Its my birthday!! :D:D:D
Birthday celebrations began last weekend as my sister treated me to a weekend getaway at the Shangri-La Beach Resort at Qariyat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi. Since the last few years my sister plans a birthday getaway for the two of us and boy I am lucky! 😀
This sister-sister time we get to spend with each other is precious and time well spent, and considering that she will be married by next year (hopefully), we are trying to catch every little bit of time with each other. Marriage changes everything I heard! (bleh)
Last weekend my sister and I rushed up with work at the office and headed directly with our luggage to the resort. A Horizon Club Room had been booked in our name for the weekend which included benefits such as high tea from 3PM-5Pm, canapés and cocktails at the Horizon Club from 7PM-9PM, club room facilities like Wi-Fi access, sea view, express check in and late check out facility, breakfast spread at the Sofra Bld restaurant which is one of Shangri-La’s finest and then … butler service.
I have never been accustomed to so much luxury and the whole idea of having a butler service for the entire stay got me feeling weird to be honest rather than excited.
We rushed from work leaving office around 5PM and hence missed the high tea for that day. Our butler had sent my sister a pre arrival customized welcome email letting us know that he would be present at the lobby waiting for us and that he will assist in check in formalities. *sigh*
Did he turn up? Not really .Lol. We drove into the royal looking lobby area of the resort and knowing we arrived much later than the usual check in time of 2PM, we assumed our butler got tired of waiting for us 😀
We were welcomed promptly and check in procedures took no longer than 5 minutes. A short conversation with the reservation agents and a warm welcome by guest service agents had us feeling pampered in no time. We were escorted to our room on the sixth floor. My love for the Shangri-La group of resorts goes a long way thanks to the numerous stays at Traders Hotel Abu Dhabi. Traders has never disappointed me and I was hoping Shangri La would live up to the standards.
On the quiet sixth floor was our room 623, facing the sea and beautiful world famous Sheikh Zayed Mosque. This gave us a stunning sunset view with the mosque and the newly opened Ritz Carlton Hotel just on the other side of the canal.
A few moments after entering our room, our butler arrived. Mr. Raman came in with our welcome drinks ” Sparkling Date Juice”. Now keeping in mind that the holy month of Ramadan
is on in this part of the world, dates have been widely promoted at restaurants and malls and several places offer free dates and water for those who break their fast in the evening. Shangri-La also followed same and promoted dates at all their meals specially breakfast.
Shortly after freshening up and keeping our luggage in order we rushed to the Horizon Club Lounge for tea, snacks or anything they could offer us as we were hungry right after work. Located on the 5th floor of the resort, the way to the lounge was quiet again. We felt were we the only ones there and that is odd. We were used to the hustling and bustling noises of families, kids and the television at the Traders Club Lounge. the atmosphere here is much different. One of the only faults with this hotel I would honestly say is that it is too quiet. From one silent place to another, we missed the noise. Horizon Club follows a non child policy and hence there were no families.
The classic touch was elegant at first, but again I missed the modern touch. Horizon lounge was too quiet for my liking but nevertheless the staff at the lounge made us feel good. We explained that we were hungry after work to a lovely waitress named “Princess”, whose warm and welcoming smile I will never forget. Shangri La is famous for its hospitality and that clearly shows. Asked her if she could arrange a plate of biscuits for us to accompany the coffee we ordered. She quickly arranged for something from the kitchen and much to our surprise she bought us cakes, cookies and nuts.
Later that evening we had planned to visit the newly opened Ritz Carlton to check out the restaurants there, but feeling lazy at the resort we stayed put. However I will share a picture of it I just got out from Google as the hotel is just too beautiful to miss.
Below are some of the balcony views from our room. I loved the room’s balcony with two cozy seating areas complete with cushions and a table for two. Wish the weather was cool enough to sit outside. With temperatures of 45 degrees, we were sweating in no time. The views however kept us staring out for a long time.
One of the fun features of staying at the Horizon Club room also includes a free to order DVD selection. That kept us busy for the night catching up with girly flick chicks and eventually night passed at the hotel itself. Typical huh..
Morning came and we excitedly headed to Sofra Bld. One of the gems of the hotel, this restaurant boasts of stunning interiors and a long and lavish buffet spread. Sometimes it feels like it doesn’t end..really… From fresh fruit juices and a variety of sliced fresh fruits, both exotic and local, an egg and pancake station on made to order basis, middle eastern dishes and south Asian specialties keeping in mind Shangri-La’s origin. Ofcourse how I could miss out on mentioning the breakfast pastry counter. Croissants, cakes, muffins and cinnamon rolls freshly out of the oven, the smells keep you awake and asking for more. There was a staff member allotted only to go around with the tray freshly baked cinnamon rolls…mmmm….and every time he passed us, I only sighed and wished I had space to have at least one 😉
Check out the chocolate fountain as part of the breakfast spread ( Good Lord!)
Since I got to head out for dinner now, I will continue the birthday post tomorrow hopefully 😀
High tea @ Horizon, the birthday special marble cake that I baked for my family at home and pictures from my little office celebration all coming up!