“Inspired by moments of great discoveries, Andalus aims to bring back to life the experiences found during the glorious days of this magnificent era.” Andalus Hotels & Resorts
There’s a tiny piece of the Mediterranean nestled away behind Al Seef Village Mall near Khalifa Park, Al Seef Resort & Spa by Andalus is a small resort specialising in extended suite stays. The pastel coloured buildings are home to one, two and three bedroom fully furnished serviced suites designed for long term residents and short stay guests looking for roomier accommodation.
Andalus properties celebrate Al-Andalus also known the ‘Golden Times’ of Andalusia, the largest empire civilization where different beliefs and traditions co-existed in harmony. The service policy is centred around positivity and teamwork to ensure guests receive a genuine and memorable experience.
Al Seef resort is a modern alternative to the traditional hotel stay offering personal Alonso services (that’s butler to you and me) along with various restaurants, coffee shops, salon and a gym. The piece de resistance of this resort is the large centralised pool area that offers guests the choice of four outdoor pools with a children’s and lap pool and a large twenty person jacuzzi, the largest in Abu Dhabi. The pools are set in lush gardens with plenty of sunloungers positioned under and around the many palm trees so there’s no excuse not to kick back and relax.
We stayed in a one-bedroom suite on the top floor of one of the three storey villas accessible only by stairs. Our spacious apartment had an ensuite master bedroom, fully-equipped kitchen, open-plan lounge area and a huge roof terrace albeit with a restricted pool and garden view. The apartment was definitely geared up for the long term business traveller or equally for a couple looking for a self contained stay. The bed was quite uncomfortable and the nearby mosque gave us a rude awakening at 5am but the lounge was very cosy and bright decorated in aqua blues with a comfy sofa and large flat screen TV.
Mamsha Al Seef (The Walk) is the European style food street within the resort adorned with colourful umbrellas that will in the future house many retail and dining outlets with outdoor seating during the winter months.
At the moment options are pretty limited as not many of outlets are as yet up and running, Gina’s Café, German café chain San Francisco Coffee Co. that serves organic certified coffee and pastries and Chota, a bold and colourful authentic Indian restaurant are the only three venues currently trading in the pedestrianised boulevard.
The village has direct access to Al Seef Mall where there is a bigger choice of cafes and restaurants offering different cuisines but as this is a dry resort no alcohol is served on the resort premises or in the mall. We had dinner at Royal Biryani located on the first floor of the mall, the staff at the dimly lit restaurant were very welcoming and I think quite grateful to see a customer as we were the only diners for at least an hour. The menu is a series of cards with a photograph of the dish on one side and a description on the reverse, each diner receives their own box to look through which I found to be tiresome process but persevered.
There were many vegetarian options by the highlight of the meal for me was the strawberry lassi, the other half enjoyed his recommended starter of chicken salad and main of lamb chops. The attentive staff offered lots of complimentary tasters between courses, overall there was a lack of atmosphere due to being completely empty but some guests were starting to arrive as we were leaving.
We enjoyed breakfast at the motorcycle themed Bikers Café, a good sized venue filled with all kinds of biking memorabilia including actual motorbikes. Bikers and non-bikers alike are welcome and the varied menu has many international and Arabic options including breakfast favourites, the food arrived quickly and was tasty.
Other restaurants and fast food options include Starbucks Coffee, McDonald’s, Zaytinya, Sumaq Grill, Wildfirez American Grill and Cold Stone Creamery – click here to see all the retail and dining outlets.
The resort has a small convenience store and there’s a good sized Carrefour and a pharmacy at the mall. The state-of-the-art gym is housed in two neighbouring glass fronted units that are open 24/7 for both resort guests and Andalus members. Her Bar is the newly opened salon, the first blow dry bar concept in Abu Dhabi that specilaises in blow dry, up-dos and braids.
Unbeknown to me the resort has its own onsite spa facility, the Andalus Spa which I would have definitely tried had I known of its existence. The large three-storey facility has ten treatment rooms and two couple’s rooms along with a sauna, jacuzzi and Moroccan bath. The treatment menu includes hot stone and Thai massages, deep-cleansing facial treatments and body detoxes.
Guests staying at Al Seef Resort & Spa by Andalus have exclusive complimentary beach access at nearby Happiness Island, located off the coast of Saadiyat and just a short trip by speedboat from the British Club dock.
There are a variety of shops in the mall selling everything from clothes, art supplies, children’s clothes and toys, gaming and bikes are available at the mall along with a family entertainment zone. Mamsha Al Seef regularly hosts pop-up weekend street markets giving local entrepreneurs and crafters the opportunity to exhibit their wares. It was the festive edition during our stay with Christmas games, arts and crafts, homewares, toys and festive goodies followed by the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and carols sung by the Andalus choir in the main lobby.
This is a family friendly resort with a mixture of short term guests and long term residents, with the streets inaccessible to cars it’s a safe place for children to play. All the staff that I encountered were all very polite and helpful but the resort was quite noisy due to ongoing construction of the unfinished outlets. The Andalusian style is certainly something different for the Abu Dhabi tourist market, it’s competitively priced for the region and once the resort is finished it will offer guests an all round experience.
The Nitty Gritty
Al Seef Resort & Spa by Andalus, Eastern Ring Road, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 652 6722
Check-out: 12 noon
Free wifi throughout the resort
Lovely pool area
The Not so Good…..
Limited dining options
Unpleasant aroma in our suite from ensuite bathroom
No lift access to upper floor suites
I was invited for a festive staycation at Al Seef Resort & Spa by Andalus. All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved. Three additional photos used courtesy of www.andalus.ae/