Showing posts from July, 2013

Rosewater at Jumeirah Etihad Towers - Elegantly casual

Rosewater is housed in Jumeirah Etihad Towers,  a sleek hotel with a gleaming glass finish. It was my third visit to this hotel, having dined at Rosewater before and had a not-so-memorable afternoon tea experience in the lobby lounge. On that particular occasion we made the mistake of going for afternoon tea during Eid, and the arrival/parking situation was an absolute nightmare. This is a common issue with hotels in Abu Dhabi. Planners could do better when designing this aspect of a hotel. I am pleased to report that while it was still a bit of a messy affair when we arrived this time, it was better managed.

The lobby area is quite breathtaking. Natural light is a key feature with magnificent floor to ceiling windows. There are also magnificent chandeliers which provide light and adds to the airy feel of the lounge. Off -white coloured seating options enhance this. Rosewater can be found to the right as one enters the lobby, one level below.

I liked my last visit to Rosewater, and th…

Hoi An - Shangri-la, Abu Dhabi

When you really like a place, the halo effect suggests you will wax lyrically about everything associated with it. It follows then that because I like Shangri-La as a brand and hotel in Abu Dhabi, I will not be objective about Hoi An, its Vietnamese restaurant that I recently visited. Well, you are mistaken. Whatever praise I heap on Hoi An, oops, you know where this is going, is deserved.

Hoi An is a paradox to everything Shangri-La which is on a grand scale. It is tucked away next to Sofra and not many people know about it. In fact, many people wrongly associate some of the restaurants at The Souk with Shangri-La, before they associate Hoi An with it because the latter is very low key, but as I have stated in a previous entry, it is a jewel in the crown of Shangri-La. Hoi An gets its name from a city in Vietnam which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The restaurant is certainly a worthy carrier of that name.

On th…

Traders Hotel, Abu Dhabi 2 - When misfortune smiles, smile back.

Well, after our one night stint at Traders I felt confident that we could move back in to our apartment, enthusiastic pest controller notwithstanding (see previous post). Sadly, it was not to be. I then made a late reservation again and checked in at Traders Hotel at 20h00. I had booked a Club room once more, but on check-in it was clear that my room was not available. However, the check-in agent, the wonderful, Anju upgraded us to an executive suite - I put up a fuss about this...NOT! Never look a gift horse in a mouth, I recalled an expression from grade school.

The difference between a Club room and an executive suite is substantial. There is a definte sense of space, and while there is not a  separate living room, the room is designed in a way that the seating area in the corner lends itself to a feeling of space. There is also a balcony that offers a fantastic view of the canal. Furthermore, the bathroom is outstanding,  offering separate basins, a walk-in rain shower and the pro…

Traders Hotel, Abu Dhabi 1

A little known fact is that Traders Hotel falls under the Shangri-La group, and while it is a 4 star property, it has a connection to Shangri-La on so many levels, including the attention to service. We spent three nights  while our home was recovering from a rather overly enthusiastic pest controller who must have used all the chemicals available in Abu Dhabi to fumigate our place.

I made a last minute booking for 1 night, thinking everything would be fine at home the next day. I booked  a club room, because while about Dhs100 more than a standard room, it has benefits which in the end make it an obvious choice. Benefits include access to a dedicated Club lounge serving cocktails and canap├ęs  in the evening, breakfast and drinks throughout the day. Furthermore, the lounge allows a space to go to relax away from the claustrophobia of a room.

The room, located on floors 7-9,  is modern and  in warm colours broken by some lovely and bold art work. It is a comfortable 48 sqm in size. It …

Paul revisited

As a follow up to my previous visit to Paul I would like to write a  couple of sentences. The first visit can be found here:

After the underwhelming experience at Shakespeare Co, a few colleagues and I went to Paul. I am curious as to how this branch is doing (Bawabat Al Sharq Mall) because on every occasion I have visited it, there was a mere sprinkling of people.

Having been before and fallen in love with the place, they were quite excited after my glowing account. The service was again as expected - impeccable. Our waiter guided us through the menu as we zoned in our options.

This was to be  a salad and sandwich day as the pictures attest. There was an overwhelming feeling that Paul is a superb cafe. This was my 3rd at Paul and every time has been better than the first. I suggest that when you try Paul you stick to what they do best: bread and salads. While waiting for our orders we were treated to a selection of sa…

Lemongrass - Abu Dhabi malls

The streets of Bangkok are one of life's must experiences when it comes to food. I have had the good fortune of visiting Bangkok on a few occasions  and top of my list of things to do is always to indulge in its street fair. Incredibly, after 21 months in Abu Dhabi, I had not tried a Thai restaurant. That all changed though when I visited Lemongrass at Bawabat Al Sharq Mall. Ba wa what? Ok, it is in Bani Yas. Does that help? No, try google. I am cheating of course for the purpose of language choice in this blog. This was in fact my third visit to Lemongrass, having tried it in Mushriff Mall. Can't blame me for trying to create a dramatic opening to this entry!

The restaurant  boasts  a very warm atmosphere as it uses earthy colours in its decor. The window seats are quite well appointed and adds to a sense that you are in a beautiful restaurant. That illusion, though, was soon dashed as we were disturbed by s…

Shakespeare Co

The name Shakespeare evokes so much for me personally: psychologist, interpreter of men and women's thoughts, passion, betrayal, love, murder - he is the greatest writer in the English language. So, when I hear that there is a cafe called Shakespeare Company, I am excited.

However, as you will discover when you go there, there is no connection whatsoever to the name Shakespeare. Hence, when Juliet espouses the virtue of not being concerned with a name when she speaks to Romeo and asks:

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

I realise that this  is not the case here because the name is everything but is misleading. The decor is not from the Renaissance  The ambience is not either. There are no books. No quotes on the wall. Disappointing.

My colleagues and I (16 of us) visited the branch on Muroor Road. We were lead to our table only to find we were put really close to the kitchen, which meant we w…

Lobby Lounge - Shangri-La

I must admit that I've always enjoyed the calm and serenity of a lobby lounge of a hotel when it comes to having a drink, be it a cup of tea or a glass of cognac. There is no other place that embodies tranquility and peace like the Lobby Lounge at Shangri-la, Abu Dhabi.

After  a noisy dinner ( see my entry entitled "Japanese - Sho Cho just So So"), some friends and I stopped by the Lobby Lounge for a cup of tea. Now, the entrance is not as grand as The Ritz Carlton or as opulent as Jumeirah Towers on the Corniche, but there is something enchanting about it. Maybe it is the broad smile of the parking attendants or the staff member who greets you as you walk in to the hotel. It might be the kind gentleman who serves Arabic coffee and dates before you even get to the lounge. Or, it could just be a combination of all these. This is service. yes, that is it. It is the service.

The Lounge is indeed very spacious with ample seating options catering for smokers and non-smokers. …