Emirates has developed a hub-and-spoke system that effectively connects the entire world through Dubai. Sometimes those connections require spending up to a full day in the city, and if your itinerary has a layover of over eight hours (six hours if you fly first or business class) and fewer than 24, Emirates will put you up in a hotel for the night.
But wait! That's not all! The airline also covers ground transportation to said hotel and provides a meal there too, so your night in Dubai just got even cheaper.
How it works
When you book online through the airline, the Emirates site will notify you if you qualify for "Dubai Connect." After your reservation is confirmed, go back into "Manage a Booking" and book the Dubai Connect service. The site might prompt you and offer a shorter connection -- if one's available, you won't qualify. But assuming your only available option is a flight that's a day after you land in Dubai, you're golden.
When you hit the check-in counter at your airport of departure, make sure you ask for your voucher for Dubai Connect. Then, upon arrival in Dubai, Emirates airline personnel will guide you to your ground transfers, and away you go. Once at the hotel, present your voucher for your free night. When booking your stay, double-check that a meal at the hotel is also included.
You can book the Dubai Connect option up to 24 hours in advance of your trip. But it is, of course, subject to availability.