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August 2019

Issue: August 2019

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Welcome to a world of travel, entertainment and culture, curated from a global collective of writers, photojournalists and artists. Each article of our award-winning magazine is sure to inspire, no matter which of our destinations you call home.
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Travel to Dubai


Quirk and cheer

1 August 2019

This light and bright Dubai chain proves that affordability doesn’t mean having to scrimp on the details

Budget hotel. The words don’t exactly inspire cheer in one’s heart; conjuring visions of dripping ice machines, Shining-esque corridors and sheets that you shouldn’t shine a blacklight on. It is a testament to Rove – Emaar’s mid-priced hotel chain – that all of its properties couldn’t be further from this description.

With six properties so far in Dubai and four more planned, including one in Saudi Arabia, Rove has quickly cleaned up when it comes to affordability in the city. And no wonder; the hipster-lite aesthetic and hostel-esque touches like communal washing machines or games rooms have struck gold when it comes to anticipating the modern tourist’s needs.

Our stay is at Rove at the Park, a twenty-minute drive outside the city but slap-bang in the middle of a plethora of theme parks and outlet malls, from Legoland to designer discount stores. The vibe is kid-friendly, but good acoustics and seemingly-permanently smiling staff mean that the atmosphere is communal, not overwhelming.

Thoughtful touches abound, from the wall friezes showing guests how to play popular Middle Eastern games like kabaddi (a more competitive Red Rover), to the life jackets given to kids at the pool. There are lockers on the ground floor, bikes to rent, and a low-key concierge who sits at a bench in the middle of the lobby.

The rooms are compact but refreshingly simple, with touches like a drying rack for wet swimming costumes, and minimal bathroom products – you won’t find any individually-wrapped Q-tips here.

Cute, cool and culturally conscious – could this be the start of a backpackers’ Dubai?

From the concierge

The Irish bar
Perambulate the slightly kitsch, 19th Century-themed Peninsula: a canal-lined piazza that comprises the centre of Riverland. A typically lively place to go is Irish Village, host of regular live music nights.

The theme park
If you’re going to go to any of the theme parks in Dubai Parks and Resorts, make it Motiongate. Featuring rides inspired by movies, try the Kung Fu Panda simulator or the bullet train, (somewhat worryingly) inspired by the Hunger Games.

The outlet mall
Just a short walk from the hotel is Jebel Ali Outlet Village, a treasure trove of designer discounts. Head to Sephora for heavily discounted makeup, or to Priceless for Frame and Off-White denim.

Words: Georgina Lavers