Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Hotel Review
Following its opening in October 2009, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi became immediately recognizable by its modern, boxy, glass exterior, outlined at night with linear lighting, and fronted by a long row of palm trees.
When we pulled up to the entrance, several speedy doormen were instantly car-side to open doors and take our luggage, and we were politely whisked inside.
With its soaring ceilings, white modular furnishings, and abundant mirrors, glass, chrome, and glitz, the airy, ultra-modern lobby resembled the lovechild of the film “2001: A Space Odyssey” and a ’70s mega-disco.
We were ushered into the elevators and up to the private Fairmont Gold reception area on the seventh level, where we were quickly checked in and shown to our rooms. Fairmont Gold is a hotel within a hotel, with its own reception area, its own lounge,, and a dedicated staff. In addition to private check-in and check-out, Fairmont Gold guests also receive butler service and dedicated concierge service as well as access to the complimentary amenities of the Gold Lounge.
The 3000-square-foot (278-square-meter) Gold Lounge provides free access to computers and Wi-Fi, and serves a daily breakfast buffet, afternoon tea, and evening appetizers and drinks for guests staying on the Gold Floor.
My Gold Superior View Room was well outfitted, a flat-screen TV, free high-speed Internet, a king-size bed, a large bathroom, and a changing area with a roomy closet. Hotel staff was courteous and quick, immediately resolving a problem I had accessing the Internet right after I had settled into my room, and attending to my needs with panache.
Although a number of business travelers were busy tapping away on computer keyboards in the lounge, I preferred to work in my spacious room, with its floor-to-ceiling windows and lovely views of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Abu Dhabi Creek. The room also provided all the necessary technology for business travelers, and, unlike the Gold Lounge, was blissfully free of the odor of cigarette smoke.
One design snafu: The living area’s v-shaped sofa, while appealing to look at, was a triumph of form over function, and a little tricky to relax or work on. Its back did not extend the sofa’s full length, and one risked leaning back into nothing, or quite far back into a not very comfortable, narrow, curved arm. However, the bed more than compensated for the sofa, and I gladly sank into it and slept soundly each night.
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