The Marriott Al Forsan marks the latest addition to Abu Dhabi’s luxury hotel scene. A sleek glass building rising from between the well-kempt polo fields of the equestrian centre at the Al Forsan International Sports Resort. Being one of the only five-star hotels in the country to sit within the grounds of a sports resort, it’s an impressive structure home to 400 rooms and 6 distinct food and beverage outlets, set to inject a new lease of life into the otherwise sleepy residential community of Khalifa City.
Service is of the utmost importance when it comes to the opening of a new property and first impressions are key. At the Marriott Al Forsan all service touch points — from the valet, to the security team and the front desk staff — offer engaging hospitality far above the expected norm. Floral bouquets and ample soft furnishing greet guests in a lobby bathed in natural light. While the open-plan nature of the buildings design provides a sense of seamless space that would remain unchallenged were in not for the cubic glass elevators that whisk guests upwards towards the comfort of the rooms.
Our 48 SQM superior room is designed with comfort and functionality in mind. Keeping with the thematics of the property, the room showcases a contemporary vibe with a transparent writing desk and a headboard splashed with vibrant colours resembling an artists canvas. A small seating area is ideal for relaxation, as are the beds, with their plump pillows and thick duvets.
The bathroom is encased in glass, as if an extension to the living area (don’t worry, a remote controlled privacy screen can be lowered) and features a sleek curvature throughout the design. From the egg shaped sink, to the deep and appealing tub to a curved walk in shower tiled in exquisite mosaics. The property emanates a distinct newness, providing an appealing feel that you’re the first person to visit.
Whether visiting for business or leisure, the Marriott Al Forsan is a good choice and one that pushes technology and ease to the forefront. All rooms contain a media hub (for all your connectivity needs), 32-inch television, plenty of sockets and super fast wifi that connects seamlessly and without issue throughout the entire hotel.
In the summer months, the focus of the room will be the private balconies, offering views over the Al Forsan International Sports Resort and the hotel’s expansive pool.
Speaking of the pool, it has to be one of the biggest in Abu Dhabi. A generous body of water provides a definite wow factor, punctuated with palm trees and small alcoves to provide privacy. Shallow ledges situated underneath the tranquil waters are perfect for sunbathing and reading books, while a swim-up bar is located at the far end of the pool. Beneath a shaded canopy is a splash park for younger guests, an aqua playground full of fountains and water jets bound to keep the little ones occupied for hours, as is the kids playground with climbing structures and a poolside sandpit.
The Marriott Al Forsan may not be located near the beach but there is little doubt that this is a resort, offering a number of leisure activities including horse riding, a state of the art fitness centre and a luxurious spa.
The Saray Spa would be our pick, offering a number of treatments is a tranquil environment, bound to leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. This spa promotes an all encompassing experience where guests are encouraged to linger in the relaxation room long after their treatments are finished. We indulged in a sixty-minute Swedish massage in what ranks as one of our favourite spa experiences in Abu Dhabi, where electronically controlled heated massage beds and add an additional level of comfort.
Six new dining destinations accompany the arrival of this new hotel, each unique and looking to bring something distinct to the city. We’re impressed by Khayal, the hotels all day dining restaurant which adds a personal touch via tours of the buffet and a multitude of seating options. We suggest you try and bag one of the raised tables that appear to be ‘floating’ amongst the water features. The buffet spread is large and offers everything from dim sum and sushi, to Arabic favourites and Indian specialities. The versatility of the restaurant is remarkable, as the buffet adapts for the various meals while rarely repeating dishes. Breakfast was our favourite for its abundance of fresh fruits, thick ‘slabs’ of French toast and some unique inclusions such as noodle soup and baked flapjacks.
Sitting in the centre of the hotel is the Lobby Lounge, a great spot to gratify that caffeine fix or indulge in afternoon tea. Couture Lounge is the place for happy hour sundowners while Appaloosa is a hybrid of casual sports bar and shisha lounge, serving up some interesting dishes. Amongst the usual salads, sandwiches and pub grub, we suggest the seared tune burger with its fiery wasabi mayonnaise and black squid ink bun (an Instagrammers dream).
The Grill is the Marriott Al Forsan’s crowning glory, a steakhouse that looks to differentiate from the numerous other steakhouses in Abu Dhabi. Forgoing the usual masculine connotations of dark wood and leather furnishings, The Grill is a more sleek affair with a modern and light design drawing attention to the central show kitchen. Service throughout the restaurant is engaging with a number of interactive dishes such as the Prime Fox River Certified American USDA Beef and the Grill Specialist Dessert (a twist on traditional Arabic Kunafa) prepared table-side. This element of dinner theatre not only provides insight into how the dishes are prepared but allows diners the opportunity to interact with the chef before enjoying some of the best cuts of meat that the capital has to offer.
The current buzz surrounding Marriott Al Forsan is due to a culmination of factors — the location, the high service levels, the quality of product and the leisure activities available. Whether it’s shooting, archery, wakeboarding or something more relaxing (like the spa or swimming pool), Marriott Al Forsan has filled a gap in the market by striking a balance between relaxation and sporting experiences. A fantastic new addition to Abu Dhabi and the ideal spot for a weekend staycation.
An edited version of this post first appeared in the July 2017 issue of FACT Abu Dhabi.
Location: Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Street 12, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi
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Phone: 02 201 4000
We were invited to stay at the Marriott Al Forsan. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE.