I could not find the Web site for this hotel, and it was not listed on any of the Internet sites I access, so I telephoned the hotel direct. Unfortunately they had no rooms available. The reservations person then suggested a suite at 1,800 dirhams (about $500 US). This was a little out of my range, so he then offered to bring it down to 1,475, which I accepted. I took a cab from downtown Abu Dhabi. The cost was left up to me, which is usual with Abu Dhabi taxi drivers. He suggested perhaps 3 dirhams (about .80 cents US), "but five would be better." I gave him ten. I had reviewed the hotel back around 2000 and remembered it as anexcellent 5 star hotel. On arrival I could see the building as it was then, but adjacent to it was this gigantic structure with the name of the hotel adorned across it. Talk about expansion. The old building still housed the original rooms, and the ground buffet, which was always a treat, and Trader Vic's the South Pacific theme restaurant and bar, which features in a number of international hotels around the world. The entrance though was through the new section, and what a marvel. A huge area with luxurious raised lobby settings for lounging, drinking tea and coffee, and so on. The furnishings were most luxurious. The reception desk was attended by a number of personnel. I was welcomed and was soon being escorted by the receptionist to my suite, located on the ninth floor. There were three lifts servicing the new building, and they were again beautifully decked out, and fast. Soon we were alighting and heading down the well furnished hallways to the very end room, Room 915. The double doors opened to a hallway about half the size of a hotel room. We faced a dark stained timber cabinet, and lamps, on a beige patterned carpet. The hallway swung around to a sitting/dining room, with a (second) bathroom on the left. There was a dining setting for four, a separate long table, and a three-piece lounge settee and two armchairs. All the furniture was absolutely first class. Colours were an orange fabric on the dining chairs, burgundy on the arm chairs, and browns and tans on the lounge; and the furniture in this dark stained colour. There was a stereo TV, remote-controlled of course, a CD player (also remote operated), and a large fridge, stocked with snacks, drinks, and cigarettes. These were available of course to purchase. There were a further two tables, one each side of the lounge, each with a lamp, and one with a phone. There were a number of decorative lamps, and downlights, which provided the entire area with excellent lighting. It was a smoking room, as there was no non-smoking room available, but there was no sign of any lingering smell. There was an interconnecting door so the suite could become a family room. From the living room we entered the bedroom, and the luxury extended further. A super sized room with a king bed, a huge foot stool, a patterned, dark wooden large bedhead, a bedside table each side of the bed, with glass tops and purple drapes to the floor, and housing lamps, and on one a phone. There was an open trouser press in the room, two great orange fabric/dark wooden stained armchairs, with a large foot stool. A work desk, which had a lamp, another phone, and a port to connect to high-speed Internet access at cost of 10 dirhams for 1 hour, 20 for 2 hours, 35 for 6 hours, or 55 dirhams for 24 hours. On check-in you are provided with a user ID and password to access the service, and it worked reasonably well, although at times was slow, and some sites were difficult to retrieve. This was a problem I found generally with Internet service in Abu Dhabi. There was another tall lamp in the corner and a large table separating the armchairs. There was a huge wooden cabinet facing the bed, which housed another stereo TV, tea and coffee making facilities, and two complimentary bottles of mineral water.
From the bedroom there was a large opening to an open area where there were two wardrobes, one each side. Both were in a lighter colour timber, both contained chests of drawers, one shoe shining amentities and the other a safe. There were lamps of course in this area as well, and both robes had internal lighting.
From there into the main en-suite bathroom, entirely done on marble and tiles, beautiful chrome, and spaciousness! Almost the size of a standard hotel room. There was a large full size spa bath, and the shower cubicle, was probably four times the normal size of a shower. There was a normal shower head, and one with a diameter of more than a foot, which looked like a remnant of the old farm days. Luxury permeated the room, rich wooden vanity furniture, plenty of space for toiletries, a hair dryer in one of the drawers, a toilet and a bidet, superb lighting. Really a sight to see, as was the entire suite.
That night I ventured down to Trader Vic's, the polynesian restaurant and bar, an inheritance of the old hotel, and a feature of many international hotels, including the Beverly Hilton. The large bar and restaurant was done in a Tahitian theme, rustic, with wooden canoes, fish nets and cray pots hanging from the roof. The staff were delightfully dressed, and the service was pleasant and prompt. Surprisingly there were no draught beers on tap. I had a bottle of Budweiser, which was quite expensive I thought at 18 dirhams. I then took a table and ordered a couple of starters, as I was not that hungary. I tried the grilled prawns in a garlic sauce. They were delicious, but there were only three of them. I then had the fried prawns, and they were bigger, and there were about five. Very tasty again. The cost of each was 38 dirhams, which was good value. The drinks though were quite pricey. A small bottle of Evian mineral water was 11 dirhams, a glass of rose 20 dirhams, so with 16% tax, and before tips the total cost of the light meal was 124 dirhams. The atmosphere in Trader Vic's was relaxed, but not lively. The band playing islands music was not obtrusive, and spent a lot of time between numbers debating what they were doing. I elected then to explore other parts of the hotel. There were a number of restaurants and bars including the Rodeo Grill, there was a lobby bar, and a couple of bars in the old hotel building.
I then took a walk along the beacjhfront and found the LAB (the lounge at the beach). This was a disco with a live DJ. It was a little early so there was not much happening. I had a drink though, a half pint of Stellas (12 dirhams), and then took a stroll to the Le Meridien, about 200 metres up the road. I had reviewed both these hotels in the past, and I thought I would become re-aquainted with it. Not much had changed, unlike the Beach Rotana. There were a number of restaurants. A new Turkish restaurant, Istanbul, had replaced a Russian restaurant there previously. There was a new nightclub bar which had a live band playing, that was very good. A half pint of beer cost 10 dirhams. Along the way there was a casual Italian pizza restaurant, anda beachfront Thai restaurant and bar. There were 15 outlets in all I think, and the hotel promotes it as the Meridien Village.
Back at the Beach Rotana I decided to return to my room, or suite as it was, to catch up on some reading. There waiting for me was a bowl of fruit on the dining table, comprising black grapes, a mango, orange, two apples, and two bananas. Over near the lounge on one of the occasional tables was a plate with chocolates and Lebanese biscuits and Arab sweets, and a bowl of dates. In the bedroom there was a bottle of mineral water on one of the bedside tables. The bed had been turned down, and there was a bath mat on the floor beside the bed. The bathroom had been serviced, and on another of the occasional tables was a dish containing three desserts.
The hotel overall was a delight. There is a Europcar rental agency in the hotel, there is a large concierge contingent, and porters everywhere. There are outdoor activity attendants, and even lifeguards patrolling the beach. The water was virtually flat, although there was a little bif of a swell when I took a swim, after a work-out at the health club. There are a number of sections of the health club. I worked out in the gymnasium on the first floor, and ran for 30 minutes on a machine while looking out over the Arabian sea and the pool area. There were also a number of TV sets tuned to different channels. In the same room was a large array of weight resistance machines and devices. Towels were supplied on entry. Beach towels were also available from the same address.
The hotel is an excellent five star establishment, with a range of food and beverage outlets, and facilities for recreation that would amaze you. It is a hotel that I will definately return to on a future visit to the United Arab Emirates capital.
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