It’s hard to get away from it all when you’re smack dab in the centre of the action, but luckily for those travelling to Abu Dhabi, there’s the Cristal Salam Hotel. Located in the downtown banking district, and in walking distance of Abu Dhabi Mall, the brand new hotel won us over with its elegant contemporary décor and impeccable service. We loved that the bustle of the city was a few steps away, but when we escaped to our rooms, it was a whole different world – one with two huge TVs and room service!
The hotel opened in October 2011 and is already proving very popular with business travellers and locals looking for a weekend in the capital. For those spending a weekend at the hotel, we seriously recommend mixing business with pleasure and heading to the hotel’s Cristal Spa for a little pampering. The spa design fits in more with a plush resort hotel than a city hotel, and if you stay long enough, you might just forget that you’re there for business. The property’s vino bar is also set to open this month and plans to stock 1,000 bottles of grape! Check out our insider’s guide to comfort and pampering in the heart of the capital…
The Spa: Cristal Spa
Some spa-goers love to shut out the world and fall into a deep sleep on the massage table – not us! We always think of spa time as half relaxation, half education and that’s certainly what we got at the Cristal Spa. While we were there, we tried the hotel’s Cristal Signature Massage and it left us feeling completely relaxed and rejuvenated from top to toe. During the facial, our massage therapist taught us plenty of tricks to keep our complexions moisturised in the dry climate without breaking the bank! Her secret? Applying coconut oil, olive oil, plain yogurt and lemon as a mask – between routine facials, of course.
Another popular treatment at Cristal is the Herbal Compress Therapy massage (60 minutes, Dhs300, 90 minutes, Dhs400). The revitalising massage with warming products and herbal steam allows heat to penetrate deeply into your skin. It helps to relieve stressed muscles and joints and stimulates blood circulation. It’s the perfect choice if you put in a few hours at the Figure 8 health club. If you’re a gym rat, you’ll definitely appreciate the size of the facility and the brand new equipment. Personal trainers are available if you really want to shed the cals when you’re in the capital. Due to constraints of city living, the hotel’s rooftop pool is not exactly Olympic-sized, but for a quick relaxing dip after a long day of sightseeing, it does the job!
The bar: Vertical
If you’re a vino fan, especially one who likes to sample a wide variety of grape from around the world, then you’re going to love Vertical. Opening on 12 April and seating up to 60, the vino bar already has 250 different kinds of grape to try and is planning to stock 1,000 varieties! Who needs to fly to France, Argentina or Italy when there’s a selection like that right in Abu Dhabi? The bar is perched high above the city on the hotel’s 10th floor and will offer guests a selection of tapas to go with the reds, whites and bubbles.
The Restaurants: 2.35 and Blendz
When your stomach starts growling, head up to the hotel’s 2.35 restaurant. They serve a large international buffet and a la carte options. We loved the generous portions in the smoked salmon salad (Dhs72) served with Kenya beans and black olives. The shorbet addas soup with lemon and garlic croutons (Dhs25) is hearty and filling and will certainly fuel you as you do the rounds at Abu Dhabi Mall. For a main, we had the Australian beef tenderloin (Dhs135), but non meat-lovers should try the pan-fried Norwegian salmon steak (Dhs95). If you’re not looking for a three-course meal, head down to Blendz, the hotel’s coffee shop lounge for a light bite before heading back into the city.
The look of the rooms is modern and refined and the spaces are refreshingly minimalist without feeling like they’re lacking in amenities. Beds are super wide and luxurious and the brown, beige and white decor of the rooms feels just right for the contemporary setting. If you keep the curtains closed, you might forget that Salam Street is just a few paces away. The bathrooms don’t disappoint either – suites feature a huge soaking tub and separate rain shower.
From Dhs500 to Dhs1,000 inclusive of complimentary high speed internet access, recreation facilities and underground parking.
Signature spa treatment
Cristal Signature Massage (60 minutes, Dhs290, 90 minutes, Dhs390) which includes a de-stress scalp massage, facial and classic massage.
The hotel’s meeting and conference facility can accommodate from 10 to 80 people and four multi-purpose rooms are available for meetings. LCD projectors, DVD players, laptops, wireless microphones and projection screens are available. The business center provides full secretarial services. Hotel rooms feature executive desks, IP interactive telephones and free high-speed internet.
INFO: Cristal Salam Hotel, 8th street, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi, 02 659 7666, www.cristalhotelsandresorts.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.