The Shangri-La story began in 1971 in Singapore. Since then it has expanded worldwide and has Shangri-La Hotels, Shangri-La Resorts, Traders Hotels, Kerry Hotels and Hotel Jen in its portfolio. Shangri- La Hotel opened in Abu Dhabi in 2007 and is the second Shangri- La property in the emirate after Traders Hotel.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Shades of dark beige or colours of the sand dress the hotel, as it suits the Arabic sensibilities who make up half its clientele; EU and UK guests make up most of the other half. Arches are subtle and the architecture is less than avant- garde. The rooms are designed much like those in business hotels too: with clever use of space and basic amenities in place.
Behind the reception desk are rows of batoola (a traditional veil/ mask worn by Arabic women) as an art installation. While you’re waiting to be checked-in, tablets affixed at the reception desk show informative videos of Shangri-La properties worldwide.
Opposite the reception is a grand crystal chandelier under which is a high circular table with beautiful floral arrangements, Arabic coffee and dates. Help yourself if the designated “greeter” isn’t around to serve you.
Straight ahead is the Lobby Lounge, where you can order refreshments. It extends to a bar and both have a common balcony that overlooks the infinity pool and the beach.
WHERE IS IT?
It is 19km from Abu Dhabi International Airport and a 90-minute drive to Dubai.
Nuances of Arabic influences show in the décor of my base category Deluxe room (45 sqm): an arch between the bedroom and entrance foyer, a decorative wooden chest, and furniture in old wooden finish.
Shangri-La has done a good job in space utilisation. Opposite the door is a cupboard, large enough to hold two full-sized suitcases standing up, with enough space to hang clothes and fill the drawers for a week-long stay. To the right is a spacious bathroom with a separate bathtub and shower cubicle. Its dry area is large enough to use as a dressing room. Sliding doors of the bathroom can be left open, giving the impression of the room being larger than it is.
The well-sized work desk is beside the balcony that has, on either side, two cushioned benches, and a table and chair. Other amenities in the room include a tea/coffee maker, LCD television, DVD player, free water bottles and a welcome fruit basket. DVDs can be borrowed from the hotel’s library at no charge. These are common across all room categories.
Premier rooms and suites have a separate enclosed space of sorts for the work desk that can work as a mini office. Horizon Lounge on level seven is accessible to Horizon rooms, suites and Golden Circle members. It allows free two-hour access to the boardroom per day, serves breakfast, all-day tea/coffee and refreshments, and cocktail hours are from 6pm to 8pm.
There are also villas and serviced apartments for long- stay guests.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Shang Palace for Chinese food; Bord Eau for French cusine; Hoi An for Vietnamese cuisine; Sofra bld is the all-day restaurant with breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet; p&c by Sergi Arola is a Spanish restaurant and bar. The other bars are namely: lobby-level Al Hanah, and The Pool Bar and Restaurant.
The business centre has three computers with a common scanner, printer, paper binder, paper cutter, paper shredder and copy machine, as well as two meeting rooms for two and four people. Al Nojoom can hold 300 people, and Nisreen and Narjess can hold 40 people each. There are two boardrooms for a meeting of ten people. On level five are Al Majlis 1 and 2 for smaller gatherings of 80 and 30. The Al Majlis Terrace can accommodate 80 people. Plaza Bar is the largest for a party of 1,000 people.
There is a gym, one infinity pool in addition to two others, 1km private beach, spa, Jacuzzi and steam and sauna.
It’s a well designed property for a business traveller. When not in meetings, the private beach and infinity pool are inviting. Balconies in rooms are a bonus, especially with the panoramic views they offer.
HOW MANY ROOMS?
380 rooms, suites, villas and serviced apartments.
Breakfast spread at Sofra bld.
Internet rates for a midweek stay in November started from AED 975/₹17,710.
Qaryat Al Beri, Khor AI Maqta, Abu Dhabi; tel: +971 2 509 8888; shangri-la.com