It’s no secret that summer in the UAE can be ruthless, a fact I have to admit even though I always say I’d pick warm places over cold ones to live in. My only problem with the harsh rising temperatures in the country is that it gets in the way of my need to get outdoors for far too many months of the year.
As you’ve probably noticed, there has been an increasing focus on the blog this year to highlight the best of the UAE because so many of you ask me for local recommendations. So when I was invited by Park Rotana Abu Dhabi for a weekend staycation review, I was happy to do so, hoping that I’d get to strike a good balance between some pool time and a little exploration of Abu Dhabi.
Right next to Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi’s largest, Park Rotana is a 5-star hotel that enjoys a quiet location that’s not too far away from the city center and points of interest for travelers such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Yas Island, Eastern Mangroves, Marina Mall, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi Golf Club and the Heritage Village (that I visited on this trip). Taxis are easily available and the hotel has a complimentary shuttle service to some of these.
Airy, bright and stylishly modern with interesting touches is how I’d describe the décor of Park Rotana. As soon as I entered the lobby, the first thing that caught my eye was the fantastic décor of the café ParKafe. Yes, I’m biased towards sheer beaded or thread curtains because they add this great elegant quality to a design. And just look at those lovely spherical lamps, how could you not love them?
The lobby level has many nice common seating areas, perfect to read in, enjoy a coffee, conversation or a brief business meeting. These have some surprising (sometimes quirky) touches like this amazing lamp within a lamp.
My King Premium room was cozy, luxurious and had ample lighting options (floor, makeup, desk, plenty of side lamps etc.), something that hotels often miss. On entering, I was distracted for quite a while by this really cute Social Media Welcome by Park Rotana. These guys sure know how to brighten up your day! What ensued were several minutes of photo taking followed by some seriously good dark chocolate and macaroons.
Besides being well equipped with all modern amenities, the room had really good Wi-Fi, something I need because I always have to get at least a little work done.
My first meal at Park Rotana was a late lunch at ParKafe and I enjoyed my Chicken Tikka Sandwich and the absolutely heavenly Hibiscus Mint Tea. ParKafe has a wide choice of soups, salads, sandwiches, pastries and the usual café fare and is a great place for a light meal or coffee.
Dinner was a long buffet-style affair at their All Day Dining restaurant Ginger. There’s a wide spread of salads, hot and cold appetizers, sushi, Arabic dishes, main courses and a live pasta station. The theme changes every night and the dishes are multi-cuisine so there are plenty of options to choose from. Service was top-notch; friendly and very attentive, and I found this to be true for the hotel in general.
My favorite part of the buffet was the dessert selection. There was everything from international favorites and Arabic Baklava to Indian Jalebi. I especially loved their Passion fruit Mousse, Chocolate Cake and Strawberry Shooter. As you can guess, I went as all out with the desserts as they did with the selection!
Other dining options include Teatro Restaurant, a bar and restaurant with an open kitchen and plenty of ambience, and Cooper’s Bar & Restaurant, a traditional sports bar with an outdoor terrace.
With the searing summer, it’s not surprising that I spent plenty of time in and by the pool. Due to its location shaded by the tall buildings of Park Rotana and adjacent Park Arjaan, the sun wasn’t too strong and it was kind of perfect with a nice breeze in the evenings. Even on usually hot afternoons, 4.30pm was a good time to be in the pool which is temperature controlled. The Aquarius Pool Bar serves some refreshingly fruity cocktails that are perfect for summer. I enjoyed catching up on The Innocent Abroad, under the cool shade of palm trees by the pool, something I simply hadn’t found the time to do for weeks since I returned from Spain.
- Bodylines Fitness & Wellness Club offering 24-hour gym access to hotel guests
- An extensive spa menu
- Tennis court
- Business Center
Park Rotana is perfectly suited for both leisure and business travelers. It’s very family friendly and I can imagine kids having a good time at the kid’s swimming pool and children’s play area. It’s also got a great choice of restaurants and the in-house pub is a nice place to get a few drinks, making it a good option for couples or singles. Whether you’re looking for a place for a weekend staycation, base yourself while you explore Abu Dhabi or attend business meetings in town, Park Rotana Abu Dhabi is a good choice.
Disclosure: I stayed as a guest of Park Rotana Abu Dhabi. All opinions are my own.
For general information to help you plan your trip to the UAE or Dubai in particular, including money-saving advice and recommendations for off-the-beaten-path day trips from Dubai, culture in Abu Dhabi, cool hotels, or popular places of interest such as the Dubai Miracle Garden and At The Top Burj Khalifa, check out my UAE Travel Blog.