Tried & Tested

Exclusive: Tried and Tested Traders Abu Dhabi

1 Sep 2009 by Mark Caswell

What’s it like? Traders is the upper four-star brand of the five-star chain Shangri-La. Aimed firmly at business travellers, there are 11 Traders worldwide with several more planned. This one opened in August 2009 and the reception with its bright colours, modern art, sunlight streaming through the atrium windows and waterfall makes an immediate impression after the traditional colours of the exterior of the building.

Where is it? Overlooking the strait that separates Abu Dhabi Island from the mainland, the property has its own private beach and is part of the same complex as the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri further along the same beach (you can dine in that hotel’s restaurants and sign it to the room). Between the two properties are 161 residences (also managed by Shangri-La) and a souk with shops and restaurants, to the other side is the soon-to-be-opened Fairmont Hotel.

Frequent electric buggies can shuttle you between the two hotels and the souk if it is too hot to walk, and the cheerful operators drive at speeds that is certain to be the highlight of any trip. There are also Abras (Arabic gondolas) plying the waterway, familiar to anyone who has stayed at Madinat Jumierah. The hotel is less than 15 minutes' drive from the airport and only five minutes from the ADNEC Convention Centre.

Room facilities The 301 rooms and suites are contemporary in style and come in several sizes ranging from large (Superior, 32sqm) through to very large (Deluxe, 48sqm) and huge (Premier, 52sqm). The hotel has nine floors, with rooms on floors 1 to 9, with floors 8 and 9 reserved for the 51 club floor Traders Club rooms and suites with a lounge on the 9th floor (10th if you count the ground floor as the first floor, American style). All rooms have complimentary wifi and wired internet access, and a neat touch is the fact that if you are watching TV and answer the phone, the TV volume automatically dims. There’s also a panel by the bed with a head phone socket, allowing you to watch TV without disturbing anyone who is sharing the same bed. 

All rooms have either sea or land views, complimentary broadband internet access, dual line telephones, data port connections, LCD TV with satellite/cable feed, separate bath tub and shower cubicle, daily complimentary water, tea and coffee making facilities, ice refill, minibar, safe with plug, and a PC/ laptop port with power separate from the key card which powers the room, allowing you to turn off the lights in the room when you leave, but still charge devices plugged into this laptop port (although this wasn’t working in my room).  Sixty percent of rooms have balconies, and every second floor is smoking.

For most of the rooms the toiletries are Traders own brand, but for the suites it is L’Occitaine. If you pay extra for one of the Traders Club rooms, then you receive express check-in and check-out, use of lounge, complimentary breakfast buffet and evening cocktails, complimentary soft beverages throughout the day, fresh fruit in room on arrival, one complimentary suit pressing and shoeshine service. For a superior room, this comes at a daily supplement charge of 300Dirhams (£50), though at the time of my stay there was an opening offer of 200Dirhams per night.

I stayed at the hotel only four weeks after opening, and during Ramadan, so the hotel was far from full, but the service was excellent, with room service arriving only 10 minutes after being ordered and staff always available for requests or help. I left at 6.30am in the morning, the time the restaurant opens for breakfast, but was invited in (after check-out) to get a juice and coffee and a pastry to take with me on my way to the airport.

Restaurants and bars There is a bar just beyond reception on the ground floor, which feels a little exposed at present being effectively in the lobby, and the restaurant - Afyä (health) serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, in a bright and smartly designed interior with both a la carte and buffet options.

Business and meeting facilities There is a small business centre on the ground floor behind reception with three terminals, but the staff have access to an office at the back from which they can print documents and carry out the services of a full business centre. There is free internet access in the public areas. A private meeting room is also available (visible through the skylight whcih looks like a well when viewed from the central elevators taking you up to the rooms).

Leisure facilities On the ground floor accessed by walking outside past the 15m outdoor lap pool (open 6am-8pm) there is a well-equipped gymnasium with changing rooms. There is also a private beach, and guests can also use the spa at CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La.

Verdict Excellent, with great service, a good location suitable for the exhibition centre and airport and the advantage of having the extra restaurants and spa of the Shangri-La to hand. That said, like most four and five-star hotels in Abu Dhabi, it isn’t cheap. An internet one-night stay for mid-October in a Superior Room is £270 per night including taxes.

Fact file

How many rooms? 301 rooms and suites including 51 Traders Club rooms and suites with a lounge on the 9th floor.

Room highlights complimentary wifi, daily fruit and water, neat technological touches such as the hotel muting its sound when you answer the phone and a headphone socket by the side of the bed so you can watch TV without disturbing others.

Price An internet one night stay for mid-October in a Superior Room is £270 per night including taxes.

Contact Between the Bridges, PO Box 128881, Abu Dhabi; tel (971 2) 510 8888;

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