SKY HIGH HOSPITALITY
Dubai, March 15, 2020 by Shabana Adam
In a city as dynamic as Abu Dhabi, it takes a special kind of hotel to really stand out and make its mark with travellers. fact checked into the Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl, and in all its towering grandeur, this is one property that really ticks all the boxes on our checklist for a staycation in the fast-paced UAE capital…
Located on the very tip of the Corniche, Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl is an elegant property made up of sleek interiors. Carefully curated artworks, flawless water features, and glowing lighting fixtures welcome guests to a warm, inviting and rather refined lobby where everyone from the valet to the concierge and the front desk staff are attentive and hospitable. The property is well integrated into the heart of the city and the decor is firmly embedded with influences drawn from local Emirati culture. Check-in desks surrounded by curtains provide the impression of bedouin tents and a feature wall takes on the curvature of rolling sand dunes.
Instantly, all your woes will melt away once you’re through the doors of this 5-star hotel; it’s a reminder that Abu Dhabi is indeed a great place to de-stress and renew. Check in is very smooth and you’ll feel an immediate sense of serenity as the lift whisks you up to your room. We walk into the incredibly spacious and tastefully-designed Pearl Suite, and it’s the far-reaching views of the grounds of Qasr Al Watan and Emirates Palace as well as the glistening azure sea that draws our attention at first gaze – we can’t wait to wake up to this view in the morning!
As far as luxury goes, Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotels and Residences Emirates Pearl has got an option for everyone. It’s home to 428 rooms, including 332 spacious King and Twin rooms, 36 luxury suites including a Presidential Suite and a Royal Suite, all featuring private balconies, fabulous furnishings with specially-selected details that provide a taste of the culture of Abu Dhabi and – more importantly – those heart-stopping, utterly instagrammable views. We find ourselves in the sprawling Pearl Suite only to quickly realise that THIS is the accommodation for which the saying “where the magic happens” – can be applied in all its glory. And, of course, we mean the magic of the 100sqm of space; having a grand living room with its own family-sized dining table, huge 65” HDTV, and beautiful, comfy couches to curl up on; not one, but two large private balconies with the most awe-inspiring views over the iconic Corniche and surrounding buildings – you have to see it for yourself to believe it; and a gorgeous bedroom and bathroom layout that makes us wish we could just move in already and live here.
The mini bar is stacked with all of our favourite snacks and drinks, and plenty of water bottles which is always a good sign. There’s a Nespresso machine and kettle with a lovely selection of tea and coffee, whilst the individually controlled heat and a/c for the different rooms within your suite is a thoughtful and much appreciated touch.
Talking of details, we love the double vanity in the bathroom and how the closet is designed within this space – meaning you don’t have to keep going out of the bathroom to try on different outfits (it’s the small things that count!). The standalone bathtub is also another feature that ties in the easy, elegant living and elevated vibe of the hotel. It’s more than ideal for a long, warm soak after a day of exploring or lounging, just before bed! There’s even a separate work space in the bedroom which makes for a nice place to get cosy with your laptop – that is if work even comes to mind!
It’s great to see that there’s an abundant of plug sockets dotted around the room – enough to put all our devices on charge at the same time. We’re especially struck by how convenient and contemporary the fixings and features are in the suite; I’m talking curtains that will open and close and the push of a button and an array of lighting options to suit every mood. All of this can be controlled from your bedside – what better reason to have a lie-in? And if – that’s a big if – you actually manage to leave this sanctuary, suite guests can also enjoy Grand Club access with complimentary breakfast, all day tea and coffee and complimentary drinks and appetisers (between 6pm and 8pm).
Enticing global flavours spoil visitors for choice across four excellent venues. Embark on a culinary journey with inspirational gastronomy from Italy. The team at Verso deliver an authentic experience through the food and culture of what is undoubtedly in our top three Italian restaurants in Abu Dhabi.
From the moment we enter, we’re engulfed by the aroma of the Italian kitchen. Hints of freshly baked bread, cheese and basil (from Verso’s very own herb garden) can all be identified as we meander our way past display cases stuffed full of Italian goodies. This feast for the eyes continues throughout the restaurant space with shelves stacked high with cookery books, olive oil bottles and ornaments. Wooden tables are laden with a selection of cheeses and the setting has been meticulously designed with even the smallest of details – the tiled floors, the ceramic drinking cups – and an expansive outside terrace overlooking a glorious cabana-flanked infinity pool.
The trick here is to order and enjoy your meal – slowly and socially. Special lunch and dinner menus mean that food is kept interesting and exciting but, more importantly, authentic.
The Insalata mista, noci e formaggio di capra is a plate of juicy heirloom tomatoes, artichokes, walnuts and fresh goat’s cheese that will satisfy all your salad cravings. The traditional staple of Parmigiana di melanzane – baked eggplant parmigiana – is exactly what we hoped it would be – cheesy and comforting with a simple tomato sauce. The Arancini al sugo, Sicilian rice balls with meat sauce filling, is another quality starter made with ingredients sourced directly from Italy. It was, however, the Risotto ai funghi di bosco, made up of Wild forest mushrooms, thyme and parmesan that managed to silence us as we scooped up spoonfuls with gusto.
Cooked in the wood fired oven visible across the gleaming marble counter tops of the open show kitchen, a half and half pizza (margherita and diavola) is perfection. It’s the sourdough which is key and the flavours of the crisp base leave a lasting impression over the delicious toppings. The Torta della Nonna is a superb concoction of ricotta lemon tart, pine seeds, and forest berries sherbet – highly recommended. Verso is all about homely Italian cooking at good value-for-money – plus, a special shout out to the staff, who are some of the most professional, knowledgeable, and friendly that we’ve encountered in a hotel eatery.
In the evening, we head to Pearl Lounge, where elegance exudes from every corner of the room. It is a lobby lounge, a café, a shop, a creperie, and a bar all in one – and we’re here for it. It’s a place to meet and talk, eat or wait, think or drink. Or simply to pause by yourself to relax. The menu is a gracious offering of filling international cuisine, where salads and sandwiches reign supreme. It’s the live crepe station and sophisticated desserts display that stops us in our tracks. We stock up on baked goods and Turkish delight to enjoy with our signature tea blend. Again, it is the lovely ladies who serve us that really light up this place with their earnest presence. You’ll also find a silk-route culinary journey in Sahha – open for breakfast and dinner, as well as a classy bar meets lounge in Lexx – great for pre-dinner drinks.
Achieve balance and peace of mind at Lum’a Spa, whererestored energy and renewed radiance is the goal. Lum’a offers a traditional, powerful and luxurious selection of spa and wellness experiences, using the finestquality products to restore energy. Featuring a Sauna, Hammam, Sensory Experience Showers and 11 treatment rooms, all the massages are created by seamlessly blending various soothing techniques.
It is the 24-hour Fitness Gym that really steals the show here. Probably one of the best hotel gyms in Abu Dhabi, where guests can enhance their stay and keep active at this state-of-the-art fitness centre. You’re ensured workout routines that will never be comprised. Featuring the latest equipment from industry leader TechnoGym, the fitness centre offers a full range of high-tech cardio and strength-training equipment including an outdoor gym and winding terrace with spectacular views.
After exercising, soak up the sun from the tranquil waters of the resort-style, temperature-controlled 50-metre Infinity Pool. It’s the ideal spot to take in views of the lush green Palm trees, to relax in and look out to the pristine blue waters of the Arabian Gulf with attentive service making all the difference. There’s even a kid’s pool to please all the younger guests!
What is abundantly clear is that Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Residences Emirates Pearl’s success lies within its walls and, more noticeably, within its people – the staff are just consistently great with their lovely greetings and incredible service. They definitely made our stay worthwhile, and a return trip is on the cards. ✤