WHAT’S IT LIKE? Traders is the upper-four-star brand of the five-star Shangri-La chain. There are 11 in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, with the next two opening in Bangalore and Macau. Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi opened in August 2009 and the sunlight-filled reception’s bright colours, waterfall and modern art make an immediate impression.
WHERE IS IT? Overlooking the strait that separates Abu Dhabi Island from the mainland, the property is part of the same complex as the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri (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 newly opened Fairmont Bab Al Bahr hotel. Frequent electric buggies shuttle you between Traders, the Shangri-La and the souk, and the cheerful operators drive at speeds that are certain to be the highlight of any trip. There are also abras (Arabic gondolas) plying the waterway, familiar to anyone who has stayed at the Madinat Jumeirah complex in Dubai. The hotel is less than 15 minutes’ drive from the airport and 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 the top two reserved for 51 Traders Club Rooms, and a Club Lounge on the ninth level.
All rooms have free wired and wireless internet access, and a neat touch is that if you are watching TV and need to answer the phone, the TV volume automatically lowers. There’s also a panel by the bed with a headphone socket, allowing you to watch TV without disturbing anyone who is sharing the same bed. Rooms have dual-line telephones, data port connections, an LCD TV with satellite/cable feed, a separate bath and shower, free mineral water, tea and coffee-making facilities, a minibar, a safe, and a PC/laptop port with an independent power supply, allowing you to charge devices when you’re out.
More than half of the rooms have balconies, and every second floor is smoking. Most rooms have Traders-branded toiletries, but the suites have L’Occitane. Club Room guests receive express check-in and check-out, a free breakfast buffet, evening cocktails, soft drinks and fresh fruit, one free suit pressing and shoeshine service. In a Superior Room, these services come at a daily charge of AED300 (US$81). Service was excellent, with room service arriving in 10 minutes and staff always available to help.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS The bar is just beyond reception and feels a little exposed, being effectively in the lobby. The bright, smart Afyä restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with à la carte and buffet options.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There is a small business centre on the ground floor with three terminals, but 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. A private meeting room is also available.
LEISURE FACILITIES On the ground floor, past the 15m outdoor pool (open 6am to 8pm), is a well-equipped gym. There is also a private beach, and guests can use the spa at the Shangri-La.
VERDICT Excellent, with great service, a good location and the advantage of having the Shangri-La’s restaurants and spa close to hand.
HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 301 rooms and suites, including 51 Traders Club Rooms.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The free Wi-Fi, daily fruit and water, and neat technological touches such as the headphone socket by the side of the bed so you can watch TV without disturbing others.
PRICE Online Best Available Rates for a midweek stay in February started from AED1,050 (US$285) for a Superior Room.
CONTACT Qaryat Al Beri, Between the Bridges, tel 971 2510 8888, www.shangri-la.com