In June of 2013, I went to Abu Dhabi for the first time. We flew United economy class all the way to Dubai and then took a taxi from the Dubai airport to Abu Dhabi. While I would not recommend traveling like that, it is a viable way to get to Abu Dhabi from the US.
We arrived at our hotel, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal and I was in awe. We were greeted in the lobby by a tall man who offered us dates and Arabic coffee. A bell man hurried over to take our bags and a woman, in a floor length blue dress with the intricate gold stitching, guided us to the check-in desk. Once we had checked in, we were then escorted by the same woman to our rooms.
The rooms they put us in were incredible. There was marble everywhere with small decorative touches in every corner. The hotel is modeled after a Venetian village and every finishing touch was done with purpose. Our rooms looked out onto the pool and overlooking the Abu Dhabi Grand Canal. My mom and I swam in the pool every morning and it has become one of my favorite spots.
We had access to the Concierge Lounge, located on the top floor of the hotel with floor to ceiling glass windows. There were food and drinks available throughout the day and there were always gluten free options waiting for me. The staff was very particular about knowing if any of the food contained wheat and were sure to inform me when I walked in the door.
The Ritz-Carlton boasts a spa, numerous shops, and five restaurants. I have been to all five restaurants (after several trips) and they are all incredible. I only had to mention once that I had a wheat allergy and the staff made sure that there was something for me to eat every time we ate at the hotel. The food is prepared with such care that I sometimes just wanted to look at it!
We had come to stay at The Ritz-Carlton so we could finalize our arrangements to have an event there later in the year. After we had toured their conference facilities, I was sold. The Grand Ballroom was stunning, with enormous chandeliers and a marble floor entrance. There were smaller board rooms down the hall that were perfect for the event we were organizing.
The group that I worked with for the event were knowledgeable and knew their property well, even though it had only been open for a few months at that point. I honestly cannot say enough about how much I loved the staff at The Ritz-Carlton. They are warm and welcoming, but willing to sit and chat with you for awhile. Whenever I go back to The Ritz-Carlton, I feel like I am reuniting with old friends.
If you are ever in Abu Dhabi, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal is the place to stay. You will be blown away by your experience.