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“Home from home”

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Fairmont Bab Al Bahr
Ranked #21 of 127 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Certificate of Excellence
Aberdeen, UK
Level Contributor
22 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Home from home”
Reviewed January 12, 2012

We stayed at the hotel between 12 and 27 December 2011 and could not have been happier.

We stayed in a Gold view room, which had a creek/mosque view. All of the staff were fantastic and took the time to chat. They all knew our names and it was nice to be personally greeted all around the hotel - especially nice when Jimmy the Doorman welcomed us home when we returned to the hotel.

There is already plenty of reports on the rooms and I would definately advise to try to get a creek view room - the sun sets behind the mosque.

In relation to the sunbed saga, we never had any issues but as our stay went on, we did notice a big difference in how busy it got around the pool. I guess that there is about ten days of the year where there is a big demand but quite honestly, most hotels in the world will have the same problem in peak season, so don't hold it against this one.

There are also plenty of comments about this hotel being more business than leisure but having just spent fifteen days of sheer leisure there, I can dispel these stories.

The pool is absolutely massive, with a swim up bar and an attached whirlpool. The pool temperature is lovely. We ate at the pool bar a few times and was never disappointed - please remember that it is a poolbar and not an a la carte restaurant. Staff are really nice and cheerful and there are often little treats from them throughout the day - smoothie samplers and fruit kebabs.

You must eat in Frankies and Marco Pierre White's - absolutely fabulous. We also did the Friday brunch (with bubbly which was very very free flowing!) - fantastic. I would challenge you to find a food not there. Cedar Lounge serves good local food and the garlic and parsley hummus is to die for. The Exec Chef invited my husband to join him in the kitchen to learn how to make it - not the kind of offer you get in most restaurants. Needless to say, that husband took up the offer and, if you are interested, the kitchens were immaculate.

To sum up the service we got from the Gold Floor staff, Umme Honey booked us on a helicopter trip on Christmas day. We had been speaking to her on Christmas Eve and had made reference about being slightly nervous of the flight for personal reasons. After our flight had ended, Umme Honey (in her own time) then phoned the helicopter company to make sure that it had passed safely! The morning butlers, Erique and Mariam, knew exactly what beverage we wanted and served it without being asked. Chinmay and Hossien, the evening butlers, also knew our drinks orders for the evening and again, these were served soon after sitting down in the comfortable sitting area. I will admit that people can smoke in the area but given that it is legal to do so, we just accepted it although it would be preferable if it did not happen.

The hotel's decor is fantastic and the lobbies smell wonderful - they do sell the scented diffusers. I would recommend buying one - I have it by my front door at home so I get a nice reminder of my holiday when I come home.

We ate at Shangri-La, Emirates Palace, Yas Hotel and Beach Rotana. All very nice but we were always glad to get back 'home'. Emirates Palace and Yas were impressive but they felt like a tourist attraction.

Room Tip: Highly recommend a creek view room especially in the Good Floor
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Pauline010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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The Netherlands
Level Contributor
76 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 142 helpful votes
Reviewed January 11, 2012

We stayed for 5 nights in 2 interconnecting rooms at the end of December. Got a free upgrade to Mosque view: beautiful!

Check in was fast and smooth. When we arrived in our rooms we were pleasantly surprised by the space and luxury of the rooms. The bathroom is divided in actually 3 parts: 2 sinks and a big mirror, separate toilet/bidet, separate bathtub and a very nice big rainshower.
Next to the bed there's a comfortable sofa and a big tv screen.

We ate at the poolrestaurant and the Lebanese restaurant Cedar lounge. The first time at the pool restaurant was very good. Nice burgers, beautiful presented so it didn't look nor taste as an ordinary burger. Very good service. Second time was at Friday and was completely different: just normal burgers, very slow service and my son's chicken satay's were served cold so we had to sent these back. Disappointing food.....
We ate at the Cedar lounge on our first night and it was already about 10.30pm but they serve dinner till midnight so we ordered 2 grilled chickens and 2 Shish Kebabs. Very long waiting time and part of the food was disappointing. The grilled chickens were good but the shish kebabs were a little cold. We were very tired and hungry after our flight so didn't sent it back because we were afraid we had to wait for another 25 minutes. Second time we had lunch at the Cedar lounge and ordered the Chicken Shawarma. This was a good meal, service was much better.

The pool and beach area are very nice. We never had trouble in finding 4 empty chairs although the hotel was fully booked. Must add we always arrived there before 11AM.

Check out was good but there were 2 mistakes on my invoice. They were solved immediately. Because we are a family of 4 travelling with suitcases we decided to book the hotel taxi to Dubai. Family taxis are not that common in Abu Dhabi. Very nice ride in a 6 seater Mercedes at AED600 (I know local taxis are much cheaper but then we had to take 2).

We had a lovely stay at the Fairmont. Local taxis are very cheap to visit the centre and malls.
Tip: we found the food at the Vietnamese restaurant in the neighbouring Shangri-La hotel outstanding! (Hoi An)

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ciskey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
35 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed January 8, 2012

We visited the Bab Al Bahr for a ten night holiday from the 11th December and were pleased with our choice. It is away from the main centre of Abu Dhabi but taxis are cheap so it was not an issue to get downtown. As you drive up the hotel has an impressive modern presence at night and as you enter the lobby you are hit by a really nice fresh perfumed smell.

We had a room on the opposite side to the creek so did not have the wonderful view to the Grand Mosque but this did not concern us. The receptionist tried to upsell us to Gold Club on arrival but this would have been a bit pricey for what we would have got out of it. All staff we spoke to or had dealings with were really nice, professional and courteous.

The room was very spacious, nicely decorated and had a wonderful large shower and bath wetroom. On arrival fresh fruit was provided and complimentary bottled still water was provided every day. There are tea making facilities but if you are like me and can't survive without a cuppa do take your own tea bags, the tea selection in the room was a bit hit and miss for my own tastes. Enrol for Fairmont Presidents club before you go so that you can take advantage of free wi-fi, otherwise it is expensive and in our room on the 3rd floor signal strength was a bit hit and miss. There was a fairly good selection of English language T.V channels to watch.

We used the pool area a few days, we were not there at the busy christmas period so had plenty of choice for sun loungers, and had very little wait for poolside food and drinks. The poolside staff were excellent too.

We only took breakfast in the Cuiscene restaurant once but it offered a wide choice. I would highly recommend a visit to Frankies Italian whilst there, we sat in the courtyard room open to the sky and had excellent food. If you have a really sweet tooth try the Hot Chocolate in the Chocolate Gallery cafe. If you are looking for restaurant alternatives near to the hotel you have the Souk and both Traders and Shangri-La hotels within walking distance (the Fairmont also has a shuttle bus). Ushna at the Souk is a fantastic Indian restaurant with excellent high quality food.

It should be noted that construction is taking place next to the hotel at the moment, where a large office block is being built. This did not cause us any noise issues but if you want to walk along to the Souk or Shangri-La you will be passing a building site and it was a bit messy along the narrow footpath. Once past I would recommend ducking into the Traders hotel to get to the waterfront and then you don't have to walk down the busy road.

All in this hotel made for a pleasant 10 night stay with very few faults, ok they could clean the interior glass a bit more, you notice quite a few handprints when looking up from the lobby seating area and some of the carpet in our hallway had a a few stains, but as a modern, mainly business focused hotel it was very good.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank theGEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dusseldorf, Germany
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 8, 2012

The very modern decor and architecture really make this hotel stand out. If you like modern architecture then this is for you, if you like the grand, traditional hotels then this would not be your style. It's kept pretty clean and the staff (inside the hotel) were very friendly although a few struggled with English. The location is far from the city center of AD, but that was fine for us. The pool and beach areas are very nice. The design of the rooms is very comfortable, but not of a high quality, in comparison to other 5 star hotels we've stayed at. The beds were comfortable and the bathrooms are very spacious due to the open design. The view to the beach and Mosque is very impressive. The products/amenitites such as the shampoo, shower gel, slippers, hairdryer, etc. are also of a lesser quality.

We were there 27 -31 Dec and the hotel was FULL which was detrimental to the service and atmosphere. First, the breakfast buffet did not have enough seating even when the inside and outside areas were filled. At this time of year the outside area can be windy and cool, but we sat there anyway, so we didn't have to wait in the huge line formed at the entrance of the restaurant. Naturally, then things would quickly empty in the buffet and I had to ask for some refills. The buffets were crowded and loud due to lots of children running around. They do not have glasses available near the beverages, as you are expected to use the 1 glass provided at your table. This was not practical for obvious reasons. The staff working the restaurant at this time seemed somewhat over-taxed.
Secondly, the pool area was completely full! We arrived and requested 2 chairs anywhere and we were told we had to wait at the poolside cafe until some were available, as the last 2 chairs were just taken. The attendant was nice and walked us over to the cafe and said he would give us the next available chairs. After we sat at the cafe for over one hour, we were noticing that many other people just arriving, received chairs. When my husband went to an attendant and said we would like some chairs and we had been waiting, he was told we have to wait some more. Our original attendant was nowhere to be found. The whole day was like this with people having to wait for chairs and it became chaotic since there was obviously no organized way of distributing the chairs as they became available. People were fighting for chairs. This lack of preparedness is not acceptable at a 5 star hotel over the holidays. They had to have known how many people were expected at their facility and realized what they had available was not enough. They seemed very unprepared for the amount of people there.

On a last note we had booked the "Gold Club" room, but cancelled it after the first experience in the lounge. It was not worth it at all! Way over-rated!

Room Tip: The view of the mosque is worth the extra price - however, the gold club is not!
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank eleonore70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lincoln
Level Contributor
40 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed January 7, 2012

We visited the Bab Al Bahr from 29th December to the 3rd January 2012 and was immediately impressed with the overall look, cleanliness of the main lobby reception and the courteous staff. We were told that as we had booked Fairmont Gold our check in and room would be on the 7th floor. Once we arrived at the 7th floor, this was when a few niggles commenced. We were told we weren't expected for check in until 9:00 pm which was weird seeing as we had taken the overnight flight in to Dubai and a transfer to Abu Dhabi had been booked but we were assured our room would be ready but there would be a slight delay. Ok, we then asked to confirm that we had been allocated a non-smoking room (when we stepped out of the lift on the 7th floor you could tell immediately that "someone" had been smoking" from the smell! We were told that yes it was a non-smoking room but that we could smoke if we wanted to?!? We stressed that we were non-smokers and reception then went on to explain that there was an area at the side of the lift doors (where the bar was located) for smokers. Why put a smoking area directly alongside the lift that takes you to their "Gold" Service and put the bar in that area? Surely you would locate a smoking area at the far end of a corridor (if you couldn't actually ban smoking indoors totally which would have been our preferred choice)! Anyway after a slight delay (we were offered a continental breakfast whilst we waited) we were shown to our room. Now the room was excellent in size, furnishings and view BUT there was no single bed for our son. The holiday/room had been booked for some months and was always for 3 occupants. We were then told that there were no single beds available as they were all in use - so we then asked where would our son sleep (he's 17 years old and about 5' 10" tall)? The receptionist seemed a bit confused so we stressed that they had to locate a bed for our son. We decided that whilst she was organising this we would unpack and go and enjoy the pool/beach areas. Upon our return to the room at about 4:00 pm no bed! So my husband went to reception (the staff had changed over at this point), the new receptionist got on the telephone straight away to housekeeping and within 10 mins bed and bedding were sorted. The receptionist then went on to explain what the Gold service actually included and we were very pleased to hear that drinks were free on the 7th floor from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm and hot/cold nibbles were available. We could also choose to have breakfast on the 7th floor. This was brilliant BUT the smoking area was a put of as there were certain individuals that seemed to constantly smoke in the area and the smell was unpleasant. If you got up really early it wasn't a problem but by 9:00 a.m. onwards the smell was fairly constant and in the evening you had to move way past the bar area to find somewhere that didn't smell. As the holiday progressed it became apparent that there was a shortage of sun loungers, in fact by new years day the hotel was not far from full and yet people were being offered towels to lay down on at the beach. For a 5* hotel this really isn't acceptable and most days people were complaining about the lack of loungers and about people reserving beds early in the morning leaving books/newspapers on the loungers and then not appearing to use them until much later in the day. There were a number of families with small babies who weren't able to get a sun lounger. The hotel needs to invest in at least 2 loungers per hotel room with a number spare, they were certainly short and they knew that over new year the hotel would be full! After what may seem like a bit of a big moaning session earlier I can add that the hotel facilities (other than the sun lounger problem) were very good, staff polite and courteous and the buffet restaurant was excellent.

Room Tip: Ask where smoking area are located on each floor!
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Susan O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2012

property location is excellent. However we were disappointed by the bookings made by the concierge.
emirates adventure-for desert safari, badly organized venue,long waiting lines for food,rotting food served,40 desert drivers ate,enjoyed with the guest,drank and ate with guests making it overcrowded.On new years eve drivers even danced with guests leaving co space for kids.Fairmont should have verified before such expensive bookings were made.
Car rentals -On Jan1/2012 being a big group we were put on a bus which is used for school transfers with a illegal driver not authorized to drive tourists without insurance. Driver did not know his way around too.We paid AED800 to driver but the driver was to get AED500 the rest is a mystery.There was no receipt provided too.
Fairmont should provide better safer verified legal recommendations to its guests.

Room Tip: book in advance for a creek facing room.ask for a non smoking room.smoking room stink.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank adil a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
201 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2012

We spent a week at the Fairmont Bab al Bahr and couldn't recommend it more highly. From the super attentive staff to the stunningly polished surroundings, this hotel pampers and performs. The restaurants are top not h offering a wide variety of cuisine attested to by the number of locals that also frequent the restaurants in the hotel. The creek view rooms are finished to a high standard and tastefully offer a classy yet cosy environment. They are spacious and make superb use of the space with extremely comfotable furnishings. The sound system is cntrollable from bedroom as well as bath. There is a separate rain shower and super deep tub in its own glassed enclosure with a stunning floor to ceiling view window.
The staff attend to every request and need and are the epitome of friendliness and professionalism.
We felt pampered and enjoyed the pleasure of this lovely hotel. We would definitely return again.

  • Stayed January 2012
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank shawnday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

Property: Fairmont Bab Al Bahr
Address: | Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi 114304, United Arab Emirates
Phone Number:
Location: United Arab Emirates > Emirate of Abu Dhabi > Abu Dhabi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#10 Business Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#11 Family Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#17 Romantic Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#21 Luxury Hotel in Abu Dhabi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Fairmont Bab Al Bahr 5*
Number of rooms: 369
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr boasts a prime location at the mainland gateway to the cosmopolitan city of Abu Dhabi. With its striking, contemporary design, this beachfront hotel offers the highest level of comfort and elegance throughout its 369 rooms and suites. Guests can enjoy world class on-site amenities, including private sandy beaches, an Olympic-length swimming pool, covered children’s pool, separate ladies’ and mixed-use gyms, business services and state-of-the-art conference facilities. Add to this an awarding winning portfolio of eight dining options; all delivered with genuine Arabic hospitality - the result is certain to exceed every guest’s highest expectations. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Hotel Abu Dhabi

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