Last Updated on September 16, 2015 by Natasha Amar
Last weekend, we were back in Abu Dhabi for yet another staycation, this time at Al Raha Beach Hotel. If you’re in the UAE, then you know that last weekend, the weather was anything but ideal to be outdoors, unless you like the taste of sand. Nonetheless, we packed up our optimism and headed to Al Raha Beach Hotel, deciding to make the most of it. Thanks to their fantastic spa and cool indoor pool (just what we needed with the weather acting up) we came away more than happy with the experience. The fact that Al Raha Beach Hotel is a quick hour-long drive from Dubai was another plus because it was one of those lazy Fridays when neither of us was in the mood to spend several hours on the road.
A short drive from the center of Abu Dhabi and an hour’s drive from Dubai, Al Raha Beach Hotel is ideal if you’re visiting Abu Dhabi, visiting Dubai and staying longer or want to visit from either of the two for a weekend getaway. Al Raha Mall is right next door so if you want to go and stretch your legs for a bit walking around the mall, shop or watch a movie, you’re just minutes away.
Lobby and Décor
The décor in the lobby and other areas is plush and has all the elements of Middle Eastern grandeur with the use of a warm color palette of rich browns, maroons, red, oranges and gold. This is balanced with the use of vibrant colorful carpets and modern elegant touches such as iridescent lamp and water installations in the corridors.
Deluxe Gulf View Room
My Double Deluxe Gulf View Room was very spacious with a writing desk and a nice view of Al Raha Beach from the little balcony outside.
The bathroom was huge with pretty black marble features and a luxurious bathtub that you could enjoy with natural lighting if you liked.
A welcome platter of Arabic tea and dates was a nice touch that you don’t often find in hotels and one we enjoyed, along with these delicious macaroons.
Body & Soul Spa & Recreation Club
The spa menu at Body & Soul is extensive with a wide choice of face and body treatments. Ankit and I chose the Couples’ Aromatherapy massage and were transported to a state of complete relaxation within the first few minutes of our hour-long massage. This was literally one of the best massages I’ve had in the UAE, just as good as one I’d had on a beachside spa on a Thai island (and that one is something of a standard). A huge shout-out goes to my masseuse Dewa. If you book a massage during your stay, I recommend requesting a treatment by the lovely lady. Afterwards, we took a few dips in the indoor pool and wound up in the relaxation lounge with herbal tea.
With the high temperatures the next afternoon, we decided to spend more time in the indoor Aquamedic pool instead of the outdoor swimming pools, and we couldn’t have made a better choice. Consisting of a Jacuzzi and other features such as a waterfall, showers and fountains, this pool was quiet and relaxing, and we had it pretty much all to ourselves.
Friday Brunch at Sevilla
Friday brunch at Sevilla was a multi-cuisine buffet affair with European, Italian, Asian and Middle Eastern dishes, live counters (including a Taco Station) and an elaborate dessert section that had us spoilt for choice. We loved the platter of assorted sushi and it was very difficult to save space for dessert, which I’m glad we did. Taking the recommendations of Dessert Chef Yasser Bebers, we tried the Crème Brulee and Panna Cotta and loved both.
Sevilla is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their Friday brunch is family friendly (we saw plenty of large families and kids running around having a jolly ol’ time) and features live music.
Mediterranean Cuisine at Azur
If you’ve been following along on Facebook or Instagram, you might know of my love for Spanish food sparked by the memorable introductions I had with the cuisine on my trip to Spain a few months ago. It isn’t surprising then that our dinner at Azur was one of the big highlights of our stay- they had a lovely platter of Spanish tapas (fried Calamari, Spanish omelet, alioli, croquettes and olives) and that just made me inexplicably happy, bringing back fond memories of my food experiences in Costa Brava.
Our mains- the Chicken Milanese and thin crust Big Greek Pizza were prepared to perfection and were simply delicious, as was the light and fluffy Tiramisu that we shared for dessert.
Other than Sevilla and Azur, Al Raha Beach Hotel is home to other venues such as Black Pearl Bar, Café Mozart, Wanasah Shisha Lounge & Bar, La Piscine Pool Bar & Restaurant, Al Manzil Clubhouse and McGettigan’s Irish Pub.
The service throughout the hotel and restaurant venues was super friendly, attentive and prompt, with staff proactively making recommendations from the restaurant and spa menus.
Al Raha Beach Hotel is great for couples and families who’d like to go on a weekend break not too far away from Dubai or Abu Dhabi and for those visiting Abu Dhabi and wanting to stay at a luxurious boutique beach resort with a great spa, multiple indoor and outdoor pools, restaurant and entertainment venues and beach access with water sport activities. That’s an ideal way to spend the weekend in the cooler months that are almost upon us.
Al Raha Beach Hotel CreateTrips TravelBook
If you’re wondering what else you can do in and around Al Raha Beach Hotel, download their free TravelBook on the CreateTrips app (also free, so if you don’t have it yet, you need to check it out) for some cool ideas.
Al Raha Beach Hotel
Danat Hotel & Resorts
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Disclosure: We stayed as guests of Al Raha Beach Hotel. All opinions, as always, are honest and independent