Reserve a table by the floor-to-ceiling windows at Ray’s Grill on level 63 and enjoy one of the most inspirational settings in Abu Dhabi. It has a wonderful ambiance and 360 degree city views, comparable to the stunning bar used in Tokyo to film Lost in Translation. The menu features some of the world’s finest quality cuts of meat including USDA Prime Beef, Australian 1824 Sirloin, Australian Mulwarra Ribeye, Australian Wagyu Grade 9 Fillet Steak and Irish John Stone Beef Sirloin. These flavours can be enhanced with special condiments ranging from traditional honey mustard to the more unusual walnut, basil or shallot and chervil varieties. Steaks can also be complemented with 10 exotic sounding salts such as Palm Island Black Lava from Hawaii, Coriander Fleur de Sel from Madagascar or Miroir from Bolivia.
The lofty lobby space at the heart of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is light and airy, the pre-function spaces rich in colour and the golden ballroom sparkles with the refracted light of its many chandeliers. Look around the hotel and you’ll notice the clever use of space which dramatically draws the surrounding views into the property. You’ll also discover the interiors are lined with an abundance of marbles and fossil-rich stone.
Calacatta fantastico marble from Italy is featured throughout the lobby. Here you’ll also find ocean blue granite, deep sea onyx and green metallic slate. At the podium level 4, you can find petrified wood. This unusual looking fossil began life as a tree before being transformed into stone by the process of permineralisation. Look carefully and you’ll see the pattern of ‘tree rings’ running throughout. Also keep an eye out for the oculus installation in the pre-function area of the conference centre. Amazingly, this ceiling feature weighs 12 tons and comprises 140 square metres of glass, more than 250,000 crystals and 12,800 artistically hand-blown glass components. The installation took 12 weeks to complete.
There are 382 immaculate rooms and suites which offer views of the Arabian Gulf. The interiors include rare natural stones, the finest European crystal, rich fabrics and hand tufted rugs to create a luxurious and welcoming environment. Sunlit bathrooms with walk-in showers and free standing ‘baths with a view’ reflect Jumeirah’s STAY DIFFERENT™ brand promise. Fascinating photographs from the private collection of His Highness Sheikh Suroor bin Mohammed Al Nahyan showing scenes from Abu Dhabi’s past are on display throughout the hotel.
For anyone feeling flush there are some impressive suites available. The furniture encompasses the finest international brands including: Minotti and B&B from Italy; and Baker from New York. The stone for the walls and floors was hand selected from Italian quarries, each chosen for its beauty and finish. Technology includes sound systems, large flat screen televisions and integrated room management systems. The Royal Etihad Suite occupies the entire level 60 of the hotel. It includes sitting rooms, dining facilities, bedrooms to accommodate eight guests and a butler service. The suite offers 360 degree city views and is regarded as the jewel in the crown, a haven of tranquility and privacy.
Talise Spa offers luxurious treatments such as hammams, facials, massages (Swedish, Balinese, Thai, sports, aromatherapy, hot stone, reflexology, pre-natal, the list goes on…) and signature experiences which are tailored to individual needs. Every treatment room is named after a precious gem stone such as emerald, jade and amber, which is in keeping with the hotel’s interior design and reflect the spa’s exclusivity.
A culinary capital
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is a real must-visit for foodies. From the striking Brasserie Angélique with its elegant 19th century style and wonderful French cuisine, to sushi and Teppanyaki at Tori No Su, international fare at Rosewater and Lebanese cuisine in Li Beirut. Try authentic Italian and dine al fresco at BiCE or sample European cuisine while taking in spectacular sea views at the latest addition, Pearls by Michael Caines. Since opening, the outlets have won numerous awards.
Then there’s the Observation Deck at 300 located on Level 74. This venue is 300 metres from the ground and offers an uninterrupted view of the skyline, the Corniche and Arabian Gulf. I recommend heading up there for the afternoon tea which offers TWG Tea blends and the signature mocktail: the Etihad Sparkler. Open daily from 10am – 6pm, there’s an entrance fee of AED 75 for visitors and children under the age of four go complimentary. Hotel guests are entitled to a reduced fee of AED 60, which is redeemable against food and beverage at the venue.
If you have time to explore then don’t hesitate to speak to the team at the concierge desk who are full of ideas. For a true taste of the Middle East, you could book a tour at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This mosque can accommodate 40,000 worshippers and contains a huge white marble courtyard, 82 domes and a 10-metre wide chandelier. You could also try a desert safari or go in search of pearls in the eastern mangroves. During the ‘Pearl Journey’ you board a traditional dhow boat and learn about the ancient pearl industry which was once the main source of income in the UAE. Arabic coffee and dates are served before divers jump into the waters and bring up a selection of oysters. You’ll be given one to open – if you’re lucky and a pearl is found (might sound far-fetched but believe it or not, this actually happened to me on a similar trip in Oman) it can be kept as a souvenir.