Saturday, May 30, 2015

HOTEL REVIEW: Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana, Abu Dhabi

Posted at  5:39 AM  |  in  Hotel

Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana is located near Emirates Palace and Etihad TowersAlthough we’re moving towards the peak summer here in the UAE, there is still time to enjoy a local staycation while the weather is still somewhat pleasant. That was our motivation, at least, when we booked ourselves a weekend stay at the Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana, located near Emirates Palace and Etihad Towers.

Arriving late on a Thursday, we were welcomed with a prompt valet service and check-in procedure, which was a great start to our visit. The lady at the check-in counter was extremely friendly and efficient, although there was a slightly grating process where guests are asked to fill in their own details on a handheld device.

More and more passengers are checking themselves into flights nowadays, so a similar process for hotels was probably inevitable, despite feeling a little tiresome.

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In total, there are 443 rooms at Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by RotanaIn total, there are 443 rooms at Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana. Options range from the Classic Room and Premium Room (measuring 45 square metres and 55 square metres, respectively) to the Classic Suite and Premium Suite (measuring 65 square metres and 72 square metres, respectively). If you need even more space, there is also the 135-square-metre Khalidiya Suite with two bedrooms and a balcony.

We opted for a Classic Room, which offered a nice amount of space for our needs, and had a modern, stylish design that made us feel at home. Highlights included a private bathroom with bathtub and walk-in shower, plus in-room amenities such as a 32" LCD TV, mini fridge, work desk, telephone, safe, and complimentary tea and coffee making facilities. High speed internet access is available, but at a charge.

We ordered an extra bed for our child, and it arrived minutes after requesting one. Impressive, especially considering we’ve had to wait hours in other hotels.

There are four food and beverage venues at the five-star hotelThere are four food and beverage venues at the five-star hotel and on the first night, we opted for the Arabic restaurant Kamoon (Arabic word for 'cumin', the seasoning used in a number of dishes). The outdoor seating looked appealing, with its scenic views of the Arabian Gulf, but for some reason there was a lot of smoke when we visited, so we decided to sit indoors. This was still pleasant and the food we ordered was well cooked, nicely presented and most importantly, tasted great.

The menu has all the usual Arabic favourites, and some unique dishes that you might not find elsewhere. We started with the hummus, fattoush, falafel and cheese sambousek, followed by a selection of delicious kebabs (our recommendation is the Kebab Rayhaan, made using marinated minced lamb with cheese, pistachio, green and red capsicum and basil... YUM!). Dessert options included assorted baklawa, halawa bil jibn (chees pastry fillwed with ashta cream) and a fruit salad. Kamoon was definitely a highlight of our stay at the hotel.

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The hotel has a private beach that sweeps around the hotel lagoonBack in our room and ready for some rest, we had an early night. Actually, we tried to have an early night. For some inexplicable reason, a member of staff thought it was acceptable to call our room at 10.40pm to check if the extra bed had been delivered. Top marks for asking, but minus points for waking us (and our child) up. This was extremely frustrating and we struggled to understand how it could be deemed acceptable to disturb guests so late for such a mundane question.

To make matters worse, we were woken early the next day with construction noise from near the hotel. Of course, this is out of the hotel’s control, but certainly not ideal. However, on the plus side, our second night was free of interruptions, with no late night calls from staff and no construction noise in the morning. Perfect!

Breakfast was served at Horizon, described as “a contemporary and elegant restaurant”. It is the hotel’s main dining venue and the food selection and quality was top notch. We actually returned for the Friday Brunch, which again offered a wide range of local specialties and international dishes. Horizon was packed out on both occasions; it’s obviously very popular with guests and Abu Dhabi residents alike.

Khalidiya Palace has one of the biggest outdoor hotel pools in the areaThe rest of our visit was mainly spent lounging around the beach club. Here, you will find a private beach that sweeps around the hotel lagoon, and one of the biggest outdoor hotel pools in the area. In addition, there is also a pool and crèche for children, gym, squash and tennis courts, and spa service. We couldn’t resist booking ourselves a signature 60-minute aromatherapy massage, which was the perfect way to unwind. The only slight drawback is the location of the treatment room, because it’s possible to hear the outside noise of kids running around and people mingling.

All-in-all though, we left the Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana with very pleasant memories. It’s always a pleasure to explore the different Rotanas on offer in the UAE and this is yet another one that receives our thumbs up!


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