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Mandarin Oriental Abu Dhabi - Great Palace but fell short of Expectations

Mandarin Oriental Abu Dhabi - Great Palace but fell short of Expectations

Old Jun 10, 23, 12:52 am
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Join Date: Mar 2019
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Mandarin Oriental Abu Dhabi - Great Palace but fell short of Expectations

Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi

1 Review | 100% Recommended

Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi

West Corniche Road Abu Dhabi, AE GRB 104

Mandarin Oriental Abu Dhabi - Great Palace but fell short of Expectations (0 Photo)

Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi

Note that this review is for a stay in March 2022, when CoViD restrictions were finally being lifted, and the hotel was going through the rebranding exercise.



The pre-arrival experience was nothing short of exceptional. From the moment I made my reservation, the prompt and efficient responses from the concierge team left us with a strong sense of anticipation for our stay. Requests for airport meet-and-greet service and limousine transfers were attended to in record time.

Check In


The moment we stepped out of the VIP lounge, we were greeted by a swanky BMW X7 and a friendly, professional chauffeur. The luxurious comfort of the car, combined with the chauffeur's warm hospitality certainly met Mandarin Oriental's high standards.

We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the hotel at 6 am, well before the official check-in time, and found that an early check-in had been seamlessly arranged for us. The Emirates Palace is huge, with endless golden corridors. So, come prepared for some cardio workouts to reach your room from the reception area. The efficient and accommodating front desk staff ensured that we could settle into our room without any delays, allowing us to start our day refreshed and ready to explore all that the hotel had to offer.



One of the standout features of The Emirates Palace is the hotel's mile-long private beach, which boasts fine sand and crystal-clear blue waters. This exceptional beach provides guests with a serene and picturesque retreat, perfect for relaxation and enjoying the coastal beauty.

However, the only reason why the score falls short of a perfect 10 is that the hotel is slightly far from some of the popular tourist spots. While the secluded beachfront setting offers tranquility and privacy, it may require a bit of travel to reach certain attractions and landmarks in Abu Dhabi. Guests looking to explore the city's bustling downtown or visit popular tourist destinations may need to consider transportation options or allocate additional time for commuting.



Our stay in a Deluxe city-view room was overall quite satisfying. The room had recently undergone a renovation, and the bright interiors exuded a refreshing ambiance that immediately uplifted our mood.

The bed and sofa in the room were exceptionally comfortable, providing a cozy retreat after a day of exploring the city. However, it was evident that there had been some cost-cutting measures in certain areas of the room furnishing. The wardrobe, TV cabinet, and mini bar seemed to lack the same level of luxury and attention to detail as the rest of the room. While functional, these elements did not match the overall elegance that one would expect from a property of this caliber.

The bathroom was spacious, but it did not leave a lasting impression. While the Diptyque toiletries provided a touch of luxury, the use of wall-attached refillable bottles made it somewhat inconvenient, particularly when trying to use them in the bathtub.




The service clearly fell short of the high standards typically associated with the MO brand. One notable area where the service lacked was in housekeeping. On one occasion, we found that the cleaning cloth had been left behind in the room, indicating a lack of attention to detail.

Additionally, although there were plenty of staff members present throughout the hotel, it seemed that some of them lacked proper training or knowledge about the property and its offerings. This resulted in a sense of confusion and frustration when seeking assistance or information. Add to it, the hotel's common areas are open to the public and are a tourist trap on weekends. They really need to find a way to discreetly recognize hotel guests instead of asking for the room number at every corner.

The service experienced at the breakfast restaurant, Vendome, was also disappointing. Many of our requests were either missed or significantly delayed, leading to a forgettable dining experience. However, it is worth mentioning that the Restaurant Manager, Mr. Jomin, intervened and rectified the situation. His intervention and efforts to get things back on track were commendable, showcasing a level of professionalism that was lacking in the initial service.



The hotel boasts two excellent pool facilities, each with its own unique features. The east-wing pool stands out for its calm and serene ambiance. It offers a tranquil environment for guests seeking relaxation and a peaceful swim. This pool is ideal for those looking to unwind and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. On the other hand, the west-wing pool is larger and caters more to families with children. It provides a fun and lively atmosphere, complete with a couple of exciting water rides.

The gym at Mandarin Oriental Abu Dhabi is well-equipped, offering a range of modern exercise machines and amenities. However, considering the size of the hotel, some guests might find the gym slightly smaller than expected. Unfortunately, during our visit, the spa was closed due to certain COVID-19 restrictions still in place.



The dining experience was nothing short of exceptional. From breakfast to pool-side snacks, beach-side meals to in-room dining, and not forgetting the incredible signature restaurant, Bbq Al Qasr, every culinary experience surpassed our expectations.

The variety and quality of dishes offered during breakfast were outstanding. We were delighted by the array of options available, from freshly baked pastries to made-to-order omelets and a wide selection of fruits, cheese, and cereals. The breakfast spread set the tone for a day filled with delicious culinary delights.

The pool-side and beach-side dining options were equally impressive. The menu featured a diverse range of delectable dishes that were expertly prepared and beautifully presented. One standout was the prawns curry, bursting with flavors and perfectly cooked, as well as the fish curry, which was equally delightful.



The check-out process was efficient and seamless, however, it is worth noting that while the process was smooth, it lacked the personal touch one would expect from a luxury hotel.

Value for Money


While the hotel offers a luxurious experience, it falls slightly short, especially considering the price point of approximately AED 2500 per night for an entry-level room.

One aspect where the value for money is not fully realized is in the service provided. As mentioned earlier, the service did not meet the high standards typically associated with the Mandarin Oriental brand. The lapses in housekeeping, uninformed staff, and forgettable service at certain outlets detracted from the overall value and experience.

Probability of Revisiting


Considering the potential reasons behind the service gaps experienced, such as the hotel going through a major rebranding phase, there is a reasonable probability of us revisiting Mandarin Oriental Abu Dhabi in the future. We would certainly give the hotel another opportunity, if not solely for the chance to indulge in their awesome food.

Mandarin Oriental Abu Dhabi - Great Palace but fell short of Expectations

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