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It is hard to believe that Rosewood Hotel, Abu Dhabi is 5 years old. It seems like yesterday that I walked into the hotel and was immediately filled with a sense of how differently they do things. It was then that I truly understood the meaning of the word eclectic staff. I had been in Abu Dhabi a year up to that point and had become accustomed to a very familiar mix of staff. Rosewood changed that for me. My daughter was 6 at the time, and looking at some of her pictures, she has grown so much. She will always be linked to this hotel.
The restaurants. Oh the restaurants. Between Catalan and Spice Mela, they boasted two of the most exquisite restaurants in any one hotel. Incidentally, both ranked at 1 and 2 on tripadvisor at one point. Abu Dhabi, though, was not ready for them, but the memories I was able to share with Chefs Sid and Fran are locked within. Aqua, an all day dining restaurant thats till ranks as one of my favourites with its artisanal approach to food. La Cava, for so long the only wine bar in the city and still a venue that is like no other. Then, there is Sambusek, with its passionate Chef Emad, as dedicated to his cooking as he is to family. A lot has happened in these 5 years. The hotel, like all in the city, has gone through challenging times, but at no point did they compromise their core value of appointing the best staff they could get. That remains their most valuable asset. Genuinely.
This feeling I have is a mix of wistfulness and happy nostalgia. And I know it is the same for the people who worked and still work at the hotel. When they look back at this time in their lives, they will all refer to it, I am sure, as their Wonder Years. Rosewood for me has been a real home away from home. They still have some wonderful people from their pre-opening team and when I go there, it is as if we have never been apart. They have come to understand the meaning of hospitality. I feel privileged to have been welcomed into their home.
To this day, three of my favourite pieces I have written
Catalan - Tasting Menu at Catalan
Spice Mela - A totally new Indian experience
Aqua - Aqua, where it all began
Enjoy this walk back with me. Some images will mean nothing to you, but others may.
The low down
Rosewood Hotel, Al Maryah Island,
+971 2 813 5550