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HomeArts & CultureHotel Insider: Four Seasons Abu Dhabi

Hotel Insider: Four Seasons Abu Dhabi

The welcome

Several door staff are manning the slick hotel entrance as I drive up, and several more smartly dressed staff are stationed in the marble-and-glass lobby, which is dressed in fresh flowers and local artwork. A couple of the staff recognise me from a previous visit. The reception area to the right is also well-manned. I’m offered a cold towel and a tasty mango, mint, lemon and apple juice while I’m checked in.

The neighbourhood

The hotel is situated in a smart new 34-storey building on Al Maryah Island, next to Abu Dhabi Global Market Square. The large lobby, lounge, pool and signature restaurant section juts out from the foot of the tower and provides access to the waterfront and The Galleria mall. The hotel’s 200 rooms and suites occupy floors 4-13.

The room

My room is a deluxe one-bedroom suite on the 9th floor. It has a homely feel, with a smart wood floor, rugs, local artwork, a dining table, comfy sofa and large TV. The view from the floor-to-ceiling windows is somewhat obstructed by coloured exterior slats, but the light levels are good and it feels private. I find the lighting system on the electronic tablet by the bed confusing. The bathroom is generously sized and mostly clad in brown marble.

The service

Full-on and rather intrusive. If you like whole groups of people knowing your name, what exactly you had for breakfast, how you are and how your stay was, this is the place for you.

The scene

The Lobby Lounge is used for high-class local fashion and social events, though the atmosphere is demure and relaxed rather than high-octane. Butcher & Still has a nice post-work buzz, and Cafe Milano is both stylish and decadent. The pool terrace was hosting a DJ night when I visited, but this was also controlled and relaxing.

The food

The buffet breakfast (Dh168) is good, but the Friday Best Brunch (Dh275 including soft drinks) is much better. Most of the beef at Butcher & Still comes from Creekstone Farms, a premium producer in the US, but prices are still very good compared to other hotels. A friend and I share the signature tomahawk bone-in ribeye chop, which costs Dh420 and is juicy and buttery, with a delicious crispy edge. The truffle fries at Dh35 and New Orleans Rockefeller oysters (Dh65 for 6) are also tasty and good value. The old-world setting, which makes you feel like you’ve gone to Chicago for the evening, is a bonus. The only downside is the constant interruption, mid-conversation, from waiting staff. At Cafe Milano, service was more formal and restrained, and the indoor-outdoor atmosphere is great; highlights are the risotto moschino (Dh85), the seared-tuna salad (Dh110) and spaghetti with white truffles (Dh140).

Loved

The massage by Lijo from Kerala in the spa – from Dh564 for an hour – and the fact that the great relaxation area, sauna, steam room and hot pool are free of charge to guests. The well-equipped and large gym is also excellent.

Hated

The overbearing service and the fact that a man was still cleaning the pool at 9am.

The verdict

If service can be made more intuitive, this will be one of the best hotels in town.

The bottom line

Double rooms at the Four Seasons Abu Dhabi (www.fourseasons.com/abudhabi/) cost from Dh840 per night including taxes and excluding breakfast.

This review was done at the invitation of the hotel.

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