Was scheduled to stay few days in Abu Dhabi, and decided to check on my way out the new Park Hyatt hotel opened for the Formula 1 race last month. Saadiyat Island is just 15 minutes from the commercial center of Abu Dhabi.
There isn’t much on the island yet, but they have rather grandiose plans for the area in the future. Some of those plans were put on hiatus last month but not cancelled.
After getting off from a taxi I was escorted to the front desk for check in. The usual Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum/Diamond sign was at the other end where nobody was working (nothing new here). They had correctly read my name from the airline tags attached to my bags as they greeted me by my name.
The reservation was made the night before logged in at Hyatt.com. The front desk asked if I was checking in. Oh well. I just came on a taxi with three pieces of luggage. Shouldn’t that be an indication that I am indeed checking in? Yes. I was checking in and would like to know what they have for me. The guy was typing away and then said, like asking a question, that I am a Gold Passport member. Oh well again…. I had only 130 Hyatt stays in 2010 and this was my 51st stay of 2011. I certainly hope that I am still a Hyatt Gold Passport member.
I had been upgraded from a Park King to a Sea View King. I inquired, whether further upgrades would be possible. Then I had the front desk manager to come to have a chat with me. He had previously worked at the Park Hyatt and Grand Hyatt hotels in Dubai. He went to say that they have some of the suites off from inventory for some light maintenance (will return to this later), that they have a rather large government group attending at the hotel that night, and that they don’t have problem selling suites even at 2AM.
Normally, when they don’t want to give complimentary upgrades to suites, which is totally in line with the Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond benefits, they might suggest using one of the suite upgrade certificates that are issued to Diamond members. They didn’t make this suggestion here, and I forgot to ask.
When I asked about the mice problem they had had, according to some reports on “internets”, I was corrected that they had been actually rats. There is a vacant lot next to the hotel where there had been some nests. They had been cleared. I didn’t see any rats during my stay, but then I was staying on the 4th floor.
Overall the room was very spacious for a King and had a lovely view of the gulf. The balcony had a sitting area. The bathroom was a typical modern one with a tub. The bathroom amenities they were using are Bergamote ones. Was bit surprised because at other Park Hyatt hotels they are normally Blaise Mautin. The fruit bowl was an average for the region, but I absolutely loved the chocolate box.
The light system is bit complicated to use. Depending how long you press the switch it ether dims or strengthens the lights. It does take some time learning how to use them correctly.
Using a suite upgrade
Thinking that I was paying bit more that I should have for the Ocean View King, I decided to explore the option of upgrading the room for a suite using the last Diamond Suite Upgrade that I had. Hyatt.com had all the room categories available for the sale and it was 3PM.
Normally, I would prefer dealing with the “Diamond” desk in the US, although we all know that there really is no longer one, but it wasn’t possible due to the time difference. I called the Hyatt toll free number for the UAE, and it was actually answered in Dubai.
The person tried contacting the hotel but it was taking longer than it should have. He promised to call me back in five minutes. Forty minutes later I placed another call and was able to get transferred to the person whom I spoke with earlier. The hotel had told him that they had already upgraded me which they certainly had done. But, I was looking for using the last suite upgrade certificate I had.
Then he placed another call to the property while I was on hold. For some reason the inventory that was shown on Hyatt.com wasn’t matching what the property had actually available. They did, however, agree to move me to a suite and take the last upgrade cert for that.
About an hour later I called the front desk again to see when the suite was going to be ready. Spoke with the same front desk manager who wasn’t aware of anything regarding the suite upgrade but promised to find me one. Then about 6PM all was ready.
The Park Suite was very classy. You have very spacious living room with a balcony and a guest bathroom. There is a walking closet between the living room and bedroom where you can store your bags. The bathroom is very spacious with the bathtub. The bedroom had its own balcony as well.
Pools & Beach:
There are several small pools and couple of larger ones on the front of the hotel. There were plenty of sun chairs around. Nobody was by the pool, however. Walked to the beach through the “protected” dune area. There were more sun chairs facing the sea and one actual guest. There were couple of employees cleaning the beach area.
There were some cold items, fruit, bread, and cereal available from the buffet. The hot items could be ordered from the menu. The service at the breakfast was so so. I had to request the waiter to bring me milk for my tea three times before I received it. Also, my empty orange juice glass was just taken away without asking if I would like to have more. At the end you are presented to sign a bill to your room. It was however, taken away by the time I was checking out.
Fitness Center and Spa:
Used the fitness center late in the evening. It is on the ground floor where sun shines during the morning and day. It was bit too hot even in the evening. They have modern equipment as one would expect from a hotel that was just opened. Only used the sauna and a steam room after my exercise. Both were nice.
– Not sure what was my Diamond amenity? Box of chocolates?
– Internet and the telephone system (outside) were down entirely for more than 12 hours. Apparently, there was some kind of problem with Etisalat, but it didn’t prevent me tethering on Etisalat’s 3G network using my Android phone.
– Both Grand and Park Hyatt’s in Dubai offer a complimentary minibar and airport transfers for suite guests. Apparently all other suites than the Park Suite do get a complimentary minibar here. None get complimentary airport transfers.
– In the afternoon received two phone calls. Guest services called to see if I would like to have my suite cleaned. Why would I if I am checking out in an hour? Then another call fifteen minutes later to see if I need any transportation. I had already informed them in the morning that I was going to take a metered taxi to my next destination.
– There should have been a warning on the reservation page that the construction was going on. I loved to keep the balcony door open during the night when I could hear the waves. During the day I mostly heard drilling, jack hammering, and other construction related noises.
I think that this will be a lovely property in a great location once the Saadiyat island is fully developed. This will take several years as some of the plans were put on hold/delayed. Also, they really need to train the employees better.
I have quite a few photos around the property. I will post a link once they are available.