You can’t miss Form Hotel Dubai – a gleaming white tower that stands out against the traditional, tan architecture of central Dubai. Its sleek interiors are eye-catching, too – with floor-to-ceiling windows, Art Deco-inspired furnishings and crisply uniformed staff. It’s not lacking in personality, however: every booking can be tailored with almost anything you’d like. Opt to replace forgotten toiletries, perhaps, or to have a butler or babysitter. Add on a foodie tour of Dubai’s markets, if you want to branch out, or perhaps a desert drive? This city centre hotel undoubtedly makes the smartest of stopover hotels… but we think it’s worth more than just a flying visit.
We love the booth-like tables against the plushly panelled wall. Solo travellers may prefer the side-by-side dining at the windowside counter.
Floaty fabrics and floor-length hems seem to suit the mood of this all-day dining space.
Roots Kitchen by Parlour is open from dawn till late, serving a menu that magically melds Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences across poultry, meat and fish dishes, such as Atlantic stone bass with vegetable tagine, couscous and harissa oil. The dining space itself is an elegant affair, all brass-edged tables and midcentury-style chairs. Sleek and intimate, it has a bar at one end, and banquettes lined against a wall of wooden panelling at the other. Clever use of wood elsewhere carves up the space, adding to the sense of intimacy.
Perched at one end of the restaurant, this is a space to enjoy pre-dinner soft cocktails (the Ring O’Fire is a punchy mix of passionfruit and peppers), rather than an all-night den for lingering.
Roots Kitchen is open from 6.30am till 10.30am for breakfast, then a full menu of hot and cold dishes till 11pm.
Form Hotel Dubai is at the heart of the International City, just across the creek from Festival City and just a 10-minute drive from the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, as well as the city’s commercial districts.
Dubai International is a five-minute drive away. The hotel runs free shuttle minibuses, subject to availability, or you can book a private limo from about £34 each way.
You’re right by Al Jadaf metro station, on the Green Line, three stops from interchange Burjuman station. You can use the metro to get to the airport, Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and more.
You can reach the hotel easily via Sheikh Zayed Road (the SZR) or Al Khail Road, and there’s a car park in front of the hotel with free valet parking. The driving in Dubai, however, can be a little fast and furious (undertaking, zooming up the hard shoulder and plenty of prangs are commonplace). It’s probably one to leave to experienced local drivers – let the front desk book you a car.
Worth getting out of bed for
And if you do feel like venturing beyond Form, you’ll find that entertainment in Dubai is organised like no other city, where it’s the driving force for entire themed complexes and quarters rather than a happy consequence of time. Get your head around that and there’s no shortage of delights to explore – many within a 10-minute drive – with shopping, design and art top of the list, as well as big-name restaurants and no end of nightlife options.
Creek-side Jameel Arts Centre is a sprawling, new exhibition space for contemporary arts, where numerous galleries are interspersed with designer gardens, and there’s even an open-air gallery on the roof. Housed in designer warehouse spaces at Alserkal Avenue, aka Dubai’s industrial quarter, are bookstores, galleries, cafés and pop-up theatres. Shopping, art and design create an intriguing mall-cum-exhibition-centre in Dubai Design District, full of galleries, shops, beauty salons, restaurants and showrooms featuring everything from Afghan carpets to Italian furniture. Nearby Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club has options for all levels of golf with wonderful waterfront views. Choose from its Championship course, to an easier nine-hole, and just-for-fun mini golf. Twilight Rates, with an afternoon tee time, offer better value.
Not many places would attempt to outdazzle the Bellagio Fountain Show in Las Vegas, but the Dubai Fountain at Burj Khalifa is a 30-fountain contender for largest show of its kind, choreographing lights, music and water on the lake in Downtown Dubai. You can book an evening boat trip on the lake, too.
Friday brunch at Nobu (from 12–3pm) is worth reserving well ahead. Housed at Atlantis the Palm, Nobu’s signature Japanese and South American dishes are yours to browse and devour from the buffet. It costs around £150 and includes unlimited prosecco, wine or soft drinks, as well as all you can eat. A table on the terrace overlooking the marina at Bulgari Hotel Dubai is the spot to linger over lunch at Il Café. The exquisite Italian menu includes dishes such as black truffle ravioli and Milanese veal cutlet. Downtown Toko is the stuff of laid-back suppers, all high ceilings and low lighting, with fusion Asian dishes including delicious dim sum, delicate salads and eyebrow-raisers such as flaming black cod avocado. For something more formal, Armani Ristorante tastefully whispers ‘special occasion’. In the Armani Hotel at Burj Khalifa, it marries fine Italian dining with fine Italian design.
Q’s bar and lounge is a mauve-lit den of live music with the stamp of approval from Q himself, Quincy Jones. A five-minute walk from the hotel, at Palazzo Versace, it’s the place to lounge on a Versace cushion and sip a Quincy Jones-inspired cocktail.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this pleasingly polished hotel in the United Arab Emirates and unpacked their medjool dates and Persian rugs, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Form Hotel in Dubai…
First impressions of Form Hotel Dubai convey a stay of simple sophistication, with polished dark-wood panelling and pebble-grey upholstery. With light flooding in everywhere and an emphasis on sleek space, it’s a world away from the gilt and flourish of more traditional Arabian lodgings. Form Hotel is rightly proud of its ‘beautifully practical’ design – you could call it minimal but, on closer inspection, that would do disservice to the thought that goes into every stay. Tailored booking options run the gamut from kit to services to experiences – the former being a forgetful packer’s dream. A butler or personal trainer can be booked before arrival, as can guided outings – be it a foodie market tour or desert foray to discover Dubai’s heritage. The result is a handpicked parcel of personalised loveliness, with the slap-bang-central city location the sparkling bow on top.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Form Hotel Dubai’s Guestbook below.
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