New Marriott a welcome addition to Abu Dhabi city centre - Marriott Hotel Downtown Abu Dhabi

I like the city centre of Abu Dhabi. It is the old cliche again that everything is right there. You need an old-school tailor, it is there. How about a selection of cheap Indian restaurants? Or a shoe maker? How about access to a mall? Yes, that is the city centre. However, there is a lack of quality hotel options. With news that a new Marriott was opening, I was more than a little interested. We know Marriott. It is a big brand. It is a quality brand. I decided to see what  the first fully branded Marriott property in Abu Dhabi had to offer, shortly after its opening. After all, convenience is no longer the main criteria when I choose  a hotel. 

The Lobby

The lobby is simple and elegant, a minimal stylishness about it. Having said that, flower arrangements and light fixtures ensure that this business hotel packs a bit of heart and soul, something important in a city where families love staycations. Upon check in, I am surprised by the diversity of staff - always an excellent sign where it is more than often the norm to choose staff based on cost and convenience of visas. It is a very good start. 

My Room

The hotel boasts 315 rooms, including 32 suites. My room is an Executive room which includes access to the executive lounge - something that is a given nowadays with business people who prefer the hotel within a hotel concept. The room is a generous 55SQM, larger than its nearest competitor's equivalent room. Space is smartly used, with the work station flush against the wall, leaving the room with a great sense of openness. There are two outstanding features - the window is large, giving an even greater feeling of space and freedom. Secondly, the TV is programmed with Youtube videos - mine stayed on the music channel. A nice innovation. 


The Executive lounge is a stylish venue. Gorgeous earthy colours set the tone for a relaxed lounge. It is also large, with numerous seating options. There are lovely views to be had of the city, so make sure you get a table beside one of the windows. It offers the daily amenities you would expect from a lounge of this quality, including afternoon tea. With dinner booked at the hotel's steakhouse, I opted for a drink only. But it is a lounge that calls you to stay longer. It has a genuine homeliness to it, notwithstanding the luxurious feel. 

JW Steakhouse

This is the Marriott's signature steakhouse and joins a city with some excellent steakhouses. Here is an extract from a separate review I did of JW Steakhouse: "Cow hide rugs adorn the bar as I make my way to the JW Steakhouse. White leather seats add a feminine touch to what is traditionally a very male concept. Masculine steakhouses are more the norm than the exception. The cow hide theme continues as I enter the steakhouse. This time, there is one at the entrance. The first point that makes an impression on me is the intimacy; the restaurant accommodates around 50 people, highlighting the cosiness of the restaurant." The full review is here: JW Steakhouse at Marriott Downtown Abu Dhabi


After dinner, I am curious to try Velocity, described as a lifestyle and entertainment destination. Sports fans will be thrilled that they have another option to view sports games. The highlight for me though is trying some Signature wings prepared by Sous Chef Bouchta Lamnouar. - you may remember him as a chef at Rosewood's Catalan.  It is a dish that makes you realise the possibilities of having a talented chef prepare something as fun as wings. As for the venue - good music. Good vibe. All good. 

Chef's selection of chicken wings - highly recommended. 


This is the hotel's all-day dining restaurant, and after a coffee in the Executive Lounge, I move to Kuzbara for breakfast. It is full, and a part of me wonders if I should not just have had breakfast in the Executive Lounge, but the sounds at a full breakfast cannot be missed. The restaurant's emphasis on natural light through large windows that afford city views while sipping coffee, make it a cheerful place. Make sure to try the smoothie offerings. 


Technically, the hotel was still under soft opening during my stay, so while the spa was not open yet, the gym was. The rooftop swimming pool is a must visit. Despite being in the city, greenery on deck make you feel like you have escaped all the concrete. But if you need that city feel, the windows with views of downtown Abu Dhabi offer just that. 


I am really excited about the Marriott Hotel Downtown Abu Dhabi. Having tried the other hotels in the vicinity, there is no contest for me. While a work in progress in some areas, when it is fully operational, it should be the first choice of business travellers. It has a nice F&B offering, with its steakhouse and 'sports' bar bound to attract alot of guests. Finally, in terms of pricing it is very competitive. Internet rates for my stay for my room were around 600AED per night, and that was with executive lounge access - let's not forget. The Marriott Downtown Abu Dhabi is all round, a great choice in the city.  

The Essentials

JW Steakhouse
Marriott Downtown Abu Dhabi
+971 304 7777

Brandon Stoltenkamp