Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi
18 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Treated Like Royalty
"I'm not even sure how to begin describing the Shangri-la, because anything I write will be an understatement of how excellent this hotel really is!
The rooms are magnificent, clean to the highest of standards and they include anything you'd ever need whilst staying here. I particularly liked the complimentary fruit bowl which is restocked everyday as well as the complimentary bottles of water.
The amenities in the hotel are beyond all expectations, and the staff are some of the most friendliest you could ever come across- some of them even greet you by name when they meet you, which is a nice touch.
The hotel is located a further outside the city of Abu Dhabi than most of the other hotels there, but I found this a good thing as you're not too close to the hustle of the city. The hotel runs a complimentary shuttle bus service should you want to go to the city. I'd strongly advise you to avail of this service rather than taking taxis, as the taxis drivers in Abu Dhabi are complete scam artists and will do everything they can do charge you more than they're supposed to!
With the location of the hotel you also get some great views of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque [which is well worth a visit, especially since the Hotel's shuttle bus stops here]
To be honest, I could go on and on about how great I think the Shangri-la hotel, but I won't bore you...
I'll just finish by saying- if you're going to Abu Dhabi stay at the Shangri-la, you won't be disappointed."
- Travel date: Fri 12th of September 2008
"This is a lovely hotel, the resort looks enormous from the outside but once you're inside you don't get the impression of being in a big big building.
Very nice rich arabic decorations everywere with nice thick carpet and beautiful wooden doors.
The rooms are spacious, very comfortable mattress, nighttables with lamps, desk with chair, sofa and table, TV, minibar (free tea and coffee), iron + board, 2 bathrobes, 2 pairs of slippers: well everything you'd expect from a 5* resort.
Balcony with chairs and table.
A big plus is the silent airco !!!!
Bathroom is soooo luxurious: a big bath, separate rainshower, 2 washbasins, separate wc with bidet and many soft thick towels.
Breakfast is sumptuous with even a chocolate fountain...
Staff was friendly and helpful: everybody said "goodmorning, afternoon, evening" with big smiles, even if they can't say anything else in English ;)
Hopping on the free shuttle at short notice: no problem at all. Questions and queries were all dealt with swiftly and smoothly.
Beautiful pools, white sandy beach (both with life guards !) with ample lounge chairs and cristal clear water (although it's located on the river/ canal and not on seafront).
I don't understand why they built this great hotel between 2 bridges (from one of them you can actually see and hear the cars...) and near a military airport ?????
Maybe in future it will be centrally located in a new city center once all the construction work is finished.
I definitely recommend this hotel for stopovers or businesspeople who bring their family along."
- Travel date: Sun 13th of July 2008
Good hotel, not too expensive, staff better than expected
"Just finished a 5 night stay at the Shangri La (or SLAD as it abbreviates itself as), and we were impressed - the actual hotel facilities were good, and it was very quiet while we were there: hardly ever anyone out around the pool, almost no-one on the beach, and never any trouble getting tables in the restaurants or a seat in the bar.
I booked the room initially on the hotel website and was pleased when I checked the booking the week before we went, since their website allows you to change rates - and they were offering a lower rate than I had booked (instead of Dh1200, I changed the booking to Dh960 a night). On arrival we were signed up to the Golden Circle Club (the hotel chain's loyalty program), which is supposedly only offered to certain qualifying rates, but I think the guest services lady gave it to us when we mentioned we were going on for another 5 nights at the Shangri-la in Muscat. One of the nice side benefits of the GCC is that breakfasts are half price.
The breakfast buffet was great - plenty of choice, and again, never busy. We had a couple of lunches by the pool and they were good - club sandwich for only Dh45, which I think is pretty reasonable for a place of this type. In the evening, we had the buffet a couple of times, also very good - lots of choice, though it's easy to just load up with all sorts of stuff and not really have a coherent meal.
We tried the Hoi An (Vietnamese) restaurant one night and it was good too - though my wife chose better than me, and loved it. I had the tiger prawns, after seeing a recommendation in that week's Time Out (which was in the room): the biggest prawns I'd ever seen!
On our final night, we went to the Bord Eau (French) restaurant, and unfortunately the menu choice was limited due to a French fishermans' strike - they fly all their fresh seafood in from France, it seems. Still, we had a great meal which was expensive but deliciious (2 courses each, water & a reasonable bottle of wine came to best part of Dh1100).
All in, this is a good hotel though not exactly ideally situated - it's a bit of a way out of Abu Dhabi itself (though only 10mins from the int'l airport), although they do operate a free shuttle bus which goes to the newly-opened Sheikh Zayed Mosque and various shopping malls.
If you stay here, DEFINITELY visit the Mosque. It's absolutely STUNNING and we had a great (free) tour with a very knowledgeable Australian tour guide who'd lived in Abu Dhabi for over a decade, and had converted to Islam so could provide westerners with an excellent overview of the cultural aspects of various bits of the Mosque, and the ceremonies of worship. I'd say this one trip was worth the whole stay - really eye-opening and the Mosque is destined to be one of the top destinations in the region when it's completely finished (interior is done and it's already in use but some of the external features are still being worked on - due for completion Nov 2009, apparently).
The staff were actually very helpful to us (with the odd minor exception of restaurant or bar staff who seemed to take a while). One example was that my wife's ceramic veneer came off her front tooth on the morning we were due to go to the Mosque, and it needed more-or-
less immediate attention. The concierge couldn't have been more helpful - he arranged with the driver of the shuttle mini-bus that, on picking us back up from the Mosque, he'd take us straight to a nearby hospital that had a dental department. Within 10 minutes of arriving unnanounced, my wife was in the chair and having her tooth fixed - all for the cost of Dh250, which would be about the same in GBP as a regular check-up at a dentist. I can't imagine arriving at a UK dentist and asking for (and getting!) immediate attention like this, so top marks not only to the Al Noor hospital but also the concierge and bus driver who both went out of their way to help.
On our final day, we managed to get a late check out (1:30pm) but didn't need to head to the airport until 6pm, so used the health club's changing/locker room to stash a change of clothes and our hand luggage, whilst giving the suitcases to the reception desk. After an afternoon of lazing by the pool, we went back to the health club for a sauna/shower and change, and it has to be the best appointed health club changing room I've ever used. No need for a late checkout really, if you find yourself here and with an evening flight!
Downsides? The beaches look a bit less than ideal - they're facing what looks more like a shipping channel (though the bridges mean there's no shipping traffic) rather than open sea, and there's still a bit of construction going on, though the stuff closest to the hotel seems to have been finished. The main feaure of the view is the Zayed Mosque, which is an impressive sight in itself, but the surroundings have a "not quite finished, come back in 2 years" feel about them. Also, there are regular low-flying helicopter and prop-jet flights heading to the domestic/military airport just behind the Mosque - not a terrible nuisance, but a minor one nevertheless.
All in. I'm impressed - maybe not the most luxurious setting in the world, but the hotel facilities are good, the staff were friendly and helpful (in the main) and the cost wasn't too high, for the room rate or incidentals like drinks at the bar."
- Travel date: Wed 28th of May 2008
"We decided to book this hotel after seeing it advertised in a magazine and was certainly not disappointed. After reading some negative reviews we were a little apprehensive but we neednt have been.
The hotel is not completely finished, the souk and the meandering waterways through the hotel complex is not open yet but this did not affect our stay at all.
We booked a premier room which was very large and beautifully furnished. House keeping was excellent. We had room service on a couple of occasions which was brought to us within fifteen minutes of ordering. The hotel finish is of a very high standard.
We ate in the Sofra Bld restaurant on a couple of occasions and although there is a wonderful choice we thought ithe food could have been a little hotter.
Our favourite was the french restaurant Bord Eau. The food was excellent and the service was attentive but not intrusive.
The pool area is delightful and was very quiet whilst we were there, as was the beach area which was very clean and overlooks the mosque which is spectacular.
The hotel is situated close to a military airport, and although airplanes and helicopters are taking off and landing during the day, we did not find it a problem.
The hotel also runs a complimentary shuttle bus to the city and shopping malls.
If you are thinking of booking this hotel, ignore the negative comments that some reviewers have posted. We have nothing but praise for this hotel and would have given it five stars if it had all been completed."
- Travel date: Sun 11th of May 2008
Had a great time
"I have just returned from a 5night stay, which i thoroughly enjoyed. The room was very nice, quite big,nicely decorated & all the rooms overlook the beach. We ate in the chinese & had the buffet, which i have to say was the biggest & most impressive buffet i have ever seen & the food was excellent, as was the chinese restaurant.
All of the staff were very good, they were all very happy & made a big effort to remember our names & what we liked to drink etc. Couldn't fault them in any way, especially the pool & beach staff.
We got a taxi to Abu Dhabi Mall which cost 21dirrhams (very reasonable) & it took about 20mins. We got a taxi from the Beach Rotana to get back which was a green & white car,the driver wouldn't really tell us a price but when it came to paying he wanted 80dirrham! This was after he had driven like a maniac & stopped at a shop to get himself a drink! Would definately recommend getting a silver taxi which have a meter & driver that isn't a lunatic.
It didn't bother us that the hotel is outside of main part of town as we went just to relax by the pool/beach. There is a souk being built which can be travelled to by gondalas on a water way at the back of the hotel, i think this will be good when its finished. I would definately like to go back again but probably a few weeks earlier in the year as it was over 100degrees & little bit too hot, but overall thought it was great."
- Travel date: Sat 10th of May 2008
"Newly built hotel in Abu Dhabi. Rooms are designed nicely. Two swimming pools and access to the beach. The beach is not facing open sea but the channel. Very strange and badly trained staff. Donât know anything."
- Travel date: Sun 4th of May 2008
"I stayed there for one night.. It's very nice and clean hotel, I spent nice time there with my husband sitting at the terrace watching the sunset and celeberting his birhtday, I called them before one day telling them to prepare something for my husband birhtday, but they told me that the hotel just opened and they can't offer me something like this, they were very polite to say that, anyway, i told them it's ok forget about it, I understand...but when i arrived the room , they really surprised me and my husband by a veeeeeeeeery nice cake and big bouqet of red rose, with nice card :) and when we wanted to check out at the next day i asked them to bring a box for the cake to take it with me ...they brought nice box and wrapped with nice ribbon and nice bag :)"
- Travel date: Sun 13th of April 2008
lovely..but long taxi wait is only problem
"stayed twice first time nov,,then again in feb...its the best in abu dhabi other than emirates palace....
nice friendly staff, very nice room,nice view,nice food
one problem was that u have to wait up to 45 min for a taxi!!!...and thats bcuz its literarly new and the taxi drivers (very limited amount comparing to dubai) dont know the place or dont bother going there were they can get plenty of work in downtown area already due to regular demand...
comparing to the best which is emirates palace and i stayed there too its the best...and i prefer it to the palace cuz of the very far distance u have to walk to get to ur room in the emirates palace hotel."
- Travel date: Sun 6th of April 2008
"Firstly - I am so glad that I did not take the negative feedback on this hotel to heart. Admittedly I did try to find another alternative in case we didn't find the hotel to our standard however thank goodness I didn't book elsewhere.
Yes, like other travellers we had problems checking in. I did a two part reservation which confused them (found a good rate, found out I needed another day and the rate changed - so left original booking and created a new one for one night). Once they did get it sorted (and all with smiles and no arrogance) we were on our way, with a personalised tour of the hotel on the way to the room.
We had a standard room which overlooked the side pool and the beach. It was amazing. The details of the rooms were well thought out, i.e. a safe with an electric plug so you could charge your phone in the safe, a kettle that was complete cordless and hidden away in the drawer, to be used in place. A stationary box complete with scissors, tape etc. I could go on but trust me, it was fantastic and very different to other 5* places I have stayed.
The food in the Sofra Bid restaurant - WOW! A buffet that included a selection of very fresh fish to be cooked for you. There were loads of local delights, i.e. kebabs, shawarma, salads and freshly made flat breads, as well as international cuisine. We ate one night in the Emirates Palace and deeply regretted it. Expensive and very poor quality. We had dinner another night in Finz at the Beach Rotana Hotel and it was very good however not even a smidgen close to what we had at the Shangri-la. Steak for breakfast???? YES!
The pool area and beach are all nicely done. It is only partially open and the pool space could feel a bit small at times. The service was good although in general you can tell that servers do not have 'areas' as you may get the same drink twice or even asked 2-3 times if you want something. For me, however, being over served is far better than being underserved.
The Chi Spa was unbelievable as well. Not fully complete however the treatement rooms were amazing. Well worth booking a treatment or two.
Overall we had a fantastic experience and would highly recommend this hotel. It is a bit far out from the Corniche (around 20-30 DRH's before midnight) however we liked that aspect. The views of the mosque were so spectacular that it was well worth the location."
- Travel date: Thu 27th of March 2008
Very comfortable stay
"I stayed for 2 nights at the Shangri-La Abu Dhabi and had a wonderfully comfortable stay.
All rooms are sea-facing with wonderful views over the mosque. But reception is on the 3rd floor and I was on 2nd floor, so there were palm trees blocking my 'direct view'. I would recommend being on 3rd floor or higher.
Rooms are very comfortable. I stayed in a standard room which had a large bedroom, and very large bathroom, with separate oversized bathtub and walk in shower and a separate loo.
Service was very good, not excellent, but warm, effusive and friendly.
The hotel isn't near anything, but as my meetings were at the hotel, this really didn't worry me. There is a beautiful infinity pool and 2 clean beaches, with direct views over the mosque. There is some aircraft activity with the military airport just over the water. However there were only about 10 planes I saw each day and they were small planes and in daylight hours.
I felt the hotel was reasonably priced for drinks, food and internet.
There is building works ongoing, but I didn't find it intrusive.
The gym is new and well-equipped and there is a wonderful spa area with sauna, steam room, jacuzzi etc.
I would thoroughly recommend staying there, but due to the location, if you want to explore Abu Dhabi, you need to go much further into town."
- Travel date: Fri 14th of March 2008
Blighted by location
"On a short business trip to Abu Dhabi, flying into Dubai and then spending 30 minutes trying to find the chauffeur who played a highly effective game of hide and seek but eventually I caught him.
Hotel has the usual faux Islamic lavish architecture and design which is easy on the eye and seemingly well constructed. Rooms pleasant although couldn't fathom which light switch operated which combination of lights but hardly a problem.
Had a dinner with clients at Bord Eau, the hotel's French restaurant. Food was pretty good and a high end wine list but staff were at best annoying with regular: "Gentlemens (sic) are you enjoying the bread/ the room/ the starter/ the wine etc?". This was repeated ad nauseum until asked to desist so we could at least enjoy the above and continue with our discussion. Could also do with a sommelier as the young waitress eventually wrestled the Chateau Beychevelle's cork into submission but hardly looking professional.
Fine for a business trip but if you were here on holiday, the question would be why? The building is situated near one of the main bridges which is not some quaint Ponte Vecchio but a major highway with a lot of traffic noise. The airbase as has been commented on elsewhere provides a fairly regular stream of low flying military aircraft and helicopters, great if you are checking on regional military build up but not exactly restful, Beach? Hardly. A very small strip of sand on a brackish estuary which is partly tidal but not very alluring.
Business; yes; Vacation: no way"
- Travel date: Sat 1st of March 2008
Didn't like it....
"So I stayed here for one night because I was curious about the hotel and wanted a good view of the beautiful mosque.
All i can say about this hotel is that it is not quite ready...the staff are still very much in the training period, the building is only half finished and the plumbing in the rooms is not yet fine tuned.
Check in was not smooth....took about 15 minutes and to be honest, check in should only take a matter of minutes for a pre booked and pre-paid room.
Check out was even worse. The layout of reception needs dramatic revision - all the guests were crowded around a small area and the reception staff were trying to deal with more than 1 client at a time - they need to learn how to create a sense of order.
The room was pleasant - we went for the basic. The bathroom is spacious with a separate shower and bath - it was all very reminiscent of the rooms at Al Qasr (although less grand and impressive). The aforementioned plumbing was a problem - hot water only, no cold nor even lukewarm - just piping hot water coming out of both taps!
Each room has a balcony and terrace which is nice....we had a meal on the balcony on one day and it was lovely (although someone explain to me the point of the roladex room service menu?). The next day we wanted to have breakfast but with about 30 builders right outside our room, it would not have been quite the relaxing experience we wanted.
There is a private beach (there will be four by completion). The sand is clean but the water looks suspect....this is a strait rather than sea, so it looked a bit murky; venture in if you dare!
This is a popular spot for locals - which gets a bit annoying when they come swarming in for lunch and dinner....I can imagine that you have to book your table in advance on peak days like Fridays and Saturdays....
The area is being developed so I can't say that it is near anything of particular interest....to be honest, keep that taxi heading to the city centre when you come to AD - there is no reason for you to stay here - yet."
- Travel date: Thu 28th of February 2008