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“Weirdly fabulous--really!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel

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Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Al Khaleej Al Arabi Road | P.O. Box: 6382, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #57 of 118 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
denver, colorado
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
“Weirdly fabulous--really!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2011

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.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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39 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
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  • French first
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English first
berlin
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2010

I was booked for this hotel because it is close to the place I worked in Abu Dhabi for three days. It was supposed to be a five-star-hotel.

Upon arrival, I had to sign about 5 papers for whatever; I was not too happy that this took so long since it was 6 in the morning and I had been awake all night with delays.

The hotel complex is huge, and one of the ugliest I've seen from the inside. But that's a matter of personal taste, and I don't care as long as may stay is comfortable.

In the room, I hated to find out that the windows could not be opened. The room didn't smell bad, but a bit stuffy. I understand they don't want the moist air to enter the room and damage TV and such, but I felt locked in.

Next, and for me personally the largest drawback about this hotel, the A/C which you consequently *have* to use is not very silent. It's not extremely noisy either, but I've had better ones and if you are sensitive like me, you won't like it. Considering the 5 stars, I was disappointed.

It was only on the next day, when I had to leave quickly, that I discovered there are no irons in the room to get rid of the wrinkles in my business shirt. Not a big problem, but in the end I had to ask them to pick up the shirt and iron it. This took over 1 hour and is considered "express". Although I didn't pay for it, I was very annoyed by this. All other hotels I have been to in the UAE so far had an iron in the room. I did have an ironed shirt after all, but I hate it when hotels make money this way.

The next thing which I found not acceptable was the wireless internet service. I purchased a week ticket for 150Dhs (30€). I could surf the web ok, but VPN service to my company in Germany was blocked, so I was actually unable to reach my company server and do business. I find this ridiculous.

Only a small thing was that the room service failed to fill up the creamer for the coffee. The room was otherwise clean and the bed large and comfortable.

The restaurant was probably half a mile from my room away. On the only day that I had about 15 minutes to catch a coffee for breakfast, I didn't find it and when I finally arrived in the restaurant, my taxi was waiting for me. At the reception, I couldn't get a coffee in the morning.
On my last day I had Dinner in the main restaurant, an international buffet. Most of the food was anything but hot, some was tasting ok, but most I can make better myself easily. Food had been sitting in the dishes too long and the spicing was anything sophisticated, things tasted rather plain. I was disappointed, especially since I have so far had excellent food everywhere in the UAE. The so-called espresso after the dinner topped it off, I wonder if they know what an espresso really is.

Although I settled the bill on the night before my departure since I had to leave at 4 a.m., again I had to sign lots of papers, and again only after I arrived at the reception, housekeeping was called to check on my room and I had to wait while my taxi was waiting.

I gave up after 15 minutes to get the TV to work with the external satellite receiver (I am a technician). I didn't care too much about that.

Yes, the room was clean, the size was ok and the people were friendly. But real comfort means something different to me, first of all a quite A/C, and not having to pay ridiculous prices for extra services all the time.

I will look for a different place to stay next time. It may suit other people well, but not me.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tolgar_tolgar
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2008

The Armed Forces Officers Club is a large hotel complex on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi near the convention center. Don't be fooled by the five star rating on its website. We subsequently discovered that star ratings in the UAE are given by the hotels themselves, so place no value on them. While the hotel is in nice shape overall and boasts a number of amenities, the horrible service level makes it two-star at best, and even that is generious.

My problems began from check-in. The hotel was completely full due to a conference at the convention center, and I was given a handicapped room with no real shower, only a tub with a spigot around waist high. Requests for a different room fell on deaf ears.

Rooms also feature no irons or ironing boards, so if you plan to go to a business meeting, make sure you either bring a streamer or check into the hotel a full day in advance so that you can avail yourself of the hotel's own pressing service. If you do request an iron from housekeeping, be sure to schedule your iron appointment far in advance. The hotel appears to own 1 iron for every 75 to 100 rooms making tracking one down next to impossible. When you do manage to get your hands on an iron, they will let you have it for 20 minutes, at which point they will knock on your door and request it back. This may be the first "five star" hotel I've ever been to without irons.

The hotel offers a full sports complex with exercise facilites, outdoor soccer pitch, pistol range, paintball, swimming pools, squash courts, bowling, etc., all of which will cost you an additional fee. Also, if you are a woman, you will need to purchase a swim cap for $30 to use the pool. The swim cap rule is understandable, the $30 is not. Basically, the sports complex , while extensive and modern, is useless unless you want to spend lots extra.

Plan at least an hour for the check-out process. Be sure to scrutinize your bill carefully: without exception, every member of my party had to deal with inaccuracies in their bill, ranging from incorrect laundry and minibar charges to overcharges on phone calls. We subsequently learned that the management of the hotel mirrors military ranks, and the only authority for reverse carges / refunds / exceptions is the top manager of the hotel. Any such changes made by assistant management / lower staff will have to come out of their own pockets. It is hard to see logic in how this type of system could ever yield good customer service.

One final note. The hotel is located on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi near the convention center. This is fantastic if you need to go to a meeting at the convention center, but horrible if you plan to do anything else. If you have dinner downtown, it is next to impossible to find a cab driver who is both willing to drive out to this place late in the evening and charge you a fair fee to do it.

This hotel really does have a great deal of potential but is in dire need of a management change. Until that happens, stay away.

  • Liked — The way it looked in the rearview mirror as I drove away.
  • Disliked — Everything else.
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel

Address: Al Khaleej Al Arabi Road | P.O. Box: 6382, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Location: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Abu Dhabi > Abu Dhabi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#25 Spa Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#49 Luxury Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#51 Business Hotel in Abu Dhabi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 294
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Armed Forces Officers Club Hotel Abu Dhabi
Armed Forces Officers Club And Hotel

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