Hotel Review: InterContinental Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
BY: HEATHER B.
During the last month, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing two hotels within the same chain…The Intercontinental. The first location was in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and the second location was in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Both were great in their own ways.
The Intercontinental Abu Dhabi is located in a great part of the city. It’s not immediately downtown in the high traffic areas, yet it’s still close enough to all the action and nightlife Abu Dhabi has to offer! The hotel is situated near the Corniche…which contains many beautiful fountains, parks, running trails, and fronts the magnificent beaches here. It is also only a $2.50 cab ride to the nearest mall, Marina Mall which has many amazing shops comparable to Rodeo Drive and down. For location, I was very pleased with where we were.
As for the hotel itself, it had first class service. From the minute we walked in, we were treated with respect and as valued guests. The lobby is gorgeous…with lots of seating areas, a café, and many meeting rooms/ballrooms. The lower level has some fabulous restaurants which are a must try! There is a gym, a spa, a hotel nurse, a private beach with plenty of shaded seating and a small play structure for kids, a decent size pool with a sectioned off area for toddlers, and an amazing breakfast buffet. For children, the amenities were lacking for the most part. The pool and the beach thankfully made up for that, as the children spent most of their time in those two places. I would have liked a play area in the hotel and a covered pool area.
Our room was very clean and spacious. We received a King bedroom which adjoined to our kids’ double beds room. A crib was sent up immediately upon request for the entire two weeks we were there, no charge. The view gave us a glimpse of the marina and the front of the hotel…I would definitely request to have a room facing the ocean or full marina if you want the vacation feel. Otherwise, the city is pretty amazing to see too! The rooms came with a bench seat, a mini bar (which we had emptied so we could keep our own foods and drinks in the room), a spacious closet, flat screen tv, hot water maker with various coffees and teas supplied daily, and a desk with internet connection.
While we were there, we became Ambassador members of the hotel. For a small fee of $200, we were upgraded to receiving fruit platters every day, along with Perrier water.
The membership also allows free Internet during your stay, accumulation of points for free nights, one free movie on demand, and an instant room upgrade. It was very worth it in my opinion for the free Internet alone. Overall, I was very satisfied with this hotel and it’s staff. I would feel comfortable recommending it to anyone for a future stay.
The next Intercontinental we stayed at was the Al Ain location, 1.5 hours inland of Abu Dhabi. Upon arrival, we immediately noticed we weren’t in the city anymore, as the grounds are covered in grass and trees! So welcomed in the desert. You will also notice that every room has a balcony! We didn’t get that in the city. There’s a soccer field, a basketball area, a large lap pool, an amazing lounging pool with swim-up bar and rock formations, and a separate covered baby/toddler pool with a slide.
Next to the pool area is a large playground in the sand for the little ones. Many play sets to choose from, even a mini volleyball court and a trampoline! This hotel is much better suited for families.
Inside, there are a few shops, a couple pubs, and some restaurants. You’ll also find a spa with amazing massages, a gym, and a salon. A one hour massage here as a guest will only run you about $42! Our room here was very different from the Abu Dhabi
location…we lucked out!
Whether it was our upgrade due to the Ambassador Club, or their way of making up to us for an injury I incurred at the other hotel, we’re not sure. But we received a two-bedroom suite. Our room has a king bedroom with walk in closet and dressing area, a living room, dining room, kitchen, and a double bed room for the kids. We have a total of four balconies as well. The fruit platter still arrives nightly, but this time with large bottles of fresh Al Ain Spring water. We have been able to cook for our family, saving money on this part of the trip thanks to the kitchen complete with stove and oven. There are many variations of rooms here from kitchenettes, to suites with one bedroom, and ours with two bedrooms.
The staff here has been more reserved than at the Abu Dhabi location. Perhaps it’s being out in the “country” and not in the hustle and bustle of the city, but it’s overall a different feeling here. While they are still courteous and attentive, you sometimes have to ask for things more than once, and don’t quite get the same greetings upon check-in. However, that would not stop me from staying here again or recommending to a friend. Overall, this has been another great Intercontinental stay…now on week 5!
Photos courtesy of the Heather Barnard and Intercontinental.