Fun furniture, cool restaurants and a sense of humour – the Studio One Hotel is shaking up the Dubai hospitality scene
With the indie scene in Dubai continuing to bloom (just look at the proliferation of streetwear in recent months), the hospitality scene is finally catching up with a younger, fresher approach that feels very New York. Leading the way is the new Studio One Hotel. Tucked away in Studio City, this boutique property has just 141 rooms, several restaurants and bars, and a mini cinema coming at the end of September. EDGAR checked in and here's what we found...
Maine at Studio One Hotel
Building on the success of its original location on JBR, the second outpost of beloved restaurant Maine is the number one highlight of the hotel. Classy yet casual, with welcoming booths decked in caramel-coloured leather, it feels like the sort of place you’d find in New York’s West Village. Fish tacos, chicken schnitzel and sticky toffee pudding was EDGAR’s order and all were executed pretty much perfectly, as was the service from our guy Mina. Date nights, catching up with mates, family get-togethers – Maine pushes all the right buttons.
There's a New York vibe at Maine
In reality you’re in Dubai's Studio City, but you’ll feel like you could be in a hip neighbourhood somewhere far away. The décor, staff and mood of the hotel is laidback from the second you walk in the lobby. Check-in is a breeze as smiley folk in t-shirts keep the chat easygoing while providing you with a room key in an envelope that looks like a cinema ticket. The hotel has gone big on its Studio City location, with numerous references to film, TV and radio such as giant artwork featuring Rami Malek and Barbra Streisand, plus a cluster of TVs stacked up in the lobby.
TV sculpture in the lobby
Rooms are adult playgrounds, filled with quirky stuff you want to fiddle with. Carpets display wordsearch puzzles that you can solve; a vinyl record player is also a Bluetooth speaker; make calls with a retro dial telephone (kids, ask your parents); the hooded bathrobe has ‘Rocky’ on the back and some rooms even have a bunk bed. The bag containing the hairdryer invites you to 'blow out before you go out.' Each floor has a communal pantry stocked with goodies you might need during your stay such as toothbrushes, towels and slippers so you don't have to call down to reception and wait for someone to bring it to you.
Rooms are stripped back yet comfortable
Studio One has cleverly created a restaurant village around its pool with the previously mentioned Maine, a taco place (El Chapo's), an Asian street food spot (Mr Miyagi's), a posh BBQ restaurant (Boho) coming in September, and a branch of the favourite Dubai pub Irish Village that has a rooftop terrace. An ideal venue for a pub crawl, there’s something for everyone here. Inside the hotel, meanwhile, is Larte, an Italian eatery that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, including the ubiquitous avocado on toast.
Larte's terrace faces the courtyard and pool
Retro furniture in bright colours happily clashes with rugs in bold prints to give the hotel a youthful energy. Corridor carpets show the old TV test card graphics, while photographs in the lobby of Stormtroopers superimposed onto traditional Arabic landscapes is typical of Studio One’s kooky concept. It's like a posh IKEA, everything is light and bright, contemporary and stripped back – you won't find any over-the-top fountains or chandeliers here.
'On air' signs and test card graphics continue the media theme