So this is the first post of the all new ‘Luxury Hotels’ section of Laura Lou Travels! I’m super excited to be starting this because as you know, I live in Dubai, a place of endless luxury, so it would be rude not to try out what’s on offer… right?!
Last weekend was a three day weekend here in Dubai for Islamic New Year so I figured it was the perfect time to go somewhere to relax. I wanted somewhere with a beautiful pool (that is pretty much a must for me) So I chose to stay in the Ritz-Carlton, Abu Dhabi.
The driveway up to the hotel is just what I would have expected from a place like the Ritz-Carlton, it was so grand with fountains and amazing views of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (this is partly why I chose this hotel)
As we pulled up we were helped with our luggage and the car was swiftly taken away by the valet (complimentary of course!) Now this is where I have a few negative points, check in was pretty much a disaster, we queued for well over half an hour because it seems the rooms weren’t ready for the people checking in so as you can imagine, there was a lot of complaining! However, we were checked in by a lovely lady who offered to help out to speed up the queue and somehow she managed to get us a room! Win! … Check out was just as terrible, I think for a 5 star hotel these things shouldn’t be as complicated as they made it, but you will be pleased to know that this is where the negativity ends!
We stayed in a Deluxe King room which had the most beautiful views of the pool and the beach! The room was gorgeous with ‘his and hers’ sinks and a huge bath tub with a partition which allowed you to watch TV whilst having a soak! Perfect!
The room also had a Nespresso machine, this was a huge plus for me! (Total coffee addict!) and complimentary water. When the maid arrived to do the turn down service she topped up all my water and gave me extra coffee capsules because she could see I liked it! … She was the nicest lady and more than happy to help with anything.
The Pool and Beach
The pool was absolutely huge! I had heard that this hotel was popular with families and when I think ‘relaxing weekend’ children really don’t come to mind, however this hotel has it all covered. There is a splash park and also a covered shallow end of the pool which is perfect for the little ones! It also means the deeper end of the pool is relatively free for swimming and relaxing.
There is an infinity style to the end of the pool and did I mention, it’s massive?! The hotel was super busy but you really couldn’t tell. The guys sorting the beach towels and the beds were brilliant, especially the one who looked after us, he told us it was his first day when he had to go find out where the toilets were for us and after that I just spent a lot of my time watching him doing his best to fold towels and move the ridiculously heavy umbrellas! I know what it’s like being the new person… he did an awesome job! 🙂
The beach is immediately at the end of the pool, it’s small but it was never busy. The only complaint I read was about the amount of speed boats whizzing up and down, and yeah I guess it’s quite loud but it’s fun to watch them having fun!
The grounds and restaurants
One thing I absolutely loved about this hotel was the feeling of being in a ‘resort’ you really don’t have to leave for anything. There are around 8 places to eat in the hotel with a lot of outdoor seating and even a bar with a happy hour!
We ate at Mijana which is a Lebanese restaurant and it was absolutely beautiful! I love Lebanese food and this has to be some of the nicest food I’ve had. There was also a man playing traditional music whilst people ate.
We spent around AED 300 for a large bottle of water and two main courses. None of the restaurants in the hotel were overly cheap, but it is the Ritz so you can’t complain 😉
Just past the swimming pool, situated within the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton is the Venetian Village. It is designed to resemble a lively Italian Piazza and looks lovely lit up at night. The hotel spa is also located there and it is beautiful to go for a walk around the streets after dinner, or you could even have dinner at one of the many restaurants there.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
I am still yet to visit the Grand Mosque … trust me, I’m just as shocked at myself as you are! It’s not like me to not have visited every possible tourist destination in my area, but it’s on my list!
Anyway, I read that this hotel has beautiful views of the mosque and having only ever driven past it once before I was dying to get a better look and some awesome photos!
The mosque can be seen in all its glory from the hotel reception and it is even more magical as the sun goes down (as I found out) So get your bum off that sun lounger and get up to the gardens by the front of the hotel to watch the sunset… you won’t regret it!
How stunning is this, I seriously couldn’t take enough photos!
When the sun finally goes down the hotel really comes to life. I love a good fairy light setting and illuminated palm trees, and the Ritz-Carlton certainly didn’t disappoint. There were lights everywhere including in the swimming pool! Honestly, the hotel looks absolutely stunning at night. We walked to the bottom of the pool to look back at the hotel and, well just look for yourself….
Lets not get in to this again… We eventually checked out and that’s all that matters!
Instead I’ll talk about our last day… after checking out we told them we wanted to spend the day by the pool, so a lady took our bags and gave us a ticket to get them back when we were ready to leave.
After a lovely day by the pool in the hot sun we had a drive back to Dubai to contend with so we asked where we could get changed. We were taken to the fitness centre within the hotel and advised to use the facilities. The changing rooms were so clean with huge showers, a sauna and steam room, along with complimentary towels, shower gel, shampoo, hairdryer, hairspray, deodorant, makeup wipes…. you get the idea! It was just really nice to not have to get changed in a toilet cubicle by the pool!
As mentioned above, the changing rooms were beautiful and although I never used the gym (forgot my gym kit!) I had a look inside and it was huge, for a hotel gym at least! It seemed to have a lot of different equipment too, so if you’re in to working out on a relaxing holiday, it’s definitely worth remembering your gym gear! 😉
Overall, super comfy bed, Nespresso machine, huge bath, even bigger pool, spa and load’s of places to eat, including an ice cream parlour! Need I say more…
The whole stay cost just under AED 700 including all taxes etc. for one night in a Deluxe King room (no breakfast!)
I will definitely be returning when I’m in need of a break from the hustle and bustle of Dubai.
Also! A video of my stay is coming really soon over on my YouTube channel www.youtube.com/c/lauraloutravels … So make sure you’re subscribed 🙂
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