Often described as Dubai’s own bit of bohemia, this tiny boutique hotel is tucked away above locals' favourite XVA Gallery & Cafe in the cultural Bastakiya area of town. Each room has been designed by a different local artist and you’ll find the hotel follows the Arabic ‘majlis’ idea of plenty of open-air living spaces. However, what you’re gaining in culture some visitors might feel short-changed by the fairly expensive price for a small-ish (for Dubai) room with no mod cons. There’s no TV here and facilities are rather basic. However, waking up and being able to wander straight into a courtyard filled with art and arty types might appeal to those that want to unwind. Need to take in more? Close by the hotel you’ll find a maze of galleries, Dubai’s (only) museum and small, independent stores and cafes to amble in and out of.
The essentials • XVA is located in one of the oldest parts of town. The whole area offers a rare glimpse of ‘old’ Dubai, before the skyscrapers and bling took hold.
• There’s no spa here, but you are sleeping on top of a pioneering art gallery. Relax in a more cultural way.
• Unusually, there’s an in-house tailor to knock you up some new threads.
• Your nearest bar is going to be a 10-minute cab ride to Bur Dubai, which isn’t the easiest place to navigate if you’re new to the city.
• In the downstairs courtyard there’s an award-winning vegetarian restaurant. Their smoothies are simply to die for.
XVA Art Hotel