i2

Before it was forced to shut with the closure of the Metropolitan Hotel, I2 was renowned as an alternative hangout for arty types. Less than a week after waving goodbye to Sheikh Zayed Road, the same team picked up the concept, dragged it 20km south and dropped it in the former home of Bartini, in the Marina’s Habtoor Grand. But does it work? It’s already popular for sure — come midnight on a Friday, it’s packed with a bustling crowd. Bartini’s rectangular space feels rather more staid than the low-ceilinged, bare-bricked corner of the old home. New mirrorballs, ceiling lines and overpowering ads for Russian drinks fail to evoke the lawless speakeasy vibe of old, while a small wall of graffiti now feels somewhat forced. The sense is of a slow shift from quirky boutique club to Dubai lounge bar, but we’re overjoyed to have an old friend back. If anything, the retro-tastic music — which is what defined I2 in the first place — is better and more consistently mixed than before. Yet if we have one grumble, it’s the frustrating elevator ride to reach the toilets.

Places Near i2

Grand Grill Bar
Grand Grill Bar

A great find, this outdoor bar at the Habtoor Grand’s South African steakhouse is the perfect destin...

Villa Romana St Tropez-Dubai
Villa Romana St Tropez-Dubai

Villa Romana is the latest in a slew of über-exclusive European club brands to arrive, franchised...

XL Dubai
XL Dubai

In Dubai, bigger means better, which is probably why the Habtoor Grand’s beach club is called XL. No...

Al Basha
Al Basha

The sun beamed its brilliance onto the terrace from an azure sky. Birds twittered in the trees and c...

Fish Bazaar
Fish Bazaar

As I meandered towards Fish Bazaar, through the twinkling fairy lights of the Habtoor Grand gardens,...

Luciano’s
Luciano’s

From Time Out Dubai Eating Out 2010Luciano’s isn’t as good a restaurant as it thinks it is. A ‘pools...

Shahjahan
Shahjahan

Culinary folklore dictates you shouldn’t trust the restaurant tout standing outside with a menu – an...

Summer Place
Summer Place

It’s never advisable to tinker with the ingredients of a tried-and-tested recipe – an extra dash of...

Elixir Spa & Health Club
Elixir Spa & Health Club

Enter Elixir at the Marina-based Habtoor Grand hotel and you’ll find six treatment rooms, a dry floa...

Fish Bazaar and Salamar
Fish Bazaar and Salamar

Fish Bazaar is located amongst an oasis of palm trees, this beach facing traditional Thai restaurant...

Al Manara
Al Manara

Al Manara is the resort’s relaxed beachside bar with chilled beverages and snacks to keep you satisf...

The Underground Pub - Habtoor Grand
The Underground Pub - Habtoor Grand

The Underground Pub is open and moving fast! A lively meeting place in the style of the Metropolitan...

The Underground Pub
The Underground Pub

The underground resonates to the vibrant beat of London and is just the ticket for an evening ride....

Horizon Lounge
Horizon Lounge

Prepare to broaden your Horizons with breathtaking, unobstructed views of the Gulf. The Horizon Loun...

Salamar Restaurant Bar
Salamar Restaurant Bar

Immerse yourself in the lush tropical gardens surrounding Salamar Garden Lounge & Bar. A hidden gem...