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“one disaster to another”

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Fairmont Bab Al Bahr
Ranked #24 of 128 Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 12, 2013

Booked a few rooms in January for a conference, we had made a private booking as we got a better rate than the 'discounted' conference rate..However a couple of days before we set off they simply cancelled...That was before we pointed out we were part of the conference and hosted a main event...they were obviously trying to get rid of us in order to get a better rate..if not I would love to hear their explanation and reason for indifference.... this is not the way to treat any customer...
We booked into the RITZ and our stay was fantastic, we were eventually moved across to the Fairmont so lots of unpacking and packing and messing us about.. compared to the RITZ the Fairmont felt like a 4 star hotel with smaller rooms; this is a functional hotel geared up for conferences but not a place I would want to spend a holiday...
We used the Spa and it was like a hair dressing salon with a room and table out the back....probably the worst Spa we have ever seen...

Internet is a major issue for a conference, good news was it's free, but only when it worked !!!!The restaurant was excellent, which was about the only part our visit that was enjoyed..

Did I like Abu Dhabi..yes, would I go back for a holiday...yes... would I stay at the Fairmont...NO NO NO....

Room Tip: stay at the RITZ
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled on business
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4  Thank Les666
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 reviewResponded June 17, 2013

Dear Les666,

Thank you for taking the time to post your feedback. We do appreciate your review and have shared your comments with the relevant departments. We are sorry to learn that your experience did not live up to your expectations this time. Would you please be able to get in touch with us directly by emailing babalbahr@fairmont.com so that we can welcome you back and ensure that your next stay with us is seamless?

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.
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Reviewed June 11, 2013

We were there in high season and the hotel was very busy but they were trying to do their best to help the guests enjoy their time.

Check in was not so bad despite the large number of people checking in, it took us around 30 minutes to get into our rooms, but our room got swapped with our friend's room.
We were celebrating our anniversary but because of the room swap our friends got the anniversary complimentary cake and service...but that too was fine with us.

What really bothered us, was that a fire alarm sounded and people started running in all directions. The management was not up to standards when dealing with an emergency.

We also asked for a baby cot and the newspapers several times and didn't get any for 3 days.

Overall I'm happy with the amenities, the spacious room, the pool and the overall feel in the hotel, but I find they really need to work on their service specially in high seasons.

Room Tip: sea view rooms from 3rd floor and above (have a better view of the sea and Sheikh Zayed mosque)
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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Thank mmardan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2013

Our welcome was very poor, and hotel staff were rude. My partner had sent an email days before we traveled which was never responded to.

The rooms were what you would expect from a 5 star hotel so that's good. Creek view is better than "city" view.

We were not advised of the cranes/construction which was visible from the creek sun loungers, and you could hear the back ground noise of the work on occasions. Not impressed. The creek wasn't that nice, and is very under staffed.

Food in the hotel is okay. Staff in the restaurant take ages to take your order and the attention to detail is not there. On one occasion a waiter moved my partner and i's belongings to another table whilst we were at the buffet getting dessert and did not tell us! We found another couple who "preferred" our table in our seats! Not happy that this is normal practice.

Concierge were excellent and gave really helpful advice.

Well worth visiting other hotels which are also 5 star and can also provide an excellent service for a similar price.

Room Tip: The lay out and contents of the rooms are the same for city view and creek, but the view at night is...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Eli F
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 reviewResponded June 11, 2013

Dear Eli F,

Thank you very much for staying with us and taking the time to post this review. We are sorry to learn that your experience did not live up to your expectations this time. Your comments are greatly appreciated and I have shared them to our relevant departments. It was also a pleasure to pass on your compliments to our Concierge.

Our entire team is looking forward to welcoming you back at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr.

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.
Reviewed June 11, 2013

I stayed at this hotel for a conference and that is where in theory the hotel sits. Its not the modern style that I don't like, it just didn't feel quite a hotel I would use for leisure - Shangri La Traders and the Ritz Carlton were better options for this for me.

Having said that the rooms were very nice especially the wet room bathrooms and the size of the rooms (mine was a big size). The restaurant options were varied - with four options but if you are staying longer then you would defiantly start to venture out.

The pool and beach area were nice but got very crowded if there is a large group and / or local people using the facilities...also found the water sports to be expensive (a charge for kayaks for residents?) and also limited areas you could use them, so didn't bother.

Reception was just not geared up for large numbers of people checking in and out, but for me arriving and leaving solo it was fine.

Stars of the day - the guys working at the front of the hotel as I would go outside and they would always have a talk if they could even if I did not need their services....

Overall yes the hotel was nice and it should be one of the options you look at. It is expensive for the room and the food - more so than Dubai hotels and food certainly more expensive than the Shangri La Traders and the Ritz Carlton as I bought similar meals there.....

Would I stay here again - yes but only after I have looked at the other close options first.

Room Tip: Request a room over looking the Grand Canal and the Grand Mosque - city facing rooms are very boring...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank CliveB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2013 via mobile

We stayed at room 503 with the sea, mosque and swimming pool view. It is located on the right side of the hotel.
Room has a full view window with an amazing view that makes you want to stay fixed to the window, the room was very big and luxurious. It had a beautiful bath tub and over all it was perfect. The hotel has many resturants to choose from and of good quality. To top it all up was the beautiful swimming pool whice was large in size and nice on its design. A five star from me.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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Thank Ahmad_Ardalan
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 reviewResponded June 11, 2013

Greetings from Fairmont Bab Al Bahr!

Thank you very much for staying with us and taking the time to share this positive review. We are thrilled that you have enjoyed your stay and found our hotel amazing.

We are looking forward to forward to welcoming you back soon.

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.
Reviewed June 10, 2013

Fabulous service from every member of staff, and felt all staff couldn't do enough for us, making us feel very special.
The room was awesome with a stunning view of the Grand Mosque. The buffet in Cuiscene enabled you to 'go round the world in 80 plates' ! Ronnie's Mexican Beers at the poolside bar were amazing. What fab service at the poolside, of chilled bottles of water in an ice bucket. The attention to detail throughout the hotel was amazing.
Definately would return to this hotel. 5 Star at its best. Wow

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank LisaKirby1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2013

Best things first - this is a fine hotel and the staff are excellent - well-trained, efficent and friendly - which is probably the most important aspect of any hotel.

We arrived at around 0200 and it was disappointing then to find that our double room - confirmed months before, was not available and we had to occupy a twin. Not the end of the world but in a hotel of this standard it whouldn't have happened. The receptionist promised to try to find us a double room - but nothing was ever offered. The room, when we got to it, was fine although the beds, for some reason, were made up with two pillows, a cushion and a bolster, which had to be removed before we could sleep (see the picture) The problem with that is that there's nowhere (apart from the floor) to put these rather unnecessary items, as the settee was already full with yet more cushions.

Storage space overall was an issue, with very few drawers and one of those provided was already filled with drinks and glasses. The other two were so small as to be quite useless for anything of any size.

It would seem that the rooms designer was not from the planet Earth, judging by some of the weird provisions. It has been my observation that humans have rounded posteriors and since their invention, loo seats have been rounded to fit the human form. But the loo seats in this hotel are square (see my picture) and I must therefore infer that the designer was from the planet Zog, where square backsides are the norm.

This impresssion was strengthened by the set of controls on the bath that looked as if they were from the Tardis (see my picture) but which, after some careful checking, proved to be the bath taps. What, I would ask, was wrong with those old fashioned taps that had two handles, one marked hot and the other cold? Are they really so inefficient that this new Tardis-style is needed.

If final confirmation of the extra-terrestrial origin of the designer were needed it can be found when attempting to use the shower. The shower head is at one end of the bathroom (see my picture) and the tap at the other. So, unless you are blessed with the ten-foot-long arms that seem, along with square backsides, to be the norm on the planet Zog, you must dodge from the shower to the tap and vice versa to get the temperature right. My boring old-fashioned shower has the tap right under the shower, where it can be reached with ease and I would be happy to share its details with the Fairmont's designer..

And there's more. The shower discharges straight onto the bathroom floor as there is no shower cubicle or curtains. This means that you have to remember to remove the bath mat as it will otherwise get soaked. So, no bath mat and a polished marble floor covered in soapy water - which soapy water spreads into the bedroom, which also has a polished marble floor. Obviously not a problem for Zoggians with their webbed feet but somewhat more tricky for human beings. I hope that the Fairmont has good public liability insurance as I can foresee many accidents happening to guests who do not realise that the combination of soapy water and polished marble have a coefficient of friction roughly equivalent to Teflon.

There were a few more room irritations which, although minor, should not happen in a hotel of this category.

I spotted a message light flashing on my room 'phone and, as instructed by the room manual, pressed the message button, which, the manual assured me, would play the message. It didn't. To get to the message centre it is first necessary to press the button marked "Line 2" (Line 1 doesn't work) and then press the message button. Not difficult to do but the instructions are wrong and they shouldn't be.

The TV remote control is carefully hidden in a nice little sleeve (which is itself ensconced in a heavy and rather pointless tray which had no obvious home - see my earlier comments about the lack of storage space) and the sleeve contains a clear plastic window which should, I feel sure, contain some information as to where the details of the 110 different TV channels could be found. I did eventually find this information on one of the TV channels but my life would have been easier had the wording, "Go to channel 2 on the TV for a list of TV programmes" appeared in the plastic window.

Leaving the bedroom I would comment on the restaurants which were all seemed good although we only used Frankie's and Cuiscene. However, it was annoying to find that all four restaurants opened for dinner at exactly the same time - 1900 (which happens to be a little later than we would prefer ro eat). Surely it would make sense to stagger the opening hours a little with maybe the buffet restaurant (Cuiscene) opening earlier than the waiter-service restaurants?

Another minor criticism concerned the choice of beer in the restaurants. Although I would assume that all the restaurants belonged to the hotel, it was not possible to have Guinness or Hoegarten in the Cuiscene, even though it was available in Frankie's, just next door. In the Cuiscene it was only possible to have Stella Artois on tap. I have long resigned myself to the fact that few hotels will have good beer - but it would be nice to have the choice between chemical fizz and just-about-drinkable Guinness.

So, Fairmont, good though you are, to get five stars from me you need to be perfect.

"Perfection, which is no small thing, is nevertheless made up of many small things"
Sir Henry Royce

Room Tip: The rooms with a view across the canal towards the mosque have a better outlook than those with a vi...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled on business
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Thank Richard E
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

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 Family Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#11 Business Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#18 Romantic Hotel in Abu Dhabi
#24 Luxury Hotel in Abu Dhabi
Price Range: $149 - $488 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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