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XVA ART HOTEL WHERE Bastakia, Bur Dubai WHY Easily the best of Dubai's tiny handful of traditional boutique hotels, the XVA Art Hotel is tucked away in a quiet alleyway in the old Iranian quarter of Bastakia, bang in the city centre, in a lovingly restored 100- year- old sand- coloured dwelling topped with traditional wind towers. Each room is individually designed in contemporary Arabian style, and there's also a tranquil little courtyard café, while the hotel also hosts an absorbing range of changing exhibitions by leading Emirati and Arab artists. CONTACT www. xvagallery. com ACCOMMODATION msafi ri 88 10 AL QASR WHERE Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim WHY The ultimate Arabian palace, Al Qasr ( above) marries traditional Middle Eastern design with a distinct touch of Hollywood bling, from the fanciful statue of rearing horses which greets you on arrival to the spectacular entrance lobby, with cascading fountains, acres of marble and gargantuan chandeliers. Rooms are gorgeously furnished with Arabian fabrics and artefacts, and there's an incredible array of places to eat, drink and shop both in- house and in the attached Souk Madinat Jumeirah, including the delectable Koubba bar and the lovely Pierchic waterfront restaurant, commanding one of the fi nest views in Dubai. CONTACT www. madinatjumeirah. com GROSVENOR HOUSE WHERE Dubai Marina WHY The most alluring of the many hotels jostling for elbow- room amidst the upwardly mobile skyscrapers of the new Dubai Marina, Grosvenor House is one of Dubai's slickest new hotels, with bags of suave contemporary chic aimed at business travellers and style- conscious tourists. The elegant rooms and sleek public areas are complemented by a superb array of in- house attractions, including Dubai's branch of the world- famous Buddha Bar, Michelin- starred Gary Rhodes' Mezzanine and Vineet Bhatia's Indego restaurants, as well as the sublime Bar 44, a very chic cocktail bar on the hotel's 44th fl oor, high above the twinkling lights of the surrounding forest of high rises. The only bad news is that it's not actually on the beach – although guests can use the facilities at the neighbouring Royal Meridien. CONTACT www. grosvenorhouse- dubai. com 9 8