Review of Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi
Where: Etihad Towers by Jumeirah, Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi. Etihad Towers is an iconic set of high rise towers located opposite the Emirates Palace. By car, it's 45 minutes from the Abu Dhabi International Airport and 10 to 20 minutes from most major tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi. The hotel is directly connected to The Avenue, a luxury boutique shopping mall.
Hotel credentials: The hotel opened in 2011. It has 383 rooms/suites and 199 long-stay serviced residences. The hotel has 10 restaurants/bars including the Observation Deck (one of Abu Dhabi’s tourist attractions). The hotel has 3 outdoor pools, a small beach, a gym, skin clinic, beauty salon and spa.
When : 25 September 2016
Purpose of trip : Business
First impressions: I drove to the hotel and valet parked. The front of the hotel felt more like a private airport than a hotel. The hotel lobby is vast, impressive and superbly over the top. A cluster of elegant spherical chandeliers dominates the lobby lounge. Natural light floods into the lobby from floor to ceiling windows. I am in no doubt that I have arrived at a super luxurious hotel. Check-in was clinical and efficient. I was in my room (with my luggage) within 15 minutes of arriving at the hotel.
Room type & amenities: I stayed in a grand deluxe king room which had spectacular panoramic views of Abu Dhabi and it’s many iconic buildings. The view is as dramatic by day as it is by night. The room was 60sqm but made to feel bigger by the presence of two full length wall mirrors. There were complimentary Arabic sweets, fresh fruit and water in the room. There was also a mini bar with the usual drinks and snacks available on a chargeable basis. The room had a massive desk with all the necessary portals/sockets – it was the perfect work station. There was an abundance of closet space, in fact, the most storage space I have seen in a hotel room of this size. The TV, annoyingly, was located parallel to the bed which meant watching TV in bed involved some neck craning. The bathroom had a bath, separate shower room (with an amazing power shower), twin sinks and good sized toiletries in the shape of the hotel towers – a unique touch. The room was equipped with an iron, ironing board, hairdryer, dental kit, shaving set, sewing kit, bathrobe and slippers.
Wifi : Complimentary and available throughout the hotel.
Business: Etihad Towers has nailed it when it comes to catering for business travellers. Leaflets in the room quickly arm me with a list of hotel restaurants that serve 45 minute business lunches. This appeals not only for business lunches with clients but also for a quick bite if dining alone. As I mentioned above, the desk was massive – I set up my laptop and spread out my work documents at my temporary office from home. Guests staying in executive rooms enjoy complimentary access to the club executive lounge which serves light snacks and drinks throughout the day.
Slumber: The bed had a very comfortable mattress (medium/hard) and good quality bed linen. The room was quiet, I was on a high floor so I did not hear any noise from street level. However, if there are guests who decide to convene in the corridor for an impromptu meeting at midnight (which happened on this occasion) you can pretty much hear everything. Luckily the mini-conference only went on for 15 minutes. After that I had complete silence and uninterrupted sleep.
Gym : A modern good-sized fitness centre with all the serious work out gear that you would expect in a hi-tech gym. Ten out of ten for the range of equipment.
Pool: There are 3 outdoor temperature controlled pools and a small beach (overlooking construction works). If you feel self-conscious or prefer to swim without being watched avoid the pool located directly in front of the restaurants.
Sort my knots : I had a brief look around the spa (Talise Spa) but, unfortunately, I had to ignore the countless knots in my back because I did not have had time for a treatment. The spa is beautifully laid out with helpful staff and the most amazing aroma of essential oils.
Dining options: The hotel has 11 dining options:
Brasserie Angelique : A decadently fitted out upmarket French brasserie serving traditional French cuisine for lunch (including an express business lunch) and dinner. It is located opposite the hotel’s main entrance.
BICE : Contemporary Italian restaurant chain serving authentic Italian cuisine in a bright and vibrant environment. BICE is a good choice if you wish to dine alone either for lunch or dinner.
Ray's Grille : International steak house located on the 63rd floor of the hotel with spectacular views of Abu Dhabi. It appears to be a popular choice for businessmen in pinstripe suits. It also has a separate bar (Ray's Bar).
Observation Deck at 300: This is the highest vantage point in Abu Dhabi offering glorious panoramic views of the city. Light snacks, cakes and afternoon tea are served by polite and friendly staff. I had a berry mocktail based on a waitress’s recommendation (it was very refreshing and a good choice) and a small Thai beef salad (which was a little too salty – perhaps I should have asked the waitress for a food recommendation too). I recommend booking afternoon tea in advance – this place gets busy! I stayed at the hotel mid-week and the Observation Deck was extremely busy with in-house guests and tourist parties. It is open daily until 6pm and entry is free for hotel guests. It’s a relaxing way to spend 30 minutes to an hour.
Nahaam : Poolside restaurant with a casual and varied menu.
Rosewater: All day dining restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and home to an extensive brunch every Friday.
Li Beirut: An upmarket fine dining Lebanese restaurant with an extensive menu.
Lobby Lounge: Serves light snacks, intricate pastries, cakes and beautifully presented afternoon tea. Due to the vast size of the lobby lounge it is sometimes difficult to attract the attention of wait staff. If you are in a rush I would recommend sitting near to the cake stands so that you are close to where the staff seem to be based. I had coffee and a bite to eat here – it’s a nice place to relax, catch up on emails and make a few phone calls in a stunning setting. The seating is generously spaced so you can achieve a degree of privacy for meetings or calls.
Lobby bar: This is a small bar located next to the Lobby Lounge with a cosy feel to it.
Tori No Su : Authentic Japanese restaurant with a modern twist. The black and yellow interior lighting creates a warm intimate environment. Diners can experience a degree of privacy because the tables are relatively big and widely spaced. It is a comfortable choice for anyone dining alone. The staff are knowledgable and the service is super-efficient. The food was beautifully presented and tasted nice (urgh, now there’s a word I don’t often use) but for me the food was instantly forgettable.
Alternative dining options: The hotel is connected to The Avenue. It's a small boutique luxury mall housing treasures including Van Cleef &Arpels, Bulgari, Cartier, Hermes (the only Hermes in Abu Dhabi) and Chloe. It has two small cafes; Fauchon, a Parisian style café serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and beautifully presented pastries and Al Gusto, a small Italian restaurant serving pizzas and other Italian fayre at reasonable prices. The mall also has a small Waitrose supermarket on the lower leveltowards the car park.
Breakfast : Breakfast was served in Rosewater. There were several large tourist groups and business travellers who filled the huge restaurant at 8am that morning. There was a massive range of food on offer catering to all tastes. There was an egg station, pastry section, hot and cold meats, freshly squeezed juices and a medley of colourful smoothies. The service was slow (perhaps due to the volume of diners). It took 15 minutes for an Americano with hot milk to arrive – when it turned up it was luke warm and unaccompanied by milk. When I alerted the waiter he quickly replaced my coffee with one that was piping hot with milk on the side.
HSQ’s view : Etihad Towers is an excellent business hotel. On a grand scale I cannot fault Jumeirah when it comes to delivering excellent service for business travellers at Etihad Towers. I would also recommend the hotel for leisure tourists due to its location and amenities. Although the hotel has many great (and varied) dining options I felt that there was no real superstar to anchor the hotel’s culinary offering (although Brasserie Angelique has made a good stab at claiming this title). The hotel has a beautiful stand alone dining venue with its own private jetty that was briefly home to Scott’s (one of Caprice Holdings' chain) and formerly a test case for Michael Caines’ foray into the Abu Dhabi culinary scene, Pearls, which has since closed down. Keep an eye on the Stay section of HSQ to find out what’s next for the fabulous dining and event space that has been the hotel’s beautiful white elephant for too long.