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“A gem in the heart of old Dubai”
Review of XVA Art Hotel

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XVA Art Hotel
Ranked #62 of 545 Hotels in Dubai
Certificate of Excellence
london
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“A gem in the heart of old Dubai”
Reviewed May 12, 2013

From the moment you leave the bustling streets of old Dubai and enter into the courtyard of this beautiful little hotel you are in an oasis of calm. There's birdsong, a warm welcome, tasteful understated Arabic decor and the best fresh mint lemonade you will ever taste.

The hotel is built along the lines of traditional Arabic houses, with a central courtyard and thick walls to keep the heat out. The rooms are located on two levels. We stayed in a standard room on the first floor, which though on the small side, was compensated for by the table and chairs on the covered verandah outside the door where you can sit and chat or read while sipping your Turkish coffee.
We were there in May, so the heat wasn't yet unbearable, which meant we only had to switch the (blissfully quiet) air con on for an hour before we went to bed for a comfortable nights sleep. Nice little touches everywhere, from handmade soap and toiletries to the artwork on the walls. You even get used to the calls to prayer hailing (rather loud) from the 3 mosques in the vicinity.

The vegetarian menu is simple and delicious (try the eggplant burger...sounds yuk, tastes great), with superb coffee and fresh juices on offer. For me, breakfast was just right- fresh seasonal fruit, fresh orange juice, an omelette or pancakes, yoghurt and arabic bread along with your coffee/tea. The staff were just the right combination of warmth and efficiency.

The whole place is kept spotless at all times.

Other plus points:
Close to the underground (Al Farhidi) but also easy to hail taxis.
5 minutes walk from Dubai Museum and the Creek and water taxi
Good reasonably priced restaurants nearby.

To sum up...this gem of a hotel is a welcome antidote to the glass and concrete and bustle of modern Dubai....a restful place we were happy to come home to every night..

Lovely to meet you Saleem and Iwan and please pass our thanks onto your superb staff.

Cath and Nick

Room Tip: All the rooms are different and pleasant. Stay on the first floor if you would like to sit outside o...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank coffeycat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IwanYamin, General Manager at XVA Art Hotel, responded to this review, May 28, 2013
Dear Cath and Nick,

I have read your review several times and I do recall how amicable you both are and those conversations during breakfast in the courtyard. These words that are usually said and now nicely written in a review. Thank you for sharing your experience with others. We really appreciated it.

Looking forward to seeing you again in our hotel and contact me for your special room.

Enjoy life!

Iwan Yamin
Hotel Manager
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (125)
Date | Rating
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Bowral, Australia
Level Contributor
41 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2013

WARNING - If what you want from Dubai is 5 star hotels and mall 'experiences' then read no further ! I was introduced to the term 'flashpacking' when I stayed at Muntri Mews in Penang (a hotel which has many parallels to XVA) - it describes someone who many years ago travelled on the cheap with a backpack but who these days being a little wealthier still wants that simpler Balinese losmen type accommodation but with a bit more comfort. XVA was for me perfect. I don't know how many times I have transited through Dubai from Oz to Europe and thought it about time I had a look. Unfortunately I had left Australia with some very sad news and the peace and tranquility of XVA was the perfect place to slow down and reflect. Bastikaya is a pedestrian only precinct and therefore the quiet is almost deafening ! The only noise that you are likely to hear is the 'azan' (call to prayer) which for me is an almost intoxicating sound. The food is simple but good and I am suffering withdrawals from the mint lemonade. The room was perfect, I could not have wished for better. The staff were always friendly with a smile and Iwan the manager was always ready for a chat and to give any help needed - terima kasih Iwan. I only left the area once for the almost mandatory open bus tour and could not wait to get back to the XVA oasis - when I did venture out I was more than happy to explore the local area and scoot back and forth across the creek on the abras. Just like Macarthur "I shall return". Iwan, Istanbul awaits you

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank Roger T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IwanYamin, General Manager at XVA Art Hotel, responded to this review, May 11, 2013
Dear Roger T.,

It is great to hear from one of our guests through this medium.

We are happy that our offering meets your expectations and in the time of grieve, we facilitated you with some sort of sanctuary.

Dubai has all that glitz and luxury. Dubai also has a "down to earth" accommodation like ours. You might not have found it in the first place but once you find it, you will indulge in an unexpected kind of atmosphere, heritage setting and the calmness.

Because of our morning conversation, I now decided to explore Istanbul for my next vacation.

Let me know you next stop over and we will surely chat again.

Best regards,

Iwan Yamin
Hotel Manager
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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 4, 2013

The XVA Hotel is a very relaxing and tranquil spot and I always try to stay for at least night when passing through Dubai. The service is excellent and the rooms are very comfortable. The food in the cafe is very tasty. It is a good base for exploring the souk and walking along the Creek.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank John E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IwanYamin, General Manager at XVA Art Hotel, responded to this review, May 11, 2013
Dear John E.,

We appreciated very much your time and effort to write this review, especially from a frequent guest like yourself.

Recently we have just hired an excellent cook, Kumar. He is from Sri Lanka and has worked in several good restaurants and cafes. With him onboard, we will try to create new exciting vegetarian menus with middle eastern flavors.

So when you come back, there is a reason to dine in again.

Happy traveling!

Iwan Yamin
Hotel Manager
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Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
65 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed May 2, 2013

The is a great Hotel in the Bastakiya area and you are staying in an Oasis in the city, which is really nice. Note that all the doors are low - like in the old Lisbon houses - so watch out not to bump your head. I would give this Hotel four stars but they arranged for us to park our car, I wanted to lie in the next morning but we were woken abruptly at 6am for the staff to ask for our car key to move the car. I could not go to sleep again afterwards, which pretty much ruined the rest of my day. Overall it is certainly a very unique and special place to stay.

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the back courtyard, as the front courtyard is where most people take breakfast and...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
3 Thank TCDHK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IwanYamin, General Manager at XVA Art Hotel, responded to this review, May 5, 2013
Dear TCDHK,

Regards from Dubai!

We are grateful that you liked our hotel and mentioned it as an oasis in the bustling city of Dubai.

I am so sorry to hear that we disturbed your good night sleep. Due to the sharing of parking space with other tenants in the Bastakiya complex, the parking attendant must rearrange the cars in the morning. We therefore needed the key car to do this. This should not have happened if we collected your key car in the evening before. It was not our standard service and I will make sure it won't happen again.

Should you ever make a stop over in Dubai soon, do contact me. We will reserve you a room at the back courtyard or on the first floor, to assure your a good night sleep.

Sincerely yours,

Iwan Yamin
Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brookeville, Maryland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2013

Great, great hotel. Very cozy,intimate, clean and charming.
It is the epitome of Old Dubai in an old dwelling very typical of the traditional architecture.
If you aren't in to the glitz/glamour of downtown Dubai, or if you would like to retreat away at the end of your sightseeing day, this is a perfect retreat.
Very clean, great breakfasts, warm and helpful staff.
I loved it! Little gem in the middle of a cosmopolitan city!
Getting to the hotel is like going through a maze of stone walkways and high walls... very cool!
Would most certainly stay there again if visiting Dubai.
Reasonably priced as well.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Babydoc4242
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IwanYamin, General Manager at XVA Art Hotel, responded to this review, May 1, 2013
Dear Babydoc4242,

You are officially a fan of our hotel. Your enthusiasm is much appreciated.

Some visitors put their feet in two different world; a few nights in Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa tower and a few nights in our hotel. They love their experience which represent Dubai today.

When you stay again with us, I would love to share a drink or two with you. A fan will always be a fan.

Have a fabulous day!

Iwan Yamin
Hotel Manager
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Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed April 20, 2013

I loved staying at XVA Art Hotel, it is set amongst the alleys within the Bastakia Quarter which has loads of character (it can be a bit difficult to find) The rooms have nice decor as well as character, and they open out onto a great courtyard. Really quiet too and great to be able to walk out of the Quarter and be near the river, souks & abras. No TVs in the rooms - which I didn't mind but you could access wireless Internet (free of charge) in the rooms and courtyards. The little cafe on site sells lovely mint lemonade which is totally addictive! would definitely stay again.

Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
Helpful?
1 Thank DamonL635
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IwanYamin, General Manager at XVA Art Hotel, responded to this review, May 1, 2013
Hallo DamonL635,

It was a pleasure to have you as our guest and thank you for this personal review.

In some publications, our hotel is considered as Dubai's best kept secret. The charm includes in finding the hotel itself. We made it easier by sending a direction map to the hotel from anywhere in UAE prior to the arrival date. Within the complex itself, part of the fun, you should find our hotel between winding alleys.

I heard about the Mint Lemonade addiction from some regular visitors. The good thing about this addiction that you do not need to go to a rehab.

Happy traveling!!

Iwan Yamin
Hotel Manager
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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
74 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2013

XVA is a very special, stylish place in Dubai's historic Bastakiya district. XVA is housed in a superb former historic home that has been converted into an utterly charming guest house, together with a trend-setting gallery that is at the heart if Dubai's thriving art scene.

I spent 4 days in the elegant deluxe room, at a fraction of the price anywhere else. A friend stayed in a smaller courtyard room. The rooms are impeccably neat and clean. You fall asleep to the scent of jasmine in the night air, and wake to the Call to Prayer. This is Authentic Arabia. You can stroll the ancient lanes of the Bastakiya , with its open historic buildings. XVA also makes a perfect base for exploring Dubai, via the dirt-cheap water taxis or the metro.

Life at XVA revolves around the breezy inner courtyard that offers a small but excellent menu. The Arabian breakfast is delicious and an amazing deal. The mint lemonades are addictive. Lunch and early supper offer excellent local dishes at low prices. On the upper level is a terrace with atmospheric seating and an unbeatable view.

The XVA staff are friendly, welcoming and hip. I was immediately offered a double-shot latte when I arrived early and tired after a 12-hour flight.

I have been traveling to Dubai for 15 years - and I can tell you that XVA is a rarity. It will not have the glitzy amenities that you can get at 21st century hotels, but you will find peace, refreshment, and authenticity. That's priceless.

Room Tip: Spring for the upper rooms for the terrace seating, breeze and a spectacular view.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Lutetia75004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IwanYamin, General Manager at XVA Art Hotel, responded to this review, May 1, 2013
Greetings from XVA Art Hotel, Dubai!

Good morning Lutetia75004,

It is a privilege for us to receive a review from you. Your writing style resembles an experienced travel writer.

The highlight to us is Authentic Arabian Hospitality, we strive to preserve this and show it to the visitors that our city has a soul and history too.

Should you ever pass by Dubai, please contact me for reservation or mere information about Dubai.

Warm regards,

Iwan Yamin
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about XVA Art Hotel

Property: XVA Art Hotel
Address: Al Fahidi St | Opp Musallah Post Office, Near Dubai Museum, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Location: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Dubai > Dubai > The Creek
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #62 of 545 Hotels in Dubai
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — XVA Art Hotel 2*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A stylish and peaceful boutique hotel, XVA is set within the heart of Al Fahidi quarter, formerly known as Bastakiya, the oldest region of Dubai. Unique for its Persian architectural heritage, its maze-like alleyways and proximity to the Creek, Al Fahidi is viewed today as one of the cultural centrepoints of Dubai. XVA occupies a renovated traditional majilis-style building, boasting original architectural motifs and wind towers and three open courtyards, in which one can relax and soak up the exceptional atmosphere of this heritage space. XVA’s Art Hotel includes twelve boutique rooms, designed by well-established designers and artists from the region. These include Zayan Ghandour, Numa, Nada Debs & Karim Rashid (Gaia&Gino).The XVA Art Hotel is covered in many national and international travel publications. Featured in Condé Nast Traveller as one of the 10 hotels to stay in Dubai and in 2006 as the number 1 “Not To Miss” spot in Dubai, Wallpaper magazine mentioned us as a boutique hotel to stay. Lonely planet listed us twice in their recent Dubai guide as a place to stay and to have lunch. For transit travellers, this hotel is ideal due to its close proximity to Dubai International airport. ... more   less 
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