Positioned amid the cluster of properties at the western end of the Corniche, this hotel makes quite the statement
Hotel insider: Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Residences Emirates Pearl
The hotel is just a short drive from my apartment, so arrival couldn’t be much smoother. However, if you’re not familiar with the capital geographically, don’t be fooled into thinking the Grand Hyatt can be accessed via the tunnel that takes you to the neighbouring Jumeirah at Etihad Towers complex. The valet area is easy enough to find and after handing the keys over, it’s straight into the lobby as the bags and car are attended to. Check-in takes a little longer than expected despite the relatively quiet surrounds, but once the formalities are done it’s up to my room, the bags en route a few minutes later.
Situated in the middle of a cluster of hotels including Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and Bab Al Qasr, the Grand Hyatt is within walking distance of Emirates Palace and The Founder’s Memorial. Malls, restaurants and the Corniche beach promenade are close, too, while other attractions including Yas Waterworld and Saadiyat Beach are a 20-minute drive away. Public transport is easy to come by, with a trip to the airport taking just over half an hour.
My twin-view room is on the 29th floor of this 50-storey hotel. The first thing I notice are the floor-to-ceiling windows and sizeable balcony, which provides sweeping views of Emirates Palace and the Corniche. The bathroom is a good size and has a separate toilet and shower set-up, dual basins, and a statement tub in the centre. The walk-in wardrobe becomes nothing more than an annoyance due to a flickering light – an extension of a bigger issue with the lighting set-up, which clearly hadn’t been tested. The bedside lamps don’t work at all, only one of the two balcony lights are functioning and a sensor light illuminates on and off all night, despite the fact that I was in bed the whole time. Curtain controls are also temperamental.
A little disappointing, given that the hotel has been open for almost six months. Some staff are not as well-versed as they should be on the offerings, while others seem somewhat agitated by special requests. Hotel-wide service is slower than it should be. That said, the follow-through is generally good. Pedro, the outlet manager at Verso, deserves special mention for his friendly approach and personable nothing is ever a problem nature.
The 428-room hotel makes a statement from the outset thanks to its twisted tower exterior and blinged-up lobby. Design is a big part of the appeal here – the owner played a big role in the look – and while it is high-end, it all works with the property exuding refined comfort. Suitable for business or leisure travellers.
With a couple of key restaurants to come in the next few months, including a steak spot and a Japanese outlet, there is no question that Italian eatery Verso is the current standout offering. The deli-style restaurant serves fantastic food using authentic Italian ingredients in appealing surrounds, and dishes start from Dh48. The Pearl Lounge is the best place for a sunset drink or an al fresco afternoon or evening snack. The menu includes salads, sandwiches and sweets, with prices from Dh40. There’s a pianist to provide the background tunes and the views are lovely. Breakfast (Dh140 per person if not included in the room rate) is served in Sahha on the first floor. It’s a comprehensive spread with some tasty curries, a good pastry selection and an impressive line-up of chilled smoothies and juices.
The infinity pool and the outdoor gym – it’s the only hotel in the capital to have a set-up like this.
Having my sleep disrupted due to the faulty lighting.
Ideal for those looking for a holiday or staycation hotel close to the action.
The bottom line
Rooms at Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Residences Emirates Pearl (www.hyatt.com) start from Dh731 per night, including taxes and Wi-Fi.