Fool me twice, shame on me: A break up letter with Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri.

Fool me twice, shame on me: A break up letter with Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri.

Dear Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri,

I remember when you just opened — a sparkling jewel in Abu Dhabi — when you were the most exciting venue in the capital and a destination to look forward to.  Unfortunately, the years have not been kind.  My stay earlier in the summer yielded a horrifically humid (moist – ewww!) room, a visit further marred by the ongoing and incessant noise of jet skis and then non-stop thumping bass of the music at Pearls & Caviar.  With the nearby Fairmont such a lovely property, I took to TripAdvisor to make others aware of the differences (and my preference) between the two luxury properties.

I was therefore delighted when the Shangri-La management then reached out to me and offered a free night to make up for the rather difficult evening we spent in June.  Without a doubt, this was a professional and classy response.

When an opportunity came up to visit Abu Dhabi for a set of reviews (brunch and dinner), I naturally thought to use my free night stay at the Shangri-la.  Imagine my surprise when our room was 1) musty 2) still a bit damp and 3) situated directly over the pool.  Yes, I am more sensitive than most to sound, but given my previous issues, I thought management would know to put me in a quieter room.  This was certainly not the case, and while there were not jet skis, there were strange noises in the middle of the night that sounded like some sort of aquatic vehicle attempting to (over and over) start up.  Overall, the acoustics at the Shangri-La are difficult to get past and certainly do not lend themselves to a relaxed stay.

While I won’t deny that the room did have a lovely view of the stunning Sheikh Zayed Mosque, it was also about nine miles from the lift and contained, without a doubt, one of the hardest mattresses ever.  Hubs woke up with a sore back, and I managed only a few fitful hours of sleep (my sleep app tells me 55%).  In the morning, we skipped breakfast and headed out of the hotel as soon as possible.

So, thank you for the free room night and bottle of wine, but I’m sorry to say Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, our relationship is over.  While I do think there are some redeeming qualities about your property (easy access to the souq is probably one of the biggest), I am looking forward to my next stay in Abu Dhabi at the Fairmont, a friend’s apartment, or the Bab Al Qasr.

It’s not me, it’s you.



PS On a final note, seriously, you need to provide Nespresso machines (or similar) in the room.  2016 is far too late for powdered coffee in a hotel at your level.

Shangri-La Abu Dhabi img_3944

9 thoughts on “Fool me twice, shame on me: A break up letter with Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri.”

  • Good article. However to be fair you needed to be in one of the premier rooms on the other side of the property…..would have made a huge difference to your stay. I stayed in one of the same rooms in your photos and promptly requested to move after about half an hour……so I get it. Shame you we’re not upgraded to avoid such a review.

    • I’ve stayed in multiple categories of rooms at the Shang, but the past two have just been unforgivable (noise, moisture and smell). As a matter of reference, have you stayed at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr? How do you find it compares?

  • I know the Fairmont well, have not stayed though. If you want a dreadful noise ridden night sleep in AD then try the Rotana on Yas Island. Easily the worst hotel stay ever encountered, Jumbo jets all day and literally all night long 100 meters above your room because the property has been foolishly placed right on the take off runway flight path….. dreadful. PS. I still think the premier rooms at the Shang are very nice and have never encountered the issues you have raised, have stayed there at least 5 times. Yes the property is well worn in……and lets say needs an upgrade as it is not of the caliber of other Shangri-la properties around the world. This is clear.

    • Seems we’re on the same page. While I’ve never stayed a night, both the Saadiyat properties (St. Regis and Park Hyatt) look worthwhile. I’m also very curious about the new Four Seasons!

  • I must’ve missed this review as I was flying off to Romania! O dear, doesn’t sound good. They do that sometimes – it’s a “free night” so they don’t make too much of an effort. When we redeemed our “free stay” using our Sirius points at Dar Al Masyaf, the room was one of those right at the back with a view of the garden (nice) but if you peek further you’ll see the main road. Kinda wished they gave us one of the ones facing the waterways but hey it was “free”, so no need to try and impress the guests I suppose! Catch up soon ya!

    • I think I’m most disappointed because as a brand the Shangri-la seems to be very hit or miss (the Dubai and Boracay properties have impressed me, but I’ve now consistently been let down by Abu Dhabi).

  • Such a shame that you had such poor experiences there. I haven’t stayed there myself (more of a souq visitor) but the property looks so beautiful from the outside that I have definitely been tempted. Thanks for the heads up 🙂

Leave a Comment

Follow A to Za'atar on