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“Flawless (virtually)”

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The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
Ranked #32 of 127 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 20 April 2013

Having enjoyed other Ritz Carlton hotels, we went here for a one week sun break around Easter. It is very impressive indeed at all levels, particularly for a newly opened hotel (it had been open for only 3 weeks when we arrived). The service everywhere was astonishingly good. The Ritz C clearly don't do opening glitches. The service may no doubt slacken off somewhat when the hotel begins to fill up, but is of such a high level, this may not be discernible.
We were upgraded to a two bedroom villa over looking the canal and the accommodation was sumptuous. Each room has its own bathroom with bath tub, separate shower and wc. There are 36inch flat screen tvs in each bedroom and in the sitting room. There is also a separate kitchen area with sink, fridge and microwave. The only quibble was that the (spacious) terrace had no shade.
The buffet breakfast was very good (or as good as you're going to get without any bacon or sausages to go with your eggs!). Only two a la carte restaurants are open at present in the evening, but more are planned. Mijana (Middle eastern), was servicable, no more, but Li Jiang (Asian) was incredibly good, quite a revelation.They tend to be busy, so book before you arrive if you are only planning a short stay. Oddly, given the climate, there is nowhere simply to sit outside and enjoy a drink -the only bar is inside, somewhat tucked away. I understand this will be rectified when the spa building opens, which has a canal front location, with more bars and restaurants.
Food prices, as you might expect, are not restrained, but comparable with outside restaurants. The price of wine is exorbitant in Abu Dhabi generally (think top end London prices, easily doubled and some). Look at it as a holiday for your liver as well.
Only two restaurants being open was not a problem as outside the hotel there are an abundance of good restaurants. A short distance away, the Shangri La (and the adjoining hotel "souk") on the other side of the grand canal houses Ushna (indian) - outstanding - and Hoi An (Vietnamese) - very good. And cab prices in Abu Dhabi are unbelievably cheap and the roads are free from congestion (unlike Dubai) so distance is no object.
The hotel have gone for just one pool, rather than set pools amongst the villas (there are no plunge pools in the villas should you expect that sort of gimmick). But what a pool - 57 metres long and quite beautiful. There were tons of sunbeds available at all times, but this could change as the hotel fills up, but perhaps not due to the large business clientele.Complimentary water is provided along with the other stuff one expects -cold towels, fruit kebabs etc.
It is around the pool though that we found the one note that jarred (hence the title of the review). For some unaccountable reason, muzak is played around the pool (of the "chiill-out" variety I guess). Why an august chain like the RItz C should do this in a top end 5 star hotel is a mystery. Certainly from the Europe perspective, it comes across as tacky and the sort of thing one might well find in a 3 star hotel on the Costa Brava. Happily, such is the faultlessness of the service, the pool staff were happy to turn it down to a minimal setting or off altogether.But seriously guys, ditch it - we don't want to see the embarrassing spectacle of the venerable Ritz C trying to "get down with the kids".
The only other off-note was that the wi-fi room charge cost more per 24 hrs than I pay in a month in the UK. There is, however, a very good business centre with complimentary internet access.
In short, a fabulous place which certainly has the wow factor (in spades). Go before it gets to 50C in the summer!

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank GL0nd0n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,665 - 1,671 of 2,041 reviews

Reviewed 18 April 2013

My husband and I loved this hotel so much that we are planning to return in June. The staff were exceptional and the service was very good for a newly opened hotel. Unfortunately the Club Lounge and The Forge restaurant weren't operational but we were told that they should be open soon. The staff in Sorso were fantastic especially the lovely Vishal. Although every member of staff was a credit to the hotel one particular person stood out from the rest and that was the lovely Anna Lopez the Guest Relations Supervisor. Can't wait to return !!

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank gellroland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2013 via mobile

The hotel is magnificent. I really felt very comfortable with the way they run the hotel ..
It's very clear that they target excellence.. Staff is well trained and service is excellent
Btw.. Their prices are better than many similar hotels compared to the service

  • Stayed: March 2013
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2  Thank Proudkhadija
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2013 via mobile

From the moment that you arrive at the hotel you feel welcome you are greeted by staff that smile and seam so happy to see you . We wanted to try the Asian restaurant but sadly it was full booked so we went to the bar for a drink .Our waiter Caroline was fantastic and the manager come to say hello when he heard that we could not get a booking in the Asian restaurant he arranged some free dim sum and gave us the card of the restaurant manager such a nice touch .The drinks in the bar are amazing we had a few cocktails which were first class and then had one of there signature Gin & tonic's WOW we have never seen them done like that such a cool idea . We had some of the bar food which was great the coconut shrimps are served in half a coconut nice idea . The service in this hotel in this another level .

  • Stayed: April 2013
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Thank Mik5666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2013

Was completely blown away by the service at this new Abu Dhabi hotel. I read alot of reviews as part of my job and as such rarely write them in my spare time, but I had to write about the service in this hotel as it was completely outstanding. We visited the Ritz on Friday as a bit of reccie in advance of staying there in a month's time. Only the villas in the hotel are open at the moment, but the rooms are due to open in the next couple of weeks.

From the second we arrived, we could tell that the people working at this hotel knew what they were doing. At every turn friendly staff greeted you or chatted, without being imposing or, as is quite often the case in the UAE, annoying you by being constantly in your face.

We had drinks in the pool bar, followed by drinks in the main bar Sorso and dinner in Li Jiang Chinese restaurant. The hotel itself is stunning, lovely pool and on the beach the beds can be turned round to make sure they are in the sun till just before sunset. Many of the main indoor areas of the hotel have views out to the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, you will not get views like this from any other hotel. At different times when we passed through the lobby, a pianist and a classical singer were performing, a nice touch, although I wouldn't have hung about long just to listen. Plenty of people were though.

Food and views from the restaurant were amazing. We had to sit in the smoking area to get views of the mosque but hopefully when they eventually open their terrace this will change.

Special mentions for the following staff:
Pool bar staff - prepared us a delicious jug of white wine sangria, very friendly people, really looking after all the people around them, the kids (not ours!) were having a great time with them to entertain them.
Maxence and Vishal in Sorso - great bartenders who know their stuff and great for a laugh. Made my husband the best whisky sour he has ever had and then proceeded to type up the recipe for him so he could make it at home. Happy to make whatever drinks you loved or make great suggestions. Oh and bar snacks all made fresh on the premises were delicous.
Drinks manager - Couldn't see his name badge but enjoyed hearing all about the hotel, his ideas for the venues and his new drinks ideas. Try the gin and tonic, his trick with the ice is something special.
Waiters in Li Jiang - very attentive and knew what we were thinking / about to ask for before we said a thing. They also arranged for a bowl full of cream to be brought to my husband in the bar after he made a passing comment about loving it (sounds strange I know!)
Sommelier - She was so friendly and again knowledgable. I happened to mention that I was trying to introduce myself to red wine slowly (I only really do whites at the moment), and then as an apology for the open kitchen being quite smokey she sorted us out with two glasses of a lovely red Merlot to sample. Unnecessary but appreciated massively.

I know this all sounds very gushy and I haven't even gone into the detail, but we've been to so many hotels in the UAE and we were really blown away by this one, had a great night and met some great people who truly seemed happy to be doing their jobs. Can't wait to stay overnight.

If they manage to maintain this level of service they will be at Number 1 in no time at all. We have already planned to return twice in the next month after our first scoping visit, a fantastic hotel, with great food and some of the best staff in the UAE.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank berteebt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 April 2013

Outstanding Experience in a brand new hotel in Abu Dhabi. Children enjoyed the pool, and the villas are very spacious.
We have stayed in the 2 bedroom villa + 1 bedroom villa. Both are unique, and very particular for a family. Very welcoming staff and extraordinary lobby. Restaurants were good in general.
I highly recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: The best choice for a family.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank AlHashimi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2013

From the moment you walk into the hotel you are met by staff who see to your every need, your car door is opened and you are greeted with a smile, your bags are quickly dispatched and once into reception you are met with hot towels and a glass of fruit juice...wonderful.
We stayed in the 2 bedroom villa with views over the beach. The villa itself was superb - spacious with all the little details there waiting for you - bathrobe, slippers and all you would expect from a hotel group of this standard. Bedrooms are of a good size and the beds are very comfy, full cable package on TV. Both bedrooms are enhanced with a quite superb bathroom - roll top bath with separate shower, living room and dining area are again a good size and with decor of very high standard. The villa has a large terrace which is ideal for a family meal out in the sun.

Private beach is cleaned every morning and has a nice outlook over the Grand Canal, but the pool takes 1st prize it is quite obviously their little baby at the moment with all managers taking a turn to ensure it is in pristine condition - quite right though as it is very impressive - the best I have ever seen in a hotel - if you enjoy a swim book this hotel for this reason alone.

The interior of the hotel is simply stunning, we dined in two of the restaurants and found them both to very reasonable priced and the quality of fayre was a high standard staff are well trained and friendly.

Overall the Ritz is off to a great start and it only can get better - get in quick before it gets really busy and if you're lucky like us you might have a swim in an Olympic size swimming pool by yourself. If i was to pick a fault let me think....there was none.

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with family
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5  Thank JCA1144
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal

Address: Al Maqta Area | PO Box 91888, Abu Dhabi, 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 High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #32 of 127 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Price Range: £147 - £652 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal 5*
Number of rooms: 532
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Retreat to premier luxury at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal. Our 5-star hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates is set against the backdrop of the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Stay with us an enjoy our stately architecture evoking the Italian Renaissance and our tranquil waterfront location. ... more   less 
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