Lonely Planet ‘A Taste of Travel’ & review of Eastern Mangroves Hotel, Abu Dhabi
I was recently invited to attend to attend the launch of Lonely Planet Traveller‘s A Taste of Travel photography exhibition. The event was being held on a Thursday evening in Anantara’s newly opened Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa in Abu Dhabi and as a big fan of the other Anantara resorts in the UAE (reviews here), I opted to take advantage of a summer corporate rate and spend the weekend (UAE weekends run Fri-Sat).
The booking process left a lot to be desired unfortunately and there was a lot of confusion over the rate that had been communicated to me. The issues remained unresolved even until check-in, with the service not at all what I have come to expect from the brand. Once through check-in however, things picked up. The Deluxe Mangroves Balcony room was beautiful and spacious with a balcony overlooking the Abu Dhabi mangroves, and made for a peaceful workspace for the afternoon.
The Lonely Planet event was great – as I love both travel and photography, it was always bound to be a hit with me. The exhibition was divided into four themes – landscape, architecture, nature and people – and included stunning pictures from around the globe, from Chilean flamenco dancers to penguins on Easter Island. Lonely Planet Traveller Middle East magazine is still relatively new, so I am sure this will only go from strength to strength and we will see more images on display in the future, and potentially more contribution from the local area too.
The rest of the stay was fantastic too, the pool and hot tub area was stunning, with complimentary facial spritz and wipes for sun-worshippers’ sunglasses, and the deliciously refreshing cocktails did a great job of coaxing us stressed-out workers to kickback and relax – in fact we didn’t even make it to the mangroves for some kayaking (one of my favourite UAE watersports). The food was also delicious, from the extensive breakfast buffet to the delicious signature Thai restaurant Pachaylen, which provided Mieng Khum ingredients and demonstration to enable us to make the hand-wrapped leaf snacks as an appetiser ourselves, before the feast really began!
Check-out was smooth and straightforward and staff were more than helpful, leaving me with a strong lasting impression, which would definitely see me recommend the hotel to others looking for a spot of luxury in the capital.