The 413-room Beach Rotana is one of Abu Dhabi’s original grand dames, loved by expats, business travelers and returning holidaymakers alike, who appreciate its great selection of bars and restaurants, comfortable atmosphere and well-maintained appearance. The hotel is situated on the north-eastern side of Abu Dhabi Island, overlooking the newly-developed Al Maryah Island.
It is connected to Abu Dhabi Mall but maintains a self-contained, resort-like atmosphere, being one of the few hotels in the city to have beach access. As with most hotels in the city, attractions such as Emirates Palace, the Corniche Beach, and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque are all an inexpensive bus or taxi ride away.
Both elegant and relaxed, with striking flower arrangements, marble floors and soaring atriums promoting a sense of occasion. Outside, one feels pleasantly cocooned from the rest of the city amid attractive landscaping, relaxing terraces, and sunbeds. Despite its size, it doesn’t feel crowded or rowdy. Staff is keen, knowledgeable and helpful without being cloying.
Requests to housekeeping were responded to promptly and there’s less of the ‘let me refer you to someone else’ when it comes to information requests. The hotel has a large, attractive spa offering facials from 465 Emirate Dirhams (£98) and massages from 414 Emirate Dirhams (£87) including taxes. Free facilities for guests include the 120-meter beach, an outdoor swimming pool, large fitness center, tennis and squash courts, and a kid’s club. Watersports and diving are available at extra cost. Most standard rooms look out over the resort and are small, with modest balconies, yet they are quiet, inviting and clean.
Though the rooms are not high-tech, beds and bedding are extremely comfortable and everything seems to work. There are hints of Arabesque design in the dark carved wood and relatively opulent bathrooms. The hotel interiors are let down by heavy fabrics and carpets, and corridors smell heavily of air freshener. I had to open my windows and crank up the air conditioning to keep my room smelling fresh. On the plus side, windows do open.
There are 11 quality restaurants, the standouts being Italian, Indian, German and seafood. I love the decadent prawn masala at the Indian, called Indigo (135 Emirate Dirhams/£28 including rice) and the Zuricher kalbsgeschnetzeltes, sliced veal tenderloin in a creamy mushroom sauce served with potato rosti (105 Emirate Dirhams/£22) at Brauhaus. Breakfast, in Essence, the all-day dining restaurant, is a large buffet.
It’s average by Abu Dhabi luxury hotel standards. Double rooms from 480 Emirate Dirhams (£100) per night including taxes in low season; and from 780 Emirate Dirhams (£165) in high. Breakfast is not included and costs 156 Emirate Dirhams (£33) per person. Free Wi-Fi.
Cheaper packages may be available from UK tour operators or travel agents, and restaurant offers can cut costs there. Yes. The kid’s club with an outdoor play area is free all day, though children must be accompanied by a guardian. There are free activities scheduled for children including face painting and coloring books.
The room service menu has a children’s menu, there is a children’s section of the buffet at the all-day dining restaurant, and cots and high chairs are available at no extra cost. Some rooms interconnect.