Tag Archives: abu dhabi hotels

Park Inn, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

3 Aug

Not every hotel stay can be a five star one, but something somewhere shudders when the adjective ‘budget’ is used. Park Inn is thankfully not budget, far from it and that’s the delight. Those looking for a cheaper option in the capital, (but who don’t mind staying on Yas Island) should look no further.

Yas’s hotels are arranged as a semi-circle cul de sac, that could be compared to an out of town retail park (minus the retail) but their close knit nature means it’s possible to venture between them and have a whole night out (bars, restaurants, shisha terraces) all on foot, a novelty in itself. For those that want to step it up, Allure nightclub at the Yacht Club or Skylite bar, at the top of Yas Viceroy (the one that sits over the F1 track) are only a five minute taxi ride away.

The Park Inn brand delivers modern comfort, without the jaw-dropping price tag. Ok so the rooms don’t have the same floor space as a nightclub, or come with as many different lighting options, and you couldn’t fit a family of twelve in the bathroom but if you’re planning on actually doing something, anything, beyond the walls of the hotel then it’s a great ‘sleep only’ option. The beds are comfortable, the showers are pretty decent and there’s Wi-fi available and a mini-bar in the rooms…what more could you need? Bright and breezy colours pep up the minimal lobby and white walled bedrooms, although the striped coloured carpet might be taking the Paul Smith vibe a touch too literally.

Outside, the hotel’s pool has a view over the Abu Dhabi wilderness beyond the new developments, you’re afforded a vista of actual nature, quite rare in itself in the UAE and it is perfect for lying by, sunbathing away the effects of the night before, although it does also have a pool bar for snacks and drinks (and pretty good bowls of ice cream).

It’s also worth getting up for the buffet breakfast in the all day dining restaurant Mint. You could be mistaken for being in a modern design showroom, with quirky furniture and decorations but with the large windows overlooking the pool, the fresh and simple space works. The buffet breakfast is impressively large for a non-five star hotel, with many better ingredients than older, more expensive places will dish up.

The hotel also has a Mexican restaurant called Amerigos but unless you just want to chill in the hotel all night, you’d do better to explore Yas’ other options. The brick cellar inspired Y Bar at Centro does especially good (and reasonable) bar food or head to Stills at Crowne Plaza Yas Island for a decent pint whilst doing some people watching.

For those that want an action packed mini-break, Ferrari World is also only across the road and this autumn the island will open a new super-duper water park, so you could spend a whole weekend here, without venturing on into the actual centre of Abu Dhabi. If you want more, the Corniche and Tourist Club Area are both about 20 minutes away in a taxi.

When you consider the low cost, Park Inn is impressive and delivers every time.



St Regis Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi

8 Jul

It’s not every day a ‘limo’ picks you up from your flat to take you door to door but who’s going to say no, when they do offer. St Regis’ first entry into the UAE market, sits pride of place on Saadiyat Island. If you think you’ve heard the name Saadiyat before but aren’t sure why, it’s where the Louvre and the Guggenheim outposts are supposed to be going, once the projects get back on track. Safe to say they’re not opening next year, when they’re meant to be. So what does that leave at Saadiyat? Not a lot but the St Regis is worth a visit.

A large scale resort, the property overlooks the Arabian Sea, with a huge expanse of beach. You’re more likely to see the small amount of nature there is here at Saadiyat than anywhere else in Abu Dhabi, so do make the trek down to the shore, to spot the odd dolphin and Hawksbill baby turtles hatching making a break for it back in to the sea (June/July time). There are no motorised watersports allowed to help lessen the impact of tourism on the island’s environment.

Although St Regis is all about luxury, the hotel seems to be extremely popular with large families, both local and expat and it has a huge family pool and kids’ club over by one wing of the hotel. However, if you value peace and quiet and a pool bar, head straight for the adults only pool to the left of the complex. It is heaven. One of the best pool/sunlounger area/bar combinations, from a variety of chic loungers, beds and hammocks from which you can catch the rays to shaded private areas to retreat when it all gets a bit much (or for the morning after the night before), the layout with various different pool areas and levels is inspired. Slightly not so inspired is the line of metal loungers in a shallow pool – we can see what you were trying to do St Regis, allowing for sunbathing while in the pool, but under the harsh UAE sun the metal gets red hot and will sear any bit of unfortunate flesh it touches. We learnt that the hard way!

The hotel has one fairly reserved bar, Manhattan Lounge, which serves some pretty decent cocktails and it has an impressive selection of unusual spirits but it’s not the place to whoop it up with a large group of friends. Restaurant wise it’s home to an all day dining open plan affair, a modern steakhouse and a Thai place set out in the grounds, which although it has a fantastic al-fresco terrace, has barely any tables inside, and is popular with the aforementioned families, so getting a romantic tete a tete is hit or miss here during the hotter months (we had a miss).



It’s worth knowing too that if a quiet breakfast is what you’re after, the hotel does seat couples in the steakhouse for brekkie, where you can order drinks and eggs made to order, and then do a sweep of the larger buffet in the all day dining restaurant, before getting comfy with good coffee and the papers.

One of St Regis’ big selling points is that every room gets its own butler and butler service, there’s nothing they can’t do for you (legally). And whilst the staff we met were super attentive and courteous for us during our stay, we didn’t have much luck getting hold of an actual butler through their phone system. One of these calls was only to ask where the hairdryer had been hidden (it’s hung in a bag inside a cupboard on the side end of the wardrobe, that isn’t marked in any way –  in case you have the same problem) and to order a toothbrush – really groundbreaking butlering –  but perhaps you’ll be better at thinking of tasks for your man on standby.

Other than not being able to get hold of the butler after an impressive build up by the lovely guy who checked us in, the overall experience really was above and beyond a five star. And in a land of more five star hotels, than we’ve got weekends, that’s impressive. Put it at the top of your list.

St Regis Saadiyat Island is around 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi’s Corniche and about 90 minutes from Dubai.