I booked the Hilton Abu Dhabi for a family break, and in particular a family birthday. I would have happily stayed at the Millennium on Khalifa Street where I stayed before and had a great experience, but this time we wanted a beach, and the Hilton appeared to have the better beach (compared to the Beach Rotana) and location (compared to the Shangri-La).
Staying with the Hilton as a Hilton Honours member is a bit like a test of perseverance: you put up with being treated as a relative nobody until finally you become a Diamond or Gold member, and then you are admitted into the 'Club', and are showered with perks: you become a guest who matters. This formulaic and rigid approach to customer service has deterred me from being a regular guest at Hiltons, and this time I was interested to see what service they would provide (I am only a 'novice' HH member, not a VIP Diamond or Gold). I had told the hotel beforehand that it was my brother's birthday, and could they make our stay extra special. They replied saying they would make him their 'Guest of the Day' (whatever that means), and present him with a cake. While this was all very nice, what would have been more appreciated was an upgrade to a bigger room: we were three people in a room, it was a special occasion, we were staying for 8 nights, and on arrival I paid for an upgrade to an Executive room with Lounge access, so it would not have been amiss to give us a bigger room. Other hotels do it easily, why can't the Hilton? But no, we got the same Twin Standard room but on a higher floor - this category of room is very small, with a tiny strip of window from floor to ceiling, and as result we were very cramped in our room with insufficient room for our luggage and ourselves. This would be my biggest disappointment with the Hilton, and unfortunately more in line with what I had been expecting, based on previous experience.
That aside, the service was exceptional throughout the hotel, particularly the Exec Lounge. It was worth the upgrade, as an Exec room gives you complimentary wi-fi access (albeit quite a dodgy connection), and food served practically throughout the day from breakfast (nice continental with omelettes to order also on offer), light lunch (typically sandwiches, dolma and salad), afternoon tea (small pastries) and canapes for dinner.
The location of the Hilton is very good, within walking distance to the Marina Mall (although I think the al-Wahda Mall is better), near the Emirates Palace (a must-visit, and their afternoon tea is fantastic), and on the Corniche, so you can go for pleasant walks alongside the Arabian Gulf. The Hilton also offers a complimentary shuttle service to the Central Market/Souk on Hamdan Street, although it only runs twice in the evening - it would be great if it ran more often. The shuttle service to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is great value and very convenient.
The main attraction is the Beach Club, which is actually across the road (via an underpass) from the hotel. It's a slight inconvenience to have to cross the road to get to the beach, but not much. The service is excellent here as well, with attendants ready to help you set up your loungers etc. I never had any trouble finding a lounger in a good spot right by the Gulf. The beach itself is not great - it's about 350m long and looks out onto Marina Mall and Lulu Island rather than water stretching into the distance (unlike Dubai), but this is more due to Abu Dhabi's coastline being curved rather than the Hilton's fault.
I loved their Fitness Centre and Spa: the gym is spacious and well-equipped, the jacuzzi is huge and clean, as are the changing rooms. This would be one of the top reasons for me to stay here again.
Regarding the room, size aside, the linens were very clean every day which was great. However, the fridge was a bit mucky, and the AC was noisy and not very efficient: on a couple of nights I had trouble sleeping because it was quite stuffy in the room and the AC wasn't as efficient as I would have liked.
So, in summary, this stay at the Hilton challenged my previous reluctance to stay at Hiltons, but I think they could have done a little more. I stay at plenty of hotels, and Hiltons are still not at the top of my list (maybe I have high expectations), but this is a good place to stay in Abu Dhabi because of the location, the service and the great facilities. I would probably stay here again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set on the vibrant Corniche, Abu Dhabi's prime beach location, the stylish Hilton Abu Dhabi hotel places you at the heart of the capital. Hiltonia, our beach club, fitness center and spa offers a spectacular beach, featuring 11,000 square meters of pristine white sand, three swimming pools, water slides, a relaxing spa, an indoor and outdoor whirlpool, a sauna, steam room, modern fitness center and a variety of water activities ranging from paddle boarding to power boat trips. The relaxing guest rooms at Hilton Abu Dhabi feature air conditioning, satellite TV, a seating area, work desk, mini-bar and tea- and coffee-making facilities. Select a Guest Room Sea View for spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf. Stay in an Executive Room for access to the Executive Lounge, which provides an exclusive check-in desk, complimentary in-room internet, breakfast and refreshments. Discover a selection of award-winning restaurants, lounges and bars at Hilton Abu Dhabi. Experience Italian dining at Bocca, international flavors at Vasco's, authentic Japanese cuisine at Toki, and soulful jazz at Jazz Bar and Dining. Hilton Abu Dhabi is a 10-minute drive from the city centre, 5-minute drive from Marina Mall, 7-minute drive from the Heritage Village and 20-minute drive from Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The hotel offers 24-hour room service, front desk service and complimentary on-site private parking. Complimentary WiFi is available in public areas. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton International Abu Dhabi
- Abu Dhabi Hilton
- Hilton Hotel Abu Dhabi