“I Hate My Friends”
An Art exhibit
That was the group art exhibition featuring the works of Charlotte de Bekker, Nino Cricco, Shakhbout Al Kaabi, Nikolai Kozak & Agustina Zegers and curated by Grace Hauser, during our first visit to this hidden gem of Dubai, the XVA Gallery (Art Hotel & Café). I will not be talking about the exhibit though, but the gallery and the neighborhood it is in.
It was one of those long weekends that we get to have being residents here in Dubai, whenever Eid holidays fall around the end of a week, or the beginning of it. My hubby has long planned to take me to this place, which he’s heard to be beautiful but hidden. True enough, because it took us a while to locate the exact place, around sunset of Eid Al Adha 2014.
We were roaming around Al Fahidi historical neighborhood in Bur Dubai – one of the oldest traditional Emirati neighborhoods established in 1859. There deep within the scattered alleyways, is a two-storey building with a wooden door beneath an array of wooden windows. A hanging XVA signage on top, made of dark sticks (the kind that you see in “The Blair Witch Project”) signals a bit of spookiness already, which is “my thing” actually. The wooden door leads to the shady courtyard surrounded by rare pieces of art. It is so peaceful inside, I was mesmerized. A tranquil place perfect for one’s gathering of thoughts and those looking for inspiration. Perfect for artists, writers, and anyone looking for peace & quiet; that whenever the pangs of hunger strike, having a healthy meal or light snacks on the side can easily be arranged. XVA Café offers Middle-Eastern Vegetarian menu, but non-vegetarians like me will not go famished. The café has a few non-veg options as well. Did I mention that they have wifi for those who can’t afford to be disconnected? If you need to stay longer, XVA offers 13 uniquely designed individual guest rooms upstairs, which showcase architectural and cultural themes of the region, aiming to take you back to the past, when only the essentials exist. It is an art gallery, a café, and a hotel in one. They also have a design shop where you can find rare pieces of gift items like fashion accessories, art books, unique homeware, and jewelry.
So if you want to break free from the luxurious extravagant amenities in common hotels in Dubai, but not to the point of going camping in the desert, a visit or staycation at XVA Gallery can be a welcome change. Especially to the cube dwellers in this fast-paced city, known for its fairy-tale-like extravagance where everything is state-of-the-art. XVA Gallery Art Hotel & Cafe and the culture it exudes is truly liberating and inspiring!
The historical buildings and courtyards offer an exquisite and unique venue for any occasion; from private parties, intimate wedding receptions and concerts to corporate events. XVA has been chosen as a venue by Hermes, Chanel, Fendi and Louis Vuitton, among others. XVA can also provide catering and event management.
The neighborhood is like a museum in itself. While it holds a handful of art galleries inside, it has also managed to preserve trees and artifacts for as old as a century. This is one charming place I would never want my visiting friends and family to miss.
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