Following a successful blueprint of its sister hotels around the world, this outpost in the capital is the first to arrive in the UAE and the bosses at HQ have clearly come out with all guns blazing to stamp their authority in a crowded and competitive market.
Furniture, lighting, service, food – all are of the highest order, hardly a surprise when hotel genius Ian Schrager is the man in charge of the design. The highlight? That’s easy: the lobby. Receptionists at the Abu Dhabi Edition must now be familiar with the sight of guests arriving, dropping their bags in shock and gazing upwards at a cream-coloured, curved atrium stretching up five floors that looks like the set of a science fiction film but acts like a big cuddle. Numerous pot plants, walnut wood walls, and a black marble water feature create a sense of calm, while the gold leaf billiard table is a fantastic conversation starter, not to mention a pretty fun way to waste an hour. The edgy kinetic art installation of glass cylinders dangling from the ceiling, meanwhile, is mesmerising. Books on Victorian wallpaper or the history of fashion photography are worth a flick. It’s more than a lobby, it’s a statement of intent.