REVIEW: Four Seasons Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island
In the digital world of price comparison sites, AirBnB, and tiered memberships, hotel chains are battling each other to keep guests coming back. But Four Seasons is bucking the trend – it’s one of the few global brands that doesn’t have a loyalty club. “We offer something else that makes people return time and again,” the receptionist explains as she takes us to our room at Four Seasons Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island. “We take the time to get to know our guest and remember what they like.”
This isn’t hyperbole either, they really did get to know me before I arrived. I walked into my room to find an ice bucket full of Irn Bru (because I’m Scottish) and pictures from my Instagram smiling back at me from the TV… there was even a selfie that I’d taken at a hen do on the label of a water bottle.
Iron Bru and selfies aside, the room is pretty special in its own right. The benefit of being on Al Maryah Island is that every room has water views. The focal point is, of course, the bed – and this is one of the key places that Four Seasons has gained notoriety. Every mattress has a GelTouch foam centre and pocket coil motion separation – basically these are the latest technologies to keep you cool and stop your partner from annoying you if they toss and turn. You can even choose a specific mattress toper from the bed menu.
With a bedside control panel for lighting, charging ports and a 55-inch satellite TV, I could have easily spent the entire weekend in one spot.
With such a high standard of luxury, this isn’t the sort of hotel that has a spa because everyone else does. This is one of the jewels in Four Season Abu Dhabi’s crown, and it’s pulling in clients who aren’t guests at the hotel, which is always a good sign.
I opted for a facial by French brand Biologique Recherche, which has serious scientific roots. It was started a biologist, a physiotherapist and a doctor, who combined their knowledge to formulate products with a clinical approach to beauty. In short, they work. It’s best to go for the booster facial (AED850 for 60-minutes) if it’s your first time using the products, as it’s fully customisable. My aim was to reduce redness and get that post-facial glow.
Interestingly, although I’ve always thought I have oily skin, my therapist explained that it’s actually dry, which can cause the skin to generate excess oil to compensate. She started by cleansing my face and using a P50 balancing exfoliator to restore the natural regeneration properties of the epidermis. Although this step can tingle, I barely felt a thing. She then used a mask to stabilise, followed by serums with a high concentration of botanics for maximum hydration.
It’s no wonder this facial has celebs flying to the home of Biologique Recherche in Paris – I noticed an immediate improvement in my skin’s texture and appearance. With a course of treatments I can see how this would be fantastic for problem skin.
If you’re into fitness, this is the ideal staycation for those who don’t want to break their routine. The gym is packed full of all the latest mod-cons, has a range of exercise classes, and offers post-work out therapeutic relaxation areas with a hydro pool sauna, hammam and ice fountain.
The pool area, which is also where you’ll find Eclipse Terrace Lounge, is washed in sunlight all day and offers the ideal views of sunrise and sunset. The only downside is its size and lack of swim up bar, however, I found that there was no shortage of sun loungers, and staff were happy to serve drinks right to the poolside.
One of the biggest box-ticks for overseas visitors is the fact that the hotel is dangerously close to Al Maryah Mall – in fact, it’s attached. We say ‘dangerous’ because the mall is home to some of the biggest designer labels in the world.
This is an area where Four Seasons always excels, and the Abu Dhabi hotel is no different. It’s home to one of our favourite restaurants in the whole of the UAE, Butchers & Still, as well as all-day dining restaurant Crust, which hosts an excellent family-friendly Friday brunch.
Another highlight is Café Milano, which originated in Washington DC and has been a firm favourite of many US presidents. Brunch Del Sabto takes place every Saturday from 12pm to 4pm, offering an opportunity to eat your way through most of the menu. The outside terrace offers a beautiful view of the Abu Dhabi skyline, while there’s a fashionable Italian vibe inside. Expect modern Mediterranean dishes with the likes of dill marinated salmon with orange and fennel, and stewed cuttlefish and green peas with tomato sauce.
IN A NUTSHELL
It’s easy to become jaded by the sheer volume of five-star hotels in the UAE, but Four Seasons stands out above the crowd. They’ve certainly won my loyalty – no club necessary.
Rates start at AED525 per night.
Four Seasons Abu Dhabi
Where: Al Maryah Island
Price: From AED650
Contact: +9712 333 2222