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Travel to Dubai


Loft living in old Dubai

1 July 2018

The opening of a second Zabeel House puts the Al Seef district firmly on the map

Maybe there’s something in the water, but accommodation in old Dubai has never been so chic. Kickstarted by XVA, the art hotel that merged heritage with contemporary in the heart of the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, the area has undergone a transformation in recent years, not least when it comes to accommodation.

This is the second hotel in the Zabeel House by Jumeirah collection – the first, its pocket-sized sister, is just next door.

Zabeel House Al Seef promises to be the stylish older sibling, while still delivering on a promise of sharp design with an informal approach and moderate price point.

Case in point: the drink you’re offered on arrival. A ginger shot gives a nod to the area’s heritage, flavoured with saffron and Yemeni honey from the souks just across the creek.

Upstairs, there are 200 rooms in three different sizes. Hammocks beckon next to oversized oak tables, and the walls are dotted with contemporary art inspired by the city.

The hammocks, as well as free-standing bathtubs, are part of the many playful touches across the hotel. A cluster of human sculptures raise their hats to you as you enter the lobby, and a glow-in-the-dark word search sits above the bed.

One of the major draws of the hotel is its creative spaces. Chapters, the lobby bar, welcomes browsing among curated shelves, and there are ample breakout areas – and five meeting rooms – to work from. For the tourist, al fresco and rooftop restaurants, as well as a gym with sauna and steam rooms, will suit.

With a quirky style to keep creatives content, and an ideal location for curious travellers looking to see more of Dubai than its malls, Zabeel House should provide a fresh experience in this part of the city.

From the Concierge

Explore the old wind towers, galleries and cafes that make up the Al Fahidi district.

Head out for a run on the two- kilometre promenade that stretches from the hotel alongside the Creek.

Up to you – Al Seef has 90 different restaurants with every cuisine imaginable.

The Neighbourhood

Zabeel House by Jumeirah in Al Seef stands at the entrance to 350 retail outlets, on the south banks of Dubai Creek. Created by Meraas, the company behind touristy neighbourhoods such as Kite Beach and City Walk, Al Seef has revitalised a two kilometre stretch of the Creek. It’s a useful jumping-off point to explore the older parts of the city including the spice and gold souks, and the old homes of Al Shindagha.

Price: From $80 per night

Words: Georgina Lavers