Although attached to a shopping mall with an ancient Egyptian theme, the pyramidal Raffles is a lesson in not judging a hotel by its exterior. The external kitsch conceals some of Dubai’s largest, most stylish hotel rooms, all 248 loftlike in feel with oversized terrace balconies. The friendly and efficient staff beat the liveried pants off their counterparts at other Dubai luxury hotels; unlike many arrivals from far-flung worlds, Raffles employees actually take messages, summon taxis, and can expertly direct guests around the city. Thoughtfully conceived facilities include two artificial-current lap pools in addition to the main pool, a large gym, and a spa whose sex-segregated Jacuzzis and saunas are open to hotel guests regardless of whether they book massage treatments. Botanical gardens occupy the pyramid’s center, and the glassed-in tri-level top contains two Asian restaurants, a nightclub with no minimum drink requirement, and a champagne bar.