This stunningly attractive retro hotel is unique in Dubai. Built more than 70 years ago from coral and clay, it has been faithfully restored and reopened as a triple treat; it’s a gallery (don’t be surprised if you see an artist working on their canvas), café and boutique guesthouse.
Nestled in the pocket of old Dubai known as Bastakia, this is one of a handful of wind tower-topped buildings holding out against the lightning modernisation of the city. There’s currently a new surge of interest in looking after the last vestiges of pre-oil Dubai, and Bastakia is at the crest of the preservation wave; the care lavished on the building and the sense of time having slowed to a crawl within its walls making XVA (named after the number of the street it lies in) one of the most interesting places to stay in town.
The rooftop terrace is the place to swing in suspended rocking chairs looking out over the skyline of old buildings and mosques to the bright lights of Bur Dubai proper. XVA houses few guests at any one time, so book early. The special atmosphere here is only heightened by the incredibly competitive rates. In a city where five star conformity rules, this place stands out as somewhere that little bit different, a little bit special.