We took ourselves off for another little staycation the other weekend at the Park Rotana Abu Dhabi. It might not be the first place you think of to take a staycation in the city, but I’ve got to say that I think that this hotel is a bit underrated – it’s really more impressive than people often give it credit for.
The Park Rotana is a five star hotel, and is very well-placed for those who want to explore the city, or, as we did, just hide out and relax in some different surroundings for the weekend. Though it may not have a beach front location, it certainly makes up for this in other areas…
We were shown to our room after being checked in from the Club Lounge of the hotel, which means free drinks and snacks (always a winner!) and we were pleased with what we saw. A large room with a separate dining and relaxing area meant that it was brilliant for Baby Arabian Notes – there was lots of space for him to roll around on the floor with his toys and a dining table (not pictured) which was perfect for us to sit down and give him his dinner too.
After a good poke around our new surroundings to get settled in, we decided to explore the pool area and go for a dip. As well as a pool complete with swim up bar (who doesn’t love a swim up bar?!) there’s a separate kids pool and plenty of loungers in the sun and the shade to choose from.
After all that splashing around in the pool, before we knew it was time for dinner. Now, I’ve heard lots of good things about Teatro before but had never actually been before myself so it was a great opportunity to finally try it out.
‘Where Eastern cooking meets Western Cuisine’ is the tag line of the restaurant, and there’s certainly a diverse range of dishes to choose from. It’s a great place to go with people who either can’t make up their mind what type of food to eat, or due to the choice and range of foods on offer, with those that are very fussy! It was great to see that the restaurant was family friendly with quite a few other families dining in, although Baby Arabian Notes just slept peacefully alongside us in his pushchair since it was past his bedtime. And for those of you who prefer not to dine with kids around, it’s worth noting that you can have the best of both worlds at Teatro, as kids aren’t allowed to dine past 9pm.
We didn’t quite know where to start with the menu as there was so much choice, but we were helpfully guided by our knowledgeable and friendly waiter. We went for several of the signature Eastern dishes including Wasabi Tempura Prawns (unmissable!), Duck spring rolls, Peking Duck (a classic and always a favourite) and Sweet and Sour Prawns and were not disappointed at all. The food was great, but note that the starters are pretty large so make sure you don’t fill up before the mains even arrive!
I also really liked the wine menu at the restaurant – it’s set up in an ‘if you like this, try this…’ format which is really useful for people like me who like a tipple but aren’t wine connoisseurs. Different types of wines are categorised together under these banners to help guide you, providing the opportunity to perhaps go off piste and try something that you might not otherwise have thought of before!
The next day was more of the same, relaxing, swimming and of course, one of our favourites – eating! And being Friday, we couldn’t let that pass without trying the hotel’s family friendly brunch at Ginger All Day Dining. I’ve been to a lot of places that claim to be family friendly and I have to say I was pleased to see that they really do seem to have thought about this.
There’s a wide range of choices with all the usual stuff plus a healthy juice bar section and some amazing desserts – make sure you try the Oreo dessert… If you like chocolate and Oreos it’s a must, though I warn you that it should perhaps be renamed ‘Death by Oreo’! 😉 There’s also a small but dedicated kids buffet with a selection of kids favourites. And that’s not all – there’s plenty of entertainment: face painting, a bouncy castle, not forgetting the kids play park outside, a candy floss machine as well as pool access all included in the brunch. But – most of all I was so pleased to see that they actually have nappy changing facilities! It’s such a small thing, but you’d be surprised how often this is overlooked!
A different kids character also makes an appearance every week too – a highlight of the brunch for Baby Arabian Notes was the chance to meet Elmo…!
And when faced with the choices for dinner on our second nights stay, there was no competition – we’d enjoyed Teatro so much the first night that we decided to go back again! I just couldn’t resist more of those Wasabi tempura prawns and of course, it’d have been rude not to put the expert sushi chefs to the test during our stay! If I’m honest, I’m not normally a fan of sushi unless it’s vegetarian but this dish below was just ridiculous… It was meant for Mr. Arabian Notes and I ended up eating almost half, it was so good!
We loved our stay at the Park Rotana and even though it’s so close to home it still felt a world away. Well, a change is as good as a rest as they say, and indeed it was.