ME Dubai hotel Near+Far rating: 8/10
Why stay at ME Dubai
It’s quite an accolade to be the only hotel fully designed inside and out by the late Dame Zaha Hadid, and it’s one ME Dubai wears with pride. Occupying four floors of the futuristic Opus by Omniyat, the hotel opened its doors just before the global pandemic and in the years since, has fostered a strong and loyal crowd of well-heeled locals and pretty young things, who flock through its shiny doors. The hotel effortlessly combines a space-age yet natural, and organic feeling – from the glossy white lotus-inspired atrium with its tiered floors and LED lights, to the soothing spa with its mood lighting and curved ceilings. Despite feeling very Dubai, the brand’s Spanish roots are still very much throughout, from the tapas dining to the Ibiza-style vibes at the rooftop pool. What makes the hotel s special and unique is its suite offering – particularly the four Zaha Hadid suites that double as the ultimate party or events pads – bringing a touch of retro-futuristic New York City to Dubai.
ME Dubai occupies a spot in The Opus building – a striking structure designed by Hadid herself, and completed posthumously by her firm. The cube appears almost to be melting in the sun – a gaping amorphous cavity in the middle and fluid bending walls. Guests will appreciate the proximity to the Burj Khalifa district and Downtown Dubai (and Burj Khalifa views) and being right on top of two – globally known Roka and Madrid-born Salmon Guru. The property is just a 15-minute drive from Dubai International Airport and the same distance from the nearest public beach.
Rooms and suites
ME Dubai’s rooms are some of the most aesthetically pleasing, spacious and zen in Dubai – curated with ergonomic design and minimalism in mind. Entry-level Always ME rooms are bright, white and spacious 39 sq m, white Superior ME’s coming in soothing midnight blue. Rooms steadily increase in size and wow factor – many with jacuzzis, mesmerising city views and maxi bars (all have retro-futurist low beds and curved walls). If you have the means, staying in one of the four ME Suites is one of Dubai’s most enjoyable urban experiences. More than a place to bed down, they have thick sound-proof doors (perfect for care-free antics) and were the only suites in the world personally designed by the late dame – her signature curved, nature-inspired design throughout. Personality is bright white and gold, Passois midnight blue and black, and understated Chic in midnight blue.
The most impressive is the head-spinning Suite ME – akin to a high-tech Austin Powers pad in Sixties New York. Spread over 198 sq me, structured, futuristic, slick amenities are sparsely dotted around, creating an echoey sense of space. Peet out of the floor-to-ceiling windows at Burj Khalifa and slink into the dining room with its own fully stocked ‘maxi bar’ – perfect for parties. The space’s pool table can be converted into a dining table (and not the other way around). Highlights include a bedroom with deep blue shaggy rug and mood lighting, a black marble bathroom with a high-tech jacuzzi, enormous television and multiple dressing rooms.
Food and drink: 9/10
ME Dubai has been on a journey since opening, with ever-changing outlets, but it’s finally got its ducks in a row. Paying homage to its Spanish roots is tapas bar Central Cosmo Tapas & Bar, a cool spot with live music serving sharing plates and breakfast. To take in the impressive atrium, grab a booth at Sfumato Coffe Point, the heart of the hotel, with tarts, cakes and coffee beans from around the world. Also in the lobby, cosily tucked under a low ceiling, is Sfumato – a sultry spot by Michelin-awarded chef Alena Solodovichenko serving a vegetable-forward menu utilising local produce. Another touch of Spain can be had at Basque restaurant Basko – designed in the style of a Sixties lounge with an adjoining speakeasy bar. Third-party outlets on the premises include Roka, the legendary Japanese Robatayaki concept, and Salmon Guru, a Dubai iteration of the renowned Madrid cocktail bar – featured on 2022’s The World’s 50 Best Bars.
Spa and facilities: 9/10
To prepare for a night in one of the indulgent suites, or recover from one, head to the hotel’s futuristic spa, Wellness by ME. The same calming curvatures are present throughout, and treatments range from youth-injecting facials to energising massages and body wraps. Treatments start with choosing a fragrant oil, the colour in the room based on your mood (electric blue, flamingo pink or canary yellow. The hotel’s sunny rooftop area is perfect for relaxing, located on the side of the building with sunloungers and cabas. Elsewhere, a shiny modern fitness suite and a multi-disciplinary showcase of Zaha Hadid’s most famous works feature on the hotel’s open-air wrap-around corridors.
The vibe: 9/10
Young, cool, late night – the brilliant white lobby is always buzzing with remote workers and groups sipping coffee and milling around. Restaurants and bars are sultry and super cool, while the suites whisk you away to the world’s most impressive megacities. The hotel is perfect for those wanting a break from reality – or from the Arabesque or neutral design many Dubai hotels have – and to enjoy retro-futurist fabulousness.
Doubles from AED563 (low season), AED960 high season; Business Bay, Dubai; book now