The XVA occupies a majilis-style traditional building in ‘Historic Bastakiya’ area by the creek in the Bur Dubai district. The name may do slight injustice to the word ‘historic’, but it’s still the oldest part of Dubai and offers a real slice of Arabian heritage, with maze-like alleyways and wind towers leading out towards the creek, where rickety wooden abras take passengers across to the Deira district on the other side. It’s some distance from the beach or many of Dubai’s more modern attractions, but is just metres from the fascinating textile souk and Dubai Museum.
Each of the six bright and breezy (and, perhaps, a little cosy) rooms is different and has been put together by designers and artists from across the region. Colour and Arabian chic are the uniting factors in each, with grand four-poster beds (in some), intricately designed furniture and cool bathrooms combining dark wood with white ceramic.
The hotel features three charming open courtyards that give off an excellently designed feeling of Arabian chill, with wooden furnishings, artworks and wall plants. On the rooftop there are rocking chairs so guests can view the neighbourhood. There’s also the XVA Gallery that has regular exhibitions from regional artists.
Eating and drinking
The XVA Café, located in one of the hotel’s courtyards, serves an excellent array of fresh vegetarian dishes that can be washed down with a glass of mint lemonade. Just around the corner, the charming Basta Art Café has a great selection of healthy and generous salads, although the service can sometimes be a little lacklustre.
Courteous and extremely helpful, although with no actual reception area, they do have a habit of wandering off after 7pm, leaving guests to themselves.
Who stays there
The XVA is popular with European travellers looking to avoid enormous glass towers or the glitz and glamour usually associated with Dubai.
The price of a standard double doesn't include the 10 per cent municipality fees or 10 per cent service charge but does include breakfast for two. With only six rooms, the hotel is often fully booked so it's important to reserve your room well ahead.
- Culture vultures
Pros & Cons
- Beautifully designed
- Authentic charm
- Few amenities