“Al Maha Arjaan by Rotana is indeed a home away from home.” Rotana Hotels
We checked into the Al Maha Arjaan by Rotana last weekend for a lovely mini staycation right in the heart of the city. This property holds a special place in our Abu Dhabi story, the other half resided in the Rotana Suites at the start of his UAE journey before we rented our first home. The hotel may have changed considerably since 2008 but it was still a little trip down memory lane.
Conveniently located on Abu Dhabi’s busy Hamdan Street, the four-star plush apartment hotel has undergone a major modernisation, an intensive and meticulous renovation of the interior which is nearing completion. Along with the updated aesthetics there’s been some changes at the top with a newly appointed General Manager, Nadim El Zyr who took the reigns of this city centre gem last week.
The check-in procedure was seamless, we were greeted warmly at reception upon arrival and that set the tone for our whole stay. We stayed in a spacious corner suite on the eleventh floor complete with king size bed, separate lounge and dining areas, work space, a fully equipped kitchenette (suites only), dressing area and large bathroom, honestly it was bigger than some rental apartaments I’ve seen. The renovation has discarded the dated decor and furnishings and transformed the rooms into sleek, tastefully decorated comfy places to stay.
Long gone are the golds, reds and greens and instead the palette of stylish greys and blue are complemented by neutral furniture and textiles, trendy eye-catching patterned carpets and pops of leather and oversized monochrome contemporary artwork. Everything is so new that there’s still a whiff of paint and new carpet in the air, the final floors are still undergoing the last phase of the upgrade of all the 288 room and suites.
The central location affords guests the flexibility of walking around the city, to nearby shops and restaurants and the Corniche beach which is only a fifteen minute stroll away. There are also plenty of in-house opportunities to relax and enjoy the property, the large suites are comfortable and inviting with panoramic views from the higher floors, Bodylines Fitness and Wellness club has a gym and spa treatments, a rooftop pool with new cabanas and loungers and in my opinion the hotel’s biggest asset, Café 302.
Café 302 (which has replaced City Cafe) is a refreshing addition to the capital’s cafe scene, a large cool and trendy outlet located just off the lobby with additional seating on an outdoor terrace. Just as popular with non-residents as it is with residents, it was buzzing when we stopped off for breakfast on Friday morning, the breakfast buffet and a’la carte options certainly attract a crowd.
Alongside the plentiful breakfast options, the cafe offers a menu of healthy salads and signature smoothies, steaks and burgers, fresh baked bread and pastries. Baristas serve a range of coffees including the 12-hour brewed Kyoto Coffee, which originates from Japan, that is served over ice. Under the guidance of upbeat manager Dragana Jankov the cafe has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, the service was intermittent due to confusion caused by language barriers.
The cafe is a cosy place to relax, meet friends, grab a takeaway, hold a business meeting or a perfect place for digital nomads to set up their laptops and work with a good cup of coffee. Café 302 also provides 24-hour room service for in-house guests and has an extensive selection of household goods as well as organic and artisan products for sale alongside the dine-in options.
Now let’s talk massages! The other half and I were both treated to full body massages in the newly renovated treatment rooms and it was excellent. Our therapist Nanna who hails from Thailand was an excellent masseuse and we were both equally thrilled with our treatments. Part of Bodylines club transformation includes stylish pre and post treatment relaxation pods, a full spa menu with well-priced reflexology, massages and scrubs. The fully equipped gym has instructors on hand for personal training and there’s sauna and steam facilities too. The upper floor houses the rooftop pool with cityscape vista, outdoor jacuzzi and a poolside bar for refreshments, swimming lessons are also available.
From the moment we arrived at the centrally located Al Maha Arjaan until we checked out I was impressed with the consummate level of service from everyone we encountered. This hotel may be an older property but inside it’s fabulous, from the newly designed lobby through to the cool and contemporary Café 302 and the rooms. Whether you are on a business trip, travelling with a family or looking for more long term lodgings in the city, Al Maha Arjaan is an affordable option that can definitely accommodate all your needs.
The Nitty Gritty
Al Maha Arjaan by Rotana, Hamdan Street, PO Box 5946, Abu Dhabi.
Telephone: 02 610 6666
Check-out: 12 noon
Modern and luxurious rooms and suites
Delicious food at Cafe 302
The Not so Good…..
All views are my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved.