Abu Dhabi’s Beach Rotana is a somewhat of an icon in the UAE capital having stood upon the sandy shores of the Arabian Gulf for the past twenty five years. As one of the oldest hotels in the city, the five-star property has had the misfortune of being surrounded by development in recent years. With the CBD popping up across the water on Al Maryah Island and the Tourist Club area plagued with construction for the past decade, the Beach Rotana has recently followed suit with the opening of the Beach Rotana Residences. A modern collection of 314 serviced studios and apartments that builds upon the legacy of the renowned property.
Checking in for a recent weekend stay, we find the Beach Rotana Residences are conveniently situated directly next to the hotel building and offer the same services that customers have come to expect from the Rotana brand. Both the valet and check-in are swift and efficient and we’re immediately taken by the modern look and feel of the lobby. With its low slung couches, sculpted centerpieces and a spiral staircase that winds upwards towards the restaurants and fitness centre. The contemporary nature of the property features a grey colour palette and an abundance of light wood that veers on the right side of clinical. It feels like staying in a luxurious new build show home.
The Beach Rotana Residences are ideal for long term guest or for families. One, two or three bedroom options are available and we have to admit to being rather astounded by the size of the two bedroom apartment during our stay. Guests enter into a kitchen featuring all the modern appliances one would expect from a fully serviced apartment (including fridge, oven and washing machine). A central island double as a breakfast bar before segueing into a spacious living area with two wonderfully comfortable sofas, perfectly positioned around a large flat screen television,
The apartment layout follows a t-shape and the bedrooms lead off from either side of the living room. Both have en suite bathrooms with showers and gloriously deep tubs, alongside writing desks, ample wardrobe space and additional television sets. Tastefully decorated the two bedrooms contain a number of appealing touches such as carved wooden screens that trace around the headboards and act as a sort of divider for the room and chaise-style armchairs that makes for the perfect reading nook . Connectivity is often a bugbear for us when it comes to hotel living and we’re delighted to find an abundance of plug sockets and USB charging points through the apartment, and a convenient media hub allowing us to hook up all of our devices with ease.
All three rooms feature balconies and those on the higher floors are rewarded with remarkable views that offer a 180 degree view of the city. Taking in a large swathe of Abu Dhabi including the islands of Al Reem and Al Maryah and the pretty beachfront upon which this particular hotel sits.
With a fitness centre, two restaurants and a small convenience store on site, guests visiting The Residences have little need to leave the confines their immediate surrounds but a stay here also grants access to the Beach Rotana with its collection of restaurants, the Zen Spa and the all important pool and beach (it’s called the Beach Rotana for a reason right?). A short walk from the entrance to The Residences brings guests out onto manicured lawns dotted with slender palm trees that runs along the 120m of private beachfront.
The Residences may not a spa but there’s little requirement for this when the Zen Spa is just a few minutes away inside the main hotel building. Despite being situated in the heart of the city, a sense of relaxation immediately sweeps over us as we descend the stairway into the marbled-clad spa. Home to ten treatment rooms and two tranquility suites, the Zen spa is simply furnished and as the name suggests, likely to leave guests feeling balanced and instilled with a sense of tranquility.
Minimalistic in its approach there is an almost classical feeling to the spa which relies on marble and flickering candles to set the tone for our Couple’s Massage and Bath Soak (AED 1,045 per couple). The treatment lasts 90 minutes and involves a 30 minute soak in a deep tub laden with rose petals before culminating in a 60 minute deep cleaning facial with the purpose of refining and revitalising the skin.
Being a leisure driven beach resort the Beach Rotana has a firm focus on family fun. For guests staying within the complex, little ones will enjoy the kids club with its outdoor and indoor supervised play areas. Water babies will be more enamoured with the kids pool or large temperature controlled infinity pool that features a swim up bar and plenty of room for those looking to play or swim laps.
Adults and teens can enjoy the three floodlit all-weather tennis courts, two squash courts or work up a sweat at the modern Bodylines fitness centre which offers state-of-the art cardiovascular equipment, free weights, personal training sessions and daily fitness classes.
Access to the 120m private beach is the pièce de résistance of the Beach Rotana with wave-free shallow waters and powdery white sand making the beachfront ideal for families with small children. Water-sports and diving can also be arranged, or for those looking to fully unwind and embrace the beach, there are two fully-stocked bars close to the shoreline.
12 Dining Destinations:
The Beach Rotana’s restaurants are some of the most popular in town and offer a multitude of cuisines and experiences, each unique in its own right. We’ve covered the likes of upmarket seafood restaurant Finz and the urban East meets West sophistication of Al Shorfa Lounge on the blog, but with Polynesian exoticism from Trader Vics, Indian-Fusion from Indigo and rustic German fare from Brauhaus. Diners really are spoilt for choice.
From the moment it opened for the evening, Benihana was heaving with guests looking to watch the teppanyaki show. With fire expelled from table tops, diners are entertained as raw ingredients are cooked on the communal hibachi tables (watch out they’re hot) and utensils are flung, caught and balanced in intricate ways. It’s a captivating experience, especially for those with children and seeing the transparency with which the chefs work is certainly interesting. Benihana’s food covers everything from beef, chicken and shrimp, to Japanese salads and we should note just how good the maki rolls and sashimi are.
Prego’s forgoes the fine dining setting that the majority of Abu Dhabi ‘s Italian restaurants are currently following. Instead there’s a casual approach to dining that offers simplistic home-cooked dishes where honest ingredients are the focus. Instagram friendly choices are marked on the menu and staff are more than happy to allow children to make their own pizzas by hand. Our recommendations would be the Gnocchi Sorrentina with its rich tomato sauce, the creamy Burrata and the delightful roasted octopus.
We’ve said it before but Rodeo Grill is an underrated gem of a restaurant and (for us) the best outlet in the Beach Rotana’s diverse dining repertoire. A sultry steakhouse experience that isn’t afraid to deviate from the steakhouse classics in a bid to excite diners. The Sea Scallops deserve a mention for their delicate texture complemented by veal bacon, peas and pear, while those looking for something a little more indulgent should give serious consideration to the Truffle Fries which arrive to the table like a volcano! Erupting with parmesan cheese and the distinct aroma of truffle. All steaks are cooked in the Josper Grill, allowing for the sealing of the meat, while smoking and grilling at the same time. It’s a process that allows the steak to remain unbelievably tender and whether you select the milk fed veal, Irish John Stone or the Argentinian Black Angus, it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed!
Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi and just minutes from the Corniche beach and Louvre museum, The Beach Rotana complex also boasts the advantage of being connected to Abu Dhabi Mall, one of the cities premier shopping destinations with its numerous shops, restaurants and a multi-screen cinema.
When it comes to Rotana, guests know exactly what to expect from the brand – consistent quality of service, value for money and properties that are designed for families. As an icon of the Abu Dhabi hospitality sector, the Beach Rotana is no different and with the completion of the new Beach Rotana Residences, the resort looks to expand its market share by attracting a whole new clientele to one of the cities premier beach resorts.
Out & About UAE were guests of Rotana. All views are our own and photographs are © Out & About UAE.
The Verdict: Beach Rotana Residences
With a strong reputation garnered by a quarter century of service, comfortable accommodation and a number of strong F&B concepts, the Beach Rotana once again ups the ante.