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Hotel check: Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi

TESTED BY Ross Atkinson

HOW MANY ROOMS? 202 guest rooms and 74 suites

PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS Central location for business, up-scale shopping, and the Corniche. Refurbished top to bottom with nine restaurants and art throughout.

PRICE Internet rates for a deluxe sea view king room in February started at $78.

CONTACT Sheikh Khalifa Street, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, tel +971 2 674 2020,

VERDICT: Phenomenal staff, incredible accommodations and a spa like bathroom, a list of gastro options onsite, with a business focus and global attractions a short taxi ride away – this is one hotel I want to visit again for business or pleasure.

WHERE IS IT? The downtown location is roughly 30 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport. In addition, the hotel is a long three-block walk to the World Trade Center, or take one of the abundant and reasonably-priced taxis to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque (the world’s third largest) or the Louvre Abu Dhabi (the second of its kind in the world). As a pleasant surprise, cabs are clean, metered, drivers are in uniform and they often play tour guide along the way to earn your tip.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? You are welcomed inside by two towering human busts made of letters from different languages all around the world. The property boasts a 4.3 out of five-star rating from discerning business travelers, many of whom are SPG loyalty members of the highest status. The property’s Tripadvisor rating is even higher. From my personal experience, the staff was top notch. In addition to welcoming me to the hotel Day One, several of them remembered my name on Day Two.

ROOM FACILITIES: My seaside deluxe room boasted beautiful views overlooking the lush parks and the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf. Modern tech amenities included fast and reliable Internet, plentiful plugs and a 42-inch TV that could stream almost any device. Yes, the bed was super comfortable. However, the showstopper – beside the beautiful views – was the bathroom. The spa-like shower had a dual rain shower and hand wand, and enclosed within the shower area was a very large and deep soaking tub. Malin+Goetz bath products made the environment into a personal spa.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS: A grand total of nine eating and drinking establishments grace this hotel. Perched on top of the Le Royal Meridien, Stratos is a revolving steakhouse with panoramic views of the sea and the Abu Dhabi skyline. For a quick bite, WHEAT offers baked goods and sandwiches, or when time allows, there’s Café Palmier’s all day dining menu or bar bites and cold drafts at PJ O’Reilly’s Irish Pub, along with live music in the evening. Latitude 24 is worth a stop for a cappuccino and the people watching and art appreciation. Foodies will enjoy 3-starred Michelin Chef Jean-George Vongerichten’s inspired cuisine prepared in an open kitchen. To top it off, your SPG membership garners a 20 percent discount at each of the on-site eateries.

LEISURE FACILITIES: The health and fitness club is located on the 4th floor. In addition to the indoor pool and Jacuzzi, you can hit the treadmills or stair steppers while taking in spectacular views of the Gulf. If getting a massage is more your speed that day, arrangements can be made with your concierge. The outdoor pool is temperature controlled and you can enjoy poolside dining from several of the hotel’s restaurants.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES: With its own private entrance, the conference center can cater to large groups without overwhelming the main resort with crowds, giving attendees a separate meeting experience. Large groups can book into conference center room blocks that are closest to the meeting facilities. Free wireless Internet is a standard.