Having arrived at night, we drew the curtains at 8am and stepped out on to the balcony. One of the reasons we chose the Shangri-La was the iconic view across the water to the Arabian nights fantasy mosque. And there it was - gleaming icing sugar white in the morning sunshine. In front of it was a crane, several trucks, mountains of cement and to the right the building site of the enormous Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the design of which hopes everyone will believe they are in Venice. Doubtless there will be gondolas and cornettos. Also on that balcony at the Shangri-La was traffic noise. Big traffic noise. And then the first of several dozen Hercules transports thundered overhead.
With its vaguely Yemeni-influenced architecture, the Shangri-La is obviously a good hotel, even a superb one, with excellent service, but it now looks a bit threatened and under siege from developers. Right opposite is an empty stretch of beach but it’s a certainty that something big will be built there and then the hotel will simply be part of the urban sprawl. Even now it lacks much in the way of atmosphere - it’s big and vaguely corporate and I wouldn’t want to spend more than a night or two there.
Our fourth-floor room was predictably smart and well-equipped, though the lighting system drove us nuts; we simply never figured it out. There was very fast free internet, fresh fruit and complimentary water.
There are many dining options here. We chose the Chinese, Shang Palace, a nicely designed room, and enjoyed a fairly traditional style Cantonese dinner, the sort that was on all London’s Chinatown menus 20 years ago. It was expensive - over £100 for two for four dishes plus rice without any alcoholic drinks. They rather messed up the desert and waived the cost. Breakfast was a vast buffet that catered for every possible taste - you want an Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Arabian, European breakfast? It was there, served in this cavernous restaurant and on the outdoor terrace.
By the way, we walked to the sister and much cheaper hotel, Traders, and really liked the funky lobby, the beach and the pool area. When the view disappears, that might be the better option.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located on a one-kilometre stretch of private beach overlooking the strait that separates Abu Dhabi Island from the mainland, the hotel is situated ten minutes drive from the city's international airport, five minutes from the golf course and the new Convention Centre and 15 minutes from the Corniche and the city centre. Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi, features 213 luxurious rooms and suites, all furnished to the highest standards in a modern Arabic style. Each room also has a balcony or a terrace providing an ideal setting for viewing striking ocean sunsets and traditional Arabic domes and minarets. Accommodation choices also include six spectacular villas comprising four bedrooms and a private swimming pool. Regarded as an ideal hotel in Abu Dhabi for longer stays, the Shangri-La Residences include 161 spacious serviced apartments ranging from studios to four-bedroom units.The 8.5 Hectare hotel complex provides a wide range of facilities and services for the discerning traveller. These include the signature CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La, and a dedicated well-being zone comprising two gymnasiums, a swimming pool and a yoga room. In addition, there are four swimming pools within the grounds. The Souk traditional Arabian market built in a modern setting offers a variety of shops under one roof which are connected by a waterway featuring Arabic gondolas, or abras, which slowly meander through this unique architecture lush garden scenery. Supreme waterfront lifestyle enhanced with Shangri-La hospitality. Designed with luxury and comfort in mind, the Shangri-La Residences has all the features of the hotel at their doorstep. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi Hotel Abu Dhabi