CRITERIA for choosing Abu Dhabi luxury hotels
There are so many Abu Dhabi luxury hotels. How would you choose which one to go to?
- Perhaps PROXIMITY to Dubai is important. Sometimes you don’t want to drive more than an hour or so.
- Hotel SETTING is important. Abu Dhabi luxury hotels have settings that range from desert islands to autodromes.
- UNIQUENESS of the property is also a factor.
- Sometimes you may want to stick with a BRAND of Abu Dhabi luxury hotels you know something about.
- Or maybe you just choose based on what you READ on Trip Advisor!
Which Abu Dhabi luxury hotels did we choose?
Our first hotel choice for a two night break over half term was the Anantara Eastern Mangroves hotel and Spa. It was an hour from Dubai and I had heard so much about the green Mangrove setting. Then we chose the Anantara Qasr Al Sarab because of the uniqueness of the setting in the Empty Quarter –Rub al Quali (Khali means empty in Hindi).
Stopping for a night at the Eastern Mangroves to begin our StayCation broke up the long drive and gave us an opportunity to see the Grand Mosque.
This post is part 1 of 2 posts reporting on an HONEST ACCOUNT of our Abu Dhabi luxury hotels (StayCation) experience. So you will read about everything that worked well and some areas that both hotels could improve upon.
Where is the Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa?
About an hour’s straight drive from Dubai along the E11. Very easy.
The HIGHLIGHTS of Abu Dhabi luxury hotels:
The MANGROVE setting
It is incredible how green this bit of Abu Dhabi is, just parallel to the Sheikh Zayed Road. The Mangroves in Abu Dhabi are all protected; thankfully this means there are no jet skis whizzing up and down like on some public beaches in Dubai. The water is 9 parts salt so stick to swimming in the hotel pool! The walk directly at the back of the hotel is called the Eastern Mangroves Promenade which makes for a very pleasant stroll. We had a lunch at Cafe Blanc on the terrace adjacent to the water.
There is also a small Waitrose in case you need to stock up before you head home. Apparently the Boa steakhouse and Carluccios in this development also serve alcohol. I was told this later but if I’m right please let me know in a comment. Husband and teenage daughter went on the kayaks into the Mangroves and LOVED it! A 2 hour or so trip with a guide for Dhs 160 was money well spent. You do have to book before hand and they only take small groups. The boats go out twice a day. I wasn’t tempted by the much more expensive wooden abra type pearl journey boat that was about 90 minutes long but cost Dhs 500.
The SPA and TURKISH HAMMAM treatment
I was a little skeptical about this experience having heard all about being beaten with brush sticks and being left with raw skin. Nothing could have been further from the truth! This was one of the best spa treatments I have ever experienced. It comprises of 6 or 7 stages of washing, exfoliating and massaging all of which are carried out while you lie on a warm marble Hammam platform.
They do hot yoga here sometimes too so will have to come back for that class. My therapist from India was extremely competent, very well spoken and put me at my ease immediately. I literally fell asleep at one point in the treatment! Have any readers ever experienced a bubble pillow wash before?! Do ask for a tour around the spa, I loved it. This would be the PERFECT pre bridal party for a group of friends. If there are 25 of you, you can have the whole hammam and spa area to yourselves.
The CLUB rooms floor
We stayed on the club room floor which like most hotels offered afternoon tea and drinks with canapes in the early evening. The canapes were much more generous and high quality than I have sampled in many hotels and the view again over the mangroves is extremely relaxing.
They have a well stocked library that is open till late at night, we had coffees here after our dinner at the Thai restaurant Pachalayan.
The Service and FRIENDLINESS of the staff
We all know that good service makes or breaks any trip. The staff here were exceptionally good. I was waiting for fresh Saj bread at Breakfast in Ingredients restaurant and didn’t realize the plate being prepared was for a staff member who then insisted I have her breakfast while she waited for another batch. The quality of food at Ingredients was excellent. The Mezzes I thought were on par with Dubai’s Wafi Gourmet.
Areas for IMPROVEMENT
My personal view was that some aspects of the Thai restaurant Pachalayan could be improved upon. The ambience in the evening (only open for dinner) is slightly lacklustre; compounded by the too dim tone of the lighting. While the food the food was tasty the presentation was a little old fashioned in it’s use of lollo rossa lettuce and carved carrots for garnishing dishes.
In the impressive lobby I felt that purple and yellow colour combination for the flower arrangements was jarring and didn’t add to the ambience of the well proportioned and bright lobby. There were also some red rose arrangements left over from Valentines so the whole effect felt a little un co-ordinated.
Special Deals at Abu Dhabi luxury hotels
Stay on a Thursday or Friday night for Dhs 1200 per room (for 2 people) to include room, breakfast AND the excellent brunch worth Dhs 475 (including alcohol)
Must See’s while you’re staying at Abu Dhabi luxury hotels
- The Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque (you will need to cover your arms and legs completely ladies if you don’t want to wear standard edition abayas. Also note TAKE your ID with you (I didn’t take anything other than camera equipment so had to wear a special coloured abaya for those without ID!)
- The Yas mall if you need a quieter shop than Dubai mall. By the way the circular building that you see advertising the Yas mall houses the offices of ALDAR who own Yas Mall.
- We spent a very relaxing night at the Eastern Mangroves and after breakfast drove on to The Anantara Qasr al Sarab in the Empty quarter via another must see but lesser known attraction: The Liwa auto museum.
Did you know about the Thursday/Friday deal at Abu Dhabi luxury hotels?
Do share the article with friends and tell me what you thought in a comment.
Stay subscribed to read Part 2 of the Abu Dhabi luxury hotels (staycation)review in the mesmerising Rub al Qali.
If you’d like to look at a whole range of hotels in Abu Dhabi, then I think this Holiday ME’s link is pretty comprehensive.
A review of Art Dubai 2015.
Thank you Monica