Staycation at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi

This weekend, I got to spend a weekend relaxing, for once, at the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island. The decision was very last minute, but we felt like getting out of Dubai and seeing one of the other Emirates.

I have never been to the Park Hyatt in Abu Dhabi, but have been several times to the Dubai branch to use their dining and spa facilities (and also to attend a wedding there). The Park Hyatt Dubai is beautiful from the moment you get to the entrance and valet. I expected the same when we got to the Abu Dhabi Park Hyatt, but unfortunately it doesn’t have the same authentic arabic charm as its Dubai counterpart.

When checking in, we encountered the strange demand of giving AED300 as a “deposit”. We are used to being asked to give our credit card details, so they can use it to deduct all expenses when we check out, but this was something new and slightly annoying. We gave a credit card to pay the deposit and to also settle the room bill and went on our merry way to the room. The room was lovely. Everything I have expected from Hyatt properties on my travels. We took a ground room floor which had a balcony overlooking the garden and pool.

Dinner choices are limited at the hotel so we choose the Park Bar and Grill. Fortunately I had an Entertainer Voucher to buy 1 get 1 free main course so we could splurge a bit on the meal :). The food was delicious and the service fantastic; one waitress from South Africa was especially kind and helpful.

The night should have been joyous in the comfortable bed, but there was this bizarre dripping noise above us for the whole night. It was intermittent so couldn’t tell if it was due to pipes, a leaky bath in the room above or if it was between the ceiling and floor of the two rooms. It was truly irritating.

The next morning we spent chilling out at the beach and in the room. It would have been better if we had not received text messages from the bank at stupid o’clock (more of that soon).

Also we didn’t receive our complimentary newspaper. We couldn’t understand how they could forget a simple thing that they offer as a service!

At midday exactly, we started getting calls and knocks on the door that we had to check out..NOW! The hotel had obviously ignored the requests we had made in the booking which included “Late Check Out”. The hotel was not busy at all so they could have let us stay an hour or two, but nooppppe we had to leave pronto.

Now back to the text message we got. Remember we gave the AED300 at the start? Well after that we had a meal and a few drinks as obviously we were staying at the hotel. Well that deposit was used up so the hotel decided that rather than waiting for us to check out and check the total bill, that they would charge us immediately for any expenses we made during the stay. Plus they were deducting at silly o’clock so we were being awoken by the phone beeping. We were so angry.  At the hotel desk, we complained about the method of taking money off us without us check the final bill.

The reasoning by Park Hyatt (the Manager decided to join in to defend their position – quite condescendingly if I say so myself), was that they had a new policy that they would block the amount on our credit card as and when we used their facilities. The actual amount would not be deducted until we had checked out they assured us. The reality was that they weren’t blocking the amount, they were automatically deducting from our card as and when they felt like it. I have been to Hyatt hotels globally and other hotel chains, but never heard of this nonsense.

They were treating us like potential thieves who were planning to do a runner out of the hotel without clearing the bill and also they were deducting us for amounts we were unable to verify first. They may have deducted amounts which were not related to our room. If you have dealt with banks in the UAE, you know how much of an ordeal it is to get refunds for amounts that are falsely taken from your account or credit card.

The attitude and behaviour left a very bad taste in our mouth. The apologies were insincere. In the end, we viewed the bill, signed and left very angry. Because of the behaviour at this Hyatt, I have no desire to go to another one unless there are assurances that we will not be be treated like this and will receive better service from a 5* hotel.

What has been your experience with the Park Hyatt’s you have visited? Would love to hear your good or bad stories.

Update 12 October 2015 – I have received an apology from the hotel with regards to the complaints above. The policy on getting a deposit and then deducting as and when is supposedly an citywide policy in Abu Dhabi. I find it hard to believe this can only happen in one city in the country. It was good of the hotel to acknowledge my blog post and feedback from their survey.  

Would be interested to know if others have had to deal with the same payment/deposit policy in Abu Dhabi. 


© 2015 Shelina Jokhiya | All rights reserved – This post is provided for the convenience of Shelo’s Cheeky Rantings readers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited.

The Chedi @ Muscat

When I thought I was going to leave Dubai and the Middle East I created a bucket list of places I still hadn’t been to and decided to do as much as possible before I left. One of the places on the list was Muscat and in particular the Chedi.

I flew on Fly Dubai as it was the cheapest and its an hour flight; so I wasn’t going to spend loads on travelling. The flight was good but shame they confused us by saying the flight was due to be delayed for four hours!!!

On arrival I paid 5 rial for an entry visa (as a GCC resident you get a discount which is a bonus). To get a taxi you prepay and then have a mental Omani bloke drive like a maniac to the hotel. Once at the hotel the craziness dropped off.

This is a five star hotel so from the moment your taxi door is opened you are treated like a queen. I was asked to take a seat and was given a cold towel and a glass of orange and ginger juice. Check in formalities were done whilst I remained seated by a lovely Filipino lady. As I was too early she offered me complimentary coffee in the lounge and a wifi password to keep me occupied for a while. I also got a map of the hotel which as you can see if bloody huge.

In the lounge I could only get biscuits to nibble on but the waiter brought me loads to tide me over. Bless.

After waiting a few hours, a friend who has been here before suggested i pay the extra amount to upgrade. Upgrading would mean i would get access to the club lounge, drop off at the airport and free minibar. Plus it would mean i would get the room. So after sitting for 4 hours i finally got into a room.

The rooms were the normal 5 star standard of lovely, understated and Arabic designed. Lovely.

As quick as a flash i was in my bikini and had my beach bag ready to start exploring the 3 pools. I went in one direction and ended up in the Long Pool area. Each point of the pool had a section with a massive lounger (enough to fit 3 people) and steps into the pool. It was awesome. You could sit in the pool and the drinks would be brought to the edge to sip on whilst relaxing and topping of your tan.

After a while i went to the pool restaurant at the smaller pool area to have some lunch (Wagyhu burger and chips – when sunbathing i need a burger). Delicious and very proper.

After the meal and feeling very bloated I chilled by the Long pool for a bit longer. The whole point of this weekend was to do very little and to rest. I did a lot of that whilst on the massive lounger.

In the evening, i put on my semi fancy dress (thank god i brought it with me) and went to the club lounge for the free drinks. After a while of listening to couples chat, i went over to “The Restaurant”. Supposedly in the Top 100 list of restaurants in the world. Still feeling bloated i opted for Prawns in corriander (see picture) and also sashimi. Two starters might be weird but it was what i needed. There is another restaurant by the beach but with the mossies in love with me, i thought it best to stay away from there.

Being alone, the rest of the evening was spent chilling with my ipad and being lazy.

The next morning not planning very well, i sat by the beach after a lovely breakfast. At 12 I had the grand plan to go to the souk in Muscat, but of course the souks close from 12-4 in the Middle East so instead my lovely taxi driver took me to Muscat City Centre. It is the same as Deira City Centre in Dubai but smaller. I had lunch and then left there very quickly. I had the taxi drivers number so he picked me up from the mall and we organised for him to come and get me to take me to the souk later.

After checking out, i went to “The Spa” (yep they were clever with the names of stuff in the Chedi) and had the hot stone massage. To say it was painful would be an understatement but it did clear the really tight muscles on my top and lower back. Unfortunately the middle part of the back suffered for the next few days after. The spa was different in that there was no joint changing room, but you changed and got ready in each spa treatment room (each room contained a shower and toilet as well). It was like being in a hotel room with a massage bed and spa bath.

Finally after that i went to Muscat old town and saw the souk for a few minutes, buying the famous delicious halwa (saffron and regular) and some buqur (frankincense) for my parents.

Muscat is what you wish Dubai would be. Arabic designed everywhere even on new flyovers, growing but not high rise and with gentle kind locals. The locals work as taxi drivers, in shops, etc so you can talk to them to get an idea about the city. Even on a weekend the roads were quiet. The souk was old school with a covered warren of lanes with stalls selling various arabic things for locals and tourists. I wished i had planned better.

It is crazy to go to another country to stay mostly in a 5 star bling hotel but it was nice to get out of town. The only downside was the couples in the hotel. It was full of them; all staring as if us single people (3 in total) were freaks. Smug couples should remember that they could break up and that the grass might be greener on our side. Also a few unsubtle staff members at the hotel did ask if i was alone and then made a slight face. It’s not cool. Otherwise I had a lovely weekend away and highly recommend going to Muscat.