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The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
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Reviews (2,232)
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1,782 - 1,787 of 2,232 reviews
Reviewed 3 June 2013

I stayed at both the Ritz-Carlton and Shangri-La hotels during a recent one-week stay in Abu Dhabi. I would say that the Shangri-La is by far the better hotel.

I left the Ritz-Carlton early as I was so disappointed. It is new and large, but the design, quality of service and atmosphere leave much to be desired. Having been accustomed to high levels of opulence in Middle Eastern five-star hotels, this one feels under-invested.

I arrived at the Ritz-Carlton late at night on an Etihad flight (fantastic airline). I had reserved a club room, which I expected to be a guaranteed booking. I was shown to a rather small and ordinary room. The porter informed me that the Club rooms were, in fact, different and located on the other side of the hotel. I called down to reception for an explanation. and was informed that no other rooms were available. No apology was forthcoming for my undisclosed room downgrade.

I asked to speak to the duty manager, who came on to the phone a few minutes later. His name was Werner Dalziel and he seemed to find the issue rather amusing. His view was that there is no difference between deluxe and club rooms other than access to the club lounge. I asked how far I was from the lounge and the answer was 6 buildings away (my room was in building 8, while the lounge was in building 2) - i would estimate that this was a 7-8min walk at least. I asked whether a move to a club room would be possible the next day and was told that this would depend on availability. He refused to accept that the hotel was in any way at fault for having downgraded my room type from what I had booked.

Other things I noted during my 3 day stay:

1/ There was no hot water in the room when I arrived and the shower temperature was only either vey cold or extremely hot during my stay despite pointing this out to housekeeping;
2/ The pool area was stark and unappealing, partly due to noticeable lack of foliage and other resort-style features;
3/ The corridors were poorly decorated and badly lit;
4/ The bellmen had no idea where the ADNEC conference centre was located (a major venue in the city) and, as it happens, barely any taxi drivers knew where the Ritz-Carlton was;
5/ The spa was still not open, which had not been made clear on the hotel's website.

One evening the ground floor access to my room was blocked as a female-only function was taking place in the banqueting area, which was on the way to my room. No provision had been made for this closure and despite asking two staff members for an alternative route, no-one seemed to be able to help. I eventually made it to my room after changing floors four times to get there.

After 3 days, I was finding the Ritz-Carlton rather oppressive and decided to move to the Shangri-La. The improvement was marked and the check-in process was smooth. I had booked and was allocated a club room, which is an upgrade from a standard deluxe room. While the rooms are slightly older than at the Ritz-Carlton, they are still luxurious and far more comfortable. The spa was excellent, with a lovely and seemingly rarely used lap pool. I enjoyed some excellent treatments at the spa. The main pool was attractive but rather busy. The club lounge was a highlight, with excellent service and a good selection of food and drinks. The club rooms feature free internet access. There is a souk next door to the hotel, which is a local shopping mall and quite fun to browse at.

On my last day, after checking out and heading over to the airport by taxi, I was surprised to be met by a uniformed staff member of the Shangri-La, who took my luggage and stayed with me until I reached passport control. A very nice touch.

So, in conclusion no contest. Shangri-La wins hands-down for both business and leisure travellers!

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled on business
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7  Thank Banker100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 June 2013

Our recent stay at this magnificent hotel and it met with all our expectations. The staff in all departments are excellent, well trained and very professional and at the the same time very friendly without being intrusive. There were a few housekeeping issues on our first night but these were quickly resolved - however Housekeeping ahould ensure that every thing is working before guests arrive, this will avoid the minor irritations that this can cause, especially after a long flight.
We stayed in an executive suite which was very comfortable and spacious. The pool is beautiful and the service by the pool was excellent, as was the food from the al fresco bar.

We were on half board basis so mainly used the buffet restuarant. We were a little disapointed to see that the highly praised chinese restuarantnwas not open on
saturday evenings.
One small gripe - I do think they could provide free in room Wi Fi as the Shangri La Hotels. the cost is very high but these days it almost essential that one has access to the internet. Ritz Carlton - please review this charge -
We will definitely return - we liked the fact that it is slightly out of town and therefore peaceful. The city centre is a short taxi ride away and taxis are not expensive.

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

New and grand hotel in Abu Dhabi.

Stayed in a villa which requires a quick buggy ride from the main hotel building. Villa was nice and comfortable but the balcony lacked any shading which was a shame and stopped us sitting out during the day.

On our first night there were a series of very poor housing keeping issues. I won't detail them here due to the fact that the team went out of their way to make up for in the rest of our trip. Service recovery was excellent and all the staff seem concerned with making sure that you are having a comfortable stay.

We were moved to a 2 bedroom villa next to the beach which was great as it was a few steps away from the kids club which my 8 year old son enjoyed. The hotel wasn't very busy so the (somewhat bored looking) workers were flexible to play on different activities rather than follow a fixed schedule.

Breakfast was great. We dined one night on the beach and the service and food were excellent. The head chef spent good time talking to us about our meal. Good attention on making the event personal by having our names written on the dessert.

It's a very beautiful resort which will look even better as the gardens mature. Maybe all that grandeur makes it feel a little impersonal though? I stayed at the Shangri La before and I think the decor and set up feels 'warmer'.

There is a small beach which should have more soft sand as I found the stones too much to enjoy walking on.

Taking a taxi from the airport is cheap and easy although I'd recommend renting a car as aside from the Grand Mosque, going to any place requires a bit of a drive. The hotel is located on the canal mid way between airport and the Corniche (where a lot of other 5 star hotels are located). The Fairmont and Shangri La are located on the other side of the canal from the Ritz. Worth noting that the Shangri La have an open air nightclub on the weekend and the noise makes it way over to the Ritz which is frankly disturbing if you want a relaxing sit outside.

Spa wasn't open which was a disappoint for my wife.

I stayed in the Ritz because the location was useful for an event we were attending in the Sport City. If we were coming just for a family get away I might consider staying next to the Corniche as there are nice malls and hotels there as well as being able to enjoy a nice walk along the Corniche.

Overall the staff lived up to the Ritz service expectations and we enjoyed the overall stay.

Room Tip: 2 bedrooms villa next to the canal is best!
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Hoods_Travels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2013

Grande is the word that best describes this hotel. It is truly luxurious. The entry way is breath taking with the columns, the chandeliers and the beautiful floral arrangements. The rooms were likewise well appointed and while not truly spacious they were above average in size with more than enough room for the three of us (all adults).

The hotel is across the road from the famous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which is quite a site to see in and of itself.

I was there on business so ate per the conference- the food was beyond excellent. My young adult kids ate at the Li Jiang and they were quite impressed with their food and service.

We have no complaints whatsoever. The atmosphere and service were both tops.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled on business
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1  Thank SJNMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2013

With the resort only open for a month or so, we visited late April and stayed in a one-bedroom villa. Immediately you get the feeling that the staff does it utmost to approach you as a true guest - compliments for the management: nothing intrusive here, all staff seem to act rather authentic.
Staff is also the best asset of this place, as for the building, the facilities, location and whole ambience we left with rather mixed feelings. Being only 'half open', we got the impression that the Ritz is still a desolate place. The villas are OK, but nothing special. Strange that the terraces don't have any sun protection. We used the all-day dining restaurant for breakfast and one buffet diner - found the quality and the offer mediocre at its best. The Ritz advertises their location as 'beach front' - well, the canal it looks at, is not attractive at all, nor is the small strip of beach. Swimming pool area is fine, but after all the place seriously lacks atmosphere and some more facilities to spend a few days relaxing. Am afraid it will take a few years until the place will have a bit of much needed soul.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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Thank gaspargonzalez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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