You can’t fault the location of the Vida Downtown, especially if you want a pedestrian-friendly European or Mediterranean feel to your Dubai visit when in the United Arab Emirates.
The hotel is on Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, the stretch that bustles with life and pavement cafes – there’s direct access for hotel guests.
The Burj Khalifa Hotel is close, the lake and the Dubai Fountain are closer still. The Palace Hotel and the Souk al Bahar are a ten-minute stroll, and they give you access to Dubai Mall. If you want to go shopping in Dubai especially during the Dubai Shopping Festival, or just to gawp at the Burj Khalifa Hotel or the Fountain display, you’re in the right place.
It’s also good for business – midway between Business Bay, Sheikh Zayed Road and DIFC, all a short taxi ride (and the hotel staff are great at finding you a cab when you need one).
Another major plus: the Vida’s staff. It’s impressive when you get good service that isn’t ostentatiously obsequious, friendly without being too informal, from helpful and generally knowledgeable people who really do remember you from one day to the next. It’s a four-star hotel, but you really do get five star service.
That’s one of the pluses of staying in a smaller hotel, and in Dubai terms the Vida Downtown does qualify as a boutique hotel – 156 rooms (mostly double or twin, but seven larger junior suites and three with a separate bedroom) spread across six floors.
Indeed, nothing quite like this place in the United Arab Emirates.
The Vida reopened a year ago after a major makeover – formerly it was the Qamardeen, an efficient but unremarkable business hotel. Now it’s a stylish urban hub, still business-savvy but designed for and frequented by a younger, more digitally connected generation who at the same time are often wont on shopping in Dubai, especially during the month-long Dubai Shopping Festval. Décor is understated and cool, with neutral colours and generous public spaces; rooms are very comfortable, with excellent beds, multifunction smart-technology TVs and very good use of lighting.
And of course there’s free wi-fi throughout.
The hotel has a gym at the top and a pool on the ground floor. At night the pool area doubles as a bar and eating space (with a very good DJ when we stayed) that extends the hotel’s main 3inOne restaurant. That serves breakfast and modern Oriental cuisine right through to 2am, and if you have the opportunity it’s worth checking out the Urban Picnic brunch every Friday. Breakfast is another highlight – all the variety you expect plus freshly squeezed juices (in those old-style glass bottles with a clip top and a rubber seal – try the green apple!) and breads from the boulangerie downstairs.
There are other dining options – La Serre is a remarkably authentic Paris-style brasserie, genuinely one of the best French tables in Dubai, with a boulangerie and pavement café below it; Toko Dubai offers modern izakaya-style dining with a contemporary take on traditional Japanese dishes. Be warned though: hotel guests won’t be able to sign for meals at these restaurants because they’re run by tenants.
Vida Downtown is a real surprise in Dubai, a city where pursuit of the dollar can sometimes mean extravagant prices for ordinary service. It really is good value for the quality you get, for the people who look after you, and for the stylish ambiance. Great for midweek business, great for a weekend trip to the bright lights.