“You don’t have to be rich to travel well.” Eugene Fodor
Abu Dhabi has so many fantastic hotels, we are spoilt for choice here in the capital with luxury hotel complexes offering impressive rooms, facilities and dining options. Most global hotel chains have a strong presence already and there are at least six more new properties due to open across the city this year. What better way to experience firsthand what Abu Dhabi has to offer than a staycation, the lovely people at Shangri-La invited me and the other half for a weekend stay at Traders Hotel Abu Dhabi located in the Between the Bridges area.Traders Abu Dhabi is a seamless blend of old meets new, where traditional Arabic design integrates with vibrant contemporary style and a private beachfront location. This four-star property is located within the Qaryat Al Beri complex, adjacent to the larger neighbouring Shangri-La Hotel, Residences and Villas, CHI the spa and the Qaryat Al Beri Souk. You can stroll between all the venues along palm tree lined walkways through beautifully manicured and well-maintained lush gardens, there is also an Abra ride along the shallow waterways with stops at both hotels and an Abra station at the Souk too, perfect for a pleasant little sunset jaunt.
The hotel’s bold colour palette and striking artwork are eye catching, on arrival you are immediately drawn to the bright pops of lime and pink in the vast vaulted glass ceiling lobby, some may say garish, others may say delightful. Let’s just say the interior designer was not shy at mixing styles and colours, bright modern furnishings sit atop heavily patterned rugs in the lobby area that also houses a large neon glass reception desk and the smaller lobby lounge bar. In complete contrast the outdoor entrance area has large traditional Arabic doors and the whole Qaryat Al Beri complex has Arabian design features.
Whether staying for business or leisure purposes, Traders Abu Dhabi offers travellers a warm and friendly welcome and while it may lack the grandeur of other bigger hotels it offers a consistent level of outstanding service. I was most impressed with all the staff, everybody we encountered over the weekend knew our names, were courteous and sincere which all helped to make our stay that more enjoyable, they really couldn’t do enough for us and that applied not just to us, but other guests around us too.
Traders has over three hundreds rooms of varying size and facilities. We stayed in an enormous Executive Suite, a stylish and comfortable room decorated in more muted tones than the public areas with a king-size bed, a separate lounge area and balcony with sea views that overlooked the beach and the Sheikh Grand Mosque beyond. A very large bathroom had a jacuzzi bath, a walk-in monsoon shower and was stocked with lovely l’occitane toiletries. This room, like the Traders Club rooms, gives guests unlimited access to the Traders Club Lounge located on the ninth floor where we enjoyed complimentary drinks, snacks as well as breakfast on our last morning.
The Traders Club food was varied and tasty from sandwiches, soups, salads, meats and cheeses to sweet treats. A full range of drinks were also offered throughout the day that included alcoholic beverages everyday from 6 – 8pm, a great place to relax and enjoy pre-dinner drinks and nibbles. The staff were also very friendly and accommodating, club guests can also use the express check-in and out facility here. The breakfast selection was smaller than the main restaurant as expected but there was a chef on hand to prepare eggs to order, it was less busy and the views were good.
What we did and ate…
The spacious Afyä (meaning healthy in Arabic) restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner offering an international all-day dining menu served in modern and colourful surroundings. The open-kitchen style restaurant may lack the variety of larger hotels but what was on offer was good, a la Carte and buffet options are available for extra choice and the service was impeccable. We dined there on our first evening, the selection of healthy and vegetarian options was very pleasing, the vegetarian pizza freshly made for me by Chef Kendry was delicious.We returned to Afyä for our first breakfast on the terrace and enjoyed fresh fruit, pastries and eggs made to order, the other had the Asian Noodle Soup which he really enjoyed.
We spent the day lounging on the hotel’s private beach where complimentary bottled water is given to every guest in personal cool boxes and replenished regularly, a fantastic service that other hotels should adopt, it’s these little touches that make for a better all-round experience. Gazebos and sun loungers are available for guests and alongside the regular towel service, magazines and newspapers are displayed on a table for guests to borrow as well as a selection of children’s beach toys. Throughout the day we ordered drinks and then lunch to our sunloungers from the pool bar, yet again I was impressed with the service and variety of food available. Fresh coconuts quenched our thirst and creamy burrata cheese salad and miso cod filled our bellies. There is also a small outdoor swimming pool and pool bar on the first floor but we didn’t use these on this visit.
On Friday evenings Traders offers a family-friendly beach barbecue that’s ideal for families with younger children or adults looking to chill out at the beach with friends and smoke shisha. Alongside the usual bbq suspects of burgers, sausages and kebabs there was also a chicken shawarma station and seafood including oysters. Fresh salads, breads and desserts make up the food options and there’s ice-cream, popcorn and sweets for the children to keep their energy levels up on the bouncy castle. Chef Kendry found me and offered to make me another one of his fab vegetarian pizzas, just to make sure I was well fed.
Launched this weekend, Traders is now offering a Saturday Bubble Beach Brunch presented by Head Chef Ricky Rimenda and his team on the terrace at Afya restaurant (or inside if you prefer). If you like seafood, chilled out tunes from the DJ and relaxing in the sun on the outdoor terrace then this is the ideal Saturday afternoon. While it may not have the biggest brunch selection in town there is still plenty to choose from with oysters, lobster, mussels, fish tacos and fish and chips as well as dim sum, pizza, noodles and fresh salads. Miniature cakes and tarts were available at the dessert section as well as fresh fruits and a selection of cheeses.
If you are looking for a relaxed and enjoyable weekend stay in a comfortable and affordable hotel, Traders Abu Dhabi is an excellent choice. My top tip would be upgrade your booking to the Traders Club package if possible to maximise all the options available.
The Nitty Gritty
Traders Abu Dhabi by Shangri-La
Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 510 8888
Check-in 2:00 pm.
Check-out 12:00 pm (Guests staying in Traders Club can check out as late as 6pm subject to availability).
Friday Beach BBQ – 5pm until 11pm.
AED 159 including water, softdrinks, juices and coffee or tea or AED 215 including house beverages
Bubble Beach Brunch – 12:30pm until 4:00pm
AED 140 food only, AED 190 including bubbly, AED 70 for children aged 6 to 12 years
Inclusive of 16% service charge and tourism fee
Fabulous friendly staff
Large comfortable rooms, spotlessly clean
Private beach with complimentary water and good poolbar services
Good wifi in the room and public areas
Great location at Khor Al Maqta, close to the airport. The city and Yas Island are easily accessible by taxi
Traders Club exclusive privileges and late check-out are worth the room upgrade
The Not So Good……..
Loud music playing at the beach until 2am
Limited dining dining options if staying for a while but with both the Souk and Shangri-La hotel within easy walking distance it’s easy to access a wider selection of options and cuisines.Thank you Traders Abu Dhabi and Shangri-La for the opportunity to stay and review the hotel. All views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved.