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 :)
- 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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