THE SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, QARYAT AL BERI, ABU DHABI IS THE EPITOME OF MAGICAL ESCAPES IN A MODERN GULF CITY; IT HAS THE ENCHANTING ARCHITECTURE, THE SOPHISTICATED DÉCOR AND THE PALATIAL SURROUNDINGS TO GIVE EVERY VISITOR A SLICE OF LUXURY LIVING. FACT VISITED THE 5-STAR HOTEL TO EXPERIENCE THE BEST IN MIDDLE EASTERN MEETS MALAYSIAN HOSPITALITY.
They had us at ‘each of the 214 rooms feature a balcony or terrace with a breathtaking view of the canal’ – but then we walked into the Horizon Club Deluxe Room and were in awe of the elegant archways and Arabian architectural flair; from the sophisticated bathroom style to the comfortable bedroom, and the picturesque balcony. This room type is particularly great for a weekend break because it comes with homely features and added benefits. You get a personal concierge service, 24-hour butler service, and personalised in-room check-in and check-out. But, best of all, for us, was the complimentary afternoon tea and canapés in the Horizon Club Lounge – a welcomed respite to snack and chill out from sunbathing or a day out visiting the city’s many tourist hotspots! The furnishings are contemporary, the exclusive privileges abundant, and the staff incredibly helpful. If that wasn’t enough you have everything from a safe, a well-stocked mini bar, and even a stationery box (yes, there’s a stapler and sharpener too!).
The beds are super comfy and the deep-sinking bath tub is the perfect way to relax after a long day. We’re not big on clichés but this room choice can only, rightly, be described as ‘a home away from home’. If you want to opt for something extra special, the hotel offers four different types of suites, each with plush living areas, grand bedrooms and a host of luxury amenities and extras. If that’s not enough, and if you’re wanting to stay with a group of friends or extended family, go for The Villas, which embody first-rate luxury with distinct privacy, The Villas by Shangri-La provide an exclusive sanctuary for the most discerning guests seeking unique exclusivity with loved ones. Named after a different region in Abu Dhabi, each of the six four-bedroom Villas is tastefully furnished with Asian, Arabic or contemporary décor and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, with highly-trained butlers providing discreet yet convenient service.
What’s more perfect than a sandy beach and lush greenery to escape the bustle of the city? If you’re staying at the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri for the weekend, and getting your fix of vitamin D is top of the agenda, look no further than the sprawling private beach dotted with comfy sunbeds. There are also a number of pools to choose from, all surrounded by beautiful palm trees and perfectlytrimmed green grass; in simple terms, a completely serene setting where you can unwind with a glass of something cold! You can hop on the hotel’s traditional boats, abras, transporting you around the winding waterway to the adjoining souk (how cool is that?). If you’ve already spent the day sightseeing or shopping, take a front row seat to an exotic sunset with magnificent views of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque over the canal’s glittering waters – how’s that for a stunning end to the day?
On arrival at CHI, The Spa, you’re immediately overcome with a feeling of Zen; the neutral and deep-hued décor, low lighting, and aromatherapy smells give a calming illusion. On first impressions, you’ll see that Shangri-La has successfully managed to blend its signature Asian style with local Arabic influence and offer a Far East meets Middle East sanctuary. We experienced the glorious new Vegan Facial. Using only the cleanest products, this facial is like a breath of fresh air for your skin. Much like taking a wheatgrass shot in the morning – the Vegan Facial is great for stripping away dull, tired skin and bringing a natural glow to the surface – all with non-aggressive products. The knowledgeable therapist is attentive and informative throughout the treatment, we love that the facial incorporates a neck, shoulder and upper back massage too – so in between the different stages of the facial, you’ll get a chance to completely relax! This is just one of the great therapeutic treatments available. The spa menu is packed with authentic natural healing methods found in many Asian cultures. We’d highly recommended this facial for busy-bodies who aren’t up to scratch with taking care of their skin. It’s a gentle but effective treatment that left our skin soft, supple and renewed. Put down your phone, tablet and any other tech device; switch off and get your relaxation fix pronto – this is the PERFECT place for it.
FINE DINING PERFECTION
As far as food goes, the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri has so much to offer with variety and quality being the top priorities. Diners can indulge in a range of international cuisines; pamper your palate with authentic Chinese food at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Shang Palace, or awardwinning Vietnamese restaurant, Hoi An, whilst the all-day dining restaurant Sofra bld, and the elegant p&c by Sergi Arola with its traditional Spanish favourites, are also two great foodie spots. Enjoy pre- and post-dinner drinks at Al Hanah Bar or the informal Lobby Lounge, or relax by the pool deck with a fragrant shisha. For the ultimate in fine dining, we went to experience superb French cuisine at the glamorous restaurant, Bord Eau. You’ll enter a chic and elegant dining room, the kind that you’d expect to find in a grand manor house, decorated in opulent fabrics and furniture with large, comfortable chairs and warm mood-lighting to keep the ambience intimate and relaxed. Bord Eau also gets two other crucial things right: the food and the service. Sophisticated French cuisine is prepared by passionate chefs who use seasonal fresh produce and serve each dish with an artistic expression. We visited during the From Paris With Love night, which consists of a special three-course set menu with your choice of bubbly.
There are rose petals on the table, a Paris-themed photo wall to have your picture taken, and even a caricature artist to hand you a memorabilia of the evening. Standout dishes included the super-fresh Grilled Tiger Prawns with avocado, cabbage salad and crushed hazelnut as well as the mouthwatering Slow-cooked veal cheek with onion jam, wild mushrooms and fresh herb pasta. Never have we tasted meat so tender and tasty – the food is definitely a talking point throughout the evening. This beautiful dining deal is ideal for a date night, anniversary, birthday dinner or couple’s treat. The Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi is exactly what you would want from a lavish and quality hotel that will impress on every level.
GO: VISIT WWW.SHANGRI-LA.COM/ABUDHABI/ SHANGRILA OR CALL (0)2 509 8888 FOR RESERVATIONS AND MORE INFORMATION