“Exceptional contemporary design meets the optimum level of comfort and elegance.” Fairmont Bab Al Bahr
Centrally located in Abu Dhabi’s Al Maqta area the iconic Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, which is part of the AccorHotels Group, is a modern luxurious hotel that offers guests beautifully appointed comfortable rooms, first-rate cuisine choices and a prime spot from which to explore the capital.
The striking angular designed building is iconic, a contemporary masterpiece inside and out, the lobby is reminiscent of an art gallery with artworks, funky furniture, statement cloud lighting, floral displays and a distinct scent that evokes memories of past visits.
A show-stopping black marble and chrome staircase leads down to the restaurant concourse and provides access to an outdoor seating area and oversized water features, the glass lifts give you the first glimpse of the hotel’s stunning waterfront vista. A fervent supporter of local artists, the hotel hosts regular exhibitions, including the annual ‘No White Walls’ show, and its corridors act as a permanent gallery for bespoke pieces.
Each of the 369 elegant rooms and suites are decorated in neutral tones offset by patterned carpets and vibrant artwork. Alongside the king sized bed the spacious sea view rooms have a separate living space with a sofa, a desk and plenty of wardrobe space. The bathroom is divided into three areas with double sinks, large free standing bathtub housed in a wet room with an overhead shower and separate toilet, a variety of complimentary Le Labo products are available for guest use . The expanse of floor-to-ceiling windows affords guests superb panoramic views day and night across the hotel’s private beach and pools, the Khor Al Maqta channel, the three bridges that connect the area to the mainland and the incredible Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Designed to fulfill the needs of the discerning guest, Fairmont Gold is for both the leisure and business traveller. The experience starts with private check-in on the private Fairmont Gold floor, rooms are located on the top three floors along with the exclusive Fairmont Gold Lounge where continental breakfast, afternoon canapés and an honor bar are available. The dedicated Gold team extends a personalised service to ensure that all guest requirements are fulfilled.
The multitude of high-end dining options includes eight outlets as well as outdoor poolside options. Colourful all-day dining affair CuiScene is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and sits alongside Frankie’s Italian restaurant, a collaboration between famous jockey Frankie Dettori and Michelin-star chef Marco Pierre White. Classic dishes are offered as well as drinks in it’s elegant dining room and outdoor courtyard, an air of sophistication is provided with live music in its piano bar. The Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse & Grill (MPW), the eponymous of the aforementioned British celebrity chef caters for the more discerning diner.
With both indoor and outdoor spaces, The Cedar Lounge on the opposite side of the corridor serves Lebanese cuisine and attracts a loyal clientele. New outlets include the modern lobby level Cafe Sushi, an American style upmarket Sports Bar, the Lobby Lounge that serves 80 different teas and Puesta del Sol, an alfresco bar and restaurant serving Spanish favourites (closed in the summer).
MPW is a classy restaurant with chic interiors and a feature flame wall that wouldn’t look out of place in a ski lodge. The menu offers diners steaks and seafood paired with an extensive wine list, while it may initially not seem the best for vegetarians they offer the neighbouring Frankie’s menu with its specific dietary requirements sections. The restaurant has popular theme nights like the Great Steakout every Wednesday that’s designed for meat lovers with a big appetite. Those who like to test themselves can try the Tomahawk Challenge, 1kg of prime steak to be consumed in its entirety with numerous sides and a litre beverage of choice within thirty minutes, complete it and your meal is free.
The Great Saturday Roast, a three-course gourmet journey started with a soup followed by the signature Salmon Experience, diners cook the thinly sliced fish at the table with hot salt and then garnish to taste. Unlimited cuts of roast lamb, beef and chicken are then served with all trimmings and sauces. After dinner aperitifs were expertly prepared at our table from the restaurant’s well stocked gin trolley, the extensive range of the juniper based beverages were mixed with various fruits and berries. I can confirm that on-trend gin craze is alive and well at MPW.
Under the direction of Executive chef Gianluca, Frankie’s is back to its former glory with a renewed emphasis on fresh and seasonal Italian cuisine. All the classics like antipasti, pizza, pasta, lasagne, ravioli, tiramisu are featured on the menu alongside signature dishes, regular deliveries from Italy ensuring the authentic flavours. A wooden trolley laden with creamy buffalo mozzarella, seasonal colourful tomatoes and flavoured olive oils was wheeled to our table so my Caprese could be constructed by the chef, some may call this is a gimmick but I enjoyed the interactive experience.
Guests can relax poolside or on the white sandy private beach, plenty of loungers and cabanas are available and for those more active there’s watersports and separate male and female gyms. While the pool area itself is beautiful many of the loungers were broken and the area was strewn with discarded dirty plates and rubbish, the poolside assistance was lacklustre in comparison to the high-level service we received elsewhere in the hotel. Some beauty services are available but the hotel would definitely benefit from the addition of its own in-house spa facility to rival its five-star counterparts.
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr meets the luxury traveler’s requirements for a memorable stay, whether you are looking for the ultimate destination to discover more of Abu Dhabi, relax beachside, enjoy the variety of fine dining cuisine or even catch the latest sports fixture.
The Nitty Gritty
Location: Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 02 654 3333
Check-in: 3:00 pm
Check-out: 12 noon
Good selection of dining options
The Not so Good…..
Untidy pool area and slow poolside service
I was invited to review Fairmont Bab Al Bahr for Ohlala Magazine Abu Dhabi. All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2017. All rights reserved. First photo used with courtesy of www.fairmont/abu-dhabi/
An edited version of this article first appeared in Ohlala Magazine Abu Dhabi – July & August 2017
Read more about the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in previous posts The Great Steakout | Marco Pierre White, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr