Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana, Abu Dhabi

IMG_1002I’ve been only once to this hotel, but I have to admit that it is worth blogging about.

Due to my work commitment, we have decided to conduct a meeting at Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan Hotel, a Rotana property in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

This hotel combines three living quarters in one place. I believe that the hotel is one-third of them, while the other buildings are private apartments, if I am correct to assume so.

The location of the hotel is opposite the Abu Dhabi Marina mall and the Emirates Palace hotel on the corniche.

The hotel is reputable for its family friendliness and the provided swimming pools for the kids and families to enjoy. Its nearness to the mall and the corniche is convenient in distance, yet I don’t recommend to cut it through walking since it involves going through traffic and packed streets, which is not safe and the distance is not convenient during summer heat.

As for the hotel, it has to be noted that it is a dry hotel, i.e. no alcohol is provided nor allowed on its premises. So, for all thirsty travelers, I would suggest to look somewhere else.

The lobby and the reception of the hotel is spacious and convenient. The reception and the hotel staff are courteous and available upon need.

I had one major issue with one of the reception desk staff, who provided me with the wrong information regarding using the local line for making an 800 number call within the UAE. I had assumed that it was chargeable by the hotel, but the desk receptionist insisted that it was free. I called twice to inquire about it and on both calls, the reply was that I can go ahead since this call, using the hotel line is free and no charges would be placed on my bill.

I went ahead and place my call on the 800 number to conduct a conference call for an hour with business partners in the states. Upon checking out the next day, I found out that I was charged with almost 75 AED for using the local line to conduct the same call. Upon discussing the same with the reception desk staff and clarifying the issue with the manager, I provided them with the name of the hotel staff who answered me and provided me with the wrong information. The charges were dropped but I think he didn’t get away with his fault!

This hotel is part of the Rotana Rewards program and I would suggest to join the said program to enjoy its rewards. I will review their hotel frequent guest program in an upcoming post!

I would like to emphasize on the size and comfort of this hotel through the following snaps of the deluxe room at this property.

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Crowne Plaza, Muscat

Due to business relations with our clients in Oman, we had to stay a couple of times in Muscat and Crowne Plaza was one of the few selections that would stand out among others. For a fact, hotel rates in Oman are highly exaggerated and don’t reflect the received services for such stay rates nor the quality of the venue.So, why Crowne Plaza? well because I’m a platinum Priority Club member and I would like to receive the benefits of possible upgrade, free amenity kits and extended check out time.  Well, it doesn’t work all the time with hotels operating under the IHG group, since I’ve read stories on frequent flyer forums where their high tier status didn’t earn them a thing and that’s according to local hotel management and discretion.

Well in case of Crowne Plaza Muscat, I was recognized for my tier and I have received a complimentary upgrade for club room, while reserving a standard room. Though there are no provided perks such as club lounge access, internet access or even free breakfast. Actually the hotel doesn’t even have a club floor lounge which is disappointing. Below the picture of the club floor room which is amazingly overlooking the pool and the beach.

As you can see, the room is spacious and has its own balcony, overlooking some beautiful images such as below

As a hotel policy, it is not allowed to smoke in the rooms. For solution to smokers, they have provided an ashtray in the balcony where you would have to smoke outside regardless of humidity and high temperature.

The only provided perks were a plate of fruits, a hot water kettle with instant coffee and tea and some complimentary water aside from the daily local newspapers.

I have to mention that the carpets of the hallways and the rooms need to be replaced as it’s truly worn out and smelly. The interior of the hallways is aged and need renewal. The hotel itself need to give itself a break for a while. As for food, their breakfast buffet is pretty good and packed with all kinds of selections which makes it up for any negative issues.

I would have to recommend that you would try their English pub food and drinks. The food there is good and the atmosphere is jolly, with some bingo/quiz games with lots of Aussies and English people hanging around.

For a change, I would recommend walking a bit from the hotel down the road to see the Qurom Street where the locals call it “the love street” where all youngsters and teens hang around to pick up girls and meet up. There’s a couple of coffee shops and some franchise restaurants. Walking around in a breezy weather at night and enjoying the nightlife scene would be a good choice for alternative if you don’t want to hang out at Crowne Plaza open area dedicated to its restaurants and pubs.

All in all, this is a decent business hotel but I would recommend some major improvements in renovation to be able to stay next time.

The Gulf Hotel, Bahrain

 

Believed to be the oldest hotel in Bahrain, The Gulf Hotel maintains its colossal shape over Al Adliya area in Bahrain. Arguably it could be labelled the biggest hotel in Bahrain in covered area, Gulf Hotel still maintains attraction to foreign and local visitors through its high variety of restaurants, nightlife, private parties, weddings, conventions and sports-related activities during summer.

I have stayed once before in Gulf Hotel in 2008 and I have stayed in its regular rooms, which are not yet renovated and I had a very negative feedback about it. The carpet was old, the furniture was dreadful and the TV was the old tube type. It was not a pleasant stay for me. I’ve decided to give Gulf Hotel a shot and try it again with my family on August 28th, 2011. I’ve decided to go for the executive rooms which are newly built and made are in the new tower. They cost more than the typical rooms, but are worth the money.

Here are some snaps of the room.

And what’s truly nice about this room is the bathroom and its huge tub.

Still, I have to put some of my personal remarks about Gulf Hotel. For start, their reception desk needs more staff and better training at dealing with patrons. There are usually two to three personnel and they’re always busy with something. The patrons lines do extend to a level that people start losing their patience. Their local staff are not well trained in the sense of respecting the patrons nor providing the most of their skills. I’ve been to hotel where hotel staff went out of their way to provide 110% of services and support. Gulf Hotel reception staff don’t seem to reach 90%.

Another issues is the price of services. The breakfast buffet rate per person is pretty steep. The internet is chargeable and it’s not that cheap either. I’ve seen many people go out and bring food from nearby restaurants due to the high prices of Gulf Hotel establishments.  I think the management should deeply look into this and revise their course of process.

Another issue is the after-sale services. I have stayed in Gulf hotel due to an offer on frequent flyer miles with many airlines. The offer was to get 500 miles per night and I was staying four nights, and this seemed very good offer indeed for me. I have made the reservation for that offer only with all confirmations and such and providing my FFP card. After a couple of weeks, and upon initiating communications from my side to them since they didn’t credit my stay to the FFP, they replied back to me that they’re only offering 500 miles and that’s the normal there. Even sending multiple emails to their management and their customer support with all the supporting documents, they wouldn’t budge down. Then , I had to go to World hotels, which had the original promo and Gulf Hotel is part of it. They were very supportive and credited me all the remaining balance after they took on Gulf hotel management on my behalf. I truly appreciated their gesture and their apologies for the mismanagement of how this issues was dealt with.

In general, this is a fairly good hotel to stay at only if you’re willing to stay in the costly executive rooms. Otherwise, go there for the nightlife and the restaurants.

 

Rotana Beach, Abu Dhabi

Back to business! Well, I have stayed in this hotel for numerous times and it prompts me to review it. I have patronized this establishment in the last two years due to my business trips to Abu Dhabi. The selection was for obvious reasons. The hotel is connected to Abu Dhabi Mall, one of the three big malls in the area. For a change, you can go window shopping, eating and to enjoy the available establishments at the mall. Also, Rotana Beach has some of the finest restaurants in the Abu Dhabi. I’ve always found this hotel full with patrons during daytime and evening as well. Of course, my favorite spot is Trader’s Vic where it is the main place for nightlife in the hotel. Good drinks, good food and good music, nothing more to ask for!

The staff is pretty friendly and accommodating to all needs. I have never faced any problems in Rotana Beach, except when it comes to being placed in the 7th floor and the Wi-Fi reception gets weaker to the point that you can’t connect to it. I have communicated that to the management and they positively replied that they would be looking into it and address it accordingly. Another comment was that Wi-Fi is still chargeable in Rotana Beach and other Rotana establishments and this is being common in Abu Dhabi and we have provided numerous feedback on this issue.

Please note that Rotana Beach has different configuration for accommodations, from its other establishments in the GCC region. Rotana Beach has (if I remember correctly) three towers and each has a specialized accommodation level. The pics below from the main the building where it overlooks the restaurants and main body. I’ve stayed once in another tower, where it holds the premium and larger rooms. The third tower hold the serviced apartments.

Here are pics from the regular classic room. The room size if pretty decent for business traveler, although I may note that it’s a bit clustered for me.

Another good thing in Rotana Beach is their Zen the Spa. I have tried it! It is located in the basement of the hotel and it has a very unique atmosphere, where a one can enjoy a good rub and relax after multiple meetings. I highly recommend giving it a shot! I may add that Rotana Hotel Chain in general has one of the finest room service menus. You have to try it once (go for the burgers and the Club sandwiches)! Aside from that, I can’t deny my passion for their vegetable soap bars which they supplement in their rooms. It smells and fells nice and smooth. I would always come back to Rotana Beach for their outstanding customer service and moderate prices, as well its location.