5 Starry Nights in Abu Dhabi

If you have a penchant for world-class hospitality, Michelin starred dining, exceptional service, and new world posh, then Abu Dhabi is the ideal place for you. There isn’t one 5 star hotel in Abu Dhabi which will fail to bedazzle and enchant its guests.  From a vast array of bespoke services and top-notch amenities to choose from, there is a hotel that will indulge all of your five senses and make your Middle Eastern sojourn unforgettable.




If you want to find yourself swaddled in the arms of Middle Eastern hospitality and flair then head to the Park Rotana, where tea servers and bag handlers from the far reaches of South East Asia and Africa attend to the minutia of your travel plans.These men and women are far from being obsequious, but rather are blissfully content and prepared to accommodate you and engage in “real time” conversations. They are often curious as to what circumstances have landed you in “The Sand Box”. The Park Rotana is the place for you, if you’re keen on hotel attentiveness and gracious hosts; just recently, I had a late night flight to catch, and upon request, I was granted a late check-out of 6 pm (without charge). As one of my girlfriends once declared (upon scoring a free upgrade to a suite),  “Now that’s the service I’m accustomed to”.

In general, the Rotana name is a reputable and trustworthy name throughout the UAE.  Thus far, I have stayed at four of its eight sister hotels in Abu Dhabi city and they have not failed to disappoint.



Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana is another gem, with splendorous views of Emirates Palace to boot.  Step outside your balcony doors in the wee hours of the morning and find the opulent Emirates Palace bowing its face to you.



The only thing that warrants being mentioned is that Khalidiya Rotana is a “dry hotel” due to the fact that it is unlicensed. So simply pack a bottle or two of your favorite bubbly and/or spirit to consume within the confines of your room or order a cocktail or two from the room service menu.

If you want to feel as if you’ve never left your comforts of your home, then head to the Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa by Anantara (also a well recognized and well respected hotel brand in the UAE and worldwide) where “starry nights” are in plentitude. It has been arguably stated that the beds at the Eastern Mangroves Hotel are some of the most comfortable that you will find at any hotel in the world and I must concur that the sleep that I had, while staying there during the month of March, was indeed, heavenly.





Everything about this hotel connotes relaxation, spirituality, and Zen, from the Indian influenced world music playing in the lobby to the decadent treatments on the spa menu to the infinity swimming pool facing the Mangroves.  In the evenings, you can chill-out at the rooftop bar, Impressions, which features a “piano man” tenderly crooning out tunes from the Nat King Cole and Elton John songbooks.


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The Eastern Mangroves achieves an extraordinary balance between tranquility and luxury/elegance, easily making this hotel one of my favorites in the city.  Book the Eastern Mangroves (but do remember to request a room facing the Mangroves and not the street) if you are looking for the ultimate weekend getaway and sanctuary, far removed from the frenzied pace of city living.

If you want to feel as if you’re a world-class golf champion and celebrity, then head to the Westin Abu Dhabi Golf and Resort, home of the PGA European Tour Abu Dhabi Golf championship. And if you’re not a championship golfer then simply take in some of the action from your balcony; rooms on the 1st level open out onto the driving range. In addition to pristine golf grounds, the Westin boasts superb dining for all tastes and comprehensive wine lists to compliment the dining experience. After a round or two of golf, swing by The Retreat (a lounge/”resto” serving traditional pub fare) for a glass of your favorite red and simply one of the best burgers in town. In my humble opinion, The Westin is home to one of the most elaborate and savory weekend breakfasts that I have experienced since living in the UAE.  I could have literally spent hours canvassing myriads of food stations at “Fairways” (a restaurant featuring all-day dining) before finding my way back to my seat.




A chef from Zambia was whipping up made to order omelettes and flambéing pineapples and bananas (choice toppings for your pancakes or waffles). Unique juice concoctions like avocado and watermelon, beet-root, orange and ginger will challenge both your color and taste palette.



A rotating sorbet and gelato station attracted both impressionable kids and adults alike, with delectable summer “cool-out” flavors like mango, passion fruit, and watermelon.


For those looking for something more Middle Eastern in flavor, there is ample Ful Medames (fava beans with cumin, onion, and garlic), hummus, tabouleh (parsley salad with bulgur wheat, tomatoes and cucumbers), zatar balls (cheese balls with Middle Eastern herbs), lamb biryani, mixed grill, and pita bread.

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The Westin aims to please those looking to perfect their swing as well as self-proclaimed foodies such as myself with a robust appetite.

Last if you’re a fan of mind-bending tactics, then head to the Hyatt Grand, a hotel that seems to defy all sorts of logic, leaning at a record-breaking 18 degrees.  The Hyatt Grand, which was named the “World’s furthest leaning man-made tower” in 2010 by the Guinness Book of World Records, is one of the first buildings that you will see jutting out of the Abu Dhabi skyline as you enter the city from the West.  Equally impressive in design are the Hyatt’s deluxe rooms, outfitted with sleek futuristic chairs and desks and modern glass furnishings. Art deco meets minimalism is the chosen theme here. The Park Hyatt seeks to bend the imagination even further with a suspended outdoor pool and whirlpool located on the 19th floor.


The Hyatt is an architectural standout when you consider overall aesthetics and functionality.

There are approximately thirty 5 star hotels in Abu Dhabi offering the gamut of luxurious services. Simply decide which hotel features peak your interest, consult the latest copy of Time-Out Abu Dhabi and proceed to any website that features last minute travel deals (I’ve found that www.hotelscombined.com offers the best rates). If you can withstand the volcanic heat during the summer months, then take advantage of the season’s low rates.  On average, you can book a night at any of the city’s 5 star hotels for about $100 U.S, which includes breakfast, easily a 50 % reduction from prices during high season (November to April). So if you’ve got friends in town to impress, a business networking event to arrange in the city or are seeking respite from the work week, then take your pick.


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