Upon landing in Dubai and clearing immigration we made a brief stop at the ATM, topped up my UAE SIM card, then headed over to the Emirates Chauffeur desk. Upon presenting our first class boarding passes we were promptly presented with vouchers for the car service, and escorted to a waiting vehicle.
We had the bad luck of landing at the tail end of a sandstorm, so the weather was horrid, and remained so for the next two days. The poor visibility made for some pretty unpleasant driving conditions, and cut down significantly on the amount of sightseeing we were able to do in Abu Dhabi.
Even with the longer drive, we still arrived at the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi around 2:30PM, which wasn’t bad all things considered. As I mentioned in the introduction, I’d used my Diamond Suite Upgrades to confirm into a Park Suite. When we approached the registration area we were told we’d been further upgraded, but that our room wasn’t quite ready. I took advantage of the WiFi in the lobby, and in about half an hour an associate came through to go through the check-in formalities.
I wasn’t really paying attention — partly due to being pretty tired from traveling though mainly due to keeping an eye on my mom, who was exhausted at this point. So I didn’t ask what room category we were being upgraded to, assuming it was the Terrace Suite that Ben often gets at this property. Instead, we were bundled off to a golf cart (!) and driven over to the complex of villas lining the resort.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Garden Suite — a perfect room for someone else
We pulled up outside the villas and were directed towards the end unit, which had an entrance off of a shared courtyard.
We were greeted by a box of chocolates and a bowl of fresh fruit, which was a nice touch.
The Garden Suite is described by the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi as follows:
Located within the stand-alone villas of the hotel, this 120 sq m (1,291 sq ft) luxury suite features a separate bedroom, a living room and a large terrace with a private plunge pool, rain shower and sun loungers offering stunning views of the landscaped gardens of the hotel or Saadiyat Beach Golf Club.
The Garden View Suite’s living room is furnished with a cosy sofa bed, armchairs, writing desk with Internet access, mp3 player docking station, 42-inch LED TV and DVD player. The rooms also feature an open-plan marble bathroom including dual vanity sinks, Hans Grohe walk-in rain shower and a deep soaking stand-alone Toto bathtub with soft bathrobes and Le Labo signature bath products complementing these relaxing retreats. Additional amenities include daily buffet breakfast and daily fruit, water and a newspaper. The room also has interconnecting options to guestrooms and suites.
And the suite really was lovely. The rooms were spacious, and the villa featured a guest bath, butler’s kitchen, outdoor shower, private patio, and small pool, in addition to a generously-sized master bath and a large bedroom. If I’d been traveling with kids, or with my husband, it would have been a great room. (You can click through the gallery to see more pics of the suite).
It just wasn’t great for mom and I for a couple of reasons.
For one, the sandstorm, combined with the…typical…construction standards in the UAE meant the room was really noisy. Like, wind whistling through the walls noisy. Not something that would be an issue most of the time, but combined with the room location being adjacent to the roadway, the noise levels were just really unpleasant (for me).
This particular suite was also really dark. This was again partially due to the weather, but the combination of the window placement, fence, surrounding trees, and generally low light levels just made it seem sorta bleh. I think you’d be okay if you didn’t have the end unit though. The butler’s kitchen also had a separate entrance to the back courtyard, which is great in theory, but the door wouldn’t latch from the inside. Apply a storm, and there was a persistent tap tap thunk tap tap thunk tap tap thunk tap tap thunk tap tap thunk.
The nail in the coffin though, was that the WiFi was horrifyingly slow. The connection had been fine in the lobby, so I knew it wasn’t just me, and not having good internet after a few days of travel just isn’t an option around here. So I did something I have never done before, and called to switch rooms.
The staff were sympathetic, and promised to send someone over with keys in just a few moments. It ultimately ended being over two hours before we were settled in our new suite, but I was thrilled with the new room, and at least mom was able to take a nap while we were waiting 😉
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Park Suite — a better option for me
Our new room was on the top floor of the main building, in one of the base-level suites on the property. This is certainly my bias showing, but I think this is a much better room, which is fantastic news, given that upgrades using Hyatt Gold Passport points or Diamond Suite Upgrades should confirm to this room type.
The Park Suite described by the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi as follows:
Experience a serene island retreat away from the bustle of the city in this luxurious suite, combining contemporary style with the UAE’s cultural touches. This 100 sq m (1,076 sq ft) suite features a separate bedroom, living room, and two large balconies overlooking the stunning views of the Arabian Sea, Saadiyat Beach and the soothing pools of the hotel. Solid mirrored doors separate the bedroom from the living room to ensure privacy. Park Suite living rooms are furnished with a cosy sofa bed, armchairs, writing desk with Internet access, mp3 player docking station, 42-inch LED TV and DVD player.
The room also features an open-plan marble bathroom including dual vanity sinks, Hans Grohe walk-in rain shower and a deep soaking stand-alone Toto bathtub with soft bathrobes and Le Labo signature bath products complementing these relaxing retreats. Additional amenities include daily buffet breakfast and daily fruit, water and a newspaper. The room also has interconnecting options to guestrooms and suites.
So while it’s technically a smaller room, I felt the spaces were more usable (especially when sharing a room), and I’ll trade a plunge pool for a view any day of the week:
The Park Suites still have a half bathroom, and then have separate balconies off the living room and bedroom. This was an unexpectedly nice feature, as both balconies had enough space for substantial furniture, and we ended up spending quite a bit of time outside when it wasn’t too windy.
The room also had fun artistic touches, which I appreciated throughout the resort. While at first glance the decor might seem spartan, I enjoyed the intricate metalwork combined with small quantities of precious woods. The final result was one of understated opulence, in a way that felt more regionally appropriate than, oh, pretty much all of Dubai.
Enjoying the grounds at the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
The weather really put a damper on many of the outings I had planned during our time in Abu Dhabi (though I’ll cover our excursions and what I had hoped to see in tomorrow’s installment). We had some breaks of sunlight, but for the most part it was overcast, and very very windy.
As a result, we spent a ton of time at the resort, which was a surprisingly nice change of pace. My mom, dedicated to her vacation, wrapped herself up in blankets to sit by the pool:
And while it was too cold and windy to swim (not like I would swim in the Gulf anyway), the beach was perfect for long solitary runs:
Or just relaxing in a hammock with a book:
Bonus points if you can spot the antelope that joined me one afternoon:
The property really is gorgeous, and very relaxing. I might have felt differently if the weather were more conducive to having a lively pool scene, but as it was there was really no one around, and most of the time it felt like we had the entire property to ourselves.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi bottom line
Despite the check-in adventures, the service level at this hotel was much better than other properties I’ve stayed at in the UAE (and I’ve been to many of them). I also appreciated the modern decor, and loved how peaceful the location was.
Saadiyat is certainly a bit off the beaten track, but nothing in Abu Dhabi is particularly far, so I had no issues with the distance. The only comparable hotel I’ve experienced in Abu Dhabi is the Shangri-La, and while the Shangri-La is probably more convenient, the beach is a huge plus for the Park Hyatt, in my opinion. If the Saadiyat museums ever open, the location will be unbeatable.
Has anyone else stayed at the Park Hyatt? What did you think?