Inside the Four Seasons Abu Dhabi hotel
Will you visit the new resort for the steakhouse, cocktail bar, swimming pool or spa?Neil Churchill March 29, 2016
Maybe it’s because it was late to the party, but for the last two years it’s felt like Four Seasons has been trying to play catch-up in the UAE’s hotel sector. Surely no other hospitality brand has expanded as rapidly.
Only 16 months ago, the Canadian business had zero presence in the country, its only ripple in the previous decade being when it abandoned plans for a resort in Dubai’s Festival City in 2008. Now, there are no less than three Four Seasons properties in the UAE, all meeting the high-levels of luxury that the brand is renowned for the world over.
After opening its new DIFC hotel earlier this month, Four Seasons has announced its latest project in Abu Dhabi, with the first reservations for May this year now being taken.
As with most hotels in the region, its full name is quite the mouthful: Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island. But if there’s one thing the hotel chain cannot be accused of in the UAE, it’s replicating the same design and appearance three times over.
While the Dubai Jumeirah Beach location is typically Arabian and warm, and DIFC’s subtle and business-like, Abu Dhabi’s is modern and chic, nodding at a sustainable future on the capital’s archipelago, and blending in with Al Maryah’s business and finance companies.
The 34-storey glass tower is high-tech and environmentally adaptive, with its exterior of vertical baguettes shielding direct sunlight and saving energy. Located close to the island’s financial hub, the hotel also has climate-controlled passageways to connect you to nearby offices and The Galleria mall.
Inside, all of the hotel’s 200 rooms – including 38 suites – have sea views. The Royal Suite meanwhile, measuring 2,874 sq ft, has a two-storey sitting room, crystal chandeliers, exotic marbles and hardwood flooring.
Of course this wouldn’t be a typical UAE hotel without offering several restaurants and bars for residents as well as tourists to enjoy – there are six options in total.
Butcher & Still, a modern interpretation of a 1940s Chicago steakhouse, will be a go-to spot, flying in cuts from the US to be cooked in the restaurant’s 1,800 Fahrenheit degree oven. The restaurant also boasts an antique ‘Tanqueray No. 10 Imperial Martini Shaker’ – one of five in the world and the only one in the Middle East.
The steakhouse will also have secret features, including a retractable wall that opens to an outdoor patio, and a private elevator to take guests down two levels to an ultra-private dining room.
Café Milano will be an Italian boutique specialising in the country’s Southern Coastal cuisine. Designed by acclaimed New York designer Adam Tihany, the man who designed the DIFC hotel, it is the restaurant’s second global location with a well-known reputation in Washington, DC. Hand-made pasta, fresh seafood and vibrant insalate will grace the menu.
There will also be an all-day dining, market-inspired restaurant that will offer a Friday brunch, while the Lobby Lounge will host an afternoon tea.
For sundowners, a cocktail bar overlooking the waterfront and the city’s skyline will house a private, glassed VIP room, and will pay homage to a history of glamour and fine drinking. The pool lounge terrace will be an open-air, shaded bar area serving spa-like cuisine during the day, before transforming into a chic, chill-out lounge at night, with a relaxed vibe and DJ.
That means of course that there is a pool. Sitting on the hotel’s third floor with unobstructed sunlight all day and an abundance of sun loungers, expect this to become a mecca for the island’s sunbathing aficionados.
Of course there is a spa. Eight treatment rooms, hydro pools, saunas, hammams, ice fountains and therapeutic relaxation areas are in both male and female sections. There is also a barbershop for men, and a beauty salon for women.
The hotel also houses not one but two fitness centres – one each for men and women, both with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the water.
We will wait to see how successful Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island turns out to be. But it’s not impossible to think that should it do well, there may be a second Four Seasons property in Abu Dhabi before long.
After all, other luxury hotel brands already have multiple locations in the emirate, and judging by Four Seasons’ growth in the UAE so far, the brand is showing no sign of slowing down.