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Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana 4.5

Abu Dhabi, Emirate of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Located on a strip of beach but also convenient to downtown
  • Rooms with deep tubs and comfortable beds; some with Gulf-facing balconies 
  • Huge outdoor swimming pool, hot tub, plunge pool, and water sports center
  • Two on-site restaurants, two snack bars, 24-hour room service
  • Beach Club with fitness center, tennis/squash courts, and steam/sauna rooms
  • Children under 12 stay free with an adult; cribs/infant beds included
  • Playground, kids' pool, and children's activities
  • Free valet parking

Cons

  • Wi-Fi not included and is expensive
  • No alcohol available on the premises 
  • Fee for breakfast

Bottom Line

The upscale Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan is a 443-room mega-hotel with its own private strip of beach overlooking the Arabian Gulf. This family-friendly property offers a host of amenities and clean rooms, but interestingly it doesn't feel quite as luxe as some of the competing hotels in the area, such as the noticeably more upscale Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche. The air-conditioned rooms don't have much wow-factor, though they do have super comfy beds and deep soaking tubs, and some have Gulf views from their balconies. Along with two restaurants and 24-hour room service, there's a huge Beach Club with a full fitness center, multiple tennis/squash courts, a Pilates studio, and one of the largest pools in the area. And while valet parking is offered free of charge, Wi-Fi costs extra and is expensive. 

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Scene

Enormous alcohol-free beachside hotel with dated exteriors and striking, modern interiors

While from the outside the hotel looks dated (owing largely to the circular drive and high-rise architecture), the stunning central atrium crushes that impression with its impossibly high ceilings that give the structure a futuristic Matrix-like feel. Contemporary art pieces are featured in the hallways on the lower levels and the elevators have a pneumatic-tube look as they shoot up toward a lovely multi-colored glass ceiling that bathes the whole atrium in light. The lobby is impressive, with its massive wooden columns, polished marble floors, huge crystal light fixtures, floor-to-ceiling windows, and live palm trees. Though it ends up dwarfed in the shadow of the rest of the structure, it's definitely a welcoming starting point for the Khalidiya Palace experience. Guests range from touring families to solo business travelers. There is no alcohol served on the premises; those looking to imbibe will have to venture elsewhere, like the nearby Eithad Towers' bar.

Location

Located in Abu Dhabi's Corniche, right on the beach

Situated in the Corniche section on the western side of the main island of Abu Dhabi, this hotel has access not only to the beach, but also the bustling downtown area. Near some residential structures as well as the landmark Etihad Towers, the property is surrounded by plenty of shopping and dining options, but a taxi ride is mandatory to get to most tourist attractions. Nearby attractions include Corniche Beach and Al Khubeirah Garden as well as Open Beach, Marina Mall, and Heritage Village, all of which are under a 10-minute drive. However, Yas Island and the Embassy District are a bit of a hike from this property and take upward of half an hour to reach. The airport is a 25-minute drive away. 

Rooms

Unremarkable but clean rooms and suites, some with Gulf views

The 443 air-conditioned rooms and suites in this hotel vary greatly in size and amenities, ranging from simple Classic Rooms to grand Two-Bedroom Suites with balconies and views of the Arabian Gulf. All feature modern amenities including flat-screen TVs with digital and premium channels, minibars (without alcohol), electric kettles, and free bottled water. All rooms have Sleep Number beds by Select Comfort mattresses with luxury linens. 

Decor is dominated by beige neutrals with some wooden furnishings, and the floors are generally covered with a mix of carpet and tile. Wall art is kept to a minimum in most rooms, but wood paneling or wallpaper add texture. Some of the higher-end rooms and suites come with separate couches and dining/living areas as well as kitchenettes with microwaves and hot plates. Bathrooms are outfitted with deep soaking tubs, separate walk-in showers, and bidets. Kids under 12 stay free with paying adults in the same room, and there are free cribs and infant beds available on request.

Features

Large pool and terrace, private beach with water sports, huge fitness center, and lots of features for families 

The hotel's star attraction is its sandy beach and adjacent pool and terrace. Though there are plenty of lounge chairs, there are also plenty of guests, so chairs can get occupied early in the day. However, there's usually room on the poolside deck, which looks out on one of the largest outdoor pools in the Corniche. There's also a hot tub and a plunge pool. The hotel's private beach is on a narrow strip and overlooks manmade sandbanks on the other side of the Arabian Gulf. A water sports center is also on the property. 

The huge fitness center -- which is part of The Beach Club and also offers memberships to locals -- has a nice gym space with circuit training equipment, free weights, and cardio machines. Fitness classes include spinning, and there's a full Pilates studio with multiple reformers. There are also several tennis and squash courts on the premises along with a ping-pong table. The Beach Club has a relaxation area with a steam room, a sauna, and a hot tub, and massage and facial services are available. 

Family-friendly features include a Kids' Creche, which often has scheduled activities for children and trained staff to oversee their care. Children can also play at a colorful kids playground and a kids' pool. For those in town for work, there's a business center with newspapers and computers available. There are also six fully equipped meeting rooms with sea views. 

A buffet breakfast is available every morning in the main dining area -- Horizon -- and it features a huge selection, but it's not included in room rates. Dining options offered throughout the rest of the day, however, can be limited, although 24-hour room service is available. Meals can also be taken at the poolside Sunset Bar, which serves a tapas menu, or in Kamoon, which offers authentic Arabic cuisine for lunch or dinner in a casual indoor/outdoor setting. The Lounge -- a majestic looking room with high ceilings, chandeliers, and marble columns -- is best suited for a light breakfast or an afternoon tea/coffee/snack break. 

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Address

Corniche Road West, Sector W-32, Abu Dhabi, Emirate of Abu Dhabi 43500, United Arab Emirates

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