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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Hotel Insider: Pearl Rotana Capital Centre, Abu Dhabi

The Pearl Rotana is the newest tower amid the cluster of other business hotels in the Capital Centre district

The welcome

I arrive at the hotel in the early evening, a few hours after the check-in opens, and as such there’s not the usual hustle and bustle I’m used to as I pull up in a taxi. I am attended to quickly and am the only guest at the counter once inside the lobby. I suspect it would be different if there was a big exhibition on at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition Centre (Adnec) across the road.

The neighbourhood

The Pearl Rotana is the newest tower amid the cluster of other business hotels in the Capital Centre district. Its proximity to Adnec – within a five-minute walk – makes it a great option for business and leisure travellers. The international airport is a handy 20-minute drive away, about the same time it will take to get to the centre of the city. While there is no dedicated hotel shuttle service, taxis are easily accessible day and night.

The room

Of the five room categories, I’m staying in a one-bedroom suite on the eighth floor of this four-star, 20-storey hotel. It’s a very spacious corner suite with views of Adnec, the city itself and the Arabian Gulf. It has its own terrace, but it’s worth noting you need to request a key and sign a waiver to access it. There’s a guest toilet and a main bathroom, that features a generous-sized tub, a separate shower and a toilet, adjoining the bedroom. The Classic is the standard offering here, differing from the Club Rotana rooms and suites by way of floor space and the view they offer. Club guests are provided with a personalised check-in and check-out along with access to the corporate lounge.

The service

With just two months under its belt (the hotel opened in March), I am impressed by how “together” the service team is so early on. Admittedly, there is some uncertainty regarding key requests – and a lack of follow-through on more than one occasion. Hospitality staff are well versed on their offerings and what is served is of a high quality.

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The scene

It’s incredibly quiet during my stay, so much so that I don’t come across many others besides staff until it’s time for dinner. I feel like the Chai Lobby Lounge is lucky to have me when I stop by for a late afternoon coffee. Being a weekend, there is less going on in the streets around the hotel, and because it’s not peak exhibition season, I put the lack of foot traffic down to that. Corporate travellers will be impressed with the business centre, for me it is one of the best in the capital.

The food

The Warehouse Tapas Bar is a welcome addition to the capital’s diverse dining scene – there is no other destination like it. Of the five restaurant options, this for me is the standout experience in the hotel. The cosy leather interiors and dim lighting are well complemented by the tapas-style menu which is packed with items that are ideal for sharing – don’t leave without trying the steak bites with Brie cheese (Dh98). The flatbreads are popular too (from Dh65), as are the saucy lamb meatballs (Dh56). Dino’s Italian comes a close second, it too has a good quality menu with classic dishes like buffalo mozzarella and vine ripe tomato antipasti (Dh55) and margherita pizzas (Dh55). Breakfast is served at Saffron, the all-day dining restaurant. It’s a small, somewhat underwhelming spread (perhaps more so for me as I am on a gluten-free diet), and it costs Dh125.

Loved

The vibe offered at The Warehouse, and the spacious rooftop gym.

Hated

That the hot water was lukewarm at best when I came to shower the morning after my first night’s stay.

The verdict

Ideal for those visiting the capital to attend an exhibition or conference.

The bottom line

Rooms at the Pearl Rotana Capital Centre start from Dh259 per room per night, including taxes and Wi-Fi.