Posted on Wednesday, 8th July 2015
JUMEIRAH AT ETIHAD TOWERS, ABU DHABI
On my recent visit to Abu Dhabi I stayed at the iconic 5-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, a 280m tall luxury hotel located on the West Corniche in the exclusive Ras Al Akhdar area of Abu Dhabi overlooking the Arabian Gulf. The hotel is close to the central business district and adjacent to the famous Emirates Palace Hotel. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is one of a group of five towers that includes a prestigious office tower and three towers housing apartments, premium boutiques and contemporary restaurants. The Etihad Towers are an integral part of the Abu Dhabi skyline and most famously featured in the blockbuster movie Fast & Furious 7.
The construction of the Etihad Towers was overseen by Australian architects DBI and began in 2006. The Towers are particularly dramatic for their staggering modernity and are beautiful on the eye. Inside, the hotel is no less beautiful, oozing with a cosmopolitan ‘city’ chic that is sublimely sophisticated. The lobby is wide, tall and deep, shining with natural light during the day, and dazzling from the glow of the handmade chandeliers at night. Much care has gone into the selection of the finishing touches which were awe-inspiring and which features a unique use of rare marbles, semi-precious stones and crystals.
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is a business hotel but offers all the luxuries a leisure traveller could want. It has its own private beach, a relaxing pool area with three different pools, a boutique spa and a well-equipped gym. From the hotel you can also pay a visit to The Observation Deck at 300. Located 300 metres above ground level, the viewing platform offers visitors with 360-degree views of Abu Dhabi and the dazzling Arabian Gulf. The Observation Deck at 300 also serves drinks so that guests can slowly linger and enjoy the panorama.
I stayed in a standard deluxe room at The Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and loved its clean lines and contemporary design. Being on the 39th floor, the views were mesmerising, especially as the room had floor to ceiling windows. The room was equipped with the latest fully integrated lifestyle technology such as a centralised lighting system, automated ‘do not disturb signs’, complimentary speedy wifi and an iPod docking station, all the quirky little touches that one comes to expect of a high-spec hotel. Sleep-wise, the super-sized king bed with its luxurious super-high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets made for a great night’s rest, so deliciously comfortable that I was loathe to get out of bed. This was one of the best beds that I have ever had the pleasure of sleeping on.
On the food front, the hotel offers a healthy number of dining options including Li Beirut, a chic Lebanese restaurant with sea views and an al fresco terrace seating, and Tori No Su, an upmarket Japanese restaurant and lounge. There is also Ray’s Bar on the 62nd floor, a stylish spot with DJ sets, innovative cocktails and Asian tidbits, all with views of Abu Dhabi as a backdrop.
Buffet breakfasts are served at the hotel’s Rosewood restaurant, and this was a decent affair with a good range of options. But it was to the hotel’s Brasserie Angélique that I headed for dinner, a bar and restaurant with a classic French menu by Chef de Cuisine Niels Van Oers, who previously cooked at Michelin starred Il Sole di Ranco in Ranco Varese, Italy and at Burj Al Arab in Dubai. This was an excellent experience and went a long way in justifying the numerous awards that it has won on both TripAdvisor and Timeout.
We had the five-course tasting menu (AED395 – £68.40) and thoroughly enjoyed every dish. For the amuse bouche, we had a seared ‘Hokkaido’ scallop with brown shrimps, which was resplendent and perfect in every way. The scallop had been beautifully seared but remained translucent in the centre. On its own the scallop was delicious, but made more so with the brown shrimps which had been prepared in a deliciously rich crustacean sauce with soft braised leeks. Gorgeous.
The first course was foie gras confit au torchon served with brioche toast. The foie gras was wonderfully decadent and had been beautifully presented with silver onions, rhubarb, daikon, candied hazelnuts and a truffle macaroon. All the elements provided lots of contrasting delicate flavours and textures to the foie gras, as well as adding acidity and sweetness to this wonderful plate of food.
A classic Bouillabaisse, a seafood stew with shellfish, stuffed calamari and classic rouille was next. This course showcased skillful classic French cookery techniques with the broth being wonderfully reduced with an intense shellfish flavour.
The fish course was seared salmon with obsiblue prawn topped with Sturia caviar. The salmon, marinated with balsamic vinegar, lavender honey, soy sauce, sesame oil and red miso, and coated with sesame seeds, was a touch salty. But the obsiblue prawn was absolutely outstanding and the highlight of this dish. A blue prawn, this had a uniquely sweet flavour and texture that was incredible. To complete the dish was a sweet miso hollandaise with a mellow umami flavour, a beautiful slow poached-quail egg and sweet heirloom tomatoes. This was almost a perfect plate of food other than for the slight saltiness of the salmon.
We substituted the lamb on the tasting menu with a whole roasted pigeon stuffed with duck liver. Normally served whole as part of the a la carte menu, we shared this between two as our main course. The pigeon was presented whole at the table before being plated, so it was a surprise to discover that it had already been cleverly deboned and reshaped prior to roasting. The pigeon was well cooked and delicious with the duck liver. Accompanying the pigeon was a lovely and buttery gratin dauphinois and a creamy butternut puree summer salad. Drizzled over the pigeon was an aromatic truffle jus which was tasty but somewhat salty.
The dessert was a caramelised granny smith millefeuille with calvados ice cream. The apple was soft and neither too sweet nor too acidity. The millefeuille consisted of a deliciously buttery sablé breton base topped with layers of granny smith apples and caramel, an apple and calvados mousse and a thin layer of caramel crisp which was superbly delicate. The ice cream was also delicious. This was a refreshing way to complete the tasting menu and to round off an altogether delicious meal.
I had a wonderful and memorable stay at the stunning Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, which was made all the more special by the recollections of a fabulous dinner at Brasserie Angelique. No stone had been left unturned to ensure the ultimate comfort of the guest. The service was also excellent at every level, from the people at reception through to the housekeeping service. Visually and stylistically stunning, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is sure to guarantee a wonderful stay.
1. Dinner at Brasserie Angelique with the particular highlight being the Hokkaido scallop, the foie gras confit au torchon and the obsiblue prawn with its truly unique flavour.
2. At AED395 (£68.40), the tasting menu at Brasserie Angelique was good value.
3. The bed in my room. Gosh it was comfortable.
4. The hotel is truly stunning. The feeling is one of understated luxury and elegance.
5. The pool area was a really nice place to chill and relax. Because Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is a business hotel, the pool area gets less all day visitors that you might get at other tourist hotels.
6. The service was excellent.
1. I struggled to think of one, but there was one! I didn’t mention this in the body of my review, but I would say the one-ply toilet paper in the bathrooms. I had expected something a bit more luxurious.
Overall hotel rating: 4.75/5
The bed rating: 5/5
Overall service rating: 4.5/5
Brasserie Angelique food rating: 4.5/5
Price range at Brasserie Angelique:
3-courses for about AED190 to AED435 (about £33 to £76)
5-course tasting menu is AED395 (£68.40)
Excludes drinks and service.