This month we explore the stunning Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal. Set along the shores of the Grand Canal, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi boasts Venetian inspired architecture, beautifully landscaped gardens, a luxury beach resort and a wide selection of dining options.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal features a selection of elegantly appointed accommodations including deluxe guest rooms, a choice of six suite types ranging from an Executive suite to the lavish Royal suite and private villas, which are perfect for large families or long staying guests.
The hotel also boasts eight unique restaurants offering an array of experiences from fine dining to a casual café. Guests can enjoy Southeast Asian cuisine at Li Jiang, the latest edition to the hotels dining scene, experience traditional Arabic flavours at Mijana or enjoy a fine quality steak at The Forge. Also located in The Ritz-Carlton grounds is the Venetian Village, a piazza of fine dining establishments ranging from celebrity chef Todd English’s Olives restaurant to the highly anticipated Barfly, set to launch in January 2016.
Separate to the hotel and located just meters from the Venetian Village piazza is ESPA, the hotels tranquil spa. A beachfront spa drawing on local Bedouin tradition in its decor and treatments. The hotel also features a private beach and a sprawling 1,600-square-meter outdoor pool.
Blending European elegance with Middle Eastern tradition The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal provides some of the best views of the iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque making it the perfect choice for tourists or expats seeking a relaxing weekend away.
For our visit we are residing in an Executive suite therefore we are able to make use of The Club Level Lounge. As we enter the hotel we are directly escorted to The Club Level Lounge for check in. After a swift check in we send our bags to the room and take a moment to enjoy The Club Level Lounge.
A large and stylish lounge The Club offers panoramic views of Al Maqta creek from its large glass walls. On offer this evening is a selection of bites from salad, quesadillas and cookies to a small cheeseboard. Continuous culinary offerings including breakfast (6:30am to 11.00am), midday snacks (12noon to 2.00pm), afternoon tea and light snacks (2.00pm to 4.00pm), evening hors d’oeuvres (5.00pm to 8.00pm) and cordials and desserts (8.00pm to 10.00pm). Complimentary coffee and cookies are available 24 hours a day as well as complimentary wireless internet access and personal computers for guests.
After a quick bite to eat we make our way to the room. The Executive suite is large and features a living room comprising of a three piece suite, a working desk, a restroom, its own private balcony a Nespresso machine, 42 inch LCD TV and a fully stocked mini refreshment bar.
The bedroom features a king feathered bed, down comforter with duvet, 400 thread count Egyptian cotton linen, marbled floors, ample storage, a spacious wardrobe and a private second balcony. Both balconies feature tranquil views spanning across the gardens, canal, pool and beach. On the bed are four small Patchi chocolates again emphasising the luxury and attention to detail expected from The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal.
The luxurious marble bathroom features Asprey amenities, a separate large bathtub and rain shower, restroom, his and hers wash basins, plush terry robes, towels and slippers.
The room is a light, bright and airy and the furnishings offer a sense of class whilst being modern. The room itself is spacious and the double balconies are a nice and unique feature.
Today we are dining in Giornotte, the hotels all day dining restaurant and home to the highly acclaimed Giornotte brunch. Designed to resemble a classic Italian villa, the all-day dining restaurant is transformed to a gastronomic playground offering diners over 30 live cooking stations ranging from oysters, ceviche, seafood, fresh salad, sushi, dim sum, Wagyu beef carving station featuring all the Sunday roast favourites including Yorkshire puddings, an Arabic corner, Asian, Italian, Mexican, South American, Indian, French, Spanish and everything in between. This brunch offers something for everyone. Guests can choose to sit inside or outside on the scenic patio. We opt to sit inside so we can enjoy the classical sounds of the resident pianist.
To start we decide to opt for the oysters. On offer is a selection of Irish, Scottish and French oysters. I select the French oysters, typically a meatier oyster whilst my colleague opts for the Irish and Scottish oysters. All of the oysters taste fresh and have a rich sea salt taste.
Behind the oyster station is the ceviche display, be sure not to miss this as the variety of ceviche is fantastic. I select the prawn ceviche that comes in a citrus juice with finely chopped chillies, the taste is delicious.
After a selection of seafood starters we decide to sample the foie gras. Prepared fresh by chef the foie gras is some of the best we have tasted in Abu Dhabi, silky and full of flavour the foie gras offers a melt in the mouth texture.
Next we sample the carvery section on offer is duck, veal, lamb and a haunch of Wagyu beef. To tempting to resist we select the Wagyu beef, carefully carved onto our plate we enjoy the tender beef with a side of carrots, parsnips, Yorkshire pudding and select one of the many varieties of mustards available. The whole experience is divine and has us reminiscing about lazy Sunday afternoons back home.
To conclude our experience I make my way to the cheese room having more of a sweet tooth my colleague heads straight to the dessert room. The cheese room boasts over 30 different varieties of cheese as well as a fresh honey comb and a wide selection of breads and nuts. On my way back from the cheese room the lobster thermidor catches my attention. With chef assuring me I do not want to miss out I am tempted for one final dish before enjoying my cheese. True to his word the lobster thermidor is sensational.
As I finish my dish my colleague returns from the dessert room. The dessert room offers every conceivable dessert you can imagine, a large selection of handcrafted gelatos and sorbets, candy floss, macaroons, waffles, cheesecake, baked apples, mousses, and two chocolate fountains.
Over all the Giornotte brunch is spectacular, the live stations offer a sense of personalised service which is particularly enchanting for such a vast brunch. Whilst the brunch is vast and does offer cuisine from all corners of the globe the friendly and attentive service make this brunch one of the top brunches in Abu Dhabi. Our advice would be to take your time and walk around the brunch exploring all the stations before making your choice. It’s all about great food wonderfully presented.
Later that evening we venture to Espa located just a stone’s throw away from the hotel. What I particularly like about Espa is that is it a separate building to the hotel with its own private entrance. This ensures that whoever is going to the spa is going to relax and enjoy a sense of serenity. In most hotels you will find the gym next to the spa, this combination rarely offers a noise free treatment.
Espa boasts a private 2,000 square meter beach, 16 individual male and female treatment rooms, an outdoor plunge pool with a waterfall feature, a sauna and steam room.
I have opted for the 90 minute indulgent Hammam ritual priced at AED 690 the treatment promises a total body experience, caressing your skin, revitalizing your body and calming your mind. Sounds perfect. Admittedly this is the first time I am experiencing this treatment so I am slightly apprehensive of what’s to come. My colleague (playing it safe) opts for the 90 minute aromatherapy massage priced at AED 650. As we wait to start our experience we sip on the warm Saffron tea and take in the beauty and tranquillity of the spa.
After a quick change I begin my treatment. Warm water is poured all over and a black olive scrub is applied, then I make my way to the steam room after this I come back out and am scrubbed down with a Moroccan exfoliation glove, after the process is repeated a few times my skin and hair are left feeling silky smooth. Although apprehensive at first I did enjoy the treatment. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it if you are looking to relax as it is a lot of moving around. My colleague leaves the spa raving about the massage treatment and even states that it is the best massage he has ever experienced. Pradeep Theena, my colleague’s therapist did a fantastic job.
The Club Level Lounge
The next morning we awake bright and early before check out. We make our way to The Club to enjoy our breakfast before sadly having to depart The Ritz Carlton. We are impressed to see the wide breakfast selection. Guests can choose from fresh pastries, porridge, pancakes, eggs prepared as you like by chef, cereals, fresh fruit or a traditional English breakfast. One of the main highlights of the breakfast experience was the fresh coconut juice so fresh it is served in the coconut. Its small experiences like these that make The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi so exceptional.
Overall The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal provided a perfect weekend getaway. The hotel is perfect for guests wanting to check in and enjoy a relaxing break. The selection of dining options, private beach and tranquil spa ensure that everything is available on the resort meaning that you only have to leave the hotel if needs be. I would highly recommend that you pay a little bit extra and enjoy an Executive suite which offers access to The Club Level Lounge. The privacy of the lounge and the readily available snacks make it the perfect place to relax and take in the views from the large glass windows. I found myself spending most of my time here relaxing.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, 02 818 8888