Hotel Review: The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal

During our visit to the United Arab Emirates, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to check into The Ritz-Carlton, Abu Dhabi. This chain of luxury hotels is highly revered for its opulent accommodations and top-tier service and the Abu Dhabi offering absolutely lived up to my expectations.

In this honest review of The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, I’ll share what I loved the most about the two nights we spent at the hotel and why I would recommend the hotel to luxury travelers. Let’s get into it!

*Disclosure: This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link. Please note that we were invited to stay at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.*

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Arriving at the Ritz-Carlton, Abu Dhabi

Basic information

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
Address: Al Maqta Area – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 2 818 8888
Website: https://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/uae/abu-dhabi
Instagram: @ritzcarltonabudhabi

Location 

The Ritz-Carlton occupies a prestigious spot on the eastern cusp of Zone I that looks over at the Al Maqta area of Abu Dhabi and the Grand Canal. These grand doors swung open in March 2013 and the hotel has since garnered international praise.

Containing a choice of 532 residences for guests, the luxury hotel blends traditional Middle Eastern elements with a touch of Venetian flair to create a unique and sophisticated vibe. 

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi is situated a 20-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport and you can connect easily via taxi. This will cost approximately 80-100 AED (21-27 USD).

Sited a short walk from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, we loved the fact that the hotel is set back away from the hustle and bustle of Zone I and The Corniche. A taxi to The Corniche costs around 50 AED (13.5 USD) or you can take the bus if you prefer. 

If you are renting a car while in the UAE or indulging in a staycation then you can take advantage of the complimentary valet parking services offered by the hotel. But you’ll need to mention your plans at the time of booking. 

Check-in process

Stepping into the sumptuous lobby, we got our first peek at what awaited us during our stay at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi. I was already blown away by the beauty of the lobby, it felt like stepping into Princess Jasmine’s palace in Aladdin.

We were greeted with air conditioning (extremely welcome, given the sizzling temperatures!) and a welcoming team of receptionists who personified Middle Eastern hospitality. The check-in process was seamless and quick, and after that, a concierge was on hand to help us with our bags.

Lobby at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi

Rooms & Suites

Accommodation at The Ritz-Carlton, Abu Dhabi comprises traditional guest rooms alongside plush suites and villas.

Guest rooms

We selected a Deluxe Guest Room for our two-night stay at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi. The room was decorated in soothing natural hues and featured a King bed with a private balcony that looked out over the manicured gardens, the huge pool area, and the Grand Canal.

The room was facing east which means we could start the morning with a coffee in hand and enjoy the beautiful sunrise from our balcony. It was absolutely magical and definitely the best way to start our one day in Abu Dhabi.

The guest room was attached to a gorgeous bathroom complete with a soaking tub and separate rainfall shower as well as two washbasins. 

Deluxe and Club Guest Rooms register at 42 square meters (452 square feet) which allows plenty of space. You can choose between double or twin rooms.

Suites & Villas

If you’re looking for some additional space then you might be interested in booking either a suite or a villa.

Suites come with the added luxury of a separate living room and range from 60 square meters (645 square feet) to 251 square meters (2691 square feet) for the elegant Royal Suite which accommodates 6 guests. 

In terms of villas, you can choose between the 5 person villa with a private plunge pool and canal views or select one of the villas within the Venetian Village. This is a separate complex within the wider hotel grounds.

Services & Facilities

Pool & private beach

Registering a whopping 16,000 square meters (17,222 square feet), the outdoor swimming pool at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi is one of the largest in Abu Dhabi. After a sticky day of exploring the best of Abu Dhabi, the water was a welcome escape from the Middle Eastern sun.

Palm trees and sails provide some shelter while you’re in the water and there are plenty of beds with umbrellas as well as private cabanas when you’re ready to soak up some R&R. The deck is broken up with pristine lawns and shrubs, a beautiful fountain, and views of the hotel’s private beach. 

Besides the main pool, there is a separate swim space exclusively for adults. The main pool opens daily, 7 am – 8 pm while the adults’ pool operates 12 pm – 7 pm. 

You can access the private beach of The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi from the pool area. The beach area is equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas and it’s safe to swim in the water. What’s more, the sand is lovely and soft! The private beach is open to hotel guests from 9 am until sunset. 

Fitness center

If you fancy keeping on top of your fitness regime while in the UAE then you’ll be happy to hear the hotel provides a gym. Open 24/7, the space is fully kitted out with cardio machines and a free weight zone.

Some of the equipment overlooks the olive garden and the studio benefits from natural light courtesy of the floor-to-ceiling windows. On the other hand, if you prefer to exercise outdoors then there are also some great running tracks set up around the resort complex. 

Spa

Espa Spa is a treat if you’d rather pamper yourself than work out while on vacation! The spa features a steam room, sauna, plunge pool, and a Hammam. You can choose from a comprehensive treatment menu including massages and beyond or even book an appointment at the hair salon. 

The famous Instagram spot

Last but not least, we have to talk about the famous spot at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi you’ve likely seen all over Instagram. In fact, many people decide to book a room at the hotel just to get access to this view!

Casually referred to as “the Instagram spot” by the staff, this famous archway is located within the grounds of The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, close to the guest villas. It’s roughly a 5-minute walk from the lobby but if you ask the staff about it, they’re more than happy to give to a ride on the electric golf carts.

Since The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi is located right next to the famous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, you can get an uninterrupted view of the Mosque from practically anywhere on the hotel grounds. But this archway is undoubtedly one of the best Instagram spots in Abu Dhabi thanks to its perfect framing of the Mosque!

If you want to take the best photos possible, make sure to coincide your visit with sunset. Before visiting this spot, it’s also worth taking a stroll around the garden as you can find many other great photo spots overlooking the Mosque.

Dining

With eight different dining options available and room service available around the clock, we didn’t exactly go hungry during our stay at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi.

As we only stayed for two nights we couldn’t sample every restaurant but we did squeeze in a meal at Li Jiang. This swanky Southeast Asian themed restaurant features an open kitchen which added to the ambiance.

As Li Jiang scooped the top prize for the best Southeast Asian Restaurant in the Time Out Abu Dhabi Restaurant Awards, it offers both excellent cuisine and impeccable service. As if the food itself wasn’t appetizing enough, the other highlight of eating at Li Jiang is the magical views that you can encounter of the Grand Mosque after twilight.

For any foodies out there, here is a brief overview of all the other restaurants at the hotel:

  • At the upper end of the scale, you can feast on succulent steaks at The Forge or dive into traditional Lebanese served alongside live music at Mijana. Both of these restaurants request a smart casual dress code so you’ll need to pack accordingly.
  • Mediterranean-themed Giornotte is a more casual alternative where you can graze on light Mediterranean dishes and fresh seafood.
  • You can extend your evening at the atmospheric onsite bar, Sorso, where light meals are available alongside cocktails, wines, and spirits. 
  • Al Fresco is one for the sun-seekers or those of you who intend to spend some days lolling by the pool, with a selection of dining areas and poolside bars. They also arrange romantic private dinners on the beach. 
  • If you have a sweet tooth then you can snap up afternoon tea at the lobby lounge, Alba, or Italian-style cakes, pastries, and gelato at Dolce. 

Final Thoughts

Staying at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi was pure bliss. The hotel is beautifully appointed (to a practically palatial standard!) and the staff went out of their way to make us feel at home while the food was exquisite.

If you’re planning to visit Abu Dhabi and have your heart set on a luxury hotel with incredible views, comfort, and service, this resort should tick all the boxes. Check the latest prices and the availability here!

If you have any questions about The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email or message via social media, I always love helping you out! Have you already visited Abu Dhabi or is it still on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo, Kriszti


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