x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Hotel insider: Yas Viceroy, Abu Dhabi

A city landmark that makes for a slick escape.

Yas Viceroy, Abu Dhabi.
Yas Viceroy, Abu Dhabi.

The welcome

What was previously known as the Yas hotel is under new management by Viceroy Hotels and Resorts, an American luxury hotel management company with other properties in North America, Mexico, Turkey and the Maldives. The welcome at the Yas is suitably slick yet relaxed, and the check-in is smooth. The lobby has been revamped.

The neighbourhood

The attractions of Yas Island are still largely under construction, but the hotel is just about enough of a draw in itself to merit the location. Unfortunately, I arrive having forgotten my bag at home, so spend an extra hour on the road on the day I check in.

The room

My room is a Yas Grand suite in the Marina wing. The room consists of a bedroom with a separate living room and large bathroom. The rooms at the Yas still have the wow factor - polished floors, curving lines, designer furniture and rugs and large televisions. It takes a while to work out the controls for the lights, the televisions and the balcony doors, and the tea and coffee facilities are a little hard to get to. I love the large bed and deep bath but am disappointed that there isn't a pillow menu. It's also a rather long walk to the Marina wing from reception, and the lift system is confusing. Worst of all is the aircraft noise throughout the night - the hotel is situated under a flight path.

The service

Calm, fast and responsive, staff understand my requests and act on them with grace and without too much fuss.

The scene

The hotel seemed quiet in the evening and during the day.

The food

In Noodle Box, the Chinese restaurant, I enjoyed the laksa with prawn, vegetables and tofu, for Dh50. In Nautilus, the fish restaurant, we are attended to by chef Jennie Lorenzo who takes the unusual step of asking what we feel like eating and offering to build a meal around that. She suggests a delicious bisque of crabmeat with lemon and thyme foam (Dh65), "tuna three ways" (tartare, tataki and sashimi; Dh85) and grilled kingfish (Dh220). It's all divine, and we're made to feel relaxed and at home. The breakfast at Origins buffet restaurant was above average and an improvement on the last time I stayed, but the cappuccinos were weak and without much foam.

Loved

The Espa Spa. A destination-within-a-destination, it's a place to forget about time (and you can't hear the aircraft from inside). I had a two-hour tension soother treatment (Dh841) which did just that - and I wasn't ushered out afterwards.

Hated

The noise of aircraft taking off and landing nearby throughout the night.

The verdict

When more of its 499 rooms and suites fill up and Yas Island develops, the experience of staying in this hotel will improve. It is working on a solution to the aircraft noise problem, which needs to be solved.

The bottom line

A double room costs from Dh754 per night including taxes (www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/abudhabi; 02 656 0000).