A luxury weekend break in Abu Dhabi

After a fantastic stay in the capital over Eid, I thought it was high time I wrote a review of my stay in Jumeirah at  Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi. I was disappointed not to be leaving the UAE for the holidays but the weekend break did feel like an escape, due in most part to the luxury of the surroundings.

I was particularly interested to see the hotel after working so hard on the pre-opening plans during my years working at Jumeirah Group, and I was not disappointed with the end result. Aside from my experience of working with the Group, I have had also had many memorable experiences staying in their hotels and resorts in the UAE (my favourites here) and UK, so I knew to expect the flawless anticipatory service and luxurious amenities that were provided.

The hotel occupies one of the towers of the Etihad Towers complex, and our room on one of the highest floors offered fantastic views of the corniche and Emirates Palace below. It had an interesting layout, with the bathroom tucked around a corner and the freestanding bathtub providing the same stunning views as the rest of the room. The only problem was the design of bathroom floor – the water didn’t drain away but seeped under the door into the bathroom (the shower was flush with the rest of the room) – but aside from saturated bathmats and a wet floor, it didn’t present any major problems, and we were easily distracted by the positioning of the toilet and shower rooms. These faced full glass doors, which paired with the floor-to-ceiling windows, allowed for uninterrupted views of the corniche, even from the toilet itself! And I loved the little turtle that replaced the rubber duck in the bath.

The pool area was well-appointed, with a separate area for children to play, to allow the adults to relax in peace. We took a spot on the ‘beach’ – a short stretch of sand and sea facing the area’s natural mangroves. Whilst not the most distinctive waterfront I’ve seen, it’s an unexpected and welcome addition to the business hotel’s facilities and was a nice spot to enjoy delicious fresh cocktails. The F&B offering was outstanding, we tried Li Beirut, the Lebanese restaurant, which had a great menu offering authentic traditional specialities as well as some tasty fusion twists (lobster baba ghanouj or foie gras kibbeh anyone??) Personally, I loved the chicken livers in pomegranate syrup and the battata harra, as well as honey fudge kunaffa. These were followed by post-dinners drinks at Ray’s Bar – a dark and chic cocktail lounge on the 62nd floor of the hotel, offering a deliciously different choice of drinks.

I didn’t see the spa, but as the half marathon inches closer, I did drag myself out of the uber-luxuriously comfortable bed to go to the gym. The staff here were incredibly friendly (there’s nothing like being offered frozen towels as you reach the 7th kilometre on the treadmill!) and there were great facilities, it was just a shame that it was on a low floor, only overlooking the hotel’s car park.

On this trip, we were just looking for relaxation and light entertainment so opted out of all the sightseeing, saving that for another day, and instead spent the first day within the hotel, and the second with a trip out to the new Yas Waterworld. We visited on the first day after the Eid holiday when everyone was back at work, which was incredibly well timed, meaning that we missed the crowds and did not queue for a single ride (unheard of in a park that typically welcomes several thousand visitors per day). This, coupled with the huge variety of rides and slides, led to a fantastic day out – so much so that I think this may now be my new favourite watermark in the UAE! Although I’m not sure I’ll feel the same way when the park is full – guess I’ll need to pay another visit, just to check!