Hotel XVA Guesthouse and Gallery Hotel 4 star
Easyexperts
Bastakiya area Dubaï, United Arab Emirates
Amy Adejokun Section editor

An original and stylish haven of peace and art, the XVA is a boutique hotel of seven rooms, located in the heart of the popular Bastakiya area, in the old part of the city. The Bastakiya area used to be an ancient authentic Iranian quarter of traditional wind towers; the area has since been renovated to resemble its former glory and is now a big tourist attraction. The XVA is famous for being one of Dubai's most prised contemporary art galleries as well a healthy option vegetarian café that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The gallery, guesthouse and café all fit perfectly well together in a typical Bastakiya house with several courtyards to wander around. A perfect hideaway for holidaymakers looking to put a spin on what could be a fast-moving holiday of skyscrapers and flashy cars. Each room is decorated in a different style inspired by different continents from Asia to Africa. Ideal for couples looking to stay somewhere quirky and different; families could also have a great time here but children would need to be very well-behaved. The XVA is a good base to explore the bustling metropolis from, where guests can unwind after a long hot day of sightseeing.

By Rooksana Hossenally. Images Stéphanie Poli.

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    • Hotel XVA Guesthouse and Gallery

      XVA Guesthouse and Gallery   -   © Stéphanie Poli / EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel XVA Guesthouse and Gallery

      XVA Guesthouse and Gallery   -   © Stéphanie Poli / EASYVOYAGE

       
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    Location 10.0 /10

    Located in the oldest part of Dubai, close to the Creek with its winding passageways and souks, this is an ideal hotel if you are looking to get a away from the hustle and bustle of Sheikh Zayed Road, the main road, crossing the city from north to south.

    The guesthouse is located in the Bastakiya area, which used to be an Iranian quarter full of traditional wind towers. The area has recently been renovated to resemble its former glory, although it looks a little tacky, in-keeping with the rest of the city in some places. The Bastikya area is seen as one of the most charming, with its art galleries such as Majlis as well as its quiet cafés like Bastakiya Nights. On the border of Bur Dubai (the new business district), the guest house is a walking distance to the Dubai Museum , Meena Bazaar, Dubai Creek, Abra (water taxi) . It is a short drive from Dubai International airport and a 20 minute walk to the Sheikh Zayed Road business district, World Trade Center and exhibition halls. It is also within walking distance of the souks and the more authentic local restaurants (run by expat Indians for example) which are great for travellers on a budget as they tend to be extremely cheap.

    Accommodation 8.20 /10

    The seven rooms are stylishly decorated, although very simply. Each room has a theme based on a continent or country. Pictured, you will find China and Africa. The rooms are decorated with materials and decorative objects originating from the specific country. Every item in the rooms is for sale. The rooms can be on the small side and can feel a little stuffy. Amenities are extremely basic. Our favourite was the African-themed room on the ground floor. There is a bath tub in every room as well as a television. The rooms are not equipped with the latest gadgets but the atmosphere of the guesthouse makes up for it. Room 6, which is a deluxe suite, is spacious due to the higher ceilings. Room 7 is also a great space with a good size bathroom; however there are no windows. There are two single rooms, two standards and three deluxe suites ranging from 500-750 AED (£94-£140) per night including breakfast.

    Overview 8.20 /10

    The XVA is a guesthouse, café and gallery. The house is accessed either via the gallery entrance or via the café. Seven rooms make up the guesthouse, which are either on the ground or the first floor. There are three main courtyards, one with the café and the other two surrounded by guesthouse rooms as well as the in-house tailor, which is another novelty in the city. The exterior space has been well utilised for art installations which follow though to the interior part of the art gallery where show openings take place. When we visited the exterior installations included huge stuffed-toy tigers bandaged up like mummies and hanging from the ceiling (pictured), as well as meticulously embroidered Afghan dresses hanging from a tree.

    Otherwise the café is very pleasant and has some calm soothing music which is great for unwinding after a day out in the buzzing metropolis that is Dubai. The guesthouse also has an artist residence which welcomes different artists in turn. There is also a small shop with various handmade objects for sale.

    Food and drink 8.20 /10

    The guesthouse has a delightful open-air café with soothing music and sails fixed over the tables like a canopy, keeping the area cool while letting in just enough sunshine to keep the place light and bright. The food is all vegetarian and is delicious; even if you are a big meat eater you will without a doubt find something to tickle your taste buds here. The atmosphere is tranquil and peaceful and the staff is friendly.

    To know

    The XVA gallery is one of the most reputable art galleries in the city, which is seeing a growing contemporary art scene. The guesthouse opened in 2003 by Mona Hauser, an American expat, who has played a large part in preserving culture in the city.

    The guesthouse is near the city's main mosque, which calls to prayer five times a day - this is a magical moment as the energy of worshippers rushing to attend can be felt in the air. There is also an in-house tailor which is a bit of a novelty in the city, or anywhere else in fact. Guests can bring designs or clothes to copy, but make sure to enquire as early as possible as the tailor is extremely busy.

    If you are interested in Dubai's art scene, then pick up a small pink booklet, aptly named: 'Art Map', on one of the tables along the open air corridors which detail all the latest galleries and show openings in the city. Timeout is also a great source of the latest events.

    XVA was featured in Condé Nast Traveller 2006 as the number 1 'Not to Miss' spot in Dubai. XVA has received two Time Out restaurant awards (2006 & 2008) for its vegetarian café, which is also Gordon Ramsay's favourite place to eat in the city. XVA is a member of Chic Retreats.

    advantage

    • The use made of the outdoor space where guests will find art installations dotted all around.
    • The quirky room décor.
    • The delicious homemade food at the café.

    disadvantages

    • There can be a lot of activity during an opening or in the evening, which some guests may dislike.
    • A lack of facilities which some guests may find inconvenient - there is no spa, pool, or variety in restaurants.

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    • Overall Score nc/10
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