TRIED & TESTED

Bab Al Qasr; Grand Mer­cure; Sher­a­ton Grand; Man­darin Ori­en­tal; The LaLit

Business Traveller (India) - - CONTENTS -

BACK­GROUND The prop­erty, part of Mil­len­nium Hotels and Re­sorts’ Bilt­more col­lec­tion, opened in Abu Dhabi in Oc­to­ber 2016. It is a lux­ury ho­tel, and the sec­ond by the group on this emi­rate.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Moroc­canAra­bic. The ex­te­rior is painted in orange and ter­ra­cotta, typ­i­cal to Moroc­can style. The cul­tural in­flu­ences con­tinue to show in the high bal­conies along the up­per rim of the walls. In­te­ri­ors that are pre­dom­i­nantly co­coa-coloured with mother-of-pearl fin­ish­ing re­flect Ara­bic sen­si­bil­i­ties, as do the prints on the car­pet and cush­ions with tas­sels. There is a large tent like struc­ture at the far end of the lobby that of­fers free Ara­bic cof­fee and dates in tra­di­tional cups.

On walk­ing through the glass doors of the lobby, op­er­ated by a man of about seven feet in height (at least when I had vis­ited), there are am­ple sofa seat­ings around cof­fee ta­bles, amongst which is a dis­play of de­li­cious look­ing desserts.

To the right is the re­cep­tion where check-in is com­pleted rather quickly. Be­fore I could zip my purse shut, I had a porter boy wait­ing to es­cort me up to my room. WHERE IS IT? The en­trance to Bab Al Qasr in Cor­niche is op­po­site Emi­rates Palace and within walk­ing dis­tance to the Pres­i­den­tial Palace. It is 36km from Abu Dhabi In­ter­na­tional Air­port and a two-hour drive from Dubai’s Busi­ness Bay.

ROOM FA­CIL­I­TIES I stayed in the Pre­mier room (43 sqm) — one cat­e­gory higher than the base — Su­pe­rior room (41 sqm) — with a view of Emi­rates Palace, and the sea be­hind it. In fact, all rooms have a sea view.

As you en­ter, the bath­room with a sep­a­rate bath­tub and a shower area is to your right. To the left is a cup­board, and a mini­bar with tea/cof­fee mak­ing fa­cil­i­ties and free water bot­tles. Be­low the LCD tele­vi­sion is a beau­ti­ful cabi­net with carv­ings. An elab­o­rate socket with plug points and ports for a USB stick and HDMI ca­ble are built on top of this cabi­net. Much to my dis­com­fort, this was the only place where I could charge my phone when I slept be­cause there were none by my bed­side.

Large win­dows that let in am­ple day­light make one wall of the room. Be­ing double glazed means the room re­mained cool de­spite the 40-de­gree plus tem­per­a­tures out­side. This also means that in the evenings, con­den­sa­tion on the glass re­stricted my view. I could con­trol the cur­tains, tele­vi­sion, ra­dio and room lights via the bed­side con­sole.

Other ameni­ties in the room in­clude a work desk, safe, lug­gage rack and free wifi that was strong in all parts of the ho­tel apart from my room.

The Ex­ec­u­tive, Club Deluxe, Club rooms and all suites have ac­cess to the ho­tel’s Ex­ec­u­tive Club Lounge. It runs across two lev­els — nine and ten — and has three meet­ing rooms, work sta­tions with com­put­ers and ca­sual seat­ing ar­eas. There is also an F&B area where break­fast, lunch, din­ner, evening snacks and happy hours are served.

The sec­ond tower at Bab Al Qasr has ser­viced apart­ments from stu­dios to three-bed res­i­dences. RESTAU­RANTS AND BARS

Limo is a Peru­vian restau­rant and the first of its kind in Abu Dhabi. I made a meal of the small dishes; they’re de­li­cious and come in a large se­lec­tion. Mor­jana is

where im­promptu meet­ings take place — this is the lobby-cum­cafe. Break­fast is served in Ar­ti­san Kitchen. I started my morn­ings here with the tra­di­tional bread and switched from Chi­nese to Euro­pean and fi­nally Ara­bic break­fasts daily for va­ri­ety — the cap­puc­cino had a rich flavour. Fresh Basil is the del­i­catessen for those on the go. The bars here are the poolside Loop and the one at Limo. BUSI­NESS AND MEET­ING

FA­CIL­I­TIES The busi­ness cen­tre oc­cu­pies lev­els six to eight and are equipped with scan­ners, print­ers and copy ma­chines. Al Dana Ball­room has a video-con­fer­enc­ing fa­cil­ity with a ca­pac­ity for 500 del­e­gates. Ad­di­tion­ally, there are 15 meet­ing and func­tion rooms.

LEISURE FA­CIL­I­TIES The spa is di­vided into two lev­els — one for men and the other for women. The out­door infinity swim­ming pool is open from 8am-8pm. The 140-me­tre stretch of pri­vate beach is open from 8am un­til sun­set. The gym is open round the clock.

VER­DICT It is suited for busi­ness and leisure trav­ellers with fa­cil­i­ties to please both.

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