Pushing the AirBnB Sharing Economy Limits in Dubai

With a conference in Dubai this week I spent a lot of time looking at hotel options. The event hotel is great, but at near $250/night a bit out of my budget range. There’s another chain property just across the highway for $100/night and that’s probably where I figured I’d end up, even if it means a 15 minute commute each day to get to the show. But I was also considering AirBnB options since a nearby apartment can often be nicer than a hotel room. Searching for options theoretically walkable to the hotel I came across one priced well below average. But there was something other than the price that seemed a bit off with the listing.

The image looked familiar and a little too professional. Because it was. It was pulled straight from the hotel’s website.

Someone has a two week long reservation at the conference hotel and is looking to subsidize his stay by renting out the spare bed in his room on AirBnB. Even more incredible is that it looks like it worked. Checking the listing again while in Dubai it appears that it is no longer available for tonight.

The guy even has status with Marriott, it would seem. Or at least lounge access based on the description provided. Or he’s jut making stuff up (I’m pretty sure no rooms include dinner, though the Thai restaurant in the hotel was pretty good).

You’ll love my place because of I want to share my executive luxury hotel room with one more person , this is high end luxury Marriott hotel room and includes breakfast , dinner , cocktails , gym , steam bath , day snacks etc..

Clearly this is not what Marriott wants nor is it really what AirBnB is about. But I’m also not entirely sure it is against the law. Either way, I do think it is an interesting peek into the way the travel industry is changing.

As for me, I booked a different AirBnB option. Yes, it is a 15 minute walk (or 17 AED – just under $5 taxi) away, but I have a full 1BR apartment for under $100/night. Even the Holiday Inn Express I was considering nearby couldn’t match that price/location/value play.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. What happens when your hotel has to change you to a single bed though your reservation is for a double? You just cancel the person who reserved the other bed in AirBNB?

  2. Hey Seth

    First of all great blog – love reading your content.

    Now onto this Dubai Airbnb issue – firstly, it is illegal actually in Dubai. Dubai’s had a massive crackdown on Airbnb (probably because of the amount of bedspaces, apartments, etc. available) and anyone on Airbnb needs to be registered with the authorities, or face fines.

    Secondly, I think that pic is NOT from the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai (which is in Business Bay) but actually the JW Marriott in Al Rigga/Deira. I’ve stayed in the JWMMD and it’s far plusher, more modern and resplendent than that red room.

    Looks like you did okay with the Airbnb you chose though, nice location at least. Actually, Dubai hotels are proving to be very competitive of late, as they’re struggling with occupancy, competition, declining visitor numbers, profitablity and many other issues.

    Just for future note – have you tried the Entertainer App/books? They offer Free nights for paid nights in some of the best hotels in Dubai – not just 5 star but 4 and hotel apartments – as well as bars, restaurants, spa, tours, golf, services etc. Well worth looking into especially if there’s two guests/visitors to benefit.

    I’m just writing up some hotel reviews in Dubai for a series called Brunch Budget Beds, where the challenge was to get business class hotels for less than the cost of a brunch, and I found some right beauties – such as Steigenberger, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Pullman JLT and many for around the 350 AED bracket.

    keep up the great work blogging dude!

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