Hotel review

Unlike any other Dubai holiday, with rooms for just £129

In a city known for extravagance, indulgence and modern glamour, the new 25Hours hotel in Dubai stands out more than the rest. A stone’s throw from the new flagship exhibition venue, the Museum of the Future, the hotel has the personality to match this exceptional monument. It also tears up the rulebook on Dubai hotel design.

25hours – an inclusive brand known for its LGBTQ+ advocacy – is breaking boundaries at its new hotel, which features the emirate’s first mixed outdoor sauna and provocative slogans such as “come to bed with me”.

“You come here for an experience unlike any other,” said Sunny Chawla, the hotel’s director of marketing and communications. I.

“You come 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.

The atmosphere

Unlike other hotels in Dubai, you won’t find monochrome here, but rather pops of bright color. Entering the lobby is a bit like entering a museum, with the Fountain of Tales library – featuring over 5,000 books and a rotating globe – immediately catching your eye.

The ceiling is decorated with space-themed artwork, which contrasts with the antique-looking objects that fill the shelves above the reception desk and the colorful hanging chairs.

The hall is dominated by the Fountain of Tales and the striking ceiling (Photo: Emily Ferguson)

As is typical of Dubai, it’s a vast space. The walls stretch 5 meters high, but the friendly concierge – happy to help with the slightest request – immediately makes guests feel welcome. There is also a cafe and many free coworking spaces.

Upstairs, guests have the opportunity to browse the hotel’s extensive vinyl collection and even record their own in the “Cirque Analogique”. If that’s not nostalgic enough, typewriters, videos, Polaroids and vinyls are available on room service, and guests can borrow old-school movies and tracks from a giant chest. Huge carts filled to the brim with books line the hallways of the rooms, which guests are encouraged to borrow and swap.

The hotel has an extensive vinyl collection and even a ‘record your own’ facility (Photo: Emily Ferguson)

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The rooms

The 434 rooms and suites are brimming with personality, their interiors inspired by the categories into which they are divided: Bedouin suites, glamping, farmhouse and artists’ village. Frills can include hammocks, artwork and tiling, or dual rainfall showers.

The cheapest rooms are chic, with king-size beds, floor-to-ceiling windows to take in city views, and bustling with playful design elements.

Each room is unique, this Farmstay suite has a large hammock (Photo: Ingrid Rasmussen)

Finishing touches include a Bluetooth speaker, free minibar, and a number of handbags to borrow throughout the stay.

The Artist Village Suites are spacious and feature freestanding bathtubs and stunning artwork by Emirati artists, while at the top of the scale, the Hakawati Suite is designed for parties, with a large dining room, private bar and even space for a DJ. The bedroom has a “sheikh-size” bed – the size of three king-size beds – and a Moroccan-style bathroom with two claw-foot tubs.

There are also several rooms that have been designed for guests with accessibility requirements.

Some rooms have showers in the center of the room (Photo: Ingrid Rasmussen)

Relax and indulge yourself

The Extra Hour spa, lounge, and rooftop pool offer a change of pace from the buzz of the main hotel. Here I enjoyed a traditional massage and the expert therapist did wonders in removing tension and knots from my back and shoulders, the product of office work I was told.

There’s also a steam room, sauna and salt therapy room, but the main attraction is the rooftop pool – the views from the terrace are something else, overlooking the Museum of the Future and the financial district .

Food and drink

The Nomad Bar — a partnership with the city’s famous Nightjar Coffee Roasters on Alserkal Avenue — occupies the lobby and courtyard, serving freshly brewed hot drinks and baked goodies.

Tandoor Tina is where you will find breakfast each morning. Shakshuka quickly became my favorite order, washed down with an iced oatmeal latte and some fresh fruit.

The hotel has a traditional German beer garden called Ernst (Photo: Ingrid Rasmussen)

Later in the day, the restaurant serves British Indian cuisine (its sister restaurant is London’s Tandoor Chop House). The menu includes Indian scotch eggs, cottage stilton Saag aloo pie and the signature ‘alright dahl’. There is also a traditional German beer garden, Ernst. Unlike Tandoor Tina, Ernst offers live sport, wooden benches and pitcher beer and wouldn’t look out of place in an Alpine village. Perhaps most striking is that it serves pork – which requires a special license in Islamic Dubai.

The Monkey Bar is on the 6th floor and offers stunning views of the city (Photo: Ingrid Rasmussen)

The crown jewel of the hotel is the Monkey Bar, located on the sixth floor next to the spa and pool — the city views are captivating after dark.

Serving an extensive cocktail and tapas menu, the rooftop bar is the perfect place to spend an evening, especially when there’s a DJ playing. The bar quickly became a hot spot among locals.

What’s nearby?

25Hours Hotel One Central 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, world travel space, ecology and well-being.

More culture is concentrated on Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz, a sprawling arts district that has grown from a few industrial warehouses to encompass art studios, galleries, cafes, cinemas and shops, as well only events. Its founder Abdelmonem bin Eisa Alserkal’s goal was to create a neighborhood rivaling London’s Shoreditch and New York’s Meatpacking District.

Ten minutes south of the hotel, near the Burj Khalifa, is the Dubai Mall — the world’s second-largest mall — home to an aquarium, ice rink, and luxury and affordable brands.

Desert safaris are a popular excursion from the city. About 40 minutes away, it’s possible to see what Dubai would have looked like just 50 years ago as you pull off the road and into the dunes. A seven-hour “Platinum Desert Safari” includes a drive through the Range of Conservation, a falconry demonstration, a sunset camel ride and a six-course meal in a beautiful desert location.

Sun-seekers flock to beaches including La Mer, West Palm Beach and Kite Beach.

How many?

The 25Hours Hotel One Central offers double rooms from €191, rising to €353 during the FIFA World Cup in November and December.

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