Dec 29, 2021
TWENTY-TWENTY-ONE HAS BEEN a big year for Dubai. Not only is it the 50th anniversary of the founding of the United Arab Emirates, but it’s also the year that Expo 2020 Dubai has opened its doors to the world, heralding the arrival of a number of new top-tier hotels to capitalize on the excitement. Here are this year’s top new hotel openings, from glam beach resorts to opulent palaces, sky-high eyries and more.
25hours Hotel Dubai One Central
The first hotel outside Europe for the Germany-based group famed for its casual “come-as-you-are” ambiance and quirky interior design, 25hours just opened this month. Located in One Central with direct views onto the new Museum of the Future, the hotel’s interiors traverse ancient Bedouin desert traditions and local Emirati culture. 25hours includes a painting and pottery studio, a co-working space, and a collaboration with MINI letting you hop in your own car and tackle Dubai’s roads during your stay. Dining looks set to be exciting too: Rooftop Monkey Bar comes to Dubai direct from Berlin, pretzels and schnitzel are on the menu at Bavarian beer garden ERNST, and Tandoor Tina will offer Northern Indian food with a British twist.
Address Beach Resort
Courtesy of Address Beach Resort (2)
Homegrown hospitality brand Address’s first beachside resort opened in Dubai Marina earlier this year to much fanfare, not least for its spectacular rooftop infinity pool on the 77th floor, holder of the Guinness World Record for highest in the world. A firm favorite with the Instagramming set, the pool itself is reserved exclusively for hotel guests, so while they may be able to snap the view, if you stay here, you’ll be able to soak in it. Poolside restaurant Zeta Seventy Seven is the spot for sundowners, and make sure you book a sea-view room to wake up to vistas of the glittering Arabian Gulf and another of Dubai’s newest superlatives, Ain Dubai – the tallest Ferris wheel in the world – just across the bay.
Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort
While it may be the first hotel on the “South American Continent,” this brand-spanking-new resort from Anantara is still in Dubai, just four kilometers off the coast. Located in the World Islands archipelago, a complex of manmade islands designed to look like a map of the world from the air, it is 15 minutes by boat from its sister Anantara resort on The Palm. The private island is home to 70 villas and suites, multiple restaurants, and a bar that looks back onto the city with views of its extraordinary skyline.
The Dubai EDITION
The just-opened Dubai EDITION strikes a balance of understated style and sexy glamour. Located in Downtown Dubai, a one-minute walk from Dubai Mall, the Zen-like minimalism of the guest rooms lets the extraordinary views of the Burj Khalifa and the “Old Town” (faux-old, not genuinely old) shine even brighter. Duomo restaurant on the ground floor sits beneath a soaring 15-meter white arch that becomes a canvas for a mesmerizing light projection at night. Out on the small-but stylish pool terrace, Thia serves up tasty pool snacks and cocktails – don’t leave without trying the zucchini chips. Jolie, as pretty as its name suggests with potted ferns, acacia and teak furniture and a terrazzo floor, is the place for French classics. Keep an eye out for a spa and a rooftop Peruvian restaurant, Inti, coming soon.
Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown
Slightly lost in the urban sprawl of Business Bay, Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown is worth seeking out for its art-filled spaces and rooms with fantasy versions of Dubai on the walls, including scenes of flying camels. Step through Christian Lacroix’s fabric-covered arch into Open Sesame for coffee from local roasters Café Rider, or join a tour of the hotel’s art collection, keeping an eye out for locally inspired features such as mashrabiya screens, mother-of-pearl inlay and marquetry. If that sounds like too much effort, you can always head poolside for shisha or to swing from a hanging pod and soak up the Dubai sunshine.
Raffles The Palm
This palatial Neoclassical confection sitting on the western crescent of the Palm Jumeirah dazzles from the second you set eyes on it, with 1,900 square meters of gold leaf, 6,000 Swarovski crystals in the lobby chandelier, 70,000 pieces of furniture by Francesco Molon, and towering Corinthian columns made from pink rosa portugala marble with gilded capitals. Head down to the Cinque Mondes Spa and it’s another much calmer world of eye-pleasing archways, lemongrass-scented wooden corridors, soft candlelight, and a gorgeous indoor pool. Even the most basic rooms are on a grand scale here, as is the 500-meter private beach, one of the best on the Palm.
Rove Expo 2020
The only hotel located within the Expo 2020 Dubai site, Rove feels like a combination of co-working space, trade fair, and party. Head up to the rooftop pool and you’re practically on top of the Al Wasl dome, located right in the center of the site and featuring the world’s largest 360-degree projection that comes alive when the sun goes down. The ground floor sprawls over buzzy open-plan spaces, a central coffee counter, an all-day restaurant, and a bar that’s open until 3 a.m. The crowd is made up of Expo employees, pavilion staff and tourists enjoying the fun. You couldn’t ask for a better location if you want to be right in the heart of the Expo action over the next six months.
Couretsy of SLS Dubai (2)
Towering over the edge of Business Bay, this 75-story monolith topped by twin infinity pools offers some of the most jaw-dropping views in the city. Ignore the still-under-construction location – it’s an occupational hazard in this part of town – and head straight up to the 70th floor to female-led Fi’lia for Italian food spanning three generations. The menu is split into dishes inspired by nonna, mamma and fi’lia, created by 25-year old Chef Sara Aqel and her team. The light-filled lobby with its 13-meter ceilings, shiny gold sofas, cascading lanterns and white orchids is an extraordinary space, and is home to the just-opened 12 Chairs, a 12-seater caviar bar. Rooms have a calming feel with rose gold and dusky pink details, and spacious balconies to sit and take in the views – ask for a view facing downtown to be sure of the best panoramas.
Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk
Rising like a monolith above Dubai’s Wafi District and inspired by the shape of the Luxor obelisk in Paris, the design aesthetic of this Egypt-meets-France hotel includes a soaring lobby punctuated by columns covered in hieroglyphs, a nine-meter golden falcon, and bas-relief motifs straight out of Aswan. The hotel is home to chef Daniel Boulud’s first Dubai outpost, as well as British gastropub The Nine and pretty patisserie lounge Bijou. While the location may not be in the typically touristy parts of town, it’s connected to the slightly retro Wafi Mall, also filled with Egyptian design details, where you can pick up treasures from across the Middle East at the Khan Murjan souk and dine on an excellent Arabic cuisine in a marble courtyard that’s open to the sky.
St Regis The Palm
Located halfway down the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah in the new Palm Tower building with its 360-degree viewing deck, St Regis The Palm’s 290 rooms are filled with light and vistas that take in Dubai from practically every angle. Typical St Regis touches are on the menu here, such as the brand’s signature afternoon tea and sunset champagne sabrage ceremony. Currently the hotel’s location means it doesn’t have direct access to its own beach, although guests do have two infinity pools to splash in. But if sea and sand are important to you, get excited for the hotel’s new beach club, to which there’s a direct shuttle.
To read about more the Best New Openings in other countries around the region, see here.