I was very pleased with this hotel and will definitely be visiting again in the near future.
The front entrance of the hotel looks so extravagant. The reception area is amazing and a lady plays the harp every evening in the reception area.
Everything is so convenient. As you enter the reception area, the seville restaurant is straight ahead. this serves a buffet breakfast (which is near enough the same thing every morning) and a buffet dinner (which has a large selection of food and dessert and is different each night). I did not have lunch in the hotel so I can not comment on their lunch. The seville restaurant met our every need so therefore I did not try the food in the other restaurants. I must also mention that my 4 year old is SUCH fussy eater but I was able to find something for him to eat every night.
to the right of the seville as you enter the reception area is a corridor past a souvenir shop that leads to the Al Raha mall. Although this mall is not the best - it is convenient as it has a lulu express grocery shop where we were able to buy bottled water, snacks for the kids etc. It has 2 really nice chinese food places where you can buy food to take back to your room or to eat within the mall/restaurant. It has a really nice fruit basket diner where you can buy fruit that is given to you in a nice presentation. a souvenir shop, toy shop, cinema, a few clothing shops, indian restaurant, sparkys which is a small arcade place for kids, subway and chicken and chips eating place. The Marina mall was a better and more extravagant mall however the al raha aided us when we needed to get a few bits and pieces to see us through the week. please note that there was a notice on the entrance of the mall that you should cover your shoulders, skirts up no shorter than your knees and refrain from public affection. I respected this but i did see some who did not and as far as i know they were not reprimanded.
air condition in the malls and hotel seemed quite high on some days so a light cardigan will be needed if you feel the cold easily. the room was highly air conditioned when we checked in and we complained about it being too cold, however, once we turned it off and opened the 'balcony' door, the humidity warmed up the room very fast. please note that the humidity is very high all day at this time of the year. it takes a while to get used to it but personally i loved it!
the hotel provides a timetable that tells you what time their complimentary shuttle bus leaves to take you to the local malls, mosques etc. However it takes 20 mins in a taxi (that mainly run on a meter) to the mall whereas it would have taken longer in the shuttle bus as it was making drop off to other places before it went to my destination. The taxi was more convenient for me with the 2 kids and a buggy. it costs about 50-60 dhs (8/9 gbp) one way and the good thing was that if you got a nice taxi driver (some did not talk at all), they would point out some of the sights and tell you about the local area and life in abu dhabi.
the major mosque (i am not a muslim but this is a beautiful building), malls, yas island (ferrari world and water world) is very local (no more than 30 minutes in a cab). I visited the emirates zoo and it was not that nice of an experience. Other than the fact that we were able to feed an elephant, feed a giraffe, stroke and ride a camel, hold hands with a small monkey (though the cage), this places is not somewhere to visit if you a huge lover of animals. some of the cages are too small for the animals and some look really depressed. it is not extravagant nor is it too big. but note that most of the animals are outside in the sun so do not go when the sun is at its hottest (i was always running into the air conditioned snake house with the kids when they got too hot and bothered). also if you require a tax from the zoo back home - come out of the zoo and turn left towards the emirates zoo resort and the reception people will happily call you a taxi as the zoo staff were unable to give us a taxi number!!!!!!
I stayed in a superior room and the reason why I gave it a 4 star was because the view was awful. our view was basically the roof of the hotel and the sky! I emailed the hotel informing them that I was there for my 10 year anniversary and i requested a nice view but all we saw out of our balcony (that was covered by concrete with holes in it) were staff loading boxes into a storage space. This was a huge let down.
The service I received from staff were very very good. They were all polite and very respectful. They really went out of their way to assist us and make us feel welcome. They always met our needs whenever we requested extra towels etc. the restaurant staff were really friendly and interacted with the kids everyday. They never failed to smile and ask you how you were.
I was situated on the 2nd floor. you are able to view the reception area from this floor. the 3rd floor were the spa rooms (can not comment on this as I did not use their service however I did visit them and found this a bit pricey). If you come out of the 1st floor, you are able to view the seville restaurant. The ground floor is the seville, reception and corridor to the mall and then if you go to the basement, this is the way to the gym, swimming pool and beach.
trhe gym was very clean and the beach was well maintained. every morning the staff wet the sand to keep the ants at bay. they were out from earlier than 7am to make the outside area look nice. they never walked past you without saying good morning. the outside pool area is very clean and to the right there is a kids 'climbing frame' area (in a small amount of water) and a bouncy castle. This was not in very much shade so the kids were always in the hot sun and got 'flustered' quite quickly.
we spent most of the time by the beach (where there were no life guards as they were too busy by the pool). please note that this beach is man made so no need to worry about waves so it was perfect for the kids. We were told not to bathe after sunset. The aldar building makes a great view on the beach and if you walk to the left of the beach, you can find a secluded part of the resort which is open to the guests but is situated next to the villas. this is not something a lot of the guests knew unless someone told you or you decided to explore.
this resort and mall was one of the safest I have ever experienced. guests happily left their belongings at their tables as they went to the buffet several times, shop owners left their stalls and shops open at the mall as they had lunch on the 3rd floor. guests left their belongings on the beach and it was very secure. my money and personal belongings were left in the hotel room and it was never touched when the rooms were cleaned.
before you go to the beach the reception area on the basement floor offers you towels. i must comment that some guests were given preference when they requested towels. They were able to take and walk out where as we were always asked for our room card and room number. Also my husband was told that he could not use the gym wearing sandals however many other guests were using the gym in sandals. another reason why I gave 4 stars.
i am not an insect person but all i encountered were ants on the beach, a flying creature that looked like a cross between a wasp and a dragon fly (big wings) and lizards that came out at night. my kids (or me) did not need any immunizations before flying here.
overall the beach resort is very nice and upper class. it was family friendly and due to everything being so convenient added to the experience as going away with young kids can be stressful. I will definitely return to the hotel and hope that the view of the room will be a better one next time round.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set in landscaped gardens along a stretch of white sandy beach, this palatial hotel is located on the Al Raha corniche. The property offers 254 rooms and suites including the brand new wing furnished with the ultimate in luxury. There are also 24 exclusive villas which have a choice of 2,3 or 4 bedrooms, located in a stunning seafront location adjacent to the main hotel building. The hotel boasts state of the art facilities, including the Body & Soul Spa & Recreation Club complete with temperature controlled outdoor and indoor pools, steam rooms, saunas and Jacuzzis as well as a high tech gymnasium. If variety is the spice of life, dining choices abound from International dishes to exquisite twist of Mediterranean. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Al Raha Beach Hotel Abu Dhabi