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WHO VISITED: Penny Spencer from Spencer Travel
WHEN: March 2015
Set on a strip of private beach, Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri is a beautiful property with a truly stunning entrance and all the services and facilities you would expect (and a few you might not) of an international 5-star hotel.

I absolutely loved the hotel’s Airport Butler Service. With much construction work at Abu Dhabi Airport when I arrived, all passengers were transported from the aircraft to the terminal building by bus whereupon I was met right at the entrance by a representative from Shangri-La. I was then whisked straight through customs saving a lot of time.

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The hotel is conveniently located near the airport, golf course and city centre.

Rooms are decorated with Arabic décor and warm tones. They’re very nice, however there are a few things that could be improved on – I found my hairdryer not strong enough and the lighting in the bathroom could have been better.

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Each of the 213 rooms feature a balcony or terrace with views of the waterways that border the hotel. Accommodation is available in a number of room categories:

> Deluxe Room
> Executive Garden Room
> Premier Room
> Executive Suite
> Garden Suite
> Specialty Suite
> Presidential Suite

Butler Service is offered in all of the hotel’s Suites.

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There’s also a Horizon Club (Deluxe and Premier rooms) offering with a number of perks and privileges including use of a private lounge with complimentary continental breakfast daily, evening cocktails and canapés, light snacks and beverages served all day, Wi-Fi and broadband Internet access.

At the very high end there are six huge, four-bedroom villas each with a private swimming pool, dining room, lounge and, importantly for the locals, a garage. A note of warning: These villas may not be to everyone’s taste, especially the “Entertainment Villa” which curiously features poles in the lounge room, open jacuzzis in every bedroom and a master bedroom with an open, circular shower!

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The hotel has three pools: An outdoor swimming pool, kids pool and lap pool.

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CHI, The Spa is typically Shangri-La and offers a wonderful range of treatments and services.
There is also a hair & beauty salon.

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The dining options at the Shangri-La are many, varied and of a very high quality. The hotel’s 5 restaurants serve a range of cuisines from authentic Chinese at the signature restaurant, Shang Palace, or French at the glamorous fine-diner, Bord Eau.

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The award-winning Hoi An restaurant serves Vietnamese dishes, the all-day diner Sofra BLD has an international menu, and the elegant p&c by Sergi Arola serves traditional Spanish favourites and has a chic bar that enjoys lovely views across the water to the breath-taking Grand Mosque.

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24-hour room service is also available.

Recommended experiences
Sundowners by the pool overlooking the waterways and the enormous Grand Mosque in the distance is a lovely experience. Heightened only perhaps by a fragrant shisha.

Final word
Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri is not in the centre of town but that will certainly be part of the charm for many guests. The views across to the Grand Mosque, particularly at day’s end, are very special.

Adjacent to the hotel is a shopping precinct described as a souk – a a traditional Arabian market. It is very much a tourist-trap and was not really my cup of tea.

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Unless otherwise specified, all images belong to the resorts and suppliers showcased on these pages.
These recollections are generated by staff from the Spencer Group of Companies after they return from business or personal travel and visit the places listed. Their first-hand experience provides wonderful insights into resorts, airline offerings, cruises and local attractions. Their views are personal and by no means guarantee that other travellers will experience the same.