Traders Hotel… what do you know about the Traders Hotel? I certainly didn’t know much and in all my time spent living in Abu Dhabi, I’d certainly never found a reason to visit the hotel before. Yes, I knew vaguely that it was there but the only thing I really knew about it was that Traders was the business brand within the Shangri-La group.

The hotel was mentioned to me as a good idea for a staycation and you know how I love a good staycation! But, as much as I like a travel bargain, as a family we also really like life’s luxuries when it comes to hotels and in recent times have become quite fond of staying with the Shangri-La brand when we can. But curiosity got the better of me and after looking at the website, it seemed pretty decent so I thought we’d give it a go. With confidence already in the Shangri-La brand I figured that anything under the same umbrella must be worth a go, and off we went for the weekend.

For those that don’t know, the Traders Hotel is a four star hotel located along the same strip as the Souk Qaryat Al Beri and the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri with the souk acting as the divider between the two hotels, so on prime real estate and with a similar design style to the entrance, the hotel was off to a good start.

But that’s about where the similarities ended, though not in a bad way. As soon as we stepped out of the car, a modern glass exterior awaited, and stepping into the reception area we couldn’t help but be impressed by the sun-drenched entrance and bold colours with clean design. Who knew Abu Dhabi was hiding this little boutique gem?!

After a pretty swift check-in we were shown to the room – perhaps this is where it all falls down we thought. But again, we were in for a pleasant surprise – the room was very spacious and the same simple, but modern design met us.

And it wasn’t just the way the room looked either, despite being a good deal cheaper than the Shangri-La, it still had everything we needed. The bathroom was spacious with both a bath and a large walk-in shower, and there were all the usual shampoos and amenities that you could possibly need. The bed was also a good size and evidently had good bounce, as the toddler took to testing it out immediately!

I think you’ve also got to be pretty pleased with views from the balcony like these across the Maqta creek…

But hello, check out that beach – there’s the star of the show, right there!

So of course hot-foot it down there we did. We stayed during August so the city is already pretty quiet then due to the number of expats who’ve legged it to cooler climes for the summer, but also with the hotel being a bit of an unsung hero, the beach was fabulously quiet with only a few other patrons braving the weather.

The beach is made up of lovely fine, soft sand and leads down to the waters of the creek which are clearer and bluer than you might expect.

With the creek being a thoroughfare used by boats and jet skis, the swimming area is cordoned off for safety, but the water gets quite deep so there’s plenty of space to have a good swim.

And the toddler loved running up and down the beach, splashing at the waters edge, he was in his element!

In fact, we were so impressed we found ourselves questioning what exactly the difference between this place and the Shangri-La next door was… it seemed they’d thought of everything – there’s even a good-sized fenced off kids playground with swings, numerous climbing frames and more activity play so you can take the kids to the park without worrying about them getting away from you and into the water.

And speaking of water, yes, of course there’s also a pool. It’s not the most lavish pool that ever there was but it’s big enough and does the job, plus it has a lovely outdoor bar area for drinks when the weather is cooler. If you’re anything like me, you’ll also appreciate the fact that the hotel building itself provides plenty of shade in the late afternoon. The pool sees the full sun all morning for the sun-worshippers among you, but when there’s such a beautiful beach just downstairs, in my opinion it’s a shame not to make the most of that.

We certainly enjoyed a good splash about once we’d tired of the beach.

The other thing about the hotel is that being part of the Shangri-La group and complex, you can use all the neighbouring facilities. So you can bag a bargain stay at the hotel, and then still take advantage of all the dining choices over at the Souk or Shangri-La for dinner (and you can leave your wallet in the safe as you can even charge the bill to your room when dining at the Shangri-La).

And the best way to get around the complex? By Abra of course! The whole development is linked by a man-made, but sea water filled network of canals ready to take you from one end to the other over to the Shangri-La or to the Souk and back, whatever you choose!

It’s certainly a novel but very pleasant way to get around, and you get to see the complex from some interesting angles that you wouldn’t otherwise.

We headed off out to dinner at the Shangri-La, at the Vietnamese restaurant Hoi An. I’ve eaten there once before (read about that here), so we knew it would be good.

Not really being familiar with Vietnamese cuisine, I didn’t really know what to order, so figured that I’d get the best of the menu by ordering the set menu which was definitely a good shout. Although there was an awful lot of food, it was all really amazing. This is one of those restaurants that even if you don’t think you like Vietnamese food (or even know what it is), go along and try it anyway, I guarantee you’ll leave impressed.

We loved our little staycation at the Traders Hotel – I wish I’d discovered it sooner really. It really is a great quiet little spot for some rest and recuperation without the hefty price tag of its better known big sister. There really were times that despite being fans of the Shangri-La, through being immersed in the more than adequate luxury that the Traders Hotel afforded, we couldn’t even remember what the difference between the two hotels was.

What it comes down to is that you get the same excellent service in both hotels, but with a slightly different design style at Traders – it’s modern, stylish and welcoming without the opulence and extravagant feel of the Shangri-La.

And how’s that for a breakfast?! Whilst the choices were more limited at breakfast than they would be next door, there was more than enough to make even the fussiest eaters happy and plenty of tastes catering for different preferences and regional specialities.

The hotel also hosts its own events – you may have heard of their family beach barbecues? Well, with the weather cooling down they’re set to return, and with day beach access included for those who attend, I for one, can’t wait to get along and make the most of it.

From Sept 29th ‘Smoking Vibes’ takes place every Friday between 6pm and 10.30pm and is priced at Dhs140 per adult including full same day beach access.

To find out more and book online, check out the website: Traders Hotel Abu Dhabi.