W
e’re lucky enough to live in an Emirate that’s famed for its
fabulous hotels. And what’s more, we’ve had the chance to
experience our fair share of the sumptuous elegance and luxury
that they offer.
We’ve visited many of the magnificent establishments located in Abu Dhabi
but there has always been one gap that we were waiting to fill. Although
it’s been open since 2007, we had never visited the wonderful Shangri-La
Hotel in the Qaryat Al Beri resort. So when we recently had the chance to
spend a long weekend there, we were completely over the moon.
Overlooking the Gulf between Abu Dhabi and its islands, the Shangri-La
Hotel is breathtaking to view, even from a distance. And when you arrive,
it’s even better. The hotel is situated on a gorgeous 1km stretch of beach,
with brilliant views across the strait over to the stunning Sheikh Zayed
Grand Mosque.
It’s surrounded by 8.5 acres of magnificent land, too. The gardens are
astonishingly attractive and clearly designed by the finest landscape artists.
They include no less than four swimming pools – and there’s also a
captivating replica ‘souk’, which has a superb diversity of shops selling
traditional artefacts, paintings, jewellery and clothes. The shops are joined
together by a pretty waterway that’s full of picturesque Arabic gondolas –
known as abras.
When you arrive at this hotel, it really is like stepping into another world.
The reflection of the glorious golden-white main building of the hotel in
the water of the swimming pool is simply stunning. Our senses were
completely beguiled by the Shangri-La’s magnificent architecture. Its
beautiful Arabic décor is full of charming organic textures, and uses a
wonderful warm-toned palette.
As we strolled around the glorious hotel complex, our fascination only
increased. We stopped and gazed at the winding waterway and its beautiful
abras. It was an immensely charming and inspiring scene.
We visited some of the charming shops in the souk, and then walked along
the private beach just in time to catch the sunset. Fabulous orange rays were
bathing the glittering ocean in their soft light. It was a moment that I don’t
think we will ever forget.
So by the time we arrived at the hotel’s wonderful lobby to book into our
suite, the tone of pure style and class had been set. You might think that
such a fantastic setting would be hard to beat – we certainly did – but the
amazing thing was that from here on, our Shangri-La Hotel experience
simply got better and better!
The Shangri-La Hotel has an incredible range of rooms and suites – all of
the very highest class. There are 214 in total – and all of themhave balconies
and stunning canal views. For this stay, we wanted to experience the very
height of luxury, so we booked into one of the hotel’s two – yes two! –
presidential suites.
When we opened the door, we were absolutely delighted with what we saw.
The rooms had been decorated with exquisite taste – blending the
traditional with the contemporary, and clearly incorporating rich Arabian
cultural influences. The two beautiful bedrooms were just the start –
beyond this, there was a large seating area and a sumptuous dining area.
And let’s not forget the peaceful study, the inspiring gallery, the wonderfully
spacious bathroom, and – last but not least – a fabulously relaxing sauna.
All in all, our majestic presidential suite covered a total of 400 square metres.
The weather – of course – was glorious, so we were also delighted that our
suite had a shady covered patio and access to a shared rooftop garden. We
spent hours here simply gazing over the magnificent scenery surrounding
us, and pinching ourselves to make sure that it wasn’t all a dream!