Posts in the “Ritz-Carlton” category...
Winter in the UK can be a time of glistening frosts, crisp air, fresh snow and roaring fires. Mostly, though, it’s a season of depressing drizzle, delays and a general feeling that anything that should work, doesn’t.
Little wonder, then, that the prospect of wall-to-wall sunshine, blue skies, sparkling new hotels and some of the best customer service in the world draws ever-increasing numbers to the United Arab Emirates. And, while Dubai is undoubtedly the major draw, it’s next door neighbour and UAE capital – Abu Dhabi – is hot on its heels in ramping up its visitor magnetism. Aided by its rapidly-expanding airline, Etihad, there’s a huge amount of development going-on, turning what was a pearl-fishing town just 50 years ago, into a glittering desert metropolis scattered across the 200 islands that make up the emirate.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal is one of the latest additions to the skyline; a 447 room, 85 villa property principally set in a crescent of ten Italianate buildings overlooking the Grand Canal and in the shadow of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Continental Club visited in December 2013, and stayed for 8 nights in a Deluxe Room on the hotel’s Ritz-Calrton Club Level.
During our stay, we took the opportunity to film a video tour of the guest room, the Ritz-Carlton Club Level Lounge, the pool and outdoor areas and the hotel’s public spaces, bars, cafes and restaurants. Click below to watch:
Check in takes place in the Club Lounge, which is an expansive glass ‘box’ perched on top of the hotel and looking out over the Grand Canal and neighbouring properties. It’s an all-day facility offering breakfast to eligible guests, and then continuing with continuous food and beverage ‘presentations’ throughout the day. In the evening, complimentary beer and wine are available, along with an expansive array of canapes and desserts which would almost serve as dinner. Of particular note is the impressive French cheese board.
Guest rooms are spacious and tastefully-decorated, with bathrooms featuring the currently-fashionable ‘open’ aspect to the bedroom. In this case, the aperture is home to fold-back screens so that Miss Modesty’s privacy can be regained.
The hotel markets itself to both the corporate and leisure markets, and is likely to prove particularly popular with families, thanks especially to the huge pool (a large section of which is shaded under a sail canopy), the private man-made beach and the kids’ club and outdoor water play area.
A good selection of the cafes and restaurants have outdoor areas too, easily accessible from the pool and beach areas.
The lobby is more of a grand statement than a place to linger; soaring pillars and stairways with windows overlooking the Grand Mosque, but just off the space are more intimate tea lounges and the souk-ish bar.
Service is professional throughout, with a large contingent of the staff having apparently been drafted in from other Ritz-Carlton properties. For a new hotel then, there are remarkably few wrinkles and, a few months further on from our visit, they’re probably by now non-existent.
Ritz-Carlton offers a number of ‘packaged’ rates, mostly for multiple night stays. It’s therefore worth checking for offers which include airport transfers, food and beverage credit and room upgrades.
The majority of the rooms overlook the pool and Grand Canal, but some face the rear of the property and, for an arguably more memorable experience, one of these latter rooms with a balcony overlooking the Grand Mosque may be a top choice – especially at sunset when the building glows in the embers of the retreating day.
The Ritz-Carlton Rewards scheme offers a further opportunity to maximise the value of a stay at the hotel; members of the partner Marriott Rewards programme can also earn points towards free stays and a range of other awards.
For more details on the hotel and to book, visit ritzcarlton.com/abudhabi.