Review of the Rosewood, Abu Dhabi
Where: Rosewood Hotel, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi. By car, the hotel is 5 minutes from the Tourist Club area (downtown Abu Dhabi); 10 minutes from Saadiyat Island (home to white sandy beaches) and 40 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport. The hotel is directly connected to the Galleria Mall (a luxury shopping and dining destination), the Four Seasons Hotel and the Cleveland Clinic. The hotel is also 2 minutes walk to Abu Dhabi Global Market Place (Abu Dhabi’s Financial Free Zone).
Hotel credentials: The hotel opened in 2013. It has 154 rooms, 35 suites and 131 long-stay serviced residences. The hotel offers 7 restaurants/bars, a spa, a gym and an outdoor swimming pool.
When: 7 August 2016
Purpose of trip: Business
First impressions : I arrived at the hotel by car and valet parked. My bags were unloaded swiftly. The hotel lobby is tasteful, opulent and impressive. I felt like I had walked into a contemporary stately home which would be mine for at least 24 hours. The hotel lobby is decked out in warm amber tones and beautiful marble that instantly create a welcoming and serene environment. Staff were friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. I had booked a club executive room so I was taken to the first floor to check-in at the executive lounge (the Manor Club). I was offered a drink and a cold towel and check-in was completed within the time it took me to drink a cappuccino. I was in my room with my luggage within 20 minutes of arriving at the hotel.
Room type & amenities: I stayed in a club executive room which was approximately 47sqm with a king sized bed. There was complimentary fresh fruit, fruit infused water and Arabic sweets in the room. The room also had a Nespresso machine and mini bar with the usual snacks and drinks available on a chargeable basis. The room was equipped with a hairdryer, iron and ironing board and plenty of wardrobe space. There was a small desk and chair with all the necessary portals and sockets. The room overlooked the Cleveland Clinic and the turquoise waters of Abu Dhabi. The bathroom was tastefully fitted out in marble. It had a free-standing bath, double sink and separate shower room. The bathroom was stocked with slippers, a bathrobe and decent sized Roberto Cavalli toiletries that smelled subtler that the leopard print packaging suggested. The bathroom had sliding doors that opened to the bedroom. All of the room features (including the curtains) were controlled by an iPad. It's the slickest e-control system that I have experienced in a hotel room.
Wifi: Complimentary and available throughout the hotel.
Business: The room had a small desk with all the necessary portals/sockets. The chair at the desk was comfortable enough for a few quick emails - after that I felt it encouraged me to slouch. The hotel has a business centre and meeting rooms so there are other places to work.
Manor Club: The Manor Club is a hybrid between an executive club and a restaurant. At first glance this is a masculine space; pool table and dark leather arm chairs. This did not repel me. In fact, I liked the flamboyant and bold interior. The Manor Club is the perfect place for informal meetings and catch ups. It's more relaxed than an office meeting and a significant upgrade to meeting in a coffee shop. Breakfast and light meals are served throughout the day. It has a semicircle bar serving various beverages - a relaxing place to unwind after a busy day. I used the Manor Club for a couple of meetings and I had lunch there (a burrata salad which wasn't up there with burrata from say La Petit Maison but it was a decent bite). Entry into the Manor Club is complimentary with the club executive room rate otherwise entry is AED150.
Slumber: Comfortable mattress (medium/hard). Good quality bed linen. The room was quiet. No noise from the corridor or outside. Seven hours uninterrupted sleep - done.
Dining options: The hotel has 7 dining options:
Dai Pai Dong: DPD is a Chinese street food concept located in the Galleria Mall. Despite its location in the mall, DPD actually forms part of the hotel and it’s the Rosewood’s best kept secret. The service is quick, the food is good and it's well priced (by UAE standards). It's a good option if you choose to dine on your own. I had dinner there. I recommend the dim sim and wok specialities. DPD has a speak easy bar located to the left of the main dinning area.
Sambusek: Good quality Lebanese restaurant with an outdoor shisha terrace. At AED99 per person, the business lunch here is good value (but beware…it's a lot of food!). I would have lunch here on my own (but not dinner). In the evening it transforms into a cool hangout for the shisha smoking crowd.
Majilis Lobby Lounge: The lounge is bathed in natural light which sits well with the neutral cream interior. Light snacks, afternoon tea and an extensive selection of tea and coffee are served. Strategically positioned oversized jars filled with sweets at the entrance to the lounge make it hard to pass by without helping yourself to at least one treat. Whilst it is not heavily staffed, the couple of staff that are there are polite and helpful. The Majilis is a good option for informal meetings. I had a couple of quick meetings here during the day and had some tea by myself in the evening which was a welcome alternative to having tea in my room.
La Cava: Basement level wine and champagne cellar with a striking interior serving premium beverages and light bites. It has a small dedicated cigar lounge. The staff are extremely well versed in their craft. If you go to La Cava my tip would be to take an extra layer - this place is cold!
Hidden bar: As the name suggests the Hidden Bar is located out of sight at lobby level. It’s a dark, cosy space.
Glo: A contemporary outdoor bar located opposite the pool. In the evenings it's home to some upbeat tunes and a relaxed atmosphere.
Aqua: In addition to breakfast, Aqua serves lunch and dinner (and brunch every Friday). It’s a typical upmarket all day dining restaurant with a focus on good quality Mediterranean and Indian cuisine. The interior is bright and boasts some amazing chandeliers.
Alternative dinning tips: Head to the Galleria Mall (directly connected to the Rosewood). Restaurants include: Robertos (contemporary Italian restaurant/bar in a stunning location); Zuma (cool, innovative and contemporary Japanese restaurant/bar with an excellent 4 course express lunch menu for AED130); Bentley's Bistro (decent bistro food with separate bar area): Café Bateel (great food and decent coffee, go before 11am and get coffee and a croissant for AED20); Leopolds of London (if you need the mother of all coffee look no further); Sushi Art (clue is in the name); Gossip (Emirati café with a contemporary twist – good choice for eggs benedict); and Nolu’s Café (contemporary Afghani café for the health conscious).
Breakfast : Club executive room guests may choose to have breakfast in the Manor Club. Otherwise breakfast is served in Aqua. I chose to have breakfast in Aqua. Breakfast included a choice of pastries, eggs, fruit, cereal, bread and hot/cold cuts. There are enough options without being grossly wasteful. Poached eggs arrived promptly and cooked to my definition of perfection – runny with a bit of push back. Coffee was steaming hot when it arrived. An excellent breakfast.
Gym: The hotel has a large fitness centre with views overlooking the water. It is an attractive place to work out with a great array of equipment.
Swimming pool: The hotel has an outdoor temperature controlled pool. It is flanked by steel palm trees - a contemporary nod to Arab culture. Large parts of the pool are in the shade which is advantageous in the hot summer months.
Sort my knots : The hotel has a spa (Sense of Time) and a beauty salon. I did not use the spa on this visit. I visited the spa as a non-hotel guest on a previous occasion. The staff in the spa are clinical and efficient. They abide by the non-spoken code of silence during treatments. I highly recommend this place - best massage I've had in Abu Dhabi.
Kids club: The hotel has an established indoor kids club (Rosebuds). The Friday brunch at the hotel has a dedicated room for junior diners. The Galleria Mall also has a small kids play centre (Caboodle).
Check-out: I chose to check-out at the main reception rather than at the Manor Club. Check-out was swift. I waited 15 minutes for the valet to bring my car to the front of the hotel.
HSQ’s view : I would definitely recommend this hotel for business or leisure. Every member of staff that I encountered made a special effort. The staff are the Rosewood's unique selling point. The hotel has a boutique feel to it and punches well above its weight to compete with larger luxury hotel brands. I would like to see improved turnaround times for valet services. I left the hotel for a meeting at 6pm during my stay and waited 20 minutes for my car. That small matter aside, if you value friendly, unobtrusive service in a luxurious and discreet environment I am confident you will enjoy a stay at the Rosewood