UAE: This summer, book yourself an artcation

Staycations are passé; it's time to check in to an art hotel in your neighbourhood and get your fix of culture, art and luxury

by Purva Grover

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Published: Sat 25 Jun 2022, 10:58 AM

Does your travel itinerary typically include a stopover at a museum, a day at an art gallery, a ticket to the talk by an artist you admire, and perhaps a workshop to try your hand at an arty skill too? If yes, then Dubai is here to provide you with your dose of art and culture fix, and all this without getting on an airplane.

So, what's an artcation? It's a vacation at a local property where the 'best' of two worlds i.e. arts and luxury intersect. This summer, say goodbye to staycation and book yourself an artcation at one of the many art hotels in your neighbourhood.

Let's check-in

For guests checking in at ME Dubai, The Opus by Omniyat, Business Bay, a stay would be more than just a vacation.

"It's an invitation to immerse in architecture, design, gastronomy and art," said Charles Clark, General Manager, ME Dubai.

All the rooms in the hotel draw on Dubai for inspiration and are styled in two distinct themes, midnight, and desert. Midnight reflects the dynamic night skies of the Dubai skyline, whilst the desert theme pays homage to the serene landscape and soft hues of the UAE landscape.

"Such features convert the property into a preeminent hotel choice for cultural and art tastemakers," added Clark. The recently opened Hyde Hotel Dubai, Business Bay is another stylish, understated hotel, inspired by art and design from around the world. The interiors of this space have been expertly designed to reflect the hotel's sophisticated take on a city sanctuary.

What's on the to-do-list?

From Instagrammable spots, to books showcasing Dubai's street life and colloquial Arabic expressions displayed in the public areas, there are plenty of touchpoints for guests of Rove Hotels (nine properties in Dubai) to learn about the city and the Emirati culture.

"Apart from the main feature pieces present at the lobbies, all the properties are filled with small art pieces and details that reference the UAE's heritage through illustrations, items, photographs, sculptures and even traditional crockery," said Paul Bridger, Head Rovester.

"We aspire to reflect the pulse of the city and bring Dubai's heritage into our properties through art. These touches of local culture have been the catalyst that provide Rovers with a sneak peek into the city's identity and connect our hotels with the neighbourhoods around them."

XVA Art Hotel, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, encompasses a hotel, restaurant, art gallery and boutique, and prides on its unique relationships with artists.

"Having built these relations over the years, we cherish the artist's input. Every hotel room, like the common areas, feature art by over 30 XVA consigned artist," said Grace Hauser, Director, XVA Galley and Hotel.

At XVA, there is a year-round exhibition schedule featuring local artists and artists from all around the Arab world. "Alongside our exhibitions in the gallery, guests can see the art in the hotel change overnight, bringing the hotel to life with its own personality," added Hauser.

Do I need to be 'art literate' to book a stay?

"Not necessarily. We do cater to those in the know, for those who have a sense of discovery. Some guests are already well-versed in art, music, and fashion, and there are those others who are completely new to this concept and end up learning about us when they arrive at the hotel," said Luke James, General Manager, Hyde Hotel Dubai.

Whilst there is an important segment of Rovers that are well versed in the arts, "The reality is that Rove is designed to be accessible to everyone and so is the art we exhibit. It is that quality that allows for all types of Rovers to enjoy our interior design and interact with the artworks on display," said Paul.

While figures widely fluctuate between seasons and hotels, overall, 30% of Rove's audience is locally based, with the remaining 70% coming from overseas. The people checking in at ME Dubai too are a mix of expats, residents, and tourists travelling from Latin America, Europe, UK, USA, KSA, Asia and more.

"Being art-literate is not a requirement. We receive visitors with all sorts of backgrounds. However, we notice that our concept does spark an interest and a conversation about the art. Perhaps fuelling guests to learn more about a certain artist or even start collecting," added Hauser.


Can I book an art tour of the property too?

At ME Dubai, their team of Aura specialist host guided art tours of the activations within the hotel as well as talk about the history and journey of Zaha Hadid, who designed and created the hotel. They also recently opened a new gallery area in collaboration with art consultancy ArtKorero, to advance the region's cultural and art scene.

At Hyde, the staff at the hotel provides guided art tours to the visitors, in addition, "Our Anything Can Happen Manager, Adelaida Vega Rodriguez, currently conducts these tours," added James. At XVA too, tours of the gallery are offered.


Purva Grover

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