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“Stylish resort with great restaurants and unfailingly helpful staff”

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Fairmont Bab Al Bahr
Ranked #21 of 128 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Stylish resort with great restaurants and unfailingly helpful staff”
Reviewed April 11, 2013

I spent 3 nights recenty at the Fairmont and was very impressed overall. Upon checking in, I was given a complimentary upgrade to a pool/creek facing room with views to the stunning grand mosque, so great first impressions. The room was a good size, and had a particularly good shower and bath area. The only slight snag was that the air conditioning only had a cooling function, so even setting at higher temperatures didn't necessarily give me the balance I wanted.

The pool area is a real standout - a very large multi-depth pool with separate jacuzzi, and plenty of sunloungers dotted amongst palm trees to provide respite from the often fierce heat. The beach fringing the creek was also stocked plentifully with sun loungers, although the water in the creek was not particularly inviting. Service at the swim-up poolside bar is often slow, but this tends to be the case at many resorts. All in all, an oasis of calm and leisure catering for couples, families, young and old.

I didn't have breakfast at the hotel, but ate at the Lebanese restaurant (Cedar Lounge) and the international buffet (Cuiscene). Both were excellent, if on the pricier side. I am not a fan of buffets, but the choice and quality of food at Cuiscene was amongst the best I've experienced at a buffet. There is also a cafe (Chocolate Gallery) which does great coffees and patisserie items - again pricey, but to be expected at a Fairmont property.

Staff were unfailingly helpful and friendly, and a constant, unobtrusive and reliable presence.

Though the hotel is located some distance from the core centre of Abu Dhabi, there are free shuttle buses 4 times a day which were very handy, and taxis are cheap so there was no real disadvantage to this. In fact it was nice to be away from the bustling centre in an oasis of calm, and I would happily stay here again were I to return to Abu Dhabi.

Room Tip: Rooms facing the pool/creek also look on to the grand mosque, so worth requesting these
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank ND1985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (629)
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English first
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2013 via mobile

Having stayed at several different Fairmont hotels, I have to say this was one of the best we have stayed in. Nothing was too much trouble, we paid a little extra to stay on the Gold floor and it was really worth it. Included in the price were breakfast, afternoon tea, happy hour from 6.30 to 9pm and a light buffet of sushi and various hot and cold dishes. And then between 9 and 11pm they served a selection of deserts.
We had an amazing view of the Mosque from our room, and the room itself was lovely and spotlessly clean. Room service knocked on the door every evening, giving us extra water, and anything else we required. All the staff on the 7th floor were friendly and helpful, as were all the staff in the hotel. The pool area was lovely with well kept gardens and the pool was clean, although we spent most of our time on the beach. The staff around the pool and the beach area worked so hard to make sure that everyone had towels, they set up the beds for us every day and gave us a bucket full of ice with bottle water and a parasol. The pool bar was well stocked and the bar food was good, we could either eat at the poolside or on the sun beds. There were four excellent restaurants on site, we tried three of them and the were all good, a special mention goes to Marco Pierre White, it might be a little expensive, but well worth it.
We would definitely return to Abu Dhabi and will stay at the Fairmont again. They made our week break memorable.
Tip: There is a free shuttle bus from the Fairmont going several places including, the Mosque, the souk, 2 different Malls and also the Corniche. Worth catching this if you want to sightsee, just remember where you need to go for pickup.

Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Sandra G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Its the first time I've written a second review of the same hotel. We stayed at Christmas and had a brilliant time, so decided to come back at Easter.

Again we had a great time - and had Easter Sunday lunch at Cedars. Unfortunately the day before our trip our daughter didn't feel well, and got progressively worse during the day. We had to take her to the hospital in the evening, but the Fairmont we're great - arranging for us to speak to a doctor, advising on the closest hospital, and arranging transport. A special thanks to Nehal for all her help

As mentioned in the previous review, the rooms, restaurant, pool and common areas are first class, but the service is excellent. Will definitely be back.

Room Tip: Room with a Mosque View
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JackJ21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontBabAlBahr, General Manager at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, responded to this review, April 8, 2013
Greetings from Fairmont Bab Al Bahr!

Thank you very much for sharing once again your great experience at our hotel. It is my pleasure to pass your compliments to our entire team especially to Nehal.

We are looking forward to welcoming you back in the near future.

Kindest regards,

Nils Axing
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reading
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Stayed for six nights to get away from the English weather. We have been to Dubai on numerous occasions and this was out first visit to Abu Dhabi. Staff were very friendly although sometimes the pool bar service was a little slow, but it was very busy.Rooms were a good size but if you are a non smoker make sure you stick to a non smoking room we were offered a smoking room which we could have gone into straight away but having checked the room there was a definite smoke smell and we said we preferred to wait for a non smoking room to be available which took a couple of hours. It wasn't a problem as there are changing rooms available and we could chill out on the beach whilst waiting. Dubai is still my favourite but I would definitely go back to this hotel again

Room Tip: If a non smoker stick to a non smoking room
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Barney2Reading
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2013

A friend and myself spent a weeks holiday at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in March 2013 and had a great time. Don't bother booking transfers as its only about a 20-30 minute cab ride from the airport and it will only cost you about £7. One of the only things that are 'cheap' in Abu Dhabi are the taxis!

We had been advised to book a 'Fairmont View' room, one grade up from the most basic, and it was well worth it. We had a wonderful view of the mosque and the room was exactly as depicted on the hotels website. The beds were comfortable with proper duvets and plump pillows, the towels were thick and big, we had the his and her basins and a wet room, complete with shower and big bath. The room has coffee and tea making facilities and satellite TV. We also had complimentary bottles of water that were replenished every day.

We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis. Our regular routine was to sit outside on the patio whilst enjoying a variety of the foods on offer. Everything from fresh fruit, eggs prepared anyway that you want them through to a full English was available. Although understandingly pork bacon and sausages were replaced with other meat varieties.

From there we would wonder around the corner to the pool and beach area. Always greeted with a smile we were shown to sun loungers, where towels were arranged and umbrellas erected (if you wanted them). An ice bucket of chilled bottled water was supplied free of charge and this was regularly topped up throughout the duration of the day.

Taking advantage of the breakfast buffet we didn't often eat lunch but when we did, we found our salads lovely, but a little too expensive for us to have enjoyed on a daily basis.

In regards to evening dining we always took the opportunity to leave the hotel, although I am sure the restaurants on site were very good. Our favourite evening past time was to get a taxi to the 'Corniche' getting dropped off by the public beach and sit watching the sun go down whilst sipping on a fresh strawberry juice. We would then take a stroll down the Corniche stopping to eat at one of the cafe style restaurants and eventually arriving at the Marina Mall (where you can pick up the free hotel shuttle bus to get home). Again the taxi ride to the Corniche was only about £7.

Another good option for an enjoyable evening meal is taking a short stroll down the road to the Souk, where there are several restaurants to enjoy.

Apart from sunbathing we didn't do a great deal during our week away but we did visit the Mosque and partake in the free guided tour, which I would highly recommend. The tour guides are very well informed and it was a really interesting 60 minutes. On the other extreme we went to the Yas Waterworld water park which was great fun. Although being in our mid 30's there were plenty of 'adult appropriate' slides as well as a separate child orientated section of the park. The Emirates Palace 7 star hotel is also well worth a look.

All in all we had a very enjoyable and relaxing break. If you love sun and luxury and don't want a long flight time then I would highly recommend Abu Dhabi and the Fairmont hotel.

Room Tip: Ask for a Fairmont View room as a minimum the view makes the minimal extra charge well worth it.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank LRoutledge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
doncaster
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Spent a week at this hotel in January. Fabulous. We were at the hotel over New Year and must say the celebrations were out of this world. Had a great week relaxing . Cannot fault it. All the restaurants were great-so much food. Hotel is in a great position. We just went to relax so didnt go out much but its close enough to everything if you want to.

Room Tip: We didnt take a room overlooking the beach and Grand mosque as many reviewers had advised and too be...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank storeyno5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
115 reviews
94 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
Reviewed April 6, 2013

LOCATION: Only about 20 minutes or so from the airport which is very convenient but it is on the outskirts of the city so there really isn't much around. Not an issue if you want to spend most of your time relaxing by the pool but probably not the best place if you really want to see the city. To be fair, taxis aren't that expensive but it's still about a 20-30 minute drive to the Marina Mall for example.

CHECK-IN/RECEPTION: Shocking. When we arrived at about 9.30pm, there were only 2 staff working and we had to wait nearly 25 minutes which is completely unacceptable. Not only that but it was our anniversary and we had actually received an email from the hotel saying we were being upgraded to a mosque/creek view…. However, when we arrived they said that we couldn't have the room till the following day. Reluctantly, we agreed as we were told it would be available about midday. We turned up at the appointed hour but the room wasn't ready and we were told to come back at 2pm which we did… only to then be told it wouldn't be ready till 4pm. When we returned it still wasn't ready but by this stage, we were so unhappy that we spoke to the manager who got us into a room 10 minutes later. We wasted half the day sorting out our room and every time we returned to reception, we had to queue for long periods of time as it seemed there were a lot of unhappy guests complaining about the same thing. Frankly disgraceful for such a hotel considering a few more reception staff and cleaners would solve the problem.

ROOM: It was really spacious with a great view of the mosque. The bed was really comfortable, there were double basins in the bathroom and it was generally well appointed. The only let down was the fact that the tv wasn't very big and as it was a long way from the bed, you could barely see anything.

INTERNET: It's extortionately expensive (about US$28) but free for Fairmont members so make sure you sign up to the program beforehand and save yourself a small fortune!

RESTAURANTS: The breakfast buffet was pretty good although for some odd reason they had the omelet station in the same place they had people queuing for hot ready to eat items. The queue got really confused as some people were trying to order an omelet but others just wanted to get some ready made eggs etc. Not a big deal but just not very well thought through. However, what was really annoying was that we had to wait 20 minutes for tea and we were given the wrong tea 3 times. How hard can it be to put a teabag in a pot of boiling water?

We tried the Poolside restaurant on a couple of occasions instead of having a buffet breakfast but while the food was good, it really was extremely expensive. A mozzarella & tomato salad (half a ball of mozzarella with a few tomato slices and about 10 rocket leaves) was about US$30.

The set lunch in Frankies was much better value. About the same price for 2 courses so a much better option all round. Plus it was a nice calm setting away from the noise of the pool.

The evening buffet was great. Excellent food and a great selection of dishes from around the world. It really was worth the money.

POOL/BEACH: There were plenty of sun loungers on the beach but we wanted a lot of shade so we sat by the pool in the area that had palm trees and parasols. That would have been fine except for the fact that there weren't enough parasols generally so people were bringing over additional sun loungers from the beach and cramming them into any space they could find. Not only that but on a few occasions when we'd come back from the pool, staff had moved our loungers to make space for some of these extra beach loungers which meant that we were like sardines in a can and we were often moved into the sun. Again, a simple thing to fix by buying more parasols and even building more covered areas. The hotel was full but outside visitors meant that the pool area was just ridiculously busy all the time. It just wasn't relaxing and often, there were just way too many children running around screaming.

STAFF: They were really friendly and helpful… but it's clear there just weren't enough of them.

As I said, a really nice hotel and if they could just sort out the issues mentioned, it would be a great hotel.

Room Tip: The creek/mosque view rooms on the right hand side of reception are best.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Gunner7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FairmontBabAlBahr, General Manager at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, responded to this review, April 7, 2013
Thank you very much for taking the time to post your review. We are sorry to learn that your experience did not live up to your expectations this time. We do appreciate your feedback and have shared your comments with the relevant departments.


Kindest Regards,

Nils Axing
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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:
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#11 Business Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#12 Family Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#18 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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