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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Executive travel: Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi a business traveller's treat

Conference facilities its basement are huge - the Oryx Ballroom boasts high ceilings and a private foyer for up to 1,000 guests

Dusit Thani Abu dhabi at sunset. The hotel is tailor-made for business travellers. Courtesy Dusit Thani
Dusit Thani Abu dhabi at sunset. The hotel is tailor-made for business travellers. Courtesy Dusit Thani

Just coming up to its fifth anniversary, the Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi is a 37-floor tower that features the highest atrium in the Middle East and the third-highest in the world.

It’s quite an architectural statement and a quintessential city centre business hotel near to the Eastern Mangroves, with 402 deluxe guest rooms and 131 serviced apartments.

Conference facilities its basement are huge. The Oryx Ballroom boasts high ceilings and a private foyer for up to 1,000 guests; and it can be subdivided into three large rooms for 200 to 300 people standing, or 75 to 170 seated.

Smaller meeting rooms on the ground level comprise: Emerald 1 and 2, both for 60 guests or 120 if combined; Sapphire 1 and 2 are for 40 people each, or 80 together.

There are two boardrooms, both seat up to 10; and finally there is the Sky Dome, a smart function space of 2,000 square metres with a 10-metre high ceiling and special night-time lighting.

Obviously this is a combination of conference and function rooms and serviced accommodation that can handle business events of almost any scale, and it can become very busy during the winter season.

I checked out the huge club lounge on the 35th floor that has stunning panoramic views, and chatted to one visitor who said he liked to hold meetings up here with clients. All-day food presentations are available from the friendly staff.

Another place not to miss is the vast gym with another spectacular panorama from the 20th floor. Then there is a large skyline swimming pool and bar on the 23rd floor where I saw a duck mistakenly come into land before being shooed off.

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The Namm authentic Thai spa is another option for unwinding with eight large treatment rooms and therapists from Thailand, although most of the hotel staff are not.

It has to be said the Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi is as much a Middle East as a Thai hotel. Indeed, apart from a gong and a few ornaments in the lobby and the Benjarong signature Royal Thai restaurant, you could be in any large international hotel.

The second signature restaurant is The Capital Grill, an award winning steakhouse with a private dining section ideal for a business event. I liked its selection of premium aged meat cuts that could have been straight out of New York.

My Dh405-a-night, deluxe room was comfortable with all the usual modern conveniences, including 5.7 Mbps complementary WiFi and a decent sized desk with adequate plugs for a laptop. But the bathrooms have windows into the bedroom which some guests don’t like.

Room service is comprehensive with Pizza Margharita for Dh52, a club sandwich for Dh69, or a Pad Thai for Dh80. Coke was Dh17 and Acqua Panna Dh17.

But if you want the best, the club executive suite looked good value at Dh810 for 87 square metres with a spacious working desk, complimentary laundry and full club benefits. Panoramic views are standard for all the rooms in this hotel.

For CEOs the magnificent 375 square metre presidential suite has Thai and Arabic elements and both a big master bedroom and second bedroom with twin beds, and living area with a separate dining room. Yours for Dh13,500 per night.

If you need a business centre then the one tucked away near the conference rooms downstairs has one Apple and three Microsoft computers; printing cost Dh3 for black/white and Dh5 for colour copies.

I found the check-in process a little slow but generally the staff were rather helpful in what at first might strike you as a rather a giant and impersonal hotel.

You are also only a 10-minute taxi ride away from anywhere in downtown Abu Dhabi and less than half-an-hour from the airport. The hotel’s limo can get you to the airport for Dh190, although a taxi would be cheaper.