Arrival/Check-In: After a day of meetings in Dubai, we drove to Abu Dhabi to complete our journey in the U.A.E. I’d stayed at the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers twice before, the first time during the first month it was open. I find the property friendly and constantly evolving to suit the tastes of its guests. When we arrived, my driver could not open the trunk to retrieve our luggage; we all tugged, to no avail. I chatted with the doorman, and we thought it might be the valet lock in the glove compartment. Eureka! This was the issue, and we were soon off and running. The doorman and I became fast friends, smiling at each other as I arrived and departed. The lobby is grand, offering options for relaxing, including the Lobby Lounge and Lobby Bar. Check-in was swift, and the friendly team asked if I needed help or guidance, which I politely refused and retired to my room.
Guest Quarters: I was in room 4303, with sweeping views of the beach club below and the warm waters. A great deal of construction was still taking place below, with several peninsulas dotted with luxury homes.
A long entrance hallway included a built-in closet and a minibar, coffee station and safe for valuables. I noted a wooden box contained a powerful hair dryer — not that I planned to use it, but this is a key item with my team. To the left, a large bathroom decorated with lovely gray-veined marble contrasted with white marble offered all the required amenities, including Jumeirah-branded shampoos and conditioners. A large white soaking tub stood to the left, and a separate massive shower was at the back next to a door for the commode and bidet.
The bedroom was functional. A nicely appointed built-in desk sat to the right, where I immediately set up shop and conveniently hooked up all my electronics. Large floor-to-ceiling windows offered a spectacular view with a Modernist chaise in front along with a small table and chair for dining. A flat-screen TV hung on the wall at the far left; it could have been a little larger. An extremely comfortable kingsized bed offered luxurious sleeping with a finely made duvet. A turtle motif on the center of the duvet signified the property’s environmental awareness.
Services/Amenities: I cannot say enough about Ray’s Bar, boasting wonderful bartenders, and Ray’s Grill. The Grill chef offers prime cuts of beef from all over the world: Ireland, Italy, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. The team crafts a specially milled salt/spice at the table, and you can select from a variety of sauces. I was particularly fond of the steak knife selection, all different sizes and handles. We enjoyed the meal with a tasty red wine, Carm, from Portugal’s Douro region. Every night the staff selects one table for a complimentary dinner. Out came the team chanting, “Cut the check” and offered me the bill to slice in half! We felt like we had new friends and, of course, left a generous tip.
We also tried Tori No Su, a Japanese restaurant across from the lobby on the ground floor. We had a lovely table and ordered some of the best sashimi, nori and rolls and again found a team that combined a great mind for service with a fantastic sense of humor. I recommend either restaurant as some of the best in Abu Dhabi. The property’s dining options also include Italian, Lebanese and the wonderful breakfast at Rosewater.
◆ Don’t miss the super happy hour at Ray’s Bar.
◆ I loved the Irish beef at Ray’s Grill.
◆ Location, location, location — across the street from the Emirates Palace where you can enjoy a 24K goldtopped cappuccino.
JUMEIRAH AT ETIHAD TOWERS
United Arab Emirates
tel 971 2 811 5555
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THERE’S NO DOUBT 2020 HAS BEEN AN UNPRECEDENTED year for the travel industry. As borders begin to reopen and destinations, hotels and airlines around the world prepare to welcome travelers once again, we’re celebrating travel and looking to the future as we congratulate the winners of our eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards. This annual survey honors the best in the world of leisure and lifestyle travel, awarding goods, services, destinations, hotels, airlines and cruises.
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