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“ok, not great hotel”

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Fairmont Bab Al Bahr
Ranked #21 of 128 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 8 January 2012

The very modern decor and architecture really make this hotel stand out. If you like modern architecture then this is for you, if you like the grand, traditional hotels then this would not be your style. It's kept pretty clean and the staff (inside the hotel) were very friendly although a few struggled with English. The location is far from the city center of AD, but that was fine for us. The pool and beach areas are very nice. The design of the rooms is very comfortable, but not of a high quality, in comparison to other 5 star hotels we've stayed at. The beds were comfortable and the bathrooms are very spacious due to the open design. The view to the beach and Mosque is very impressive. The products/amenitites such as the shampoo, shower gel, slippers, hairdryer, etc. are also of a lesser quality.

We were there 27 -31 Dec and the hotel was FULL which was detrimental to the service and atmosphere. First, the breakfast buffet did not have enough seating even when the inside and outside areas were filled. At this time of year the outside area can be windy and cool, but we sat there anyway, so we didn't have to wait in the huge line formed at the entrance of the restaurant. Naturally, then things would quickly empty in the buffet and I had to ask for some refills. The buffets were crowded and loud due to lots of children running around. They do not have glasses available near the beverages, as you are expected to use the 1 glass provided at your table. This was not practical for obvious reasons. The staff working the restaurant at this time seemed somewhat over-taxed.
Secondly, the pool area was completely full! We arrived and requested 2 chairs anywhere and we were told we had to wait at the poolside cafe until some were available, as the last 2 chairs were just taken. The attendant was nice and walked us over to the cafe and said he would give us the next available chairs. After we sat at the cafe for over one hour, we were noticing that many other people just arriving, received chairs. When my husband went to an attendant and said we would like some chairs and we had been waiting, he was told we have to wait some more. Our original attendant was nowhere to be found. The whole day was like this with people having to wait for chairs and it became chaotic since there was obviously no organized way of distributing the chairs as they became available. People were fighting for chairs. This lack of preparedness is not acceptable at a 5 star hotel over the holidays. They had to have known how many people were expected at their facility and realized what they had available was not enough. They seemed very unprepared for the amount of people there.

On a last note we had booked the "Gold Club" room, but cancelled it after the first experience in the lounge. It was not worth it at all! Way over-rated!

Room Tip: The view of the mosque is worth the extra price - however, the gold club is not!
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank eleonore70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,892 - 1,898 of 2,507 reviews

Reviewed 7 January 2012

We visited the Bab Al Bahr from 29th December to the 3rd January 2012 and was immediately impressed with the overall look, cleanliness of the main lobby reception and the courteous staff. We were told that as we had booked Fairmont Gold our check in and room would be on the 7th floor. Once we arrived at the 7th floor, this was when a few niggles commenced. We were told we weren't expected for check in until 9:00 pm which was weird seeing as we had taken the overnight flight in to Dubai and a transfer to Abu Dhabi had been booked but we were assured our room would be ready but there would be a slight delay. Ok, we then asked to confirm that we had been allocated a non-smoking room (when we stepped out of the lift on the 7th floor you could tell immediately that "someone" had been smoking" from the smell! We were told that yes it was a non-smoking room but that we could smoke if we wanted to?!? We stressed that we were non-smokers and reception then went on to explain that there was an area at the side of the lift doors (where the bar was located) for smokers. Why put a smoking area directly alongside the lift that takes you to their "Gold" Service and put the bar in that area? Surely you would locate a smoking area at the far end of a corridor (if you couldn't actually ban smoking indoors totally which would have been our preferred choice)! Anyway after a slight delay (we were offered a continental breakfast whilst we waited) we were shown to our room. Now the room was excellent in size, furnishings and view BUT there was no single bed for our son. The holiday/room had been booked for some months and was always for 3 occupants. We were then told that there were no single beds available as they were all in use - so we then asked where would our son sleep (he's 17 years old and about 5' 10" tall)? The receptionist seemed a bit confused so we stressed that they had to locate a bed for our son. We decided that whilst she was organising this we would unpack and go and enjoy the pool/beach areas. Upon our return to the room at about 4:00 pm no bed! So my husband went to reception (the staff had changed over at this point), the new receptionist got on the telephone straight away to housekeeping and within 10 mins bed and bedding were sorted. The receptionist then went on to explain what the Gold service actually included and we were very pleased to hear that drinks were free on the 7th floor from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm and hot/cold nibbles were available. We could also choose to have breakfast on the 7th floor. This was brilliant BUT the smoking area was a put of as there were certain individuals that seemed to constantly smoke in the area and the smell was unpleasant. If you got up really early it wasn't a problem but by 9:00 a.m. onwards the smell was fairly constant and in the evening you had to move way past the bar area to find somewhere that didn't smell. As the holiday progressed it became apparent that there was a shortage of sun loungers, in fact by new years day the hotel was not far from full and yet people were being offered towels to lay down on at the beach. For a 5* hotel this really isn't acceptable and most days people were complaining about the lack of loungers and about people reserving beds early in the morning leaving books/newspapers on the loungers and then not appearing to use them until much later in the day. There were a number of families with small babies who weren't able to get a sun lounger. The hotel needs to invest in at least 2 loungers per hotel room with a number spare, they were certainly short and they knew that over new year the hotel would be full! After what may seem like a bit of a big moaning session earlier I can add that the hotel facilities (other than the sun lounger problem) were very good, staff polite and courteous and the buffet restaurant was excellent.

Room Tip: Ask where smoking area are located on each floor!
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank Susan O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2012

property location is excellent. However we were disappointed by the bookings made by the concierge.
emirates adventure-for desert safari, badly organized venue,long waiting lines for food,rotting food served,40 desert drivers ate,enjoyed with the guest,drank and ate with guests making it overcrowded.On new years eve drivers even danced with guests leaving co space for kids.Fairmont should have verified before such expensive bookings were made.
Car rentals -On Jan1/2012 being a big group we were put on a bus which is used for school transfers with a illegal driver not authorized to drive tourists without insurance. Driver did not know his way around too.We paid AED800 to driver but the driver was to get AED500 the rest is a mystery.There was no receipt provided too.
Fairmont should provide better safer verified legal recommendations to its guests.

Room Tip: book in advance for a creek facing room.ask for a non smoking room.smoking room stink.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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Thank adil a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2012

We spent a week at the Fairmont Bab al Bahr and couldn't recommend it more highly. From the super attentive staff to the stunningly polished surroundings, this hotel pampers and performs. The restaurants are top not h offering a wide variety of cuisine attested to by the number of locals that also frequent the restaurants in the hotel. The creek view rooms are finished to a high standard and tastefully offer a classy yet cosy environment. They are spacious and make superb use of the space with extremely comfotable furnishings. The sound system is cntrollable from bedroom as well as bath. There is a separate rain shower and super deep tub in its own glassed enclosure with a stunning floor to ceiling view window.
The staff attend to every request and need and are the epitome of friendliness and professionalism.
We felt pampered and enjoyed the pleasure of this lovely hotel. We would definitely return again.

  • Stayed: January 2012
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1  Thank shawnday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 January 2012

We stayed on the Gold floor over the new year holiday.The hotel overall is worthy of its 5star rating.Its modern clean and every staff member is attentive and professional.The Hotel has several independent restaurants which are all excellent .My issues which I raised with management are that when the hotel is at full capacity there are a serious lack of sun beds which left many disgruntled guests lying on the sand or gassed areas.It meant you needed to be pool side prior to 0900 or miss out.Also the beach and pool cafes could not cope at lunch time and waits of an hour were frequent.My only other issue was the first thing to hit you when leaving the lift onto the Gold floor was the smell of cigarette smoke due to the location of the smoking zone .When I raised these issues I was assured that they were already aware of these points and action was in place to rectify them.But overall the good points out weigh the bad points.

  • Stayed: December 2011
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1  Thank Alex L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Babalbahr, General Manager at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, responded to this reviewResponded 9 January 2012

Dear valued guest,

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments. Please let me asure you we are following up on all your concerns mentioned. All feedback is greatly appreciated. We look forward to having you stay with us in the future.

Regards,
Henning Fries

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2012

we spend 2 nights on our way to Dubai and they were fantastic at the Fairmont. We booked the club level room and they are very clean, large and the view is fantastic.
The beach although artificial and small is a good balance with the large pool and all facilities around are great, including the very helpfull staff.
Food at the 4 restaurants is very fresch, a large variaty and stakk is helpfull.
Overall staff at reception especially is extremely proud of orking there and they are keen to help u whenever they can and when you need.
Excellent value for money!

Room Tip: any club level is great
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Jean1730
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2012

We stayed at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr one night as a stop-over to Australia. It is simply the best hotel we have ever been to (and we travel a lot...). We were traveling with two infants (18 months and 3 weeks). We were upgraded to a beautiful suite with magical views. Room service for a late meal and breakfast was excellent and good value. We will definitely be back for a longer stay.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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Thank 10H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

Address: | Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi 114304, United Arab Emirates
Phone Number:
Region: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Abu Dhabi > Abu Dhabi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#11 Business Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#12 Family Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#18 Romantic Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#21 Luxury Hotel in Abu Dhabi
Price Range: £121 - £367 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Fairmont Bab Al Bahr 5*
Number of rooms: 369
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr boasts a prime location at the mainland gateway to the cosmopolitan city of Abu Dhabi. With its striking, contemporary design, this beachfront hotel offers the highest level of comfort and elegance throughout its 369 rooms and suites. Guests can enjoy world class on-site amenities, including private sandy beaches, an Olympic-length swimming pool, covered children’s pool, separate ladies’ and mixed-use gyms, business services and state-of-the-art conference facilities. Add to this an awarding winning portfolio of eight dining options; all delivered with genuine Arabic hospitality - the result is certain to exceed every guest’s highest expectations. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Hotel Abu Dhabi

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