For my returning readers, you’ll know I just got back from a little staycay down the road in Abu Dhabi at The Shangri-La hotel. Only an hours drive away but a completely different feel and contrast to the hustle and bustle of Dubai. Jack and I went for no particular reason other than a quick recharge and ‘switch off’. The fact it landed on Chinese New Year meant the hotel was almost at 100% capacity but our mission was still accomplished as we’re both raring for the week ahead!
IN A NUTSHELL
The Shangri-la Qaryat Al Beri is a city hotel in Abu Dhabi, surrounded by the peaceful canal and looking out onto the stunning Sheikh Zayed Mosque. It’s minimalist Arabic design whilst attracting an expat market…we even bumped into a few friends during the stay!
The hotel has a 5* luxury rating, but it’s also affordable without compromising on service, coming in at around AED 1000 – 1200 per night. There are 3 swimming pools, 2 beaches and an impressive array of dining options. From French fine dining, to Vietnamese and authentic Chinese, the diversity is very welcome!
Jack and I arrived at Midday on Friday, and as part of the Horizon Club benefits we were brought up to the 7th floor terrace to enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks whilst waiting for our room to be ready. (Had it not been Chinese New Year, I suspect we would have been able to check in when we arrived.)
Either way, we didn’t mind! Some gooey medjool dates, freshly made tea and views over the pretty grounds of the hotel didn’t go amiss. In fact, we were back up later that evening for vino and canapés.
The rooms are spacious and quiet – we had a view looking out over one of the beaches with a quaint terrace to enjoy it with. It’s not ‘in-your-face’ Arabic, more simplistic Moroccan vibes.
I know most people choose to head out and explore as soon as they arrive in a hotel, but we’re a little different. I had some writing to finish off and wanted t0 make sure we achieved what we came to do: relax! We ordered a fruit platter and more tea upstairs and spent a few hours on the terrace with one of my current reads, “Talk Like Ted”.
We chose to dine at their Vietnamese restaurant, Hoi An and it’s not everyday I get the chance to eat Vietnamese food which is why we went for it over the more classic fine dining French restaurant.
The menu is compact but has the variety you desire, along with some inventive twists on classics. The chefs’ ‘crispy lobster ravioli’ was a real highlight, and whilst the crispy Seafood Rolls were a touch too creamy for me, they’re one to shoot for if you like deep fried, creamy indulgence!
For mains, the sizzling beef tenderloin and grilled cod served with a delightful spicy pumpkin sauce.
After dinner, we took to the outdoor beach cinema where ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ was playing. No judgments…but I like the movie! They have a licensed bar, freshly popped popcorn and Shisha, should you want it.
A lovely little setting.
DAY TIME VIBES
On our last day, we took advantage by wondering around the hotel and getting some sun time in. There’s a winding waterway that connects the hotel, with traditional boat rides available on the abras. It leads down to the hotel’s own Souk (a traditional Arabian market) and CHI spa which has it’s own pool and decent gym facilities.
We had lunch pool-side, with one of the most spectacular tomato and mozzarella salads I’ve tried. All salads alike should come with this much cheese #heaven!.
The perfect staycay to get out of Dubai and have 48 hours of pure relaxation. Highly recommend a visit, whether you’re coming from the UAE or elsewhere!
To found out more about The Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat al Beri hotel – have a look at their website here or call on 971 (2) 509 8888.
Did you enjoy this post? Would love to hear your thoughts on the hotel and if you’ve stayed there before? Comment below!