There was a time when every day seemed to herald the opening of a new hotel in the United Arab Emirates, each one pushing the envelope of acceptable taste further and further in an orgy of cartoon rococo gold mouldings (real gold) and marble for miles. Developer Jumeirah was responsible for its fair share of crimes against design. That time is over it seems as Jumeirah opens its latest hotel in the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi - Dubai's more sensible, and richer, uncle. The stunning modern towers enclose an interior that is a sophisticated and dare one say, fashionable, Euro-Arabic fusion.
The hotel occupies one 280 meter (920 ft) tower out of the five that make up the building. The others consist of office space and 800 apartments with the four-floor podium containing conference rooms, restaurants and boutique shopping. Etihad is the UAE state airline and the building was developed under the control of Sheikh Suroor bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, a member of the ruling family and seemingly responsible for most of the building development in Abu Dhabi. He's clearly proud of the place since the common areas are graced with his own private Arab art collection.
The hotels itself is made up of 382 guest rooms and suites, 199 serviced residences and 12 restaurants, bars and lounges. The hotel also offers a private beach, spa, three pools, gym and an extensive conference center with 13 meeting rooms and the grand Mezzoon Ballroom that can accommodate 1400 people. Like all hotels these days they are subtle graduations of room cost and service levels with names like Deluxe, Grand Deluxe, Club, Suite etc. There is also the obligatory Royal Suite of 980 sqm/10,550 sq ft that features four bedrooms, sitting rooms, dining facilities, and butler facilities, as well as exclusive pieces of fine art and a specially-designed grand piano.
Not withstanding the private beach one gets the feeling that this place is all about business. Like an airport the hotel features a 24 hour executive club lounge that offers AV-equiped meeting rooms, video conferencing, hi-speed internet, and showers for when those high-powered negotiations get a little too much.
Completing the goodies are 12 restaurants and bars with a range of international culinary options - Lebanese, Japanese, American, French and Asian fusion. You get the picture. If you are doing business in the region or if you need a halfway point to meet up with somebody from the far east the Etihad Towers look pretty tempting, especially if you are traveling expenses paid. Bookings can be made on Jumeirah's site.