FACT embarks on a culinary staycation in the heart of the UAE capital.
Thailand has become a popular destination for Gulf residents, particularly in the last decade, undoubtedly due to the friendly and welcoming spirit of the Thai people who take enormous pride in their culture of generosity.
The Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi allows residents to experience some of this legendary Thai hospitality right in the heart of Abu Dhabi. Well aware of the company’s philosophy and Thai roots, our expectations were high as we prepared to spend a long weekend at the Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi. Upon entering the impressive lobby atrium (the third highest in the UAE), we were welcomed with a “wai” (the traditional Thai greeting)” and a warm smile, followed by a swift and personable check-in.
Making our way to the bullet lifts that lead to 402 luxury guest rooms, the lobby is impressive and warm, perhaps due to the traditional Thai touches such as ornate bells and gongs scattered throughout the hotel. We spent the weekend in the Dusit Club Room on the 36th floor. However, the Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi offers nine room types and apartments to suit any traveller. The Dusit Club Room is elegantly outfitted with floor to ceiling windows offering panoramic views of the city, from Al Hudayriat Island to Reem Island. There are tasteful hints of Thai décor throughout the room, which gave it a distinctive character but was not overdone.
The room is spacious at 44 square meters and offers complimentary internet, bottled water, and tea and coffee, and comes equipped with a work desk and ergonomic chair, satellite TV, in-room safe, bed control panel, luxury bath amenities and a comfortable king bed to ensure a restful nights sleep.
The bathroom is spacious and features both a tub and a rainfall shower. Still, the room’s standout is undoubtedly the sweeping views and the abundant natural light, which left us feeling both as if we were in the middle of the action and yet profoundly relaxed. The Dusit Club Rooms also allow access to the Club lounge which is a relaxing space to work or indulge in snacks and a selection of beverages as you watch the world go by from an elevated vantage point on the hotel’s 35th floor.
We were happy to find that with great dining options, a spa, and a beautiful rooftop pool, there was no need to step foot outside of the Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, although it would make an ideal base for exploring the city.
The hotel offers four main dining outlets and a coffee shop, lounge, snack bar, and a poolside bar. The plethora of dining options makes Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi the ideal location for a culinary staycation in which guests can experience five-star dining experiences involving a variety of world crises.
Benjarong, the chain’s signature restaurant serving authentic Thai food is primarily regarded as one of the best Thai restaurants in the capital. It certainly never disappoints, and neither did Urban Kitchen. It offers a sophisticated setting with an expansive buffet selection, especially during the weekly Pan Asian Nights on Thursday evenings that provides a menu of Indonesian dishes such as soto ayam Soup and Gado Gado salad which sit alongside Japanese sushi, sashimi and salads. Live stations including Pecking duck, laksa noodles and tempting Thai curries.
Namak, which translates as ‘salt’ in Hindi, offers an exquisite Indian dining experience peppered with global influences. The brainchild of celebrity Chef Kunal Kapur, Namak features a bold colour scheme, ornately carved wooden doors and replicates India’s vibrancy in terms of personality and food. The global inspiration upon Namak’s menu makes for an admirable tangent from the norm, defying expectations of what can be achieved with Indian cuisine. We’d recommend the Kerala duck tart, signature chicken tacos, or the imaginatively named, oops I dropped my chaat for appetisers. Unmissable mains include black cod, Moilee curry, saag burrata and a selection of tempting biryanis. This combination of attentive and hospitable service makes it easy to see why Namak was awarded ‘Favourite Indian Restaurant’ at the Fact Dining Awards Abu Dhabi 2020.
McGettigan’s is the newest opening at Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi and is causing quite a stir with its casual atmosphere and selection of daily deals. The interiors are trendy and spacious, allowing the venue to blend classic Irish hospitality with a new age twist. Heritage bottles from Irish distilleries don the walls near the show kitchen and set the tone for a meal fuelled by innovative libations and fuss-free pub grub. The smoke-free venue offers a menu of Irish classics such as cod and chips, McGettigan’s signature burger, cottage pie and Bailey’s Cheesecake. There’s also the spice bag, an Asian influenced dish that is popular in Ireland and consists of deep-fried spicy chips, chicken and green peppers.
One of our stay’s highlights was undoubtedly a visit to Namm Spa for its signature Thai Heritage Therapy Treatment. “Namm” is a Thai word that translates to “water,” embraced in ancient Thai medicine as an essential element of life and a healing and rejuvenating force. Namm spa revolves around the concept of natural healing and wellbeing in a holistic manner, rather than just temporary stress relief, and this focus was evident in the treatment.
Upon arrival, a friendly therapist shows me around the beautiful spa with its white chiffon drapes, spacious treatment rooms that also double as changing rooms (a spa trend which is growing ever more popular). The treatment began with Hermit’s Body Twist to provide body exercise based on stretching movements and breathing exercises. We then move onto the second and final part of the treatment – an all-over-the-body pressure-point massage. The therapist was knowledgeable, highly skilled and delivered a personalised experience that was relaxing.
A stay at the Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi wouldn’t be complete without relaxing by the rooftop pool, on the 23rd floor. The décor is chic and contemporary, and the city’s views are breathtaking, making it the perfect spot for a sundowner before facing the work week.
All in all, we were most impressed with the service at the Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, which truly exemplified the Thai roots. The Dusit Thani’s focus on the Siam Smile concept may seem arbitrary. Still, it is truly amazing how a simple smile can brighten any experience. This was one of the hallmarks of the stay, plus luxury and impeccable service – not an easy combination to find executed, so well, in Abu Dhabi.
GO: Call (0)2 698 8888 for reservations and more information.