We were forced to split our trip to Abu Dhabi, so after three nights at the Holiday Inn Downtown Abu Dhabi we transferred to the Crowne Plaza, Yas Island.
We’d previously stayed at the Yas Viceroy – over Christmas 2013 – and had seen the Crowne Plaza while taking the courtesy bus that serves the various Yas Island hotels and the Marina.
I like Crowne Plaza hotels, their Manchester Hotel is a favourite of mine, and we always use the Crowne Plaza at Heathrow before travelling, so had high hopes for the Crowne Plaza, Yas Island. We weren’t to be disappointed; the journey from the ‘Downtown’ Holiday Inn took about half an hour, via Saadiyat Island, which now boasts chic villas where 15 months ago there were only hoardings.
Check in was friendly and efficient. We were pleased to learn that, courtesy of my sadly soon to expire ‘Platinum’ loyalty card, we have been upgraded to a ‘view’ room with balcony, were allowed lounge access for the equivalent of a tenner a day, and were entitled to discount on all food and beverage purchases.
My ‘Platinum’ status was the result of spending over two years in IHG Group hotels in Manchester; this (and other) upgrade(s), shared and enjoyed with Val, served as some compensation for spending so much time away from home.
Our upgraded room – 246 – was, I think, the best room we’ve enjoyed to date in Abu Dhabi, with balcony views across the pool, golf links and mangroves. A few minutes after we unpacked, we were delivered a plate of fresh fruit, sorted!
The layout of the room was very reminiscent of the rooms in the Yas Viceroy, if slightly less opulent. It had the same, slightly unsettling, window wall between the bathroom and the bedroom.
In room WiFi (again upgraded) was 9.35 Mbps down, 5 Mbps up – that’ll do, and there was an excellent range of TV channels but, being Brits, we stuck to BBC News. I didn’t fly for seven hours to watch ‘Escape to the Country’!
We spent a couple of evenings in the club lounge which is very pleasant, enjoyed lunchtime drinks at ‘Sundowner’ – the pool bar – and ‘happy hour’ drinks at ‘Stills’ which boasts Abu Dhabi’s longest bar.
Breakfast, in Jing – the hotel’s Asian restaurant was busy, but a good buffet offering. The hotel could consider investing in a ‘juicer’ – the fruit juice selection was pretty uninspiring compared to other hotels we’ve tried in Abu Dhabi.
Friday in ‘the gulf’ means Brunch, and it’s a big deal. Some hotels and bars major on drinks offer, the Crowne Plaza majors on its food offering.
It’s not cheap – at the Crowne Plaza it’s AED220 (about forty quid) for food with an extra 75 AED (thirteen quid) for ‘unlimited beverages’. At four star hotel prices it’s not difficult to consume thirteen quid’s worth of ‘beverage’ over three hours – particularly if you’ve developed a taste for Bloody Marys.
But Jing is about the food, and there’s an extensive selection, there’s a seafood bar – with oysters, crab, prawns, mussels and so on – freshly made sushi, roast beef ribs, Asian noodle, rice and curry dishes… desserts, cheese… Something for everyone, and everything I tasted over my three hour stay was delicious.
The Crowne Plaza proved to be our favourite hotel in Abu Dhabi, and Friday Brunch at Jing proved to be a highlight
If I have any criticism of the Crowne Plaza it’s the pool area which is frankly a bit scruffy. It would benefit from being power-hosed occasionally, and the sun-bed mattresses look tired. I suspect that they’re not as old as they look, but they look shabby.