Zabeel House MINI by Jumeirah Dubai

At Jumeirah’s first three-star hotel, hipsters will feel right at home in communal ‘hangouts’ featuring beanbags, swings, table football, and occasional film screenings. Other facilities include a rooftop pool and free use of bikes and rollerblades – ideal for touring the local promenade that’s more than a mile long.

Location:

Al Seef Promenade starts from the hotel and leads to Al Fahidi historic district. Popular pastimes in this part of town include a visit to the mind-bending Museum of Illusions and a spot of abra-hopping – there are few simpler pleasures to be had than riding the wooden passenger boats across the creek for the ridiculously affordable tariff of AED 1 (around 20p) with no set destination in mind. Sibling hotel Zabeel House by Jumeirah Al Seef is next door and home to Skafos, serving spicy food and fruity shisha in one of the area’s most atmospheric settings over Dubai Creek, and Sol Sky Bar.

Style & character:

Hotel décor in Dubai is dominated by shades of beige, with designers echoing the region’s sand dunes with monotonous repetition. Refreshingly, Zabeel House MINI departs from the modus operandi. Colour and innovation preside in the stools fashioned from piles of old magazines, topped with cushions and bound together with belts; the standing lamps flipped upside down and attached to the ceiling; and the floor-to-ceiling portrait of a woman in the lobby, which, on closer inspection reveals itself as a mosaic of ‘upcycled’ computer disks.

Service & facilities:

The friendly staff is dressed down to reinforce the casual vibe, but it’s sometimes hard to know whether you’re chatting with a fellow guest or a hotel worker (which can be awkward). There are a small rooftop pool and gym with five exercise machines.

Head to the third floor for the spa, 24-hour gym – handy for early morning arrivals when your room isn’t ready – and a 25-meter outdoor pool. The latter’s position, squidged between skyscrapers, is very “selfie-friendly” if you want to pose for photos. Staff (there are a lot of them) seem to magically appear from nowhere and always seemed eager to help, whether it was helping with directions or bringing something to the room.

Disappointingly, the pool is only accessible from 8 am to 6 pm, depriving guests of the opportunity for dawn and night dips, both lovely in balmy Dubai, but the gym is open at all times.

  •  Parking
  •  Restaurant
  •  Bar
  •  Laundry
  •  Room service
  •  Pool
  •  Wi-Fi
  •  Fitness center

Rooms:

Playful rooms are filled with large slogans, reminding guests that “Dubai is always a good idea”. There’s a coffee machine, kettle, premium tea, and big mugs – just the way millennials like it. The little red Smeg fridge matches the red old-school rotary dial phone.

This is where the hotel really scores: rooms, which all have tall windows, high ceilings, a sofa area, wooden floors and marble bathrooms with separate bath and shower, have a fresh, glossy, design-mag look. There are 24-hour butler service and Nespresso machines.

In the bathroom, towel hooks are made from repurposed stereo control panels and there’s no shortage of amenities. Best of all, ceilings are covered with maps of Dubai so guests can plan their itineraries from the comfort of their beds.

Food & drink:

Named after the chemical symbol for copper, Cu has copper pots hanging from the ceiling and rosy light filtering through its walls of red and yellow bottles. It shows off eco-awareness for serving complimentary still and sparkling water in a jug with the slogan “less plastic, more fish”. You can also grab sweet and spicy pan-Asian fare here, from laksa to Thai red curry with duck.

Upscale Ananta reflects the property’s Indian parent-group heritage, while Nine7One is open for all-day dining from 6.30 am, starting with breakfast. It serves a mix of western, Indian and Arabic dishes and some that cross the divide; caesar salad with chicken tikka, for example. On Fridays, there is an extensive brunch spread (from £60), which is de rigor for all Dubai hotels. Hop in a cab and there are plenty of options within a 15-minute drive.

International breakfast buffets are sometimes available, otherwise there’s MishMash, also open all day, which offers brilliantly soft poached eggs on toast with mashed pea and avocado among is an eponymous mishmash of international dishes.

Value for money:

Double rooms from AED 250 (£52), year-round. Breakfast from AED 75 (£16). Free Wi-Fi.

Low-season room-only doubles start at £250; rising to around £340 in high season. Free Wi-Fi. In the summertime (low season) look for deals that include breakfast.

Family-friendly:

There are 10 larger rooms suitable for families.

There is no kids’ club as such but with advanced notice, the hotel provides child-friendly goodies such as chocolate jigsaw puzzles, coloring books, and board games. In-house babysitters can be arranged.

Al Seef Street Building B, Bur Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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