x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Southern Sun worth a visit for steak house alone

With 353 rooms starting from Dh375 per night, the Southern Sun offers compelling value for money for the business traveller.

The two standouts of Southern Sun hotel are the faultless service and the quality of food and beverage. Pawan Singh / The National
The two standouts of Southern Sun hotel are the faultless service and the quality of food and beverage. Pawan Singh / The National

Business travellers are not spoiled for choice in the downtown area of Abu Dhabi island.

While there is no shortage of luxurious five-star properties or those at the extreme other end of the budget spectrum, quality four-star hotels are rare.

The recently opened Southern Sun positions itself in that niche. With a grand atrium entrance it delivers the sense of arrival that hotels in an increasingly crowded market are all striving to nail - even if the valet parking area and main entrance feels a bit squeezed.

That sense of congestion as you pull up in the car quickly recedes when you enter the spacious lobby area.

The two standouts of this hotel are the faultless service and the quality of food and beverage.

With neat economy, its designers have been able to transform the main buffet breakfast and lunch restaurant into a steakhouse with a character all of its own in the evening.

By moving some partitions, changing the tablecloths and softening the lighting, the steak house pulls off the illusion of existing separately from the place where guests had earlier eaten their breakfasts. The food in both was five star. The breakfast catered extensively to Asian, European and Middle Eastern tastes while the steak house could be Abu Dhabi’s best kept culinary secret. My fillet was as good as I’ve eaten in the UAE.

The only criticism was the lack of vegetable sides.

Diners are offered a selection of different knives with various blade and handle combinations and regular customers get to have their own knives engraved with their initials.

The one I picked could have handled an elephant amputation.

The restaurant features several tables with circular copper awnings that can be kept open or closed completely for privacy-seeking carnivores. The overall effect is warm and welcoming.

With 353 rooms starting from Dh375 per night, the Southern Sun offers compelling value for money with attentive but not overbearing service throughout.

It’s worth a visit for the steak restaurant alone - just be careful with the cutlery.

scronin@thenational.ae