I went with my husband to this hotel for a convention, and before we went I read the Trip Advisor reviews and was pretty much appalled. So here's a heck of a lot of information so you won't have to spaz out as well--this place was interesting and pretty terrific.
I wouldn't recommend this hotel unless it was for a business meeting, solely because of the location, as it's way far south of the main drag--half an hour by car. But out in the sticks or not, I really liked it--complete pampered excess. And our convention was rather large, but it only occupied one half of the hotel. This place is crazy big and even with all of us, it felt almost empty.
The outside design is rather unfortunate, because it looks dated although this has to be fairly new. The inside works better--more marble than the Vatican. On the lowest level are all sorts of shops like travel agencies and banks, mostly closed, a huge display of armed forces uniforms and memorabilia, an Olympic-size pool, men's and women's exercise rooms, and a gorgeous, enormous, and apparently completely unused atrium filled with plants. Oh, there's also a coffee shop with what looked like amazing sweets, some gigantic bar for meetings, at least one large restaurant, and I can't even remember the rest. The pool is closed several times a week to men so that women can use it privately (if you are a woman, do go on the private days wearing modest swim apparel and the required bathing cap--the bathing suits are something to see!). Women can exercise in their own private gym room, which is huge, or go to the men's gym, which is three times bigger yet and has so much equipment you'd think their whole army would fit in it. I should point out absolutely no nudity in the main changing areas--my husband really upset someone because he didn't go into a private changing room.
On the middle level in the center are numerous meeting rooms, shops and restaurants. The restaurants are pricey, but we did do a breakfast buffet in the mornings which was really something (do not miss the yoghurt), and we tried the Tex-Mex restaurant, which made me wish I could send them a sample of guacamole to show them how to do it. (The food was actually pretty good--just not Tex-Mex). Then around this central area two wings of rooms, two stories each, extend around like the legs on a crab. Both have gigantic atriums filled with plants and leather sofas. They serve dates and great Arab coffee in the afternoons around the reception desks.
Now to get how big this hotel is, there is at least one upper central level with what looked like seating for several hundred people. I'd say, all in all, the hotel is a complete testimonial to excess in everything. Especially marble. I saw this one kid polishing one strip of one wing of one floor for an entire day.
They offered van transportation to the Marina and Abu Shabi malls twice daily (these are proximate to everything downtown so it was a good service), and they were also happy to drop us off at the mosque, which is definitely a must-see (you'd want to catch a cab back--the heat and the road system make walking questionable, even though the mosque is maybe a mile and a half away). They also offered other transportation services for a cost, such as day trips down to Al Ayn, but I didn't try that as the whole city was apparently under construction. The concierge was helpful with everything and set us up with a cab to Dubai for maybe about $120 USD (we would have tried going downtown and catching the bus for more of an adventure, but we had too much luggage to make that work). Last, if their van service to the main Abu Dhabi downtown isn't on your schedule, cabs ran about $12, which I thought wasn't bad, although you definitely need to establish--in advance--that the cab driver is fluent in your language and also knows where this hotel is. This is not a joke! Most didn't and it got pretty old getting lost.
Our room was very plush--fabulous bedding and a gigantic bed--and our only complaint was that it was a tad on the smaller size because there were a couple of easy chairs, a desk, dressers, and so forth in there also. The bathroom was excellent. Everything was spotless.
So if you have business nearby or are booked at a convention here, not to worry. The hotel is great. In fact, if you are a convention planner, if you can cut a really good deal and arrange for plenty of complimentary transportation, I'd look at this site seriously (I used to do that for a living, so I was pretty impressed with them). They really did put on a good show. Excellent banquet food and meeting area detailing too.
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- Also Known As:
- Armed Forces Officers Club And Hotel
- Armed Forces Officers Club Hotel Abu Dhabi