In for 2024: boutique hotels…

In a world of massive, lavish, repeat hotels, be a boutique hotel. Could be a euphemism for life and living in general, but all that pish-posh aside, this is what my stay at the brand new Arabian Boutique Hotel left me with – sometimes, simplicity is of the essence, and we forget that in this city with how excessive everything can be. Luxurious, shiny, expensive, exclusive.

Arabian Boutique Hotel takes the history of the land it stands on, and wraps it up with a pretty bow for the present. That is perhaps the most enduring charm of boutique or heritage hotels, how you can travel into the past or into another culture with all your modern comforts in tow. The hotel bears the wear of time in the bones of the structure and the promise of tomorrow in the flat screen TV. Balance, eh?

The origins

After we check into the hotel on a sunny Friday afternoon, we are given a tour of the property and a brief history of the construction. By hotel standards, it’s boutique, but by residence standards, it’s massive, and this massive Emirati-style mansion with a courtyard, multiple rooms, terraces and quiet walkways once belonged to one man.

Thani bin Abdullah Al-Rumaiti, a dignitary and figure of influence in the country, belonged to the first generation that worked alongside the founding fathers and served as the first President of the Federal National Council. This was once his home, and the thought of it being that before a hotel gives it more heart.

The second building, previously owned by Al Dewais, a prominent wood merchant, completes the property and him having played a vital role in collaboration with His Highness Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum, honours the Emirati spirit with an authentic narrative.


Now restored to a state of near-originality, the hotel stands at the edge of the Dubai creek, in Dubai’s oldest district, transformed into a sanctum of culture, tradition and history. The Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood is the perfect location for this hotel – its a total history trip and a serene, secluded one at that.

Look and Feel

At first glance, the space looks like it could be a museum – the design is entirely traditional and authentic, featuring Emirati construction, with the air towers, the awnings, the wooden doors with bolt locks, the double pane windows and the raised sofas. The skeleton of the building has not been tampered with, the roofs and the colours of the facade preserved.

Inside, the furniture is also traditional – raised sofas and typical tapestries. There is a row of colourful bicycles placed near the entrance of the courtyard – for the guests, so they can explore the district, a car-free zone. There’s blossoming greenery everywhere, which is what gives the hotel the appearance of an intimate sanctuary, hidden away from the city among the leaves.


The rooms at the hotel are not what one would call lavish but there is a subtle luxury to them. The first element of that is the all-white everything decor. Every bit of the room is white, from the walls to the furniture to the bedding and even the lights. The second element is the expansive bathroom with a massive standing shower and also pristine white tiling. Everything is instantly elevated a bit more.

The room itself has all the amenities one would look for for a comfortable stay – a smart TV with streaming channels, a mini fridge, a kettle and ingredients for hot beverages, bathrobes, an iron, toiletries and round-the-clock room service. It’s cosy, it’s comfortable and it’s the perfect level of modern to balance the heritage aspect. More isn’t always good.

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Food and Drink

There is one restaurant in the hotel, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Seating for hotel guests is on the terrace, under a breezy shade of straw and with a beautiful view of the Creek and beyond. Naturally, the cuisine is traditional Middle Eastern and everything we order is delicious. From the manakeesh to the hamour fish and chips and the musakhan to the arais, not only are the flavours great, but the portions are hearty and a bang for your buck. Two people can dine here for under Dhs300.


A one-night stay for two in the Deluxe Heritage Room will cost you Dhs654.

Arabian Boutique Hotel, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Tel: (0) 50 165 9603, @arabianboutique.hotel

Images: Socials