Review of the Four Seasons, Abu Dhabi
Where: Four Seasons 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), and the Rosewood Hotel. The hotel is also 2 minutes walk to Abu Dhabi Global Market Place (Abu Dhabi’s Financial Free Zone).
Hotel credentials: The hotel opened this year (2016). It has 162 rooms and 38 suites. The hotel offers 6 restaurants/bars, a spa, a gym and an outdoor swimming pool.
When: 28 September 2016
Purpose of trip: Business
First impressions : I arrived at the hotel by car and valet parked. My bags were quickly unloaded. The external entrance to the hotel is clean, unobstructed and an impressive piece of architecture. I could see directly into the hotel before I got out of my car. The hotel lobby is stunning and attributes much of its splendour to the use of natural light, clean linear architecture and statement wall art. The lobby lounge is essentially a glass box made homely and cosy by soft neutral furnishings. Check-in was swift and I was in my room with my luggage within 15 minutes of arriving.
Room type & amenities: I stayed in a deluxe room which was 44sqm with a king sized bed. It had a separate living room with a desk, TV and sofa. There was complimentary fresh fruit, dates and water in the room in addition to a well stocked mini bar (available on a chargeable basis). The room overlooked the turquoise waters of Abu Dhabi. The exterior of the hotel is clad with a variety of colourful iron bars. These bars were visible from one of the smaller windows in the living area. I personally prefer uninterrupted views (I am not a fan of prison chic!). The bathroom had a freestanding bath, separate shower room and twin sinks. It was fitted out in neutral marble and some colourful wall art that created a luxurious feel. Other amenities included a bathrobe, slippers, eye gel, dental set, shaving kit,sewing kit and Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries. The hotel had many in-room amenities that I have experienced in other 5 star hotels. However, I noticed little touches that made this experience feel like an upgrade. The hairdryer was a high speed ionic hairdryer allowing me to slice 10 minutes of my blow drying time. Ceramic hair straightners were available upon request. The vanity kit was metal and included nail scissors. The bathroom mirror had an inbuilt TV. The iron came equipped with a long extension lead so that I was not restricted to ironing clothes in one area. However, the iron plug did not actually fit the (British) wall sockets so I had to use the extension cable because it was fitted with a compatible plug.
Wifi: Complimentary and available throughout the hotel.
Business: The room had a small desk with all the necessary portals/sockets and plenty of stationary. The hotel does not have an executive club, however, it does have a twenty-four hour business concierge geared up to respond to business needs should you need to borrow a laptop or print material.
Slumber: Comfortable mattress (medium/hard). Good quality bed linen. The room was quiet although I noted that the air conditioning was a bit lounder than in some other 5 star hotels in Abu Dhabi. There was no noise from street level or from the corridor.
Dining options: The hotel has 6 dining options:
Crust: Casual all day dining restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also serves brunch every Friday. I did not have much time for lunch during my stay so I opted to have the express lunch at Crust; 2 courses served within 45 minutes for AED55 (plus taxes). Both courses were light and had plenty of flavour. Lunch was done and dusted within 30 minutes. I recommend the Thin Crust Bread with Tomato Salsa and the New York Steak.
Butcher & Still : A 1940’s style Chicago steakhouse. The restaurant opened a couple of nights after my stay. However, during my stay I did manage to have a quick look around the restaurant. The dark leather, copper and wood interior is ultra sleek and gives the venue some attitude. The restaurant converts into a semi-open space when the French doors are opened to reveal a terrace and spectacular views of Abu Dhabi.
Café Milano: Fine dining Italian restaurant with a similar menu to the Café Milano in Washington DC. Similar to Butcher & Still the restaurant has an outdoor terrace. The restaurant opened to the public a week after my stay.
Zsa Zsa : An elegant cocktail bar with an outdoor terrace located at lobby level.
Eclipse: Outdoor pool bar serving drinks and light bites. It turns into a cool hangout in the evening complete with DJ.
Al Meylas: Lobby lounge serving light bites, afternoon tea and beautifully presented pastries and other sweet treats (including handmade ice lollies). I had a few meetings in Al Meylas. It’s a relaxed environment with attentive staff and a good place for coffee on your own or with others. I tried the cronut (a signature pastry at the hotel); it’s a cross between a donut and a croissant filled with flavoured cream. A must try. However, if you’re watching your figure then give the cronut a body swerve!
Alternative dinning tips : Head to the Galleria Mall (directly connected to the Four Seasons). 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 (decent bistro food); 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 : I had breakfast at Crust. It had a good selection of pastries, an egg station, juice bar and hot and cold international and local favourites. I opted for the American style bagels with smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill. The bagels were delightfully chewy.
Gym: The hotel has two large gyms (one dedicated to women) with views overlooking the water. It's an attractive place to work out with a huge variety of equipment. I went to the gym at 7am on the day I was due to check out. It was completely void of guests and staff.
Swimming pool: The hotel has an outdoor temperature controlled pool which appears to be in the sun for most of the day. A great spot for sun seekers. Similar to what I experienced at the gym, there were no staff at the pool at 7am and no towels. I spent 10 minutes looking for staff but there was no one around.
Beach access: Four Season’s has partnered with Saadiyat Beach Club to offer hotel guests special rates. Saadiyat Beach Club is a beautiful property frontingthe most beautiful beach in the UAE. It is located on Saadiyat Island, a 10 minute drive from the hotel.
Sort my knots : The hotel has a spa (Sense of Time) that I did not have time to visit during my stay. I did ask for a tour and was shown around the many treatment rooms and dedicated relaxation areas which looked amazing.
Kids club: The hotel runs a Kids for all Seasons programme which is essentially and indoor and outdoor kids club. The Friday brunch at the hotel has a dedicated play room for junior diners. The Galleria Mall also has a small kids play centre (Caboodle).
Check-out: Check-out was swift and my car which had been valeted was waiting for me when I had checked out.
HSQ’s view : I would definitely recommend this hotel for business or leisure (alone or with family/friends). The Four Seasons’s investment in small details is what sets this hotel apart from others. The staff are the hotel’s largest asset. On the whole the staff were very attentive, friendly and sincere. Sometimes some of the staff in the lobby lounge appeared nervous but I attributed that to the hotel being newly opened. The tie in with Saadiyat Beach Club widens the hotel’s offering which may entice guests to stay an extra day – what better way to destress than at the beach. The only negative aspects of my stay were the lack of staff at the pool and gym the morning I checked out (not what one would expect from a luxury hotel) and the fact that my room did not have a full length mirror.