Anantara’s first business hotel in the UAE, the Eastern Mangroves Hotel offers the ideal location for guests jetting into Abu Dhabi for a short period of time, while also providing the sumptuous leisure amenities that Anantara is known for. The brand’s other locations in the UAE include Qasr Al Sarab and the Desert Islands Resort on the nature reserve of Bani Yas Island. Through its combination of a luxurious Arabian-inspired decor with more corporate features. Upon my arrived I was struck by the hotel’s striking Arabian-themed interior boasting a large atrium-style lobby complete a large, elaborate crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling vast glass windows that offer magnificent views out onto the beach.
I was led to my deluxe balcony room, a space that gave off a warm and welcoming ambiance from the elegant earthy-toned decor and minimalist furnishings. Embellished turquoise cushions hinted at the hotel’s waterfront setting – one which I could marvel at from my private balcony. The hotel’s mangrove theme was found on the room’s rich fabrics and on the glass of the marble bathroom, which also offered a rain shower and separate bathtub. The atmosphere was cozy yet modern and clearly catered for the business traveler.
A quick tour of the hotel through its many intricate corridors and passageways will reveal extensive meeting room facilities as well as a full-size ballroom suitable for conferences. There’s also a generously-sized terrace that overlooks the mangroves that can be used for major events. In total 222 rooms and suites all set out in a minimalist and chic decor offer an ideal resting spot for the fervent traveler. The hotel also has a stunning outdoor swimming pool that can be viewed from the main lobby and which is flanked by several opened domed structures where guests can go to escape the sun.
For dining options the hotel boasts two downstairs restaurants: Ingredients, an all-day dining restaurant offering a rich mix of Arabic, European, Japanese and Chinese cuisine renowned for its popular champagne Friday brunch; and Pachaylen, the hotel’s fine dining Thai restaurant, where I ate my first night. There is also a swanky cocktail lounge with a roof top terrace boasting excellent views of the surrounding vicinity for those in need of an after dinner or pre-dinner drink.
Pachaylen’s cuisine featured traditional Thai dishes with a nice contemporary twist. For starters I was advised to try the Miang Kham, a traditional street snack found in Thailand and Laos that arrives in a bamboo box offers a “bite of many things” as its name translates. My server demonstrated how one takes a betel leaf and fills it with their choice of shallots, lime, ginger, chili, toasted coconut shavings, dried shrimp and peanuts and sweet dipping sauce – all condiments that come in the bamboo box. Delicious and addictive, I couldn’t stop myself from continually reaching out for more. I then had a delicious Thai green salad with soft shell crab in lime and chili sauce and for my main, a steamed sea bass with lemon grass, lime and chili sauce. The food was wonderfully fresh and fragrant and served by Thai staff – an ambiance that recreated a setting in a restaurant in Bangkok.
Certainly not to miss is the hotel’s Anantara spa, one of the hotel chain’s most popular facets. The spa incorporates Arabic design elements as well as lots of natural light. A seemingly secret hideaway, it offers a long list of treatments from Asia, the Middle East and beyond suitable for a variety of needs and designers. So indulgent is the spa that it merits a trip to the hotel for the mere pleasure of treating oneself to its array of specialties.
While the Eastern Mangroves Hotel is certainly ideal for the fervent business traveler, the hotel’s highlights – such as its fine dining restaurants and excellent Anantara Spa – are facets that are sure to attract UAE residents as well as other guests to the region on a regular basis.
The Eastern Mangroves Hotel is located on the Eastern Ring Road, Salam Street in Abu Dhabi. Tel: +971 26561000