I would like to start this post by wishing everyone a happy and peaceful holiday season. Regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope that your end of year goes smoothly and that 2016 brings you better days and nights.
Shangri-La Abu Dhabi
Since I have the Entertainer app, I thought to book a stay at the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi before the year ends and my vouchers expire. As with most of my staycations, I like to review the spa, the pool, and maybe some restaurants. The Shangri-La Abu Dhabi overlooks a beach, so that was covered as well.
Unlike the YAS Viceroy in Abu Dhabi, the Shangri-La is more extravagant, glamorous and has a very strong Middle-Eastern feel to it.
The big hotel chain’s Abu Dhabi property has vintage-themed interiors, great attention to detail and a mostly Arabian decor. It also caters to a more Arab and sophisticated client group.
The Eastern and Arab themed interior wouldn’t be an issue if the service was up to the standard. But sadly, several incidents that I encountered proved otherwise.
Reasons that made me unhappy with my stay:
- The hotel doesn’t have high floors. I stayed on the fourth floor because the higher ones were presidential suites and club rooms. My room had a beach and pool view. At night, you could hear loud music, people shouting and mini fireworks from the opposite side of the beach. The noise went on throughout the night (well past midnight), and I could sleep mainly because I was dead tired that night.
- During the day, a different kind of noise appears. Since the balcony overlooks the main pool (kids’ pool), the noise from the kids playing in the pool is very disturbing and loud. So if you’re looking for some down time and relaxation, this hotel is not for you.
- The breakfast is served at the International restaurant – Sufra. The buffet is extensive including many cuisines. The cost is AED 135. When I entered the restaurant, I gave the staff my room number. As I was still having breakfast, I was surprised to see the staff bring my bill and place it on my table. Now, I understand that they need to do their job to guarantee that no one leaves without signing the bill. But I have already informed them of my room number earlier. So this gesture was inappropriate and not courteous.
- I was also presented with a decaf latte when I first arrived to the breakfast table. One which I didn’t order. Then later, when I did order a regular latte, I was again served with a decaf one.
- While I was packing my stuff on the last day to prepare for check-out, the water supply in the sink gets cut. For some reason, there was no access to tap water in the sink for some time. When I came back after breakfast, it was back to normal.
- The hotel area doesn’t have much to do. The good malls are far from the hotel, and so is everything else. Like hotels and other places.
- The deluxe room size was very small compared to the same room type at YAS Viceroy.
- The private beach area is limited too. Not a long stretch where you can walk or do any exercise.
- The guy who pours Arabic coffee for guests at the lobby asked me to return my coffee cup after having one cup of Arabic coffee and asking for another one. Needless to say, I was going to give it back, but after his request, I decided to leave both cups at the table in the lobby.
- The services staff asked me if I needed a trolley when I called to request for someone to collect the luggage. I am unsure of how anyone would just need a person to help them carry their luggage and not make life easier with a trolley.
- The staff member who took my luggage and requested a taxi for me, got me a big family car, when I didn’t ask for one. He also placed my suitcase in the passenger seat and not in the trunk of the car. I had to ask him to move it to the trunk.
Back to Dubai
After my two-night stay at the Shangri-La Abu Dhabi, I was very excited to go back to Dubai. I have never been happier to be back in Dubai. My neighborhood – which is an average one – felt so magical and homely after my AD staycation at Shangri-La. I have never felt more blessed at home in JLT, Dubai. My little balcony has a relaxing lake view and I live on a high floor. There is peace, quiet and tranquility in my area of JLT. I can’t be more thankful or grateful for my property and balcony.
The Souk next to the hotel is still at the top of my list for cool malls in AD. Although I haven’t been to many, this place is very convenient. With a bank, ATM machines, mini mart, a Starbucks, a variety of restaurants and cafes, and even beauty salons, this mini mall is very handy for when you need to grab a bite or get a coffee from somewhere near the hotel.
Chi Spa at the hotel is also not bad. It’s an award-winning spa with normal spa facilities. The Jacuzzi is very small though and you need to be careful when going in not to hit the metal rods in the tub. This happened to me as I was making my way into the hot water tub. They also recently opened a nails section (only two months ago). The nail technicians are experienced and the service was professional. So that is highly recommended.
The hotel has a nice garden and there’s even an Abra that takes you to the souk, the Trader’s hotel and then back to the hotel I think.
If you’re looking for a relaxing stay to rejuvenate, re-energize and unwind, then I suggest you book a weekend or a week even at YAS Viceroy.
However, if you’re a family with kids and are looking for a fun beach and pool getaway for the kids, then by all means you can consider the Shangri-La Hotel Abu Dhabi.
Despite my review, I can confirm that I am still a huge fan of the Souk at Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi. It’s a very classy mall that just matches my style. It has good vibes. You can also give Chi Spa a try – just be careful when getting into that Jacuzzi 🙂
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my lovely little studio apartment in JLT, Dubai XXX