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Beach Rotana Hotel - Abu Dhabi, UAE

A beach hotel without much of a beach.


Beach Rotana - Abu Dhabi: The hot arid climate and the stressful bustling city of Abu Dhabi can be a bit too much to bear, and so on this occasion, we decided to cool off and relax for a few days in a luxury beach hotel. We came across a family-friendly resort in downtown Abu Dhabi, Beach Rotana, which boasts of a private white-sand beach and ten restaurants serving varying cuisines. The grand facade of the modern building, the pristine blue waters, and the luxurious interiors of the hotel were enough to convince us to book a suite at the Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi. Click here to see all 27 pictures of Beach Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi.

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First Impression/Lobby: The moment we arrived at the hotel and got out of the car, the bellman was already there waiting for us, promptly gave us a warm welcome, took our bags and showed us into the lobby. His wonderful efficiency, gave us a good first impression.

As we entered Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi, a feeling of grandness immediately came over us. Fine marble and stonework covered the floors, walls and ceilings, which reached up to the third floor. It was quite impressive and made us wonder if our suite would be just as elegant.

Reception: At the reception desk, all the agents looked busy. A young lady, however, immediately attended to us and asked us if were checking in, to which we confirmed. She went back to the office, which puzzled us at first, but returned with another agent to check us in. That is what I call service!

The check in process was pretty quick with just a bit of a tangle when we wanted to change our reservation to a higher category room with a better view. In the end we got a Classic Suite in the Tower Wing.

The Suite: The name Classic Suite can be quite misleading in depicting the room they gave us, which was really more a Junior Suite, the living room and bedroom were all in one room. Nonetheless, the interiors were tasteful with its beautiful dark wood, exquisite marble foyer, gorgeous patterned carpet, and sensible and comfy couch with a side chair and ottoman.

Dark burnt orange draperies covered the expansive windows that looked out not to a beach or sea, but to the roof of the hotel below, ongoing construction of a highway and some buildings, as well as some more big skyscrapers in the background. We were hoping for a more scenic beach view and this suite definitely did not give us the laidback ambiance of a resort. It felt as if we were in a high-rise office building or urban condominium.

Outside the living room was a small balcony furnished with two chairs made of metal and wood and a metal table that looked more utilitarian than romantic. It was a narrow balcony just large enough to sit out and enjoy the not-so-inspiring view.

The bedroom had light colored and bleached wood walls, which was a nice contrast to the darker and more serious looking living room. The bed had a dark wood headboard and covered with crisp white linens, giving the room a wonderful accent. There was ample closet space and drawer space, as well as a flat-screen TV.

The bathroom was all marble with black and tan checkered flooring, very sophisticated and chic looking. It also had a large standalone shower with a rain shower, a single basin sink, toilet, bidet and a Jacuzzi tub. It was a nice sized bathroom, only lacking a second sink.

Room Service: The room service at the Rotana Beach Abu Dhabi was timely and efficient. The staff that served our food was professional all throughout from the delivery to the presentation. The food itself, however, was not as impressive as the service and was quite forgettable.

Housekeeping: Housekeeping did a good job in cleaning our room and arranging our things but they did turn down at 4:30 p.m., which was too early for our liking. The next night, we had requested that they do the turn down later after we had left for dinner but they still did it the same time. Also, the room was set for just one person with just one robe and one pair of slippers. This may seem like small details, but when you are paying for a five-star hotel, these little details should be taken care of in advance.

Concierge: We found it difficult to get a good restaurant recommendation from the hotel’s concierge. Sure, they knew the restaurant names and the cuisine served in these restaurants, but they were of little help in determining which ones were superb and which ones were mediocre and touristy. It was very disappointing for a luxury hotel like Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi to have such inexperienced concierges.

Restaurant: Rotana Beach Hotel houses more than 10 restaurants and bars: Rodeo Grill (American Steakhouse), Indigo (Indian Fusion), Benihana (American-Japanese), Prego’s (Italian), Café Columbia (Lobby café), The Café at the Suites (Pastries and breakfast a la carte), Finz (Seafood), Brauhaus (German), Trader Vic’s (Polynesian restaurant and bar), Rosebuds (International), and Bay View (Beach Restaurant).

We ate at Prego's Italian Restaurant and were satisfied with the taste, presentation and service, but not enough to give it a second try. A separate review of the restaurant is coming soon. Click here to read our restaurant review of Prego's Italian Restaurant.

Pool/Spa/Activities: Here is my biggest complaint about Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi: There just wasn’t any beach to speak of! Apparently, years ago, before the city’s industrial boom, it had a nice and humble beachfront, but with construction over the past few years, it had been reduced to a small (and I mean small!) stretch of sand surrounded by highways and construction sites. The “river” or “sea”, I’m not even sure what to call it, was pitiful. There was no way I would ever swim in it.

To advertise their hotel as a “beach” hotel is very, very misleading.

Check-Out: Our call for a bellman went unheeded come checkout time. What a big difference with our experience upon checking in the hotel! After almost 30 minutes I headed off to the lobby with our luggage in tow. As for the actual check out process, it was long and laborious. I never understand why checking out can take mere minutes at some hotels and turn into a big undertaking at others. The longer it took the reception staff to process our bill, the more I wanted out of this so-called luxury beach hotel.

Overall Impression: A beach hotel without a real beach, no good views from our Tower Suite, a Classic Suite which is really a Junior Suite, and slow service at the end of our stay earn the Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi a rating of Between Bombastic and Not.

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