In a city known for extravagance, indulgence and modern glamour, Dubai’s new 25Hours hotel more than stands out from the rest. Just a stone’s throw from the new flagship exhibition space, the Museum of the Future, the hotel has the personality to match this stand-out landmark. It’s also tearing up the rulebook on Dubai hotel design.
25hours – an inclusive brand known for its LGBTQ+ advocacy – is breaking boundaries at its newest hotel, which features the emirate’s first outdoor mixed gender sauna and provocative slogans such as “come to bed with me”.
“You are coming here for an experience that’s unlike any other,” Sunny Chawla, the hotel’s director of marketing and communications told i.
“You are coming for a very modern hotel with all the touches of the past. You can see the future of Dubai here.”
He added: “It’s like nothing else in Dubai, it’s different, it’s creative and quirky. Our main goal here is to be different.”
Unlike other hotels in Dubai, you won’t find any monochrome here, but instead pops of bright colour. Walking into the lobby is a little like entering a museum, with the Fountain of Tales library – encompassing more than 5,000-books and a rotating globe – immediately catching your eye.
The ceiling is decorated with space-themed art, which contrasts with the antique-looking objects that fill the shelves above reception and the colourful hanging basket chairs.
As is typical of Dubai, it’s a vast space. The walls stretch 5m up, but the friendly concierge – happy to help with even the smallest of requests – immediately makes guests feel welcome. There’s also a coffee shop and plenty of free-to-use co-working spaces.
Upstairs, guests have the opportunity to rifle through the hotel’s expansive vinyl collection and even record their own in the “Analogue Circus”. If that’s not nostalgic enough, typewriters, videos, Polaroids and vinyl are available on room service, and guests can borrow old-school films and tracks from a giant trunk-case. Huge carts full to the brim with books line the guestroom corridors, which guests are encouraged to borrow and exchange.
The 434 guestrooms and suites brim with personality, their interiors inspired by the categories they’re divided into: Bedouin, Glamping, Farmstay and Artist Village suites. Flourishes might include hammocks, feature artwork and tiling, or double rainfall showers.
The lowest priced rooms are chic, complete with king-sized beds, floor-length windows to enjoy the views of the city and bustling with playful design elements.
Finishing touches include a Bluetooth speaker, free mini-bar and a number of handbags to borrow throughout the stay.
The Artist Village suites are spacious and have freestanding bathtubs and stunning illustrations by Emirati artists, while at the top of the scale, the Hawkawati Suite is designed for parties, with a large dining area, private bar and even space for a DJ. The bedroom features a “sheikh-sized” bed – the size of three king-sized beds – and a Moroccan-style bathroom with two roll top baths.
There are also several rooms that have been designed for guests with accessibility requirements.
Relax and pamper
The Extra Hour Spa, salon and rooftop pool offers a change of pace from the buzz of the main hotel. Here, I enjoyed a traditional massage and the expert therapist worked wonders removing tension and knots from my back and shoulders, the product of desk-working, I was told.
There’s also a steam room, sauna and salt therapy room, but the key attraction is the rooftop pool – the views from the terrace are something else, overlooking the Museum of the Future and Financial District.
Food and drink
The Nomad Bar – a partnership with the city’s popular Nightjar Coffee Roasters of Alserkal Avenue – occupies the lobby and courtyard, serving freshly brewed hot drinks and baked treats.
Tandoor Tina is where you’ll find breakfast each morning. Shakshuka soon became my go-to order, washed down with an iced oat latte and some fresh fruit.
Later in the day, the restaurant serves British Indian food (its sister restaurant is London’s Tandoor Chop House). The menu includes Indian Scotch eggs, stilton Saag aloo cottage pie and the signature “alright dahl”. There’s also a traditional German beer garden, Ernst. A contrast from Tandoor Tina, Ernst features live sport, wooden benches and beer by the jug and wouldn’t look out of place in an Alpine village. Perhaps most striking is that it serves pork – which requires a special licence in Islamic Dubai.
The hotel’s crowning glory is the Monkey Bar, located on the sixth floor beside the spa and pool – the views over the city are captivating once night falls.
Serving an extensive cocktail menu and tapas, the rooftop bar is the perfect place to spend an evening, particularly when there’s a DJ playing. The bar has quickly become a hot spot among locals, too.
25Hours is located in the heart of the Financial District, close to the Museum of the Future, which opened in February and transports guests to the year 2071, exploring themes such as climate change, space travel, ecology and wellness.
More culture is concentrated on Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz, a vast arts district that has grown from a few industrial warehouses to encompass art studios, galleries, coffee shops, cinemas and shops, as well as events. The aim of its founder Abdelmonem bin Eisa Alserkal was to create a neighbourhood to rival London’s Shoreditch and New York’s Meatpacking District.
Ten minutes south of the hotel, near the Burj Khalifa, is the Dubai Mall – the second largest shopping centre in the world – that houses an aquarium, ice rink, and both luxury and affordable brands.
Desert safaris are a popular excursion from the city. Around 40 minutes away, it’s possible to see what Dubai would have looked like just 50 years ago as you head off road and into the dunes. A seven-hour “Platinum Desert Safari” includes a wildlife drive through the Conservation Range, a falconry demonstration, a sunset camel ride and a six-course meal at a stunning desert location.
Sun-seekers flock to the beaches, that include La Mer, West Palm Beach and Kite Beach.
25Hours has double rooms from €191, rising to €353 during the Fifa World Cup in November and December.