Last Updated on 10/18/20 by Rose Palmer
Wondering where to stay in Dubai? With so many luxurious accommodations to choose from, the many options can be daunting. In a city filled with extravagant 5+ star hotels, the small, boutique XVA Art hotel in the historic Al Fahidi district of Dubai stands out for its elegant simplicity and unique art decor. The facility hosts a hotel, an art gallery and also a gourmet vegetarian cafe. But most importantly, it’s a serene refuge in a city that can feel a little too busy at times. A stay at this unique property provides a quiet retreat in an environment that feels both creative and authentic.
There is no question that Dubai is an exciting city. It’s growing and developing and reinventing itself at light speed as a premier destination in the Gulf region. There is so much to see and do – from taking an elevator to the top of the world’s tallest building to shopping till you drop at the world’s largest mall, to riding the world’s fastest roller coaster. But it’s not only about tallest, biggest and fastest or even the most luxurious. Dubai is also about quality and creativity, and it is in these attributes that the XVA Art hotel excels.
Where to Stay in Dubai
As I was doing my research into accommodations for my trip to Dubai, I became intrigued by the description of the XVA Art hotel. It is a hotel with an on site gallery that displays art pieces in each of the rooms. And it is also a hotel located in a restored historic building in the most important heritage district in the city. It sounded exactly like the type of experience that I choose to search out.
The heritage Al Fahidi district is a maze of pedestrian only walkways, so my taxi could not drop me off right at the hotel’s front door. This was actually a problem for the taxi driver because his GPS was directing him to the hotel, but he couldn’t get there from here. We drove around the blocks about three times before he pulled into the parking area and the security guard showed me where to walk the one block to the hotel.
Since I was traveling alone, I booked a single room. Though small, the space was more than adequate for one person and was quite comfortable. And despite not being one of the premier rooms in the hotel, it was still decorated with colorful art pieces and thoughtful little touches, such as the fresh fruit and personal welcome note. Each of the thirteen rooms is uniquely designed with locally inspired details along with the unique art. There is free Wi-Fi, a minibar (no alcohol), a safe, air conditioning, and robes and slippers in the en suite bathroom. What you won’t find is a TV – which makes it a true escape from the outside world.
My room (as well as some of the other rooms) opened on to one of the three courtyards – a wonderful, colorful retreat with lots of seating areas that were perfect for relaxing with one of their signature mint lemonade’s. The walls of the hotel, both inside and out, are a canvas for exhibiting modern art by middle eastern artists, and this courtyard was no exception.
The second courtyard was the setting for the cafe, which is where the included breakfast was served. There is plenty of outdoor seating under a shaded canopy along with cozy covered “indoor” spaces and seating areas.
I was surprised at the broad range of options on the breakfast menu. I chose the crepe which was thick and sweetened with date syrup and was quite delicious.
The second level rooms also open onto an outdoor space that is particularly conducive to relaxation and night time star gazing.
I chose to stay at the XVA Art hotel because it looked unique and interesting, and it didn’t disappoint. I also found that this was the best place to stay in Dubai from which to explore old Dubai sights such as the Dubai Museum, and the Gold and Spice Souqs (read my post about visiting old Dubai here ). Staying at the XVA Art hotel also allowed me to easily explore the Al Fahidi heritage district early in the morning before the area got very busy with tourists.
I only stayed one night at the XVA, but wished I was there longer to take advantage of the relaxing common spaces and also to try more items from their menu at the café. I will definitely plan on staying here again the next time I visit Dubai.
Dubai is quite spread out and it can take a while to get from one side of the city to another regardless of whether you are using taxis or public transportation. I chose to stay in a number of hotels throughout the city to make it easy to explore each area.
Another unique hotel experience that I had in Dubai was a stay at the Atlantis on the man made palm shaped island. Though bigger and busier than the XVA Art hotel, the Atlantis was no less creative and was also designed with numerous artistic elements. You can read my post about that stay here.
The most luxurious hotel in Dubai which is also billed as the only seven star hotel in the world is the Burj Al Arab. A stay here was most definitely out of my price range, but afternoon tea in this distinctive space was not. You can read about my afternoon tea experience at the Burj Al Arab here.
Dubai has a huge variety of activities for all tastes. You can read my stories about visiting the Miracle Garden, seeing street art, taking an art tour in the Alserkal Arts district and taking a walk in Old Dubai.
Thanks for visiting.