Al Dhabi Lounge, AUH

IMG_0473This is this updated lounge of the Airport Hotel Lounge in AUH, which I have blogged about in 2011.

This lounge went through major revamp and furnishing to reach the true magnificent level of service and recognition that Abu Dhabi is reaching for to represent its image to the world of travelers.

Access to this lounge can be through association of major frequent flyer programs, priority pass and I believe some credit card programs as well. This lounge is still located at Terminal 1 of Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), right after the e-gate and immigration desks.

Shower facilities, Computer access area, kids area and smoking lounges were added in order to provide the best service and accommodation to AUH patrons. The seating, decoration, furnishing have all been renewed and improved to a level that it surprised me in comparison to the previous set-up of its old version.

I have to add that the choices for the buffet need some improvement, yet it still beats any premium lounges in Europe, where hot food and in almost unlimited portions are as rare as water in the Arabian desert!

While traveling to Abu Dhabi, I would suggest visiting this lounge to experience comfort before taking off on your flight!

IMG_0471

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.

IMG_1004IMG_1005IMG_1006

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.

Happy New Year 2012

In 45 minutes (GMT+3), we would celebrate The new year’s eve’s in our hearts, since yet our wasteland for a country isn’t free yet from the pawns of religion and its fanatic prosecutors. As I watch Dubai TV broadcasting live their new year’s celebration at Burj Khalifah, I can’t deny the ache in my heart as we watch in envy.

I wish the whole world a happy new year and may we witness global peace, fortune, happiness and joy. God bless and wish you all the best of luck!!

Le Méridien Airport Hotel, Dubai

This is another hotel which I have forgotten to post about. Fortunately, since there’s still time to 2011, let me layout this simple post about this hotel.

This hotel is part of Starwood Hotels franchise and associations. I have made my reservation through their official website since I was staying only for night in Dubai and this hotel is right across from DXB. I have noticed in Starwood website that this hotel doesn’t endorse nor award any star points for stays and it seemed weird to me at first. I have requested early check-in since I was arriving at around 7:30 AM from Manchester, UK on Emirates. Also, I have requested  a smoking room since I might need to enjoy a smoke or two after this long flight and the jet lag. The hotel management emailed me back a couple of times expressing inability to accommodate early check-ins since they were loaded on that day but they will try their best.

Upon arrival, I have noticed that there are two entrances to the hotel. The left side is dedicated to short-term stays and are assigned to Emirates travelers. They would be accommodated anytime of the day, according to the flight schedules. My friend who was set on that accommodation tried to extend an extra day but was turned day due to unavailability

I headed towards the right side entrance which is the main entrance of the hotel. After checking-in, I was requested to chill  for an undefined amount of time in the lounge till a room is prepared for my stay. I was truly unsatisfied with that. Other travelers faced the same situation and that eased the situation to myself.

After almost 45 to 50 minutes, I was assigned a special executive room and I was truly glad of this upgrade, since it was truly a pleasant room with two minor objections to it. Its windows were facing the  main entrance to the hotel, so no good view is available. And it was a non-smoking room.

The main reason why I have stayed in this hotel is because of its variety of choices in the nightlife scenes. There are about 4-5 clubs/bars plus sheehsa smoking section aside from 3-4 international cuisine restaurants. I would truly recommend paying the place a visit just for its nightlife and the swimming pool area. Although it’s located right by the airport and a bit far from the city center of Dubai, anyone interested in a one night adventure in Dubai should give this place a try.