Staycation spotlight: Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi
A five star beachfront property packed with Arabian charm…
Set on a long stretch of sandy beach, it’s hard to believe your still within the city at Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri. This beacon of luxury has been welcoming guests for some 15 years to its scenic perch on the waterfront of Al Maqta Creek, effortlessly fusing Arabic accents with Shangri-La’s DNA as a luxury hospitality provider. A white and golden palace from the outside, inside you’ll find a well executed array of restaurants, and an aesthetic that feels charmingly traditional without being dated.
The look and feel
This traditional beachfront hotel is filled with beautiful Arabian accents that make it feel like a true treasure in the capital. Arabic coffee and dates are offered on arrival, double height archways and mashrabiya latticework are regular design features, and complimentary abra rides are a scenic way to pop to the nearby souk.
While just across the water construction has slightly obscured the prime views of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, its iconic outline is still visible from the gardens and beach.
The food and drink
The culinary calibre is high here, with Sofra bld, the traditional all-day dining restaurant, putting on a decadent, all-encompassing buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast spread has something for everyone, with omelette’s cooked-to-order, an array of fresh fruits and even a chocolate fountain all part of the extensive offering.
Off Sofra bld are a duo of signature restaurants; Hoi An and Shang Palace, the latter of which is a must-visit for fans of Chinese cuisine. It’s small but inviting, dimly lit with Chinese lanterns and finished in dark woods and various shades of crimson. The menu goes beyond traditional Chinese fare to include flavour-packed options such as a punchy Sichuan hot and sour seafood soup, sizzling pan of “Ma Po” tofu, and stir fried scallops tossed in black pepper sauce.
Casual dining options also include a grand lobby lounge and a pool bar that serves up fruity sips and serves perfect for toes-in-the-sand sundowners. The rooftop club lounge is an ideal spot for a mid-afternoon snack or pre-dinner drink for those that book club access rooms.
The private beach stretches for 1 kilometre, making it one of the best stretches of sand in the area. It’s lined with loungers shaded by parasols, and there’s plenty of places to perch up if you want a more secluded spot. A duo of swimming pools – one stretching towards the creek and flanked by a thatched roof beach bar – are also on hand to keep guests cool on sun-drenched days.
Ideal for those looking to snap up some souvenirs, a traditional souk next door sells everything from trinkets to Arabic Ouds, and you can reach it either on a short stroll, or hop aboard an Abra boat and sail the waterways that surround the hotel. It’s in the souk next door that you’ll also find a small but well-equipped gym, and the CHI spa, which comes with a yoga studio, rooftop pool and sauna.
Even entry level rooms at this five-star property are grand and spacious. The decor is in keeping with the Arabian allure of the property, with huge marble bathrooms, elegant dark wooden furnishings and sandy-hued interiors. A big writing desk offers space for those travelling for business or ‘bleisure’, and all rooms boast a well-appointed balcony or terrace. Ours benefitted from scenic views of the creek, while others come with pretty views of the waterways.
Summer daycations and staycations
The perfect long weekend escape, check-in at Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri for three nights this summer, and you’ll only pay for two of them. The luxe hotel will also throw in daily buffet breakfast at Sofra bld, a late-check out at 3pm (subject to availability) and children up to 12 stay for free. Room rates start from an average of Dhs550 per night.
Prefer to daycay over a staycay? From June 1, Shangri-La’s Day in Paradise package includes day access to the pool and beach, a tasty platter and either a bottle of house wine or bucket of beer for Dhs208 per person.