Husain Roomi, who with his brother Hasan founded H2R Design — the firm behind the interiors of venues such as Tom & Serg, The Sum of Us, Parker’s and Al Alamein Hotel in Egypt — shares some of his favourite places and spaces in Dubai
The sight that inspires me the most in Dubai is… the view from a high floor of the Index Tower, one of my favourite buildings, looking towards the Burj Khalifa and all the way to the Marina on a clear day. Looking out through those windows it’s like they’re framing the skyline of Dubai so beautifully that it almost doesn’t feel real. Seeing the extent of Dubai and its urban planning at that height is like looking at a 1:50 scale architectural model of the city and it is definitely a view that frees my mind. It’s also quite surreal to see clouds running between buildings and feel like I am sitting on top of them.
The building I feel most connected to is… There are many amazing buildings in Dubai that really speak to me and that I appreciate highly. However, by far my strongest connection is with The Courtyard in Al Quoz, where our offices are. Entering this building every day is like stepping out of the noise and the real world and into a space filled with creativity and inspiration. I remember visiting it as a kid and falling in love. Years later it became our home, and has been for quite some time now.
A recent “find” is… a small, humble and — in my opinion — the most authentic Japanese restaurant in Dubai. Kohantei seats only around 10 people, and sources fresh ingredients directly from Japan. An omakase experience there is like no other I’ve had, and I’ve tried a lot. Super happy to see such places in Dubai.
An object from outside my city that sits in my home is… a 1969 Porsche 911, which I bought while living in London. I plan on having it in my home until I pass it on to my children.
On my coffee table you’ll always find… a collection of vinyls for my record player, some car and design magazines and most likely a flat white.
My favourite space in my city is… the karting track. Spending a day there doing track runs is definitely a therapeutic and exhilarating experience.
The last gift I received from someone in the city was… a pair of really rare Nike Off-White Air Max 90s. I have great friends!
My next investment… will probably be land in Ubud, Bali. I’d love to build the ultimate holiday home for my family and I to use at any time — a place where I could spend months on end.
My last memorable trip was to… I don’t travel on vacation unless I know it’s going to be one to remember, whether it’s to London again, Sri Lanka, Bali, Barcelona, New York, Portofino or anywhere else. However, a recent trip that stood out was to the north coast of Egypt for the inauguration Al Alamein Hotel, which we renovated. Originally built in the 1960s, it was popular among celebrities and politicians. It was incredibly special seeing guests check in on day one and comparing their new experiences to past ones. Some had stories going back three generations!
The thing I most look forward to coming back to is… After a long trip, whether for work or holiday, what gets me excited about coming back home the most is my garden, where I have a view of my cars. I am an avid enthusiast and collector of cars, predominantly classic Porsches. I love having an iced latte in the garden before checking the cars one by one, washing them, starting them and then taking one or two out for a ride — preferably at night, when there aren’t many cars on the road. The roads in Dubai are beautiful, wide and smooth, so it really elevates the driving experience in these cars. Windows down, music on — that’s all I need.
Tom & Serg
The last thing that surprised me about the city was… the constant developments and the pace at which they’re happening, whether it’s residential properties, retail or even restaurants. It’s amazing to see, and this city has so much more to take in and I’m enjoying every moment of it. It keeps us on our toes and constantly excited for new places. Bluewaters island is next on my list.
If I didn’t live in my city I would live in… This is an on-going internal battle, and it’s constantly changing according to where I travel and what I’ve seen. Sometimes it’s New York and other times it’s Bali. I guess it depends on where I am in life. For now, it’s definitely somewhere as buzzing as Dubai. In a few years, I can imagine it would be somewhere tranquil, with stunning natural views of forests and/or a beach. I plan to visit Mexico soon, so it might be there — you never know. I’m always open to anything!
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The former sorting office delivers on numerous fronts in the very heart of the city