The magic is in the detail at Rosewood Abu Dhabi, where tiny tots are the stars of the show
Golden and cerulean shades of desert and ocean surround the Rosewood Abu Dhabi, also colouring the hotel’s interior, rich in luxuriously veiled drapes, warm, low lighting and tasteful art. Even the elevator doors inside this luxury hotel on Al Maryah Island are camouflaged by the same brassy hues, so I walked right past the lift in my search for it.
Our suite offered an outstanding view over the Arabian Gulf and the attention to detail for my two children really was touching: an old-fashioned glass bottle labelled fresh milk and two tiny mugs with cute animal motifs; notebooks and pencils for drawing; a blanket for my newborn and a wooden cot; a trundle bed for my toddler with a small fluffy white dressing gown and matching mini slippers; two teddy bears and a selection of fruit, candy and cookies. A suite is recommended for families; space for them to play and you to relax.
The garden brunch
The garden brunch at Aqua Restaurant is served on Fridays from 1-5pm. We sat outside to enjoy a view of the coastline where some shade afforded a refreshing breeze. The service was immaculate. This is not your typical ostentatious brunch, populated by stacks of meat, sauces, sides and desserts. The offering was a select number of live cooking stations serving shellfish (oysters, lobster) and fresh fillets (sea bass, gurnard) that can be barbeued to your taste, a Mexican section with soft and hard tacos served with chicken or beef scooped out of a bubbling cauldron of hot, spicy sauce, a sushi counter, a Chinese stir fry station with crispy Peking duck, freshly carved, and a burger stand serving juicy Angus beef and all the trimmings.
Don’t let your kids see the ice cream station with cones and a medley of sugary toppings and sauces until the end. Just inside was an extensive fresh salad bar for self-serving and – something we discovered almost too late, which was just as well for my waistline – was a dessert room inside, tastefully presented with mouthwatering bites, from cheesecake to brownies, crème brulee to pear tarts. As the sun dropped over the horizon, lights illuminated the petrol-blue pool area and a live DJ played chilled music. The process was seamless.
While you brunch, sign your child into supervised care at the upgraded Rosewood Explorers Kids Club, adjacent to the dining area. The new outdoor terrace offers a shaded (and fenced) grassy zone where your little one can roam free or play table tennis or mini football. Cinema nights are also hosted here. Indoor activities range from the media room with a TV and games to the Lego area, to a quiet corner where children can read. My son was in view of our table the whole time. We relaxed. For hotel guests, there is a daily itinerary for kids from three to 12 years, 9am-9pm, offering gardening, art and cooking sessions.
Rosewood Abu Dhabi is directly connected to The Galleria Mall. The hotel lounge leads directly to the promenade where you can stroll by the water and dine al fresco at a tasteful waterfront restaurant, or stay indoors and make a beeline for the designer and high street outlets inside The Galleria. We did a little shopping before visiting an outdoor family park on the fourth floor where my three-year-old burned off some energy on slides, a trampoline and a green area. The following morning after breakfast, we sampled the 25-metre outdoor pool that’s heated (or cooled) to a balmy 25 degrees in the shadow of date trees, white cabanas and loungers where you can kick back, beverage in hand. It was all so lovely and sophisticated that one night truly felt like a mini break.
Things to do
Shop: The Galleria Mall is directly connected to Rosewood with a range of designer and high street brands alongside restaurants, cafes and a pretty waterfront promenade.
Culture: Visit the Louvre: an art and culture museum with 12 galleries and regular exhibitions via a unique collaboration with the Louvre in France.
Leisure: A short 15-minute drive from Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island is home to two leisure clubs offering spa treatments and the region’s first ocean golf course.
Tour: Ten minutes’ drive from Rosewood, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, with 82 domes, is one of the world’s largest mosques.
Dine: As well as Aqua restaurant, Rosewood offers Lebanese at Sambusek, Cantonese at Dai Pai Dong or private dining at La Cava, as well as two lounges; Dragon’s Tooth and the Hidden Bar.
Relax: In the fitness centre and 25-metre pool or indulge at Sense, A Rosewood Spa where options include the 270-minute ‘Jewel of Arabia’ body treatment.
Guests staying or dining at the hotel can leave their child with the Rosewood Explorers team for up to two hours for free, although kids below four years must be accompanied by a guardian. Four hours of babysitting later in the evenings, including a kid’s meal, will cost AED150. For more information, visit http://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/abu-dhabi