Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri
By Shereen shabnam
Since it opened ten years ago, the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri in Abu Dhabi has found a special place in the hearts of all who have been lucky to visit the luxurious property. To some, it is the most stunning hotel in Abu Dhabi and to others it is the most romantic.
From its spacious rooms and spectacular private beach, to the authentic Arabian architecture and breath-taking views of the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Shangri-La experience in Abu Dhabi is a truly magnificent one.
Strategically located on a private stretch of one-kilometre long beach along the historic Khor al Maqta waterway, Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Bari, Abu Dhabi is actually a large complex that boasts a smaller, four-star known as Traders and a souk. With abras (traditional water taxis) that ferry you from the hotel around the complex and to the souk, you can have an authentic Arabian adventure without having to leave the property!
For a truly ultimate luxury experience, reserve one of the six The Villas by Shangri-La on offer. Each named after a different region in Abu Dhabi, the six four-bedroom villas includes a private swimming pool, majlis, dining room, lounge and garage. Some villas boast additional facilities such as a private cinema and study. You’ll also have your own highly trained, private butler on call to cater to your every desire.
For relaxation, the hotel boasts the award-winning CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La, which draws inspiration from the origins of the Shangri-La legend, a place of personal peace, enchantment and well being. In keeping with local culture, the spa offers unique treatments such as an Arabian date body wrap, Arabic coffee scrub and hammam.
The restaurants at Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri are legendary and offer several award-winning outlets to indulge in some of the finest cuisine in the city. For elegant and contemporary French fine-dining, head to Bord Eau. In a chic setting, the chef de cuisine prepares seasonal fresh produce that is flown in daily from France.
For a truly transcendent experience, the blind tasting menu is a must. Whatever you decide, make sure you bring your appetite because the menu is packed with gourmet treats!
To fully experience Shangri-La’s Asian heritage, guests get a lesson in the art of Chinese fine dining at the signature restaurant, Shang Palace. Serving authentic Cantonese cuisine in a traditional Chinese setting, dine on delicacies like Peking duck and Yum Cha while sipping on fragrant teas, poured by a Kung Fu tea master.
Another one of my favourite restaurant from the brand allows guests to discover the most authentic Vietnamese cuisine outside of Ho Chi Minh City at Hoi An. Named after the quaint Vietnamese fishing port, Hoi An is my go to venue for a good meal.
The dishes at Hoi An are served in traditional style on bamboo platters and lotus leaves for a genuine experience. With an entirely Vietnamese team, Hoi An offers a mesmerising blend of authentic Vietnamese flavours and traditional hospitality.
If you prefer more casual dining, head to Sofra BLD where you can wander through a souk-style restaurant and sample original Emirati, Iranian, Moroccan, Indian and Asian dishes that allow you to discover the spices, aromas and tastes of the region. With various theme nights ranging from seafood to steak and everything in between, there’s always something new at this all-day dining establishment.
To me, the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi offers the perfect luxury experience without leaving the country while my overseas guests get a feel of the Arabian elements in terms of cuisine, souk shopping and wellness in one place.