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“Magic!”
Review of XVA Art Hotel

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XVA Art Hotel
Ranked #49 of 563 Hotels in Dubai
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 19, 2009

I am currently staying in the XVA hotel and words do not sufficiently describe the experience that I am having. But I will try nonetheless, as it is the kind of retreat that requires mention and applaud for what it is trying to achieve.
Upon arrival Kumar, XVA staff, walked me through narrow alleyways of what is the oldest and most authentic area in Dubai. I immediately felt a sense of calm, almost as though the surrounding environment demanded it of me. Its old Arabian wind towers and sand coloured walls imposed a presence that required respect for its heritage, and imposed a silence that required an experience to be ceased, to take it all in and be present right there and then.
Kumar was all smiles and had a grin of recognition on his face, almost as though he expected to witness repeatedly the humbling reaction XVA guests have demonstrated to him time and time again. We then arrived at the entrance, walked passed the threshold only to enter a large courtyard that took my breath away. It felt like I was in Dubai's version of 'the secret garden' (only it's a courtyard). Billy Holiday's hauntingly beautiful voice graced this courtyard that is filled with art, trinkets, exotic middle eastern food and mint lemonade.
We then went into a second courtyard, where my room is located, and saw old asian ethnic bridal dresses hanging on a large tree that formed a canopy for the courtyard and a home for its birds. My room, the 'sweet sweet' room, feels like you've entered a candy shop. It was designed by Zayan Ghandour, the owner of a funky locally based fashion boutique. Each room, apparently, is designed differently by a different designer from the region. I walked out to find their artist in residence, Halim al Karim, working in the courtyard on his beautifully coloured artworks that surrounded this courtyard and added to its magical charm. I then strolled over to the gallery space that currently has a powerful exhibition by a locally based artist, Nelda Gilliam.
There are no phones in the rooms in this hotel, nor is there a television. This is a place to unwind, relax, feel spiritual, to read, look at art, to wonder, disconnect, slow your pace down and once again 'take it all in'!
I imagined myself embracing this place and calling it home! I just don't want to leave.
Thank you so much XVA :)

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled solo
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Thank lanousha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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552 - 558 of 682 reviews

Reviewed April 5, 2009

After a great personal recommendation from a friend and cross referencing on the XVA website and Conde Naste, I was so excited when I reserved at this chic artistic oasis in Dubai. The room in which we stayed is no where to be found on the website, was anything but chic, the bed was woefully uncomfortable, the decor included a dusty faded bouquet of artificial flowers, fleece blankets used to cover old furniture, an assortment of worn rag throw rugs, and thread bare towels. Was not at all what I had anticipated after such glowing reviews. Am not the kind of person to like to stay in mainstream hotels, but this experience makes them more tempting if just to know what to anticipate. Disappointed.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank sabudhab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2009

I read through all the comments, and i was astounded!! Those who rated XVA anything under a 4 star obviously don't know how to appreciate quality, art, style and a little bit of something different from the conventional hotel. XVA is anything but your average hotel. The staff are courteous and the service is remarkable! The location, though not situated by the beach is in the historic area of Dubai and provides tourists and businessmen with somewhat of a retreat from the glaring tourism in Dubai. The cost of rooms is well worth the experience or even under priced.. which you will definitely never forget and will want to keep coming back, or never leave! My only complaint would be that the rooms be just slightly larger, but don't get me wrong it does not affect much... The food is exquisite and the owner gorgeous!! I recommend this gem to anyone, whenever and for whatever reason!

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank phlbll
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2009

Wow! I love the Arabic with a twist style of this place. The staff became my friends. Really wanted to stay longer but the place was fully booked. Advice, book ahead.
Have lunch here if you can. You should check out the gallery and have dinner with a movie in the courtyard under the stars. I read about it in Wallpaper guide. Anyone who criticizes does not get it!!!!! BYOB

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled on business
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Thank lordkenyon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2008

This is a very charming property, no questions asked. But by no means is this a boutique hotel, there is no reception or hotel staff - once the gallery/ cafe closes at 7pm (or for the weekend) guests are left to themselves. Do not expect the usual hotel amenities.
The staff is very charming, but not terribly professional (e.g. we were checking out on a Friday when nobody is on site, so we had to settle our bill during breakfast on Thursday morning, before a first coffee...)
The rooms are terribly small (we were in room 3 which according to a plan that was available was 10m2) and presented in charming but very home made style. Bath room is very basic, no shower curtain.
The house complex consisting of the gallery, cafe and hotel is impressive and the location is great. However, there is no parking available (we were trying to find a parking space for almost an hour on a Thursday night at 11pm...).
I was a bit surprised to find this hotel recommended in both the Luxe Guide and the Wallpaper City Guide - this is definitely not the type of hotel that you would normally expect to find in these guides. I have to say, the hotel did not really live up to my expectations, particularly with prices charged.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank maddog2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2007

what can i say? Our "deluxe" room here was the biggest disappointment on our trip to dubai. Fortunately the hotel only had a triple room for ONE of the two nights requested. We were at another very nice hotel, but i wanted a "real" boutique experience in the historic part of town at the end of our stay.

Our room, number 6, on the main floor, did not resemble the website photos in ANY way, although it was one of only two deluxe rooms. This is not an upscale property by any means. it is very basic, although the art gallery, courtyard and staff are very pleasant.

The sofa bed we knew that was going to be in the room, turned out to be a chair bed. It was also too long, and a trunk had to be removed ( by staff) to the courtyard to be able open the bed late at night when we came back from dinner since they had forgotten to make it up.

my husband hit his head on the authentic,historically low, sharp edged unprotected door frame, slicing his scalp and bleeding for quite awhile. we made the decison of not going to the hospital after the bag of ice i asked for helped solve that problem. ( my daughter had hit her head upon arrival.. there are three different door heights in room 6, the lowest one going in to the bathroom, with NO protection, or dangly decor you find in the courtyard doorways).

Our bill was adjusted 20 euros after trying to diplomatically express my feelings.

i would not recommend this hotel unless you can get the website rooms which i assume are true representations. i felt it was terribly overpriced for what it was. because of the price, i was expecting a higher quality room, not based on the reputation of a trendy coffee shop/ gallery. The room / services do not merit this high price in my humble opinion.

It is a lovely place to come visit, chat, and get away from the frenzy of dubai, but try to get true pics of the room you will be assigned. The Conde Nast recommendation when i read the whole article, is recommending the gallery/restaurant, with only a SLIGHT mention there are some rooms to rent.

Stayed: December 2007
3  Thank lincasanova
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2007

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Lionus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about 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 #49 of 563 Hotels in Dubai
Price Range: $105 - $240 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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