Elegant yet laid-back , the Rosewood Abu Dhabi, covers all the basics with incredible activities, butler service & an amazing food and cocktail scene!
Arriving at 3 AM to a new destination with a 6 hour time difference is never a fun endeavor. Yet when we pulled up to the Rosewood Abu Dhabi, with its stunning facade glistening in the night, the warm glow inviting us in and a friendly bellman sincerely greeting us, it made the entire travel process easier and a lot more tolerable. It was this first impression that stuck with me and set the tone for our quick trip in this fascinating city. No matter the time, busy or slow, the team at Rosewood is genuinely friendly, giving impeccable service and all the elegance without any arrogance.
The Rosewood Abu Dhabi is a 34 story tower, situated on Al Maryah Island, in the center of the new International Financial District of Abu Dhabi. To me, Abu Dhabi it’s a stunning example of how far the UAE has come and the Rosewood perfectly represents the future of what we’ll continue to see. What used to be flat, desert, is now a thriving metropolis with so much natural and modern beauty. It’s a bit less crowded and less crazy than Dubai, yet still caters to those looking for a wonderful city escape, set in an exotic atmosphere.
Walking into our suite felt more like walking into a posh apartment rather than a hotel room. We were greeted with a large entry way leading into a grand living room and a powder room off the side. The large couch and desk area, were great for catching up on some work, and just lounging around for a bit. Around the corner was our massive bedroom and grand bathroom. Along the side of the apartment we had floor to ceiling windows, giving us vast views of the area around us.
The decor was simple, modern, yet very comfortable with plush linens and comfortable furniture. Everything in the room was connected to an iPad, that we were able to use during our stay. We could control the lighting, the curtains and call our personal butler any time we needed him...if only the iPad could have made morning coffee for us!
Like everything else at the Rosewood Abu Dhabi the amenities were first class. We had a personal butler, who tended to anything we needed, from helping us plan activities, to giving recommendations and even helping me track down aspirin. He kept us on track with our schedule and was always available to lend a helping hand!
Cocktails with a Legend
Ok so maybe Mads is only a legend to me, but this incredible bartender should be known to everyone. His sweet smile, charming eyes and insane knowledge of cocktails, makes him one of the best bartenders, I have come across.
Calling the Hidden Bar, at the Rosewood Abu Dhabi home, Mads, creates unique craft cocktails, knows all the classics and most importantly - they’re amazing. He knows our favorites like a Penicillin and Vieux Carre and makes an incredible Mezcal Margarita. In fact he’s so good, that when he found out I love Mezcal, he went to work infusing it with pineapple, so I could have something special. That’s just how it’s done here at the Rosewood.
Whether you’re staying at the hotel as a guest or happen to be somewhere else in the city, make sure to spend an evening having cocktails at the bar. The ambiance is chic, yet laid back and the outdoor patio, gives some of the best views of one of Abu Dhabi's many skylines. If you’re looking for pre dinner drinks, or a place to unwind in the evening, Hidden Bar has you covered. Although I might be slightly partial to Mads, all the bartenders we encountered were very friendly and know how to make a proper cocktail.
Abu Dhabi is home to plenty amazing restaurants from around the world. It’s like a scaled down version of Las Vegas, with restauranteurs constantly trying to outdo each other and the competition is intense. Yet with so many options surrounding us, we ended up dining at Sambusek, a modern Lebanese restaurant at the hotel, every evening. You just couldn't beat the food, the views and the ambiance.
We feasted on a variety of cold and hot mezzeh, flavorful salads and a variety of grilled meats. I was even lucky enough to head in the back of the kitchen with the chef before dinner one afternoon and learn a few tricks. I never realized how simple Lebanese cuisine could be! As long as you use a the best produce and have a few key ingredients, the options are endless!
Aside from Sambusek, Rosewood, Abu Dhabi has a Chinese restaurant, Dai Pai Dong which is a combination of Chinese street food mixed with modern influence. There is also Aqua, which is a formal dining buffet restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Aqua is also where we enjoyed daily breakfast with so many options like fresh fruit, granola, pancakes and a delicious breakfast pizza that is a must try!
What to do
Abu Dhabi is an incredible city, with so much to do. There really is something for a variety of tourist. Whether you’re into architecture, appreciate cultural sites, want some adventure, or prefer to shop, there is something for you all. The Rosewood is located on Al Maryah Island, which is largely under construction and given the high temperatures, walking around isn’t the best option. Fortunately the cabs are more like a luxury car service than a pay by the mile cab.
Even though we were only in Abu Dhabi for two days, we were able to spend so much time out and about, discovering the new and old beauty of this city. Only a 20 minute cab ride away, is the amazing Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. We spent the entire day admiring this insane architectural masterpiece and appreciating the creativity and passion that went into this construction. Ladies just remember, that you will need to wear a long dress (abaya) and headscarf (shaya) if you would like to enter. There is an area before the entrance, where you can check out the appropriate clothing pieces, so you don’t have to purchase or bring your own.
Head to the Sand Dunes
For our last day in Abu Dhabi, we decided to have a bit of adventure and took advantage of one of the tours the hotel offers. We spent the entire afternoon and evening, playing around with camels, dune bashing and then partaking in a lovely dinner. Our desert playing, ended at a Bedouin camp, where we watched belly dancing, smoked some shisha and just relaxed under the dark sky.
Now this is a very touristy excursion, but an absolute must, if it’s your first time in the UAE. Unless you book a completely private excursion, chances are any tour you book, will include a few hundred people. What I loved most about the tour we took, was that our ride into the desert and the dune bashing was with a group of 3 other people. It wasn’t until we go to the camp for dinner, that we were joined with a very large group of over 100 people. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a blast, but if you want things to be a bit more intimate, definitely make sure you book a private tour.
Would we come again
Absolutely yes, without a doubt. I have come to learn that Rosewood is consistent. The design will always be unique, with plenty of local influence, the service will always be outstanding, the cocktails will be crafty and good and most importantly…you get that luxurious ambiance while being completely comfortable.
For more information about the Rosewood Abu Dhabi, visit their website: