Set the scene Every once in a while a hotel comes along and almost changes the DNA of a city, redefining what it means to visit that destination. That seems to be the mission of 25hours Hotel One Central, one of Dubai’s most unique new hotels, and arguably the most exciting. Landing in the booming One Central business district, the towering hotel marks a new chapter for the UAE, not just with the revival of a once dreary area, but with spunky concepts like a co-ed sauna and slogans like “come sleep with me. In the lobby, centered around a 5,000-book library with a rotating globe showcasing works by local artists, you’ll spot everything from kanduras and suits to snapbacks and party dresses. summer, embodying the inclusivity of the brand, which in Europe is known for its LGBTQ+ advocacy.But the predominant crowd is made up of 30-somethings and creatives, who move between the coworking spaces, the pottery and podcast studio and the craft cafe.Partnerships with the most creative local concepts in town add another unique dimension to the property, giving a sense of exploration without leaving.That, and the rooftop jungle bar, already famous in the city, which has an exclusive deal with Lebanon’s most infamous entertainment group.
The backstory In its guise in fashionable European cities like Rome, Paris, Vienna and Berlin, 25hours is synonymous with hedonism and playfulness – and that same carefree energy is coming to One Central in Dubai with the brand’s first outpost, not only in the Middle East, but outside of Europe. Many wondered how a brand known for its LGBTQ+ advocacy and flirtatious, risque personality would come to life in the Middle East, but leniency has been granted and boundaries have been pushed, and the result is something incredibly unique. In some ways, it’s the embodiment of a new Dubai: sleek and luxurious (much more so than its sister properties), yet fast-paced, inclusive, open to change, more authentic, and full of surprises. Cheeky slogans like “let’s spend the night together” (marked on pillows), “be careful, hot and humid inside” (on coffee mugs) and “don’t dare” (on sleep masks) repel the limits, but nothing does it more than the Middle East’s first mixed sauna, a nod to its German roots. All 25Hours hotels have a theme, and this one tells the story of the Emirati people, from Bedouin roots to Arabs on Mars, with each floor showcasing a different time period and taking guests on an immersive and thrilling journey.
The rooms 25hours boasts what might be the most designer and unique hotel rooms in the city, with the brand’s signature Berlin-style minimalism mixed with Middle Eastern opulence. The entry-level industrial-chic Bedouin recalls a traditional majlis in warm hues, alongside nods to its European sister properties in the form of open glass showers; while farm stays feature colorful living spaces and bright tiles with hammocks and the occasional double rainfall shower. Each suite is slightly different, so it’s more than acceptable to ask to see other rooms of the same category before bed – and highly recommended. All have an incredible amount of “stuff”: quirky, nostalgic objects like typewriters and vintage Polaroid cameras, which, while fun, might confuse minimalists. Analog circuses – chests of items like old TVs and records – can also be transported for a greater dose of nostalgia. The most impressive is the Hakawati Suite, rivaling most high-end hotel suites in Dubai. Walls are a warm tangerine hue, and mosaic tiles add brilliant pops of color. The space is designed for parties, with a terrace, a private bar area and even space for a DJ. At the end of the night, guests can fall into the “sheik’s size” bed, three king-size beds pushed together. In another playful 25-hour move, a secret staircase connects two additional bedrooms, which can be reserved to create an enormous super suite. Pets are also allowed, a rarity in Dubai’s five-star hotel market.
Food and drink The star of the show, Monkey Bar, arrives via Berlin and Cologne; in the German capital, it is considered one of the hottest spots in the city. Here it gets a Dubai makeover – there’s a jungle-covered rooftop terrace with stunning views of the Museum of the Future, and even more jaw-dropping cocktails. Come at 5pm to secure one of the monkey cages or at 10pm on a Friday to join Beirut-based entertainment group Factory People’s already legendary “Hot Mess” party. No matter what time you show up, don’t leave without sampling a champagne pina colada from London’s Coupette bar. Another import is Tandoor Tina, the playful little sister of London’s Tandoor Chophouse, serving British Indian cuisine and what might be Dubai’s coolest Indian restaurant. Rajasthani dusty pink ceramics and jewellery, towering potted plants and quirky artwork make it a visual treat, and the menu entices with Indian Scotch eggs (a nod to the culture of the British pubs), onion bhaji rings and the signature “alright dahl.” Dubai’s caffeine junkies are most excited about the Nomad Day Bar, a partnership with beloved Nightjar Coffee Roasters on Alserkal Avenue, which spills out into the hotel lobby and courtyard. tables fill with well-heeled guests sipping wine and Irish Nightjar coffees.But if one restaurant encapsulates the spirit of 25hours, it’s German beer garden Ernst, as unconventional as it is Middle Eastern, serving Paulaner mugs and pork bratwurst.
The spa Although it operates 13 hotels worldwide, 25hours Dubai is home to the first 25hours-branded spa, aptly named ‘Extra Hours Spa’. Minimalist and industrial-chic, there are themed treatments like the “Bedouin Blitz,” a three-step treatment that includes a body wrap, facial, and massage; and a beautiful jungle relaxation area housing Dubai’s first mixed sauna, if not the entire GCC. The latter truly testifies to the intrepidity of this hotel group. Another triumph is the presence of famous celebrity hairstylist Wassim Steve, who has moved his salon from Dubai to the hotel and can be found doing Instagram-worthy blowouts almost every day. Across the hall is hipster magnet Akin Barber & Shop, which offers skin fades, beard touch-ups, and cold brew coffee.
The neighborhood/region Until recently, no one (bar workers and visitors to the nearby World Trade Center) really set foot in the One Central area. A real catalyst for the area’s renaissance has been the hotel itself and the opening of the Dubai Museum of the Future, which you can admire directly from the hotel’s rooftop. Although it’s not in a typically established neighborhood, it’s booming and incredibly well located, close to two metro stations and the airport, and a short drive or walk from the glitzy DIFC and from downtown Dubai. Fully aware of the limitations of the location, 25hours has a fleet of branded bikes and minis for guests to get out and explore. Each guest is entitled to four hours of free use of the cars each week, an incredibly generous touch.
The service Laid back, friendly, informal, and eager to please, the staff are a breath of fresh air for those smothered by Dubai’s mostly robotic service. Head to the concierge, where the team can book you tours like Bur Dubai’s Frying Pan Food Tour, or trips to Dubai Desert Conservation. But if you’re looking for high-end, impeccable service, this isn’t the place for you.
For families On paper, a brand like 25Hours wouldn’t traditionally cater to families, thanks to its provocative identity and adult-oriented concepts. But while it certainly isn’t trying to appeal to kids (and you won’t find many), 25 Hours Dubai One Central has plenty of family-friendly facilities. Rooms are spacious and filled with quirky items kids will love, including a stuffed camel to keep them safe, while the rooftop pool is shallow and covered. There’s a pottery studio, aimed at the creative but families are welcome, and in the fall, an open-air cinema in partnership with independent cinema Artsy Akil.
Eco-effort Unfortunately, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates still lack sustainability. So while the hotel meets all of the city’s green requirements, they still look a bit lackluster. The refillable in-room toiletries from ultra-cool, climate-neutral German brand “Stop the Water” are the most notable eco-friendly effort, made with natural and vegan ingredients and bearing the slogan “stop the water while using me!” in the hope of reducing water wastage.
Accessibility The hotel has many elevators to access all six floors, and there are rooms for guests with reduced mobility.
Anything else to mention? While rooms overlooking the city and the Museum of the Future have the best views, noise from the Monkey Bar can make it difficult for rooms on that side to sleep, so make that clear when checking in. With so many rooms, experiences, and partnerships, and more on the horizon, you’ll likely want more — and for those who can’t spare the extra cash, the “25Hours Things” concept store will redeem room nights for your Valuable objects.
Finally, in 100 words or less, what makes this hotel Hot List worthy? In a city of over 160,000 hotel keys, it can be hard to stand out. But here is a brand that challenges traditional UAE hospitality standards and pushes the boundaries with guests and higher powers. There was skepticism, due to its lack of gloss in Dubai, but 25Hours One Central embraced the style and creativity of the city. The hotel is a flagship for the avant-garde – waking up an entire area (hand-in-hand with the Museum of the Future) and a sign of exciting change, not just in the forward-thinking Gulf city, but across the region.