As we enter the lobby, we're met by a massive wall of flowers and a sign reading: "Anything can happen." Talk about an intriguing welcome.
Ever since it opened in November, Hyde Hotel Dubai has created quite the buzz with its casual elegance and fun-loving attitude.
The first international outing of the Hyde Hotels, Resorts and Residences outside the US, the brand is known for its playful take on hospitality and creating what they call a "city sanctuary".
However, in a city home to some of the best and most opulent hotels in the world, is that really enough to make them stand out? The National checks in to find out.
Located on the newer-end of the ever-expanding Business Bay area, across the canal from Downtown Dubai, Hyde Hotel Dubai is right on the edge of where all the tourist action is. Away from the busy roads of the downtown area, but still a few minutes walk or cycle away, it's a dream location for those who want a bit of peace and quiet, yet still want to be close to all the action.
The location along the canal also gives guests staying in rooms facing the downtown area one of the best views in the city, with the looming Burj Khalifa as the star attraction.
Walking into the lobby of Hyde Hotel Dubai feels like you've stepped into a well-travelled friend's city apartment. Record covers, bookshelves and an interesting collection of artwork and curios line the walls, while plush sofas and tables set with chess boards add to a relaxed but chic vibe.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned neon lights and flower wall give you a sense that a cool party is about to begin any minute. And, you're invited.
Check-in is swift with very attentive staff all dressed casually, and very friendly. And, within minutes, we are ushered into our room.
There are 276 guest rooms at the Hyde Hotel Dubai, including suites, and all of them come with their own private balcony.
We were excited to discover we'd been upgraded to a junior suite. Hyde Me is a 54-metre-square suite with a living and dining area and separate bedroom that has one of the best uninterrupted views of Downtown Dubai I've ever seen. The suite comes with two balconies, a smaller one leading off the living room and the other accessed via the bedroom. Laid out with plush loungers, the latter is big enough to comfortably host up to 10 people for a chilled-out sundowner with one of the best skylines as company.
The suite also comes with a pantry, inclusive of a coffee machine, a well-stocked mini bar and plenty of Hyde Hotel-branded snacks.
There are two toilets, while the main bathroom has a large bathtub and two sinks, all stocked with amenities by Malin+Goetz, the New York brand known for their natural and environment-conscious cosmetics.
Like the rest of the hotel, the decor has an easy charm about it that's stylish and inviting with a functional elegance about every piece of furniture.
From the outside, Hyde Hotel Dubai doesn't seem particularly imposing by UAE standards. But it is sizeable , with three restaurants, a cafe, a pool and lounge, five meeting rooms and a 190 square-metre ballroom.
The hotel's spa, Cinq Mondes Dubai, offers all kinds of wellness therapies in five treatment rooms. There are also separate male and female salons as well as a common fitness centre equipped by the Italian brand TechnoGym. And, like many of the hotel's facilities, the spa and gym both share incredible views of the Dubai Canal.
Our first evening after checking in, we tried Cleo, which specialises in Mediterranean cuisine, on the ground floor. The restaurant is expansive, but, weather permitting, I highly recommend sitting outside, as you can people watch along the promenade as well as enjoy the evening lights of Downtown Dubai. Depending on where you're sat, you can even catch the shows on the Burj Khalifa as you tuck into your favourite grilled meat.
The next day, we tried the Saturday brunch at Katsuya (Dh299 per person including soft drinks), the famed modern Japanese restaurant by chef Katsuya Uechi, which has relocated at the Hyde Hotel Dubai. Again, the weather was perfect for an outdoor seating, and the view unparalleled. Featuring a live DJ the relaxed vibe of the afternoon matched perfectly with the sight of the yachts gliding past the hotel, some hosting their own parties, along the canal.
Later in the evening, we decided to check out the speakeasy-style bar and lounge Hudson Tavern. Concealed behind thick black curtains, it's literally a hidden gem. The laid-back atmosphere inside is alluring, perfect for a night out with friends and good conversations, while the American-inspired food is excellent, as well as the expansive menu of drinks crated by Hudson Tavern's mixologist.
Highs and lows
Hyde Hotel Dubai's upmarket casual positioning is like a breath of fresh air, an attitude filtering down to staff, from the doormen to the waiters at the restaurants. There's no pretension anywhere, just a fun chill atmosphere all around.
There aren't really any downsides to point out, except to say that while Downtown Dubai is just across the canal, it can seem a bit of a trek to get to it as there is no bridge nearby. But still, its the kind of complaint you'd only hear from someone who's been spoilt for far too long by Dubai.
The insider tip
Make sure you ask for Downtown Dubai views when booking, because from any of the balconies facing it vista view is great, irrespective of which floor you're on.
After staying two nights at Hyde Hotel Dubai, we are now convinced that "city sanctuary" is not just a marketing shtick for them. There aren't many places that can put you right in the middle of a downtown area but still feel make it feel like an escape. And, for those looking for the perfect Instagram post, there are plenty of places within the property that will offer you that like-worthy shot.
The bottom line
Stays start from Dh450 per night, excluding taxes. Half-board packages are also available. Check-in is from 3pm and checkout is at noon. www.sbe.com
This review was conducted at the invitation of the hotel during the global coronavirus pandemic. It reflects hotel standards during the time, services may change in the future