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Review: Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi
Thanks for continuing on around the world with us as we celebrate my mom’s surprise 75th! We just left Dubai and made our way via Uber to Abu Dhabi. Miles and I wanted my folks to see Dubai and enjoy the World’s Highest High Tea, but also wanted them to experience THE BEST first class products the world had to offer, and that meant they had to fly the Apartment, and one of the easiest routes to find space is from Abu Dhabi to London. We couldn’t come through Abu Dhabi and not see the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and you can’t get a location better than the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi.
The resort footprint is massive with a large main hotel structure, villas, and a village area with various restaurants featuring world cuisine.
- When: April 2017
- Where: Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
- Loyalty: Marriott Rewards
- Status: Platinum
- Rate: 30k per night, per room
- Benefits: “ breakfast”
We were greeted by porters and escorted to the Elite desk where our Platinum status was acknowledged. Marriott Rewards Platinum status guarantees club level at a bevy of Marriott properties ( including JW Marriotts which is why we chose it in Beijing over the Ritz), but the Ritz does not guarantee those benefits.
The front desk clerk told us that instead of he couldn’t give us club access, but he would give us breakfast served downstairs at the buffet. I thought this was a nice hat tip, and was appreciated. This ended up turning into a problem…One that I wrote an entire post about. The following morning when we arrived to the buffet we were told it wasn’t part of our rate. Ultimately, it was honored, and you can read about the details in my other post, but it turned into a 30-45 minute ordeal that never needed to happen. It was never something we expected until it was offered…anyways.
We had adjoining rooms and they were both large with fantastic bathrooms. My room had two beds and there was PLENTY of space, so much so that they put a loveseat between the beds. What a great idea. On the desk was a welcome note and a little treat. My first impression… 30k points is a steal. Both rooms had small balconies overlooking the pool and the canal.
I love Asprey products and I left a generous tip the first night we were there…
Visiting Sheik Zayed Mosque
There are shuttles running throughout the day that the hotel provides. If you end up missing one, the taxi fare is cheap. It’s roughly a 5 minute drive.
Another quirk…The concierge.
I wrote an entire post about this as well. We tried to schedule Afternoon Tea at the Emirates Palace and was told that we couldn’t – they were booked up, but they could do a tea at the hotel. However, when I called the Emirates Palace myself I got a reservation. Hmmmmm.
It certainly wasn’t worth the drama over it being free or not. It certainly didn’t compare to the JW Marriott in Beijing, and personally I feel is weak for a “Ritz.” The physical serving stations felt tired, and the food was good, not great.
Watching the sunset and listening to the sound of prayer from the Grand Mosque.
I’d highly recommend going to Li Jiang. It’s on the lower level of the hotel and has a great view of the mosque.
Would I stay here again? Yes, but because of the location and price. For 30k points, it’s a fantastic deal and you couldn’t ask for a better location for visiting the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The actual hotel, accommodations, room, etc are very nice, but we had a couple hiccups with the It’s also roughly a 20 minute drive to the Emirates Palace and Etihad Towers. I would, however, come to the hotel not expecting the traditional Ritz customer experience, and if the rate were to increase I’d go elsewhere.
Affiliate link via Card Ratings
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.