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This stunning Arabian oasis situated along the beach offers beautiful views of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Interconnected by a quaint and sparkling waterway with abras (traditional) Arabic boats) to ferry you into the hotel or to provide you with a scenic tour, this property is one of the most unique ones we have been to in a while...
The Luxurious Rooms We chose to stay at the premier room with a private balcony overlooking the Grand Mosque. It was comfortably equipped and airy but my favourite parts were the large mosaic and marble bathroom with a walk-in rain shower, bath tub and separate toilet and the delicious jasmine tea and sweets that greeted us on arrival. Also, the hotel offered a unique service – being able to choose my own type of pillow for extra comfort. There are a plethora of other room options to stay in, including ones with a garden terrace, fabulous suites and expansive villas.
Pearls and Caviar We chose to eat at Pearls and Caviar, the Mediterranean seafood restaurant and opted to sit inside. While the outside, located by the waterfront, offered stunning views of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, it was too cold to sit there. The ambience inside was a combination of elegance and a bit of bling. The food, as we had heard often, was delicious. Of the starters, the hand-dived loch fyne seared scallops were absolutely tender and juicy. Between the appetiser and the main, we were served the Scottish salmon – a chef's special – that was beautiful. Despite not being a salmon lover, I absolutely had to try it! One bite later, it was gone. My main, the Norwegian halibut, was served in a broth with parsnip and cabbage – a nice, hearty alternative to a regular light fish. My favourite part was the dessert of course. I tried the pistachio crme brle which exceeded my sugar loving expectations! After or before your meal, you can enjoy the Pearl Bar – a fun spot on the rooftop. We decided to go there after hearing the lively and upbeat music being played by the resident DJ. It was a great way to let our hair down!
Other restaurants on premises There are several culinary options available in the hotel:
? HOI AN This award-winning Vietnamese restaurant is vibrant and colourful and provides a refreshing change with more traditional recipes. Vietnamese photos and art work hang on the walls and trinkets adorn the shelves and tables. A selection of set menus takes you on a journey through modern and classic Vietnamese dishes.
? SHANG PALACE This popular Chinese restaurant gets very busy so book early!
? BORD EAU This elegant contemporary French restaurant epitomises glamorous fine-dining in a chic setting. It's perfect for a romantic dinner with your loved one. Go with a large appetite as the menu is packed with gourmet treats.
? SOFRA BLD Buffet breakfast is served here every day. While the regular favourites, eggs, muffins, French toast and waffles, are there in plenty, we opted for the more adventurous option – large honey comb oozing with natural honey! It was absolutely delicious and was melt-in-the-mouth fantastic. The restaurant also has various themed nights through the week and serves cuisines from all around the world.
Leisure There is plenty to do at this large resort, including an exclusive onekilometre beachfront setting, five outdoor pools, a roof lap pool that I loved, two gyms (mixed and female only) and a yoga room. Classes including Tai Chi, spinning, yoga were there as well. I heard that classes get busy so if you want to do one, book in advance – sometimes even two weeks ahead! We chose the lazier option – laying by the pool side bar and feasting on food and beverages throughout the day. We also visited the souk by the abra and enjoyed a medium-sized Arabian market with paintings, jewellery, clothes and artefacts.
Chi, The Spa Located between the bridges, the spa is truly a haven of personal peace, enchantment and wellbeing. Treatments and massages are based around authentic natural healing methods practised by Asian cultures. The room, a dimly lit and large space, even had our own showers available if we chose to use them. Our treatment – the Arabian Date Ritual – was a one hour long and at a price of Dhs500, was worth every minute. The masseuse nourished our skin with a blend of dates, coconut milk, almond and vanilla. She then enriched our skin with vitamins and minerals; we walked out with silken skin and soothed minds. We were told that we should be careful opting for this treatment if we have spent the entire day sunbathing. The exfoliating process could be very harsh on sun damaged skin and may cause a lot of pain in this case.
Room Rates Dhs1450++ for a Deluxe room
Buffet Breakfast Dhs133 net per person per day
Pool and Beach Access Dhs250 net for adult, Dhs125 net for a child
INFO: Website: www.shangri-la.com/ abudhabi/shangrila Tel: +971 2 509 8888