Review: Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa

Introduction
Gulf Air Falcon Gold Lounge London Heathrow
Gulf Air Business Class A330 London To Bahrain
Westin Bahrain City Centre
Etihad Airways Business Class Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport
Etihad Airways First Class Apartment A380 Abu Dhabi To London
Andaz London Liverpool Street Hotel
Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel Copenhagen
Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Copenhagen
Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel
Cathay Pacific Lounge London Heathrow Airport
American Airlines First Class 777-300ER London To New York
Sheraton New York JFK Airport
American Airlines Flagship Lounge New York JFK Airport
American Airlines First Class A321 New York To Los Angeles
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa
American Airlines Admirals Club Honolulu Airport
American Airlines First Class 777-300ER Los Angeles To London
Sheraton Skyline Hotel London Heathrow
Etihad Airways Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Etihad Airways First Class 777-300ER London To Abu Dhabi
Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa
Cairo Airport Ahlan VIP Service
Qatar Airways First Class 777-300ER Cairo To Doha
The Airport Hotel Doha Hamad International Airport
Qatar Airways A350 Inaugural Flight Gate Party
Qatar Airways Business Class A350 Doha To Frankfurt
Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport
US Airways Business Class A330 Frankfurt To Philadelphia


This was an oddly timed layover, since I was scheduled to land in Abu Dhabi at 12:55AM, and was scheduled to depart for Cairo at 12:50AM the following day. So I had a 23hr55min layover.

I’ve been to Abu Dhabi more times than I can count, and my goal with this layover was simply to catch up on as much sleep and work as possible, since I caught a bit of a cold just prior to this trip.

I also knew the next few days would be insane, given the redeye flight to Cairo and then the turnaround and flight to Frankfurt on the Qatar Airways A350 inaugural flight.

I’ve reviewed a few properties in Abu Dhabi, including the Park Hyatt Saadiyat Island and St. Regis Saadiyat Island. When I’m actually visiting Abu Dhabi I love staying on Saadiyat Island, since you get a beautiful beach resort just 15 minutes from downtown.

I’ve also stayed at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi, located right in the heart of the city.

Then for airport overnights I usually stay at the Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi, which is architecturally stunning, and a really solid “corporate” hotel. It’s about a 20 minute drive from the airport.

This time around I figured I’d check out the Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, which is the closest SPG hotel to the airport. The hotel is about a 15 minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The one night stay at the hotel cost 480AED (~$130), which was quite reasonable.

The drive to the hotel was quick, though not especially fun, given that my taxi driver kept almost falling asleep.

The hotel is in a secluded part of Abu Dhabi, basically surrounded by golf courses. There’s a long driveway leading up to the hotel, which has a gorgeous exterior.

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Westin Abu Dhabi driveway

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Westin Abu Dhabi exterior

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Westin Abu Dhabi exterior

The lobby was equally gorgeous, with high ceilings, modern furniture, and a water display in the center of the lobby.

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Westin Abu Dhabi lobby

Once inside the lobby, the reception desk was located to the right, while the concierge desk was located to the left.

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Westin Abu Dhabi lobby

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Westin Abu Dhabi lobby

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Westin Abu Dhabi lobby staircase

The associate checking me in was friendly, though it must have been her first day based on the speed at which she worked. It took her over 15 minutes to check me in.

I inquired about the possibility of a suite upgrade, which was met with her phoning the duty manager to see if it would be okay for her to assign me a “premium” room (not a suite).

There’s something a bit wrong with the upgrade culture at a hotel when at 2AM the duty manager needs to be called to see if an SPG Platinum member can receive a “premium” room upgrade. Though I suppose I should give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she may have been new.

The associate really talked up the premium room, saying how gorgeous it was, and how it had high ceilings.

I followed the signage to my room, which was actually located on the ground floor (below the lobby). I was assigned room 113, a “Premium Deluxe Room.”

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Westin Abu Dhabi floorplan

The room was beautiful, with modern furniture and high ceilings. There was an entryway with a bathroom and closet to the right.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room entrance

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room entrance

The room featured a king size signature Westin Heavenly Bed.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room

When you’re tired there really isn’t much in the world more enjoyable than a Westin bed.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room Heavenly Bed

Then by the window was a couch and chair, along with a coffee table.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room living area

On the opposite side of the room was a desk and the console with the built-in flat screen TV.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room desk & TV

To the left of the TV was a Nespresso coffee machine — cool beans (no pun intended)!

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room Nespresso machine

And below that was the minibar, which had soft drinks, beer, and wine.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room minibar

The bathroom was quite nice as well, with a sink, tub, walk-in shower, and partitioned off toilet/bidet.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room bathroom

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room sink

The shower featured both a rainforest shower head as well as a handheld one, which I always like.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room shower

Maybe I just generally don’t have good aim, but as a germaphobe the hoses always kind of make me shiver.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room toilet & bidet

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Westin Abu Dhabi Premium Deluxe Room bathtub

I know I’ll sound totally crazy and I’m making an ass of myself here, but I didn’t like the room. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the room itself, but something just felt a bit off about it to me.

I realize it’s all in my head, but I don’t like rooms on the ground floor to begin with, purely from a safety perspective. And then I swear I heard noises, and the curtains were moving in a really weird way (and it didn’t seem to be the air conditioning). It was probably just my head screwing around with me, but between being quite tired and having just gotten over a cold, I knew I couldn’t get a good night of sleep in the room.

I packed up my stuff and headed back to the front desk, where the night auditor was on duty at this point.

“I’m completely embarrassed to ask this, but I really don’t like being on ground floor rooms. Do you maybe have just a basic room on a higher floor?”

After giggling at me, he gladly assigned me a standard room on the top floor of the hotel.

So I headed up to the fourth floor, where I was assigned room 433.

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Westin Abu Dhabi hallway

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Westin Abu Dhabi Deluxe Room entrance

What’s the difference between the “Deluxe” rooms and the “Premium Deluxe” rooms which the associate originally had to get permission to upgrade me to? The height of the ceiling. That’s it. Everything else was identical.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Deluxe Room

The room had a nice balcony with two chairs overlooking the golf course.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Deluxe Room balcony

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Westin Abu Dhabi Deluxe Room view

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Westin Abu Dhabi Deluxe Room view

Overall I just felt much more comfortable in a room on a higher floor, which minimized my chances of facing wildlife and/or ground floor ghosts.

I did get a good night of sleep, and at around 10AM headed downstairs for breakfast, which is served at Fairways Restaurant daily from 6:30AM until 11AM. At check-in I chose breakfast as my SPG Platinum amenity (in lieu of 500 points), and at this hotel they give Platinum members access to the full buffet (which is common outside the US, though in the US you typically only get continental breakfast).

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant

The restaurant itself was deserted. There was a golf tournament going on at the hotel, and I seemed to be the only person staying there that wasn’t participating.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant

There’s nothing quite like a breakfast buffet in Southeast Asia or the Middle East, and this hotel was no exception. My gosh, the breakfast spread was huge. It was actually so big/impressive that I almost had a panic attack and ended up eating almost nothing, since I couldn’t decide what I wanted.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant breakfast buffet

I mean, hell, you know it’s a great breakfast spread when they have a dozen flavors of ice cream available.

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Westin Abu Dhabi Fairways Restaurant breakfast buffet

I ended up extending my stay at the hotel another night at the same rate. They weren’t being flexible with me using the Your24 benefit (which they’re within their right to do), so in the end I decided to extend for another night since I wanted to get a nap in and had an important phone call in the evening.

One of the cool things this hotel offers Platinum members is a complimentary happy hour. It’s available nightly from 6PM until 8PM at Lemon & Lime Bar, which is located just off the lobby. There’s a special Platinum happy hour drink menu, which has a reasonably good selection.

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Westin Abu Dhabi SPG Platinum happy hour menu

On top of that there’s a special buffet set up for Platinum members. The spread was roughly comparable to what you’d get in a club lounge. There were several cold options, four hot dishes, and a good cheese & dessert spread.

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Westin Abu Dhabi SPG Platinum happy hour buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi SPG Platinum happy hour buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi SPG Platinum happy hour buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi SPG Platinum happy hour buffet

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Westin Abu Dhabi SPG Platinum happy hour buffet

I checked out at around 10:30PM and headed back to Abu Dhabi Airport for my flight to Cairo.

Westin Abu Dhabi bottom line

This is definitely the most convenient SPG option if you have an overnight at Abu Dhabi Airport and don’t necessarily want to go into the city.

The hotel is modern, relaxing, has comfortable and spacious rooms, and has a great breakfast buffet. That being said, this wouldn’t be my preferred hotel if I actually wanted to visit the city of Abu Dhabi.

The elite treatment at this hotel was a bit odd. On one hand they were generous with their Platinum happy hour, while on the other hand they seemed quite stingy, given that the associate had to call the duty manager even to authorize the most minor upgrade.

So yeah, I’d return under similar circumstances given how convenient the hotel is. But aside from an airport overnight I don’t think I’d return.

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Comments

  1. what feeling do you get when you travelled through AUH ? A regular airport with all sorts of people or like your in a Middel eastern country ?

  2. Just back from Abu Dhabi to Cairo (now staying at Le Meridien Cairo Airport whose category just changed from 3 to 2 since March 10th, wohoo~). I was looking forward to your review on this hotel (because I have stayed at all SPG hotels in AUH except this one, Platinum member). Near AUH airport, I have stayed at the following hotels : Radisson Blu Yas Island, Park Inn Yas Island (as Carlson gold member), Hyatt Capital Gate (as Diamond) and Hilton Grand Capital (as Diamond). This Westin hotel doesn’t look impressive at all in any way “considering its relatively high price” … so if I need an overnight stay near AUH, won’t go there. Rather choose one of the above four hotels. Personally was quite impressed with Hilton Grand Capital (amazingly spacious spa & poo, very reasonably priced lively open bar near swimming pool, beautiful indoor blue bar, good exec. lounge etc.), and Carlson hotels also offer very good restaurants – Belgian beer café and Mexican restaurant. Although I was treated very well in Hyatt as Diamond, I think I would rater go to either Hilton or Radisson next time for overnight stay.

  3. You once regularly seemed to check whether or not they were selling suites if they didn’t upgrade you to a suite. You seem to have stopped doing that. Is it because you just got tired of fighting it?

  4. @ Brian — Just not worth the fight in most cases anymore. If I’m on “vacation” and value a suite I might do it, but for a quick overnight it’s just not worth it to me.

  5. @ Mark — It’s a pretty diverse crowd. There are lots of third world contract workers transiting the airport, so it’s a pretty interesting mix between that and suited businesspeople.

  6. Brian said: “You once regularly seemed to check whether or not they were selling suites if they didn’t upgrade you to a suite. You seem to have stopped doing that. Is it because you just got tired of fighting it?”

    Lucky, I know you do this full time and your sanity has to be a factor, but please keep fighting for suites when you can. Knowing the suite policy when pressed is actually one of the more important aspects of a review IMHO.

  7. I was quite disappointed to hear Your24 is honoured more in the breach, particularly in this case when it’s for an airport hotel (where this has has far more importance). I hate it when loyalty programs over-promise and under-deliver, if chain management won’t enforce it, don’t hold it out as a program benefit.

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