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.