Val and I stayed at the Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi Downtown for a few days about three years ago. You can read about it here.
At that time it had just been taken over by IHG and was transitioning into a Holiday Inn; there was a pervasive odour of fresh paint.
Three years on, these days I travel alone, but was pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the greeting I received on checking in. “Hello, Mister Robert, it’s been a few years. Welcome back.”
I was even more pleasantly surprised when I went up to my ‘room’, they’d given me a suite – ‘room’ 408 – with a kitchen (with washing machine, Microwave, fridge and hob), comfortable living area and bedroom with a huge, comfortable, seven foot bed.
There were TVs in the living room and bedroom, and BBC News was one of the available channels.
Oh, and for the record, I was ‘spending’ loyalty points.
One, small, constructive criticism – the kitchen has no utensils, glassware, cutlery or crockery. Maybe the hotel could offer these to guests on payment of a deposit? They could be sourced inexpensively (from IKEA at Yas Island for instance) so little risk of theft.
I’d opted to pay for breakfast, which wasn’t included in my points booking, I remembered being impressed with the breakfasts on my last trip.
The breakfasts were at least as good as I remembered, with an excellent coffee machine that prepares coffee from beans, a good selection of pastries, salads, fruits, and hot dishes ranging from Western, through Middle Eastern to Indian dishes.
And an egg station that prepares excellent poached eggs.
The pool, on the roof and while not huge, is one of the best kept secrets in Abu Dhabi, it’s spotlessly kept, and never (in my experience) busy.
The laundry service is mega-efficient, pick up laundry before 9am and it’s back the same evening, brilliant.
On our first stay I felt the Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi Downtown to be a good, central, business hotel.
What I omitted, is just how friendly and efficient the hotel staff are.
Everyone, from the breakfast greeters and waitresses, to the bus boys who would stand on street corners hailing cabs, greeted me with “Hello Mister Robert”.
I’m not sure when I’ll be returning to Abu Dhabi, but after this stay, for the price and location, there’s nowhere in the city I would rather stay.