow unmarried couples to share a room. Tourism provides a lot of income for the UAE, and hotels will do their best to accommodate travelers in Dubai. Despite it being illegal for unmarried couples to share a room, hotels turn a blind eye for travelers most of the time.
  • Unmarried couples are rarely asked to confirm their relationship status. Hotels do not ask for marriage certificates or other proof of marriage when couples check in to Dubai hotels. All travelers do, however, need to present a passport upon check-in.
  • Unmarried couples should be aware of behavioral expectations so that they do not get unwanted attention. Hugging and kissing are not permitted in public between any couples, married or unmarried. If you’re acting inappropriately, you will attract negative attention and may even attract police involvement. Police attention is definitely something you want to avoid if you are an unmarried couple sharing a room in Dubai.

References

  • TripAdvisor: Unmarried couples in Dubai hotels
  • USA Today: Rules for Unmarried Couples Staying in Dubai Hotels

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