Just over the road from the Dubai Museum (set in an old fort, with cannons and everything), the Arabian Courtyard is just a stone’s throw from the Bastakiya district, Dubai’s genuine old part of town. It’s a somewhat bustling area, with bizarre tat and fake clothing shops lining the roads, but once you’ve crossed over and headed to the textile souk and the creek (about two minutes away), it’s incredibly charming, with winding alleyways and wind towers giving a distinctly traditional feel not found in the ‘Arabian-themed’ souks or malls. While the hotel is at least a 20-minute taxi ride from the Burj Khalifa area or the nearest beach, its proximity to the creek and the fantastic ‘abra’ water taxis, along with the relaxing dining options that line the side, give it an appeal all of its own.
The rooms offer excellent value and go beyond usual four-star furnishings. As the name suggests, there’s an Arabian theme throughout, with dark wooden floorboards, plus ornate wooden bed, table, chairs and desk giving a distinct local charm. Unlike many five-stars, there’s free wired internet access in the room. Executive Rooms, while being marginally more spacious, give guests access to the Club Lounge, serving free breakfast, plus drinks throughout the day and free WiFi.
After the lobby, which is a merry mix of marble and ornate dark wood, the various lounge areas are comfortable, with plush sofas and chairs, if a little chintzy, not helped by excessively-floral carpets. Thankfully, these haven't ventured into the guest rooms.
Eating and drinking
Mumtaz Mahal, laid out in extremely ornate wooden furnishings, serves a decent selection of Mughlai and North West Indian dishes. The Silk Route, offering a slightly more modern design, focuses on Thai and Chinese. Sadly, both restaurants suffer from a distinct lack of natural light. There’s also the ever-so-slightly depressing Sherlock Holmes ‘English’ pub.
Alongside a pleasant outdoor pool, there’s a gym, sauna, Jacuzzi, steam room and the Zaitoon Wellness Spa, perfect for a good jet-lag rub down.
Very helpful and attentive to guests.
Who stays there
Its excellent room rates mean the Arabian Courtyard is very popular with European tourists who might not be prepared to splash out on the usual glittering five-star Dubai affair. It’s also sometimes popular with tour groups.
When not included in the room rate, breakfast costs 120 dirhams extra. A room with a view of the Fort will cost extra too.
- Backpackers / Students
- Culture vultures
- People watching
Pros & Cons
- Excellent value
- Close to creek
- Far from malls
- Unattractive restaurants
- Far from beach