Review: Rosewood Abu Dhabi

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Introduction
Review: Cathay Pacific Lounge San Francisco Airport
Review: Cathay Pacific First Class 777 San Francisco To Hong Kong
Review: Cathay Pacific Arrivals Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Review: Grand Hyatt Hong Kong Grand Suite
Review: Cathay Pacific The Pier First Class Lounge Hong Kong Airport
Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class A330 Hong Kong To Kuala Lumpur
Review: Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Review: Malaysia Airlines First Class Lounge Kuala Lumpur Airport
Review: Malaysia Airlines Business Class 737 Kuala Lumpur To Bali
Review: St. Regis Bali Pool Suite
Review: St. Regis Bali Lagoon Villa
Review: St. Regis Bali Restaurants & Activities
Review: Premier Lounge Bali Denpasar Airport
Review: Qatar Airways Business Class 777 Bali To Doha
Review: St. Regis Doha
Review: Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Doha Airport
Review: Qatar Airways First Class 777 Doha To Abu Dhabi
Review: Le Meridien Abu Dhabi
Review: Rosewood Abu Dhabi
Interlude: 30 Hours In Abu Dhabi
Review: Etihad US Pre-Clearance Lounge Abu Dhabi Airport
Review: Etihad First Class A380 Abu Dhabi To New York
Review: Le Parker Meridien New York


I’m fiercely loyal to Hyatt and Starwood. As much as I think the loyalty programs add a ton of value for those of us who spend 50+ nights per year in hotels, for many others I think choosing to stay at smaller hotel brands without great loyalty programs can be a better option.

There’s no denying that you’re sometimes compromising your hotel experience by choosing to stay at a major hotel chain, as was evident with my stay at Le Meridien Abu Dhabi, which I would have never stayed at if it weren’t an SPG property.

So for my last night in Abu Dhabi I decided to mix things up. I’ve never stayed at a Rosewood property before, but have heard great things about the brand. The Rosewood Abu Dhabi opened in 2013, and had a deal I couldn’t turn down.

The hotel belongs to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, which I have access to thanks to The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN. By booking this hotel through Fine Hotels & Resorts I received the following perks:

  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
  • Guaranteed 4PM check-out
  • Noon check-in, subject to availability
  • Complimentary in-room wifi
  • $100 property credit to be used during the stay

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The cost of my one night stay? 800AED, or ~$215 per night. That’s a heck of a deal, and certainly a rate at which I thought it was worth “experimenting” outside my preferred hotel brands.

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Funny enough the Rosewood Abu Dhabi was located across the water from Le Meridien Abu Dhabi. From my balcony at Le Meridien, the Rosewood was actually the most noticeable building. In the below picture (which I took from Le Meridien), the Rosewood is the curved building towards the very front.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi exterior

The hotel is located on Al Maryah Island, which is still largely under construction. The hotel has a central location, in the sense that it’s between downtown Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, and Al Reem Island. However, Al Maryah Island as such isn’t fully developed yet, so there’s not much in the immediate area of the hotel. On the plus side, you can be just about anywhere you want to be with a quick taxi drive.

Upon arriving at the hotel the bellman immediately opened the taxi door and gave me a smile and warm welcome. While I was fine carrying my own bags, he still escorted me to the check-in desk.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi entrance

The lobby was gorgeous. It had an incredible scent and was immaculately designed. Not only was everything flawlessly clean, but I thought the design will also age well. In other words, this hotel won’t be outdated in a few years.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi lobby

Off the lobby was a lobby lounge, with gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows which must have been at least 30 feet tall.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi lobby lounge

At check-in I was assisted by a friendly associate, who had me checked in within minutes. She explained that I was entitled to 4PM check-out (which I was taking advantage of), complimentary breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, and that I could use my $100 property credit in the spa, restaurants, or for in-room dining.

I was assigned a room on the seventh floor, though hadn’t actually asked about an upgrade (and therefore I guess I wasn’t given one). I received two keys for my room, which were unique. They were square, and featured some local artwork on them. Little touches like this can really help make a hotel memorable, in my opinion.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi room keys

The elevators were located across from reception, so I took one up to the seventh floor.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi elevators

Upon exiting the elevator I turned right, and then my room was located on the left.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi hallway

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi room entrance

I was assigned room 712, which seemed to be a deluxe room.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi room signage

As you can see based on the below floorplan, it’s a standard room.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi floorplan

The room was beautiful. It featured an entryway with the bathroom on the left and then closets on both the left and the right, and then a vanity on the right.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi room foyer

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi room foyer

While the room wasn’t that big, it was extremely efficiently designed, with gorgeous furnishings. The centerpiece of the room was the king bed, which had a leather “bench” at the foot of it.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room

There was a sliding panel between the bathroom and bedroom, which is a design feature I love, especially when the bathrooms are nice. It’s cool to have the option of making the room feel larger by opening it, or otherwise getting some privacy if you’re traveling with someone.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room soaking tub

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room bed

By the window was a comfy chair with an ottoman, which had a magazine rack next to it.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi chair with ottoman

Across from the bed was a flat screen TV located in a built-in wall panel, which had further storage. There was also a desk with a comfortable rolling leather chair.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room desk & TV

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room desk

I loved that the desk had both two international outlets as well as a USB outlet built into the wall. While some hotels give you an adapter, it’s nice to be able to plug stuff directly into the wall.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi international outlets

The bathroom took up a large amount of the room’s square footage, with double sinks, a gorgeous soaking tub, a large walk-in rainforest shower, and a partitioned off toilet & bidet.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room bathroom

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room double sinks

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room toilet & bidet

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room shower

Toiletries were provided by Roja. While that wasn’t a brand I had previously heard of, the quality was excellent.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room toiletries

My room faced the hotel’s pool area, as well as the surrounding new developments on Al Maryah Island.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room view

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room view

Waiting on the table was some bottled water as well as some packaged dates.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi bottled water & dates

Back near the entrance on the right side was the minibar, as well as a Nespresso machine. The minibar selection was quite impressive.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi Nespresso machine

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi minibar

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi minibar

Next to the minibar was the safe, hair dryer, and laundry bag.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi safe

Across from it was a large closet with a luggage rack.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room closet

Next to that was a vanity with mirror — not often you see that in a standard room!

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room vanity

The TV was pretty high tech, in the sense that you could control several of the room’s functions through the TV.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi king room TV

Most high tech was the iPad next to the bed, which had all kinds of information about the hotel (including the spa menu, in-room dining menu, restaurant information, etc.), as well as the controls for the room. The room was almost too high tech, as it took me quite a while to figure out how to operate all the lights, the blinds, etc. But I’m also not the most tech savvy person out there.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi iPad with room controls

Upon arriving at my room I was brought a small plate of Arabic sweets as a welcome amenity, along with a letter welcoming me.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi welcome sweets

The hotel’s pool is located on the third floor, and is a beautiful space. Not only is there a great lap pool, but I loved the outdoor furniture as well. There were lounge chairs, cabanas, etc. There was also a pool bar outside.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi pool

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi pool

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi pool

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi pool

The pool boasted great views both of the hotel itself (which really is a beautiful building), as well as the surrounding waterfront.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi exterior from pool

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi view from pool

The hotel’s fitness center is located on the second floor, and is well equipped.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi gym entrance

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi gym

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi gym

In the morning breakfast was served at Aqua, the hotel’s main restaurant, from 6:30AM until 10:30AM (on weekends they serve breakfast until 11AM). It’s also located on the third floor.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant

For booking through Fine Hotels & Resorts I was entitled to a complimentary buffet breakfast, though I could also custom order eggs, pancakes, french toast, etc.

The buffet spread wasn’t huge, though everything looked great and seemed to be high quality. The restaurant was also extremely peaceful, as there weren’t more than a dozen or so guests.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant breakfast buffet

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant breakfast buffet

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant breakfast buffet

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant breakfast buffet

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant breakfast buffet

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant breakfast buffet

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant breakfast buffet

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant breakfast buffet

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant breakfast buffet

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant breakfast buffet

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi restaurant breakfast buffet

I also loved that they served French Press coffee.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi coffee at breakfast

This had been a long trip at this point, so when I stayed here I actually didn’t leave the hotel once. Sometimes you just need a day to recover in the middle of a trip, and this was that day for me. Other than breakfast and checking out the pool, I didn’t leave my room once.

I had room service lunch the first day, which consisted of fish tacos. They were tasty.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi room service

Then for dinner I had the prawn curry, which was equally good.

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Rosewood Abu Dhabi room service

That was easily covered using my $100 food & beverage credit.

The next day at 4PM I checked out, in anticipation of the inaugural Etihad A380 flight from Abu Dhabi to New York.

Bottom line

I was extremely impressed by the Rosewood Abu Dhabi. If this hotel is representative of what the rest of the Rosewood brand is like, I’ll certainly go out of my way to stay at their properties again.

This was a gorgeous property with perfectly designed rooms and flawless service. At the rate I was paying it was a bargain, too.

For those who aren’t super frequent hotel guests but who like to get value out of their hotel stays, going for status might not make sense when when you can just use Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts and Virtuoso to receive elite-style benefits at some stunning hotels.

Have you ever stayed at a Rosewood hotel? What was your experience like?

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Comments

  1. Now this is what I’m talking about. This hotel looks absolutely beautiful from the public spaces to the rooms and bathrooms. Rosewood also has a property in Los Cabos Mexico called Las Ventanas and it’s one of the finest properties anywhere in the world.

  2. Looks like a beautiful property, and also appears to have a markedly lower density of VC douchebags and cougars vis a vis the Rosewood on Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley.

  3. I’ve only stayed at one Rosewood property: the iconic Carlyle in New York. It use to be my favorite hotel of all time. The Carlyle was the Jacqueline Kennedy of hotels; traditional, timeless, sophisticated.

    Now, not so much. The public areas (especially the bar) retain their elegance; but, the rooms are dowdy with miserably obsolete bathrooms. The service use to be effortlessly charming. Now, it’s more frantic and forced.

    Such a shame. There have been some updates but the owners really need to close the place and do a complete renovation. As it stands now, the Carlyle still has a Jacqueline Kennedy charm…but a Jackie that has just rolled out of bed after a night of hard partying.

  4. If you are in Vancouver give the Hotel Georgia a try. It’s a Rosewood property and participates in both Virtuoso and FHR. Really nice hotel 🙂

  5. Rosewood Beijing is one of my top 3 city hotels in Beijing (along with PH and WA, Aman not included due to being far away from city center).

    All three Rosewoods in Mexico (Cabo, Mayakoba, San Miguel de Allende) are really gorgeous. The best at each locations.

    Carlyle in NYC is great only if you book the best room category or above, otherwise it’s very tired and dated.

  6. Caroline Hunt created gold when she started Rosewood Hotels and Resorts.

    The Lanesborough in London was my go-to hotel until, funnily enough, Starwood took it over in the early 00s, forcing me to start staying elsewhere.

    The Seiyo Ginza in Tokyo was another Rosewood property I would stay at whenever I could. It since became run down and closed its doors a couple of years ago.

    I’m not sure who owns Rosewood now, but I’m eager to stay with them again to see how they’re doing. I’ll likely be in AUH in April or so, so maybe I’ll give it a shot.

  7. Regarding Amex FHR: Are you guys being able to login in to their system? For the last 3 weeks I cannot login and see any rates on any of their hotels. I called Amex and talked to almost 10 different people and nobody can figure out a solution.

  8. Roja bath and shower amenities are also offered at the Four Seasons Park Lane in London. I find it curious, given that almost every other FS has the Loccitane amenities.

  9. My wife and are huge fans of the Rosewood hotels. We were married at Caneel Bay in St John and have stayed at Little Dix in BVI, Las Ventanas in Los Cabos, and Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen. All have had fantastic with beautiful facilities and grounds. Can’t speak for all but would highly recommend at stay at those.

  10. Thanks for the timely review! I’ll be in AUH in March, and have been considering both the Rosewood as well as the Jumeirah Etihad Towers. If anyone has any insight on the latter for comparison, I’d sure appreciate!

  11. Stayed at the Rosewood in London and enjoyed it there greatly especially the public areas so I highly recommend that or the Corthinia.

    Roja is a quite a well known brand in London/UK as well, especially as a luxury perfume brand with the founder often appearing in British media concerning scents.

  12. Those USB ports aren’t going to age well – not with Qualcomm Quick Charge standard gaining traction.

  13. “The cost of my one night stay? 800AED, or ~$215 per night. That’s a heck of a deal”

    If enough people click on your referral links, it might cost you even less…

    Nice idea in theory, but at the end of the day, you did end up at another chain, it just isn’t part of a loyalty program you are currently a member of. And you did use another program to book it…this isn’t exactly a charming off-the-beaten path boutique hotel.

    Still, with that said…it looks like a great hotel, and definitely worth checking out. Lovely decor, nice views, and great service. Looks like a winner.

  14. Ben, This looks pretty consistent with the newer Rosewood properties. They are doing an amazing job and, quite frankly, starting to make Four Seasons look very behind. The Dallas properties are a bit dated but the rest are exceptional – with Sand Hill in Northern Cal being an absolute gem. The best thing I see is their exceptional blending of technology and comfort. I am a big fan.

  15. Thanks for the review. Was thinking about trying it out for a while. FHR currently quotes 209 Euros. Sounds like a good deal.

  16. @ Jeff k! I frequent rosewood, jumeirah etihad & jumeirah emirates – jumeirah etihad is by far the best!

  17. Did checking out at 4pm and heading to AUH feel too early to catch the 3:20am flight? Looking to book it in August and hoping the new First Class Lounge will be open by then, but it seems that 10 hours or so at AUH may still be too long… I was hoping to extend a late check out into the evening but obviously can’t bank on that.. How would you logistically catch this flight next time?

  18. Just booked this for our 21 hour layover JFK-AUH-MLE in May. Thought of using FHR for about the same rate as Lucky got it, but was able to get it for $83.62 all in (including breakfast) using the 50% off promotion at Makemytrip.com with a flexible cancellation policy to boot. Would be nice if the premium hotels in the Maldives would be in this price range too!

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