Marriott Bonvoy hotels in Abu Dhabi

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Old May 31, 15, 7:56 am
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I've got a long layover in AUH on the way to DEL (arrive 1am, depart 10pm same day). Can anybody summarize the best SPG property to a) grab some sleep when I land b) be close enough to sites to see them effectively and quickly c) have a pool to relax by part of the day d) be close to good, diverse restaurants.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Jul 19, 15, 11:45 am
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Originally Posted by nevansm View Post
I've got a long layover in AUH on the way to DEL (arrive 1am, depart 10pm same day). Can anybody summarize the best SPG property to a) grab some sleep when I land b) be close enough to sites to see them effectively and quickly c) have a pool to relax by part of the day d) be close to good, diverse restaurants.

Thanks in advance!
where did you decide to stay? i have a similar dilemma and would love an answer...i'm leaning towards the aloft 'cause it's cheap and sounds like plat treatment is good, but would absolutely entertain other options.
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Old Jul 31, 15, 1:37 pm
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Thanks for this excellent summary of Starwood options in Abu Dhabi!

In view of this very useful information, and in view of our travel schedule and priorities below, am I correct in assuming that Le Royal Meridien is probably the best option for my wife and myself when we overnight in late February next year?

We'd be arriving at 12:30 pm and departing 8:30 am the next day. We'd rather explore the sights and culture in our brief stay rather than just lounge by the pool or sea, especially since our main stop in Vietnam (where we're going from AUH) will be the beach anyway.

Speaking of which, am I correct in assuming that LRM is near the corniche/promenade, and that the corniche is worth a look early evening? I've only passed through AUH once, arriving late and leaving early the next day, so have only glimpsed the corniche from the taxi at night.

I have a pretty good Auto Association rate ($143 total) at LRM. (Slightly more than the prepaid rate, but at this point I want the flexibility of being able to cancel if necessary.)

Thanks for any advice on whether the LRM or some other SPG hotel would be best.


Originally Posted by E1A View Post
Can someone make a Wiki guide out of the Abu Dhabi SPG hotel scene if I post a detailed where/how to?

Quick Summary:

Aloft - very cheap, very lively, can be used as airport hotel, not close to downtown, very close to some tourist spots, cheap taxi into downtown. It is also the one of the two main convention center hotels (Hyatt being the other good option) as it is right adjacent to the biggest convention center. You should pay max upto USD 90 here

St Regis Saadiyat - Not as far as people will tell you from downtown (10-15 mins tops). Completely secluded on its own island. VERY close to major tourist spots like Louvre and Guggenheim and Zayed Museum and also New York University. Also close to Yas Island and Ferrari World. Yas is where the concerts and big events happen. Very good option if you can find it for under 250-350 USD. Goes for 400-500 frequently during high occupancy (every weekend, winter etc)

St Regis Corniche - On the main downtown Promenade. Exceptional beach club and spa for a city hotel. Great views of the city skyline. No lounge but will offer Plats drinks in main bar. Beautiful 'regis' decor if you like that sort of thing. Pay upto 250-300 USD here

Le Meridien - Relatively Tired and old. Super lively and immensely popular with local expats due to bars, clubs and lounges. Great renovated spa built like a cave with hot springs as plunge pools, looks like a Greek or Roman luxury bath complex. Excellent location. great value for money. <150 USD is a good price here. Sometimes can be had for 100

Le Royal Meridien - Fresher than LM, comprehensively renovated recently, smaller rooms. Also has lively F&B joints and bars. Iconic building and architecture. Great location. Close to Promenade. No beach. ~150-200 USD

Sheraton - Like the LM but less lively, Spa not nearly as great, very close to both LRM and LM and as a result no reason to stay here unless there is some X factor drawing you (excellent relationship with staff members, corporate rate etc). Priced about the same as LRM and a notch above LM. This is probably the worst SPG option in the city. It isn't absolutely terrible, its just that 2 others within walking distance are marginally better (LM and LRM) and within the same price range. The two Regis are magnitudes better and still close by. Aloft is MUCH MUCH cheaper, close to main tourist spots and airport and as such, immense value. The Westin can also be had for about as much and is one of the most beautiful Westins I have ever seen

Westin - Possibly the most polarising option. Very very close to airport. Close to all the tourist attractions (averaged out). Very very far from city (cabs are cheap however, expect to pay less than 20 USD to city and time will be 20-25 mins max without traffic). This hotel doesn't have a lounge though serves snacks and drinks in lobby for Plats. The pool is ok. It is a resort with a golf course. No beach. Spa is great but the general look and feel of this hotel along with its understated, minimalist yet contemporary and grand lobby give it a very Park Hyatt feel. This looks and feels every bit a Park Hyatt (minus the service though). The rooms are quite large with beautiful balconies and great beds. Price shouldn't be more than 200 USD for it to be good value. Summer deals can be exceptional.

All in all Starwood has the perfect price/portfolio and geographic spread for Abu Dhabi and everything is covered. My apologies to anyone who is a Sheraton fan :P

Last edited by Thunderroad; Aug 1, 15 at 10:09 am
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Old Aug 1, 15, 8:40 am
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Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
Thanks for this excellent summary of Starwood options in Abu Dhabi!

In view of this very useful information, and in view of our travel schedule and priorities below, am I correct in assuming that Le Royal Meridien is probably the best option for my wife and myself when we overnight in late February next year?

We'd be arriving at 12:30 pm and departing 8:30 am the next day. We'd rather explore the sights and culture in our brief stay rather than just lounge by the pool or sea, especially since our main stop in Vietnam (where we're going from AUH) will be the beach anyway.

Speaking of which, am I correct in assuming that LRM is near the corniche/promenade, and that the corniche is worth a look early evening? I've only passed through AUH once, arriving late and leaving early the next day, so have only glimpsed the corniche from the taxi at night.

I have a pretty good AA rate ($143 total) at LRM. (Slightly more than the prepaid rate, but at this point I want the flexibility of being able to cancel if necessary.)

Thanks for any advice on whether the LRM or some other SPG hotel would be best.
Yes from what I read it would be the best option for you.

Corniche is not as exciting as you seem to think (in my opinion anyway) - it's used mainly by joggers more than anything else. so what I would do instead is to do a quick cab ride from the LRM to the Etihad Towers and go up the observatory at the Jumeriah hotel to get a glimpse of how Abu Dhabi looks like from the top (and also be able to tell ppl that you were at the building where the latest Fast & Furious was filmed). Have tea and pastries there (comes included as part of observatory ticket) and on the way back walk over to the Emirates Palace which is just adjacent to the Etihad Towers. If time allows, have lunch here at one of the super lavish outlets (Hakkasan etc) - it will be quite an experience..

When sun sets, head over to Saadiyat island which is another quick cab ride away from LRM and check out one of its beaches (e.g. Saadiyat Beach club) - you pay a entry fee and you get given all the amenities you need for a relaxing evening by the emerald beach. Note you do not wanna go to the beach during the day in AUH..... too hot!

For dinner, i would come back to LRM as they have one of the best F&B outlets of all the starwood hotels in AUH in my opinion. Try market kitchen or Amalfi, they're both really good. Or if local fare is what strikes your fancy, hop back on a cab and head to Nation Galleria mall where they have a restaurant called "Wafi Gourmet". I thought it was pretty good...

Abu Dhabi resident here standing by if you have any other questions...
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Old Aug 1, 15, 10:19 am
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This is very useful information. Thanks!

I guess my only other questions for now are:

1. Are there any other areas work walking around, preferably but not necessarily near LRM? I realize that Abu Dhabi differs from Dubai in many respects, but FWIW I found the souk in Dubai not very interesting after having visited some other, older and larger souks previously in the Middle East and North Africa. Is the souk in Abu Dhabi similar to that of Dubai?
2. Any particular museums or mosques you'd recommend visiting?
3. Sorry, what do you mean by amenities at one of the Saadiyat beaches? Are alcoholic drinks allowed and included at such spots? Is it simply a nice couple of chairs and a beach to stroll along?

Thanks again!
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Old Aug 1, 15, 11:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
This is very useful information. Thanks!

I guess my only other questions for now are:

1. Are there any other areas work walking around, preferably but not necessarily near LRM? I realize that Abu Dhabi differs from Dubai in many respects, but FWIW I found the souk in Dubai not very interesting after having visited some other, older and larger souks previously in the Middle East and North Africa. Is the souk in Abu Dhabi similar to that of Dubai?
2. Any particular museums or mosques you'd recommend visiting?
3. Sorry, what do you mean by amenities at one of the Saadiyat beaches? Are alcoholic drinks allowed and included at such spots? Is it simply a nice couple of chairs and a beach to stroll along?

Thanks again!
Hello,

1. You can walk out to the corniche from the LRM (15 mins to get there). You can ask the concierge and he can point you to the right underpasses so you don't even have to cross any streets to get there. You can do a slow stroll down the path which stretches all the way to the Emirates Palace area although you probabyl won't get that far (40+ mins of walking!). It is a nice walk, and is occasionally dotted by juice stands and coffee shops as you get closer to the enc.

There is a Souk at the World Trade Center Mall, which is 10 min cab ride from the LRM. I thought it was a tourist trap, but others might think otherwise.

2. Hands down, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. the whole thing is made of marble and all the glass-looking things there are made of crystal. It also has the world's largest swarovski crystal chandelier as well as the world's biggest iranian carpet etc etc. I usually tell visitors that if Emirates Palace is like a rolex, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is like a patek philippe.. less flamboyant but incomparably more exquisite.

3. By amenities I mean a proper changing rooms, shower, sauna, towels, beach assistants etc. Check here: http://www.saadiyatbeachclub.ae/

Not sure about alcohol as I've never tried but these sorts of establishments in abu dhabi usually have bars etc. Pretty sure nobody would stop you if you were to bring your cans of beers etc but check before you do so!
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Old Aug 1, 15, 11:41 pm
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Great stuff. Thanks again!
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Old Aug 3, 15, 5:11 am
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Weekend at St. Regis Saadiyat - tips?

Hi,

I booked a weekend (two nights) at the St. Regis Saadiyat for mid-August. Any tips for getting the most out of my stay as a Platinum? Is the Friday brunch worth it? Any other activities at the hotel to do?

Cheers
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Old Aug 3, 15, 5:49 am
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Originally Posted by Kim of Finland View Post
Hi,

I booked a weekend (two nights) at the St. Regis Saadiyat for mid-August. Any tips for getting the most out of my stay as a Platinum? Is the Friday brunch worth it? Any other activities at the hotel to do?

Cheers
As always it depends on what you want to do and what strikes your fancy, but a few points I would raise:

1. August is not a good month in Abu Dhabi as it is the hottest and the most humid month. Check your expectations for a breezy sunbathing on the beach as it may be too hot for that. Having said that they have an indoor pool and the beach may still be usable earlier in the morning and later towards the evening.

2. Suite upgrades are pretty good here for plats (though not excellent)

3. Yas Island is a stone throw away from Saadiyat – I wouldn’t miss Ferrari world there (forget all the other rides just focus on Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster)

4. As I said in my previous post, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must (and it is indoors….)

5. The beachside bar at the St.Regis has ladies night very frequently – check with the concierge upon check-in to maximize this benefit

Hope you enjoy although it will be very hot…
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Old Aug 17, 15, 6:41 pm
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jaejaez, thanks again for your very useful answers to my many questions above. Now I have one more: I just remembered that we arrive mid-day on a Friday (and depart early the next morning). Does that affect your advice (or anyone else's) at all about what we can or should do in Abu Dhabi? For instance, is the Grand Mosque open to visitors then?
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Old Aug 17, 15, 10:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
jaejaez, thanks again for your very useful answers to my many questions above. Now I have one more: I just remembered that we arrive mid-day on a Friday (and depart early the next morning). Does that affect your advice (or anyone else's) at all about what we can or should do in Abu Dhabi? For instance, is the Grand Mosque open to visitors then?
Thanks to jaejaez also from me, great tips. First to answer your question: the Grand Mosque should open at 4:30 pm on Fridays, so you should have a chance to see it later that day. It looks better at sunset / evening anyway.

And to add to jaejaez's tips: most fancy brunches in Abu Dhabi were closed until September, for example both at the St. Regis Saadiyat and the Saadiyat Beach Club brunches were closed. The St. Regis Platinum upgrade suite was as you said good, but not great. The adults-only pool was a great place to relax as the beach was too hot.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 12:56 am
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Originally Posted by Kim of Finland View Post
Thanks to jaejaez also from me, great tips. First to answer your question: the Grand Mosque should open at 4:30 pm on Fridays, so you should have a chance to see it later that day. It looks better at sunset / evening anyway.

And to add to jaejaez's tips: most fancy brunches in Abu Dhabi were closed until September, for example both at the St. Regis Saadiyat and the Saadiyat Beach Club brunches were closed. The St. Regis Platinum upgrade suite was as you said good, but not great. The adults-only pool was a great place to relax as the beach was too hot.
Sorry I just saw this – probably easier to PM me as I only get on once every several days. Kim is right. Details are here: http://www.szgmc.ae/en/mosque-opening-hours
Enjoy Abu Dhabi!
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Old Aug 18, 15, 4:16 am
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Don't forget that the true highlight of Abu Dhabi is without a doubt the Indian food! There are dozens of places to choose from - on opposite ends of the spectrum I'd recommend Ushna for one of the best meals of your life and Sangeetha Vegetarian if you're on a budget, want some local flavor or just have a weak spot for comprehensive menus

In the middle of a week long layover here just to eat while enjoying the off season hotel rates. You'll never run out of delicious food options in AUH.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is absolutely worth the visit too.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 11:18 am
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Thanks for the useful additional info, folks!

jaejaez, I will pm if I have further questions. In the meantime, thanks yet again!
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Old Dec 1, 15, 2:30 am
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I have the choice between St. Regis Abu Dhabi and Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi for the new year's eve night. Both around 130 EUR (if the claim for the SR goes through, but looks like that.)

I have read the great summary, but what would you do as SPG Plat?

We don't want to have party or something for that evening, just some nice food and maybe some cocktails.
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