The United Arab Emirates and world-class luxury go hand in hand. The country is not only known for offering some of the most exquisite high-end retail options, it is also known for providing unmatched luxury in accommodation. When choosing the best place to stay in Abu Dhabi during our recent trip, we came across Bab Al Qasr Hotel, one of the new hotels in Abu Dhabi, adding to its growing list of enviable accommodations. A joint venture of the Emirates and Moroccan General Trading & Investment Company, this 5-star property has already started creating a buzz and is being touted as one of the best luxury hotels in Abu Dhabi. Located in a prime spot right opposite the Emirates Palace complex and adjacent to the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, Bab Al Qasr definitely deserves all the limelight it is getting.
Inspired by and based on Moroccan and Emirati architectural designs, Bab Al Qasr Hotel ushers you into an Arabian fairytale. As we drove into the porch towards the hotel’s lobby, we could already see why this is quickly becoming one of the top hotels in Abu Dhabi among the new crop of hotels in the region. With a glossy copper tinted exterior and 2 symmetrical towers conjoined at the bottom, at first sight, Bab Al Qasr immediately catches your attention amongst a slew of other towering skyscrapers.
Our early morning flight landed in Abu Dhabi at 7 am and by 9 am we were at the hotel, way before the usual check-in time of 2 pm. We had a long day ahead of us so we were wondering if we would be allowed to check-in to our room early so we could freshen up, having stayed up almost all night. To our surprise (or not), the ladies at the reception were extremely courteous and understanding and promptly arranged a room for us. Within the next 15 minutes, we were ready to head to our room on the 14th floor of the swanky hotel. But before we could do that, our groggy eyes caught hold of the stunning lobby, which we had almost forgotten to pay attention to!
Bab Al Qasr’s architectural inspiration comes from a mix of Moroccan and Emirati designs. Looking around the plush lobby, we couldn’t help but agree! Handmade Moroccan mirrors adorning the wall, complemented with beautifully carved lamps and luxurious couches, truly transports you to a world of lavish living and glamour. Fair to say, we were already swooning with delight and excited to see how the rest of the hotel is!
Classy, sophisticated and elegant – there’s really no better way for me to describe our gorgeous room on the 14th floor! Tastefully furnished with minimalistic furniture, rich upholstery and equipped with all modern amenities, the room was subtly beautiful. But soon after that, we realised, there was a lot more than met our eyes at first glance.
As soon as we got to the room, my eyes went straight past everything else to the massive glass windows spanning the entire width and height of one of the walls. We drew apart the sheer curtains and gasped in delight! The window looked straight out to an expansive view of the Emirates Palace and gardens, glimmering in the morning sunshine. Talk about taking the concept of “room with a view” a notch higher!
The window also had a very comfy couch placed right in front of it, looking out to the palace grounds. This was hands down my favourite spot in the room! It’s like having the best seat in the house – uninterrupted, unobtrusive and an exclusive royal view!
As we settled down a bit, I decided to quickly take a shower before heading out. Primarily for two reasons – the red-eye flight had drained me out completely and also because I couldn’t wait to check out the bathroom! And the one at Bab Al Qasr was truly luxurious! Equipped with a bathtub looking towards the bedroom on one side through a glass panel, it was quite romantic too. But other than being quite fancy, it definitely checked all other boxes for me as well – spacious, well-lit and amply stocked with basic toiletries. What more could I have asked for? Well, I did ask for more shower gel though, and the housekeeping staff were more than happy to send over more than what I had asked for! 😉
By the time we both got ready to head out for the day, we had already started to get hungry. Not only because we hadn’t eaten much since morning, but a little birdie told us that the lunch buffet at Bab Al Qasr’s Artisan Kitchen is inspired by Morrocan and Emirati cuisines! Having heard so much about their food, we couldn’t wait to try it ourselves.
During our 4-day stay at Bab Al Qasr hotel, we had all our in-house meals at the Artisan Kitchen, a restaurant known for it lavish buffet spread inspired by not only local food but also some fantastic international cuisines. Set up in a sprawling space with a live open kitchen on one side, the restaurant seemed perfect for a cosy meal with your partner or family. With comfortable seating arrangements to seat at least a 100 diners, Artisan Kitchen had a lovely warm vibe that draws you in and makes you feel welcome.
Every meal at the Artisan Kitchen seemed to be topping the previous one. Where do I even start! An extensive salad bar comprising of every imaginable Middle Eastern salad and dips – Fattoush, Baba Ganoush, Hummus, Moutabal, Couscous and many others – you name it and you have it! Creamy, crunchy, delicious and exotic – every salad led to a flavour explosion in our mouth. Add to that a wide array of artisanal cheeses. It is safe to say that there were enough salads and accompaniments to make it a meal just by itself!
Having said that, the main courses were not to be left far behind. I mean, when you are in the heart of a land known for its grilled meats and Kebabs, how do you resist indulging yourself a little extra? Dig into the succulent grilled chicken, or savour a delicious beef curry with fragrant saffron rice, while munching on a minced lamb Kibbeh fried to a crispy perfection! I would be lying if I said my mouth isn’t watering just at the memories these dishes are evoking right now!
The Middle East is also known for their unique desserts made of rich dry fruits. Every meal at the Artisan Kitchen came to a beautiful close with authentic local desserts that sent our senses into a frenzy. A warm, comforting scoop of Umm Ali (a kind of pudding made from pastry, milk and nuts) or the little bits and pieces of the world famous Baklava loaded with pistachios – these desserts were indulgent, to say the least!
The breakfast spread here was quite an elaborate affair too, with a wide variety of dishes to choose to from. Opt for an Oriental breakfast of noodles with a side of stir-fried chicken/veggies or a traditional British fare of pancakes, waffles, roast potatoes and sausages. A well-stocked section of baked goodies, a whole lot of cheeses and premium cold cuts for company, truly made it a breakfast fit for royalty.
Our dining experience at Bab Al Qasr hotel was nothing short of pure delight, the kind you only see at the best of restaurants. The decadent food coupled with the prompt and warm service of the restaurant staff now forms a huge part of our Abu Dhabi memories and makes us want to go back!
Service & Hospitality
Great decor, fancy rooms, topnotch facilities, all fall flat on their face if there are no good people to back them up. We truly believe that a hotel is as good as its staff members and it is they who make or break your experience at the hotel. Bab Al Qasr hotel had the most genuine, warm and hardworking staff who went out of their way to make our stay memorable in every way possible. From the very first person we interacted with at the reception to the housekeeping and restaurant staff, they left no stone unturned and no request unattended. Nailing customer service and how!
For us, it’s the little things that really make a difference. A smiling face at the restaurant serving us water or an eager face at the bar helping us with drinks of our choice or the thoughtfulness of welcoming guests with a tray of Emirati sweets and dates, Bab Al Qasr truly embodied the best version of Emirati hospitality.
But out of all that, what stood out the most for us was their in-room dining services. On the morning of our departure, Neil and I really wanted to just stay back in the room and basically laze around before checking out of the hotel. We clearly hadn’t had enough of our room and the view outside, so we decided to call in for breakfast. And boy, was it one grand feast!
Do you see the spread? Talk about an indulgent breakfast in bed and this one tops the list of all that we’ve ever had! It was almost as if the entire breakfast buffet was spread out in front of us, within the comfort of our room. Waffles, pancakes, muffins, cold cuts, fruits and then some more. Safe to say, breakfast in bed has taken on a whole new meaning for us since then. 😉
At a luxury property like Bab Al Qasr, you automatically expect to find amenities like a swanky gym, a swimming pool, a luxurious spa and multiple dining options. Goes without saying, Bab Al Qasr had them all. But one of the highlights of our experience at the hotel was the private beach at the back of the property. A well-guarded strip of beach lined with palm trees and beach beds, looking out into the calm sea – a perfect spot to unwind with a chilled drink freshly prepared at the pool-side bar!
Talking of the pool, it was no less fun than the beach! The swimming pool at Bab Al Qasr was an infinity pool of sorts, albeit a little smaller than we would like, but strategically placed with an unobstructed view of the sea. We hopped from the pool to the beach and back, sipping on refreshing cocktails and nibbling on fruits. Isn’t that what holidays are for? Insider tip: If you are a teetotaler or even if you are not, ask for a virgin Pina Colada at the poolside bar. The bartenders do a fabulous job and it’ll be a rare moment when you’ll not miss the alcohol in your drink 😉
Where you put up while travelling, be it for business or for leisure, makes up for a huge part of your experience of exploring a new city or country. Bab Al Qasr and its people welcomed us with open hearts to Abu Dhabi and gave us a glimpse of the hospitality Emiratis are known for. They indulged our whims and fancies and made sure we are spoilt rotten during our 4-day stay! And who doesn’t love a little bit of pampering while on holiday?
If you are looking for a place that makes you all warm and fuzzy inside by the end of your stay, Bab Al Qasr could be your go-to hotel. It’s the kind of place that exudes a warmth rarely seen in the hospitality business. Perfect for staying with family or as a couple, either for long vacations or even for a brief staycation, Bab Al Qasr fits the bill in every way!
If this makes you want to take a trip to Abu Dhabi, here’s a complete 3-day itinerary and a fun video to get you planning!