TOP 7 BOUTIQUE HOTELS
It was the opulent Burj Al Arab that first coined the term “seven-star” hotel. While that designation doesn’t actually exist, it certainly set the tone for what was to come in Dubai: pure luxury. And while that’s still the case, there are plenty of budget and boutique properties too, the latter offering travellers a comfortable, affordable stay in a unique setting. Here are a few of the most interesting options to explore:
1. Zabeel House By Jumeirah, The Greens
This is one of the latest boutique hotels to open up in Dubai’s ‘greener’ part of town – fittingly called the Greens. The residential development is situated in an area often overlooked by tourists. It’s an urban social hub, featuring custom-produced design elements and locally sourced artworks. Designed by LW Design Group, the hotel takes urban New York-inspired loft living and combines it with Arabic influences. The 210-room hotel has Insta-worthy interiors, laid-back vibes and an eccentric arty design concept. The furniture is made by design-forward local brand Tashkeel. There’s also a vast outdoor terrace that features a giant screen for movie nights, a large swimming pool for soaking up the Dubai rays, and running tracks offering the perfect al fresco workout. It’s also well known for its restaurants, which include busy and buzzing pan-Asian hot spot Lah Lah.
2. Xva Gallery Art Hotel & Café
Smack bang in the heart of old Dubai is this art-inspired property. It’s nestled in the alleyways of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, known for its merchants’ houses that have been revamped into heritage spots and museums. The hotel features a central courtyard and predominantly vegetarian café, as well as a gallery that showcases work by international and regional artists, plus 15 gorgeous rooms, each with their own theme based on Emirati culture, including the Henna Room and the Gutra Suite.
3. Vida Downtown
The towering glass buildings of Downtown Dubai surround this chic four-star property on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Boulevard. The rooms and suites are beautifully designed, with minimalist aesthetics throughout, and the stunning outdoor pool is a real selling point, not to mention the restaurant, well known for its popular picnic brunch. The hotel is not far from the Dubai Mall, the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Opera, so the location is perfect for curious tourists. There are also VIDA hotels at Emirates Hills and by the Dubai Creek.
4. Melia Desert Palm
Along Al Awir Road sits this elegant property on a 160-acre polo estate. It’s as different as you can get from expectations of Dubai’s deserts or cosmopolitan city vibes, even though it’s only 20 kilometres from the centre. Surrounded by palm trees and stunning vistas, the hotel offers guests a range of accommodation, from a standard deluxe room to the three-bedroom presidential villa, all of which can be booked with activities, including horse-riding or polo. There is a bevy of on-site facilities, including a spa, a fitness club, even a polo and riding school. Hot air balloon rides and desert safaris can also be booked from here.
5. Rove Dubai Marina
There are lovely Rove properties all over, from Downtown Dubai to Healthcare City and Dubai Parks and Resort, but the three-star Dubai Marina hotel offers guests direct access to one of the most popular areas in the emirate. It’s within walking distance of the city’s best beaches, Dubai Marina promenade and The Walk JBR. It’s also close to Palm Jumeirah. On-site amenities include a 24-hour gym, a pool and a sun deck, not to mention the spacious and well-appointed rooms.
6. La Ville Hotel & Suites City Walk
Set in the heart of City Walk, this boutique hotel is part of the Marriott’s Autograph Collection and distinctively stylish in its architecture and interior design. It’s home to four restaurants and bars, popular among Dubai’s residents and tourists alike, and the rooms are minimalist and spacious, offering fabulous views of the city. All of this is within walking distance of some of the emirate’s top attractions, too, including the Coca-Cola Arena – Dubai’s biggest indoor concert venue – and the Green Planet, an indoor tropical rainforest with more than 3,000 plant and animal species.
7. Canopy By Hilton Dubai Al Seef
Perfect for those looking to explore the heart of old Dubai surrounded by eclectic-contemporary style. The destination’s spacious rooms and suites are home to funky furniture, stand-alone bathtubs in bathrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, SMEG fridges, Nespresso coffee makers, and modern art. The contemporary, stylish rooms feature elegant designer furniture and every room is designed to represent a mix of hip design and functionality, with contemporary art on the walls inspired by Dubai. Suites are spacious, featuring a separate sitting area with a 49-inch TV and sofa bed. Some suites offer stunning views over the serene sights of Dubai Creek. The area, Al Seef, also offers a two-kilometre promenade of shops, cafes and pop-ups. You’ll see a blend of ‘old meets new’ with old-style buildings merged with modern concepts.