An escape from Dubai’s skyscrapers, but without travelling far from the city’s core
Hotel insider: La Ville Hotel & Suites, City Walk, Dubai
I arrive by car at the plush, water-feature-embellished entrance of this Autograph Collection hotel, the third in the city. Valets are quick to enquire after my luggage. A computer fault foils an early check-in, but I am able to leave my suitcase, and when I return, formalities are completed by a personable receptionist. Unfortunately, a mix-up means that I assume the porter who shows me to my room has my door card, but it hasn’t been issued to either of us.
City Walk is one of the most pleasant low-rise developments in Dubai, and in the early winter, it is a delight to stroll its streets. There are shops and cafes aplenty within a few steps of the hotel. It is only a short drive to Downtown Dubai and Sheikh Zayed Road, but far enough from those hectic environs to feel almost entirely disconnected.
My third-floor premium room has a view of the Burj Khalifa, albeit slightly obscured by construction work in Downtown Dubai. Other boons include a pineapple ornament filled with discount vouchers for the hotel’s outlets, plus a comprehensive range of television channels. A large overhanging floor lamp near the wardrobe is at a perfect height for smacking your head, something that I inevitably manage. The room is equipped with an especially comfortable king bed, an Illy coffee machine, a work desk subtly integrated into the room design, a large Lowry-meets-cartoon artwork above the bed depicting City Walk, and a tiny table with two-seater couch and upholstered chair. Bathroom highlights include a full tub and large separate rain shower.
Attentive, charming and mostly intuitive – even the room-key drama doesn’t seem like a hassle, such is the swift and amiable resolution, while restaurant staff effortlessly slip into chatty conversations.
With 77 rooms, 11 suites and 68 apartments, La Ville is effectively split into two wings for guests and residents. The reception has a busy, slightly businesslike feel, with a steady stream of people using the lobby cafe for meetings. Wi-Fi is free and connects from rooms to restaurants and everywhere in-between. The low-rise design – there are only five floors – lends a distinctly European vibe.
There are three restaurants, plus the lobby cafe and rooftop pool bar LookUp. The most attractive is ground-floor gastro-grill Graze, which has a semi-open-air design that allows you to gaze onto the street during your meal. I dine alone after a friend cancels at short notice, but what could ordinarily be an awkward experience is rescued by some of the most attentive but well-judged service in Dubai. The highlight is some enjoyably tart ceviche (Dh65); Graze has the chops – and steaks – to be a worthy stand-alone dining destination. Breakfast is part-buffet, part-à la carte at Chival, which is next door to Graze. It also has a lovely terrace, on the interior courtyard of the hotel – a perfect place to consume fresh juices served in cute mini milk bottles and an asparagus-embellished poached-egg dish that takes its name from the restaurant. Sadly, largely thanks to its dinner-only opening times, I don’t get to experience the fare at the hotel’s bar/kitchen Grapeskin, which looks like it would make a nice lunch spot.
The low-rise atmosphere and Graze’s food and staff.
Check-in could have been smoother, but it turned out OK in the end.
An escape from Dubai’s skyscrapers, but without travelling far from the city’s core.
The bottom line
Double rooms at La Ville Hotel & Suites cost from Dh1,400, including taxes.