XVA Art Hotel
6 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
"Stayed here overnight on a Friday night, wanting the old quarter experience but would not recommend it as service was non existent. It seemed like they were closed and just opened for us. Didn't see a soul, including any staff until it was time to check out. Had opted for the Deluxe room which was OK but a/c was not on when we arrived (in the height of summer) so was an oven for a long while. Room was quaint as expected but the cons were too many. Towels were threadbare and water repellent (literally)! Metered parking on the outskirts of the Bastakiya were also a pain (I got a ticket). Breakfast was offered as an afterthought (even though it was included in the 750AED), but we couldn't wait to get out of there.
Maybe we were there the wrong time of year but the Bastakiya was deserted, of shops and tourists, so I suggest not to go during Jul/Aug when the temps are 40+ degrees."
- Travel date: Tue 18th of September 2007
Would Not Recommend!!
"Friends and I stayed two nights at the XVA Gallery Guest house in the quaint neighborhood of Bastakiya in Dubai, UAE. While the gallery itself and traditional architecture of the guest house were the real selling points, the rest of the amenities were sorely lacking.
1) Beds are horrific! My bed was nothing more than a sheet of plywood with a lumpy, old, 1-inch mattress thrown on top of it. My friends woke up both mornings with stiff, aching backs and described it as "like sleeping on a bed of rocks."
2) ZERO designated parking. The gallery shares a metered parking lot with the cultural center and the several other businesses in Bastakiya. Woe to the person who sleeps in or eats breakfast in the cafe courtyard! The penalty is a 200 dirham ticket (roughly $60 USD) .
3) Loud and bright. Open lattice work at the top of the wall facing the courtyard means the morning call to prayer is extra loud, so is any late-night conversations by your fellow guests. It also means a lot of light pours into your room when no one turns off the courtyard lights until nearly 1am.
4) Security isn't a strong point. The door to your room is a padlock and the main door to the guest house isn't always shut properly. Since the gallery and guest house are housed in the same building, there are a number of people meandering through with little to no supervision.
In all fairness, there are some pros to staying at the XVA guest house. The breakfast, which was included with the price of the room, was delicious and healthy, and the bathroom was clean. The guest house is also convenient to the museum and other heritage sites.
The bottom line is this a great place to soak up the ambiance of old Dubai and hip modern art while grabbing a quick nibble, but NOT/NOT a place to stay the night.
These are the rates we paid:
Single en suite 550 dirhams per night
Double en suite 650 dirhams per night
(plus 10% tax on top of that)"
- Travel date: Fri 16th of February 2007
The hotel is probably an afterthought...
"or at least the single rooms are. I'm currently writing this from the hard slab they call a bed in room 5. I was totally sold on the other reviews in here and the hype this place has gotten from Time Out, Lonely Planet, et al. As usual the hype is overrated.
I agree with the others on the friendliness of the staff, the character and ambiance of the place in general compared with the tackiness of the rest of Dubai and the coolness of the art gallery/cafe. However, my hotel experience is way off the mark from the rest. I'm sure if I stayed in room 1 or 2 that would be a completely opposite experience but as a single traveler trying to do a boutique hotel on a budget I can't recommend the XVA, at least not in rooms 4 or 5 (the singles) and from what I can tell room 8 is probably not conducive to sleep either as it's right next to a laundry room that currently (11:35pm) has some loud banging items being dried.
I have no problems with not having a tv, phone, etc in the room but for the type of demographic being aimed for it seems a lot is left to be desired. I've included pictures that show the twin bed in the single -- the quality of which is a step below that old futon mattress you have had for years that you grab out of the closet to throw on the floor for perhaps an expected guest. You can see it's totally lost any sense of cushioning as it caves in the middle and it's very musty smelling. Also, there is no small nightlight or anything so try to keep that in mind as you go to the bathroom late at night, half asleep or you may bang your toes hard against the 2 inch platform at the bathroom entrance.
Too bad they don't show pictures of all the rooms on their website as I feel a bit misled and duped."
- Travel date: Mon 15th of January 2007
"It was a beautiful place, very interesting contemporary art scene, we had a super room (1), felt exotic. We stayed for 4 nights and enjoyed it immensely. Staff really great, helpful, lovely breakfast. Exactly what we wanted, mostly same comments as the more detailed feedback given before this one (but Bastakia Nights restaurant, which is walkable, around the corner, did not rate it at all, main course poor, overpriced).
Re going out to eat nearby at night might be helpful info - went to the 4 Seasons' Antique Bazaar Indian restaurant and thought food quite good, staff nice and liked the live music and dancing...bit weird - bizarre bazaar!! but walkable. You can get taxis anywhere, but also went to the thai/chinese at the Arabian Courtyard again near, kind of surreal, but food fairly good."
- Travel date: Tue 9th of January 2007
The closest thing to authenticity in Dubai
"We had had read quite a bit about Dubai and we decided to stay in an atmospheric, typical place away from all the glitzy steel and glass hotels of Dubai that look and feel like any other luxury hotels anywhere on the planet. After a bit of googling, I found the XVA Gallery and thought that this would be the right place for our 6-day december-stay in Dubai.
We were not disappointed. Located in a very tiny part of "old" Dubai, Bastakiya, the XVA is an art gallery, a cafÃ© and a small guest house with only 8 rooms. The rooms are very tiny, so to fit in more than 2 people in them is quasi impossible. We had rooms #2 and #3 (first floor) overlooking the main courtyard. The rooms were clean, the mattresses very comfy, bed sheets white and clean, the bathrooms very comfy with a very small bathtub though, good hot water pressure, traditional wooden doors and window shutters, a/c for the hot summer days. Very good choice for allergic people, no carpets, good air.
At night, we could sit outside on "our" terrace, enjoy the mild weather and the gallery's wireless internet connection to keep in touch. This connection was fast and included in the price and was in a big and positive contrast to some other very expensive internet connection we experienced in the region's other hotels, so if you have to do business there, don't be afraid of the "art" in the name of the hotel.
There is no tv in the rooms but there's a very nice tv-room downstairs at the bottom of what used to be a typical wind tower; very cosy with all the modern tv-technology one one might need, a good selection of dvd's, videos, even a beamer for business presentations!
There are 5 other rooms in the other smaller courtyard and I've been told that they are smaller and on ground level. The bigger room to be seen on their website is room #1. The place is an art gallery so if you're lucky, you might see artists doing their thing or photo shoots in what is a great location for such things.
Breakfast is vegeterian, with typical arabian specialities: blaneh, pita bread, fruit and coffee/tea. The choice of dishes is very limited but the friendly staff makes up for the slimmed down menu. however, you can order omelettes if you want to.
The main courtyard is the dining/breakfast area and is charming oasis at the gallery. There are many mosques right behind the XVA so don't be surprised to be awoken by the muezzin's first daily call to prayer coming out of a very loud speaker around 6 a.m.. The first morning, one is surprised but by the second morning, one just turns around and goes on sleeping. It adds immensly to the charm of the place. and one is reminded in which part of the world one is sleeping...
Bastakiya has been completely renovated (to death) by the local authorities who seem to want to keep this part of the original Dubai in good shape. At night, there is unfortunately not much happening in Bastakiya (which is nice for a good night sleep though) but one can take a nice stroll along the creek, look at all the action, watch all the boats and dhows cruising by, seek out a restaurant of which there are plenty.
One to recommand is the Bastakiya Nights, a bit pricy but well worth the try. The Basta Art CafÃ© in front of the gallery is a good, cheap solution. If one is looking for an even cheaper alternative, try the few local indian restaurants around (go for vegetarian though...).
The only down side to the XVA Gallery is that it's pretty difficult to find, that many taxi drivers have no idea where it is and that getting a taxi from the street takes a bit of patience. The best way to get to the gallery is to ask for the Dubai Museum.
Drive along the creek (on the Bur Dubai side), to the end of Al Seef Road then there will be 2 roundabouts; get off at the 2nd (Al Mussalah) in front of the Basta CafÃ©. Walk along the right side of that cafÃ©, take a short left, then a right, walk on and then turn right. In all, from the Basta CafÃ©, it is a approx. 50m walk to the XVA's main entrance. If you let the gallery staff call a taxi for you, tell them to call the National Taxi Co. If a blue taxi comes to pick you up, settle a price first to avoid any surprises.
If one is looking for glitzy highrise hotels, 7-stars restaurants & bars and designer luxury, this isn't the place. But if one is looking for charm, silence, good internet-connection and as much authenticity as one can find in the hustle and bussle of modern Dubai, then this is definitely a place to recommand."
- Travel date: Sun 17th of December 2006
The only way to survive Dubai
"I've stayed at XVA twice and my wife's stayed there four or five times. It's a combination of art gallery, vegetarian restaurant and boutique hotel, located in the miniscule but atmospheric "old city," near the Creek. We love it: it's the only place in Dubai with any charm. The staff are friendly and helpful (up at 4am to carry luggage to taxi), the food is excellent, and the ambience is unique."
- Travel date: Thu 19th of October 2006