Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi
The Hyatt Capital Gate was the first just Hyatt branded hotel outside America, located in the United Arab Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The hotel is a marvel of modern engineering (there was even a National Geographic program made about its construction) and it dominates the area of Abu Dhabi where it is situated.
The hotel consists of 189 rooms (including 22 suites), each of which is unique in shape. Throughout the hotel, you are aware of how extraordinary the structure is - the building leans 18 degrees, over 4 times as much as the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Hyatt Capital Gate has 5 food and beverage outlets and a fantastic spa and fitness centre. We loved spending time in the infinity pool on the 19th floor - we visited the hotel in August and always had the pool terrace to ourselves. For people worried about the heat, we didn't find it oppressive in June or August, but we would advise working out in the air-conditioned gym (with fantastic views) rather than going for a run!
The hotel is just 15 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport or a 60-90 minute drive from Dubai. Although it is located in primarily a business district, next to the convention centre, the hotel is also in a good location for tourists - just a quick taxi ride from the Corniche or Grand Mosque.
Capital / Executive Suites
If booking or upgrading to a suite, we would recommend either telling the hotel what you want, or viewing multiple suites if you are unhappy with the first as layouts are so different between rooms. Capital Suites are the standard suite in the hotel - at 70 square metres and with a large separated lounge, these are a good use of an upgrade certificate but are also very affordable to buy. Some rooms have a separate powder room, so if you prefer this, make sure you request in advance.
On our most recent stay, we were generously upgraded to an Executive Suite, one of the best suites in the hotel. At 100 square metres, there was plenty of room for entertaining and a feature bathroom with infinity jacuzzi.
In all suites, guests receive an amenity of a large fruit plate, bottle of wine or non-alcoholic alternative (at guest's choice) and something sweet - on our last stay decadent dark chocolate-dipped strawberries. For longer stays or a special occasion, we would definitely recommend upgrading to a suite, but for shorter stays the deluxe room is perfectly adequate, light and airy.
Spa and Leisure Facilities
After seeing the couple's treatment room, we couldn't resist booking a treatment. We started with a bath - the spa baths have colour changing lights and are controlled to keep the water warm. We had never had a bath in a spa before (feeling that it was a waste of money when there was one in the room). However, we are now converts as the bath was so relaxing and a great start to our treatment. We followed with a 1 h massage. The therapists were highly skilled and we both fell asleep during the treatment (always a good sign).
The changing rooms in the spa are beautiful and in addition to offering private changing areas, lockers and the usual amenities, also have a sauna and large experience shower. Unfortunately, as is usual in the UAE, these facilities are segregated, so we spent most of our time in the infinity pool. We were impressed on going out to the pool terrace, that a member of staff immediately appeared from inside to help with setting up the loungers, bringing towels and offering a drink (cold water is complimentary). Every so often, we were offered chilled towels which were very welcome. Amazingly, we never had to share the pool terrace with any other guests. If the hotel was busy, the pool is small and may feel a little crowded. However, as the hotel is mainly a business hotel, this is unlikely to be an issue, especially if you time your visit to the pool during the day.
The standard upgrade for diamond members of Hyatt Gold Passport is a deluxe room. However, this is also one of our favourite hotels to book a suite - the paid rate is very affordable and, as you can see below, the suites are well appointed.
All rooms in the hotel are individual due to the unusual shape of the building. Deluxe rooms are spacious with a great bathroom (large egg-shaped bath and separate rain shower) and both city and sea views. Coffee machines are standard in all rooms, along with plentiful good quality toiletries.
On our first stay, a few years ago now, the service was fine but not impressive or personal. There were a few gems amongst the staff, but the majority seemed inexperienced. However, the team has grown together since those early days and on our most recent stay in 2016 it was like a different hotel - everyone was friendly and flexible and the staff seemed really happy. A few years experience and a new GM seemed to have worked wonders.
The hotel has a number of food and beverage outlets, including Profiterole on the ground floor, offering sweet and savoury pastries; Lounge on the 18th floor, serving drinks, snacks and afternoon tea; Prive, which serves both as a break-out room for meetings during the day and a sports bar in the evening, and 18 degrees, the main restaurant where breakfast is served. There is also a bar on the terrace by the pool.
We enjoyed breakfast on the terrace outside the restaurant, which offered the typical hotel continental and cooked breakfast with a local flavour. We also ate in the main restaurant for dinner, which was very good quality. We enjoyed watching the show kitchens and the menu offered a great choice of small and larger dishes, organised by country of origin. Due to our dietary requirements, a special menu had been prepared by the chef for us in advance - local fattoush salad, beautiful piece of venison and chocolate dessert. Special items were also made available at breakfast such as camel milk in four flavours, sheep yoghurt and gluten-free bread - we were very impressed by this personal service and attention to detail. A "must try" here is the turkish coffee, which is presented on a wonderful velvet cushion, along with chocolates, all very decadent. If you visit during Ramadan, we highly recommend the Iftar buffet - one of the best in the city offering so much choice of high quality food. The camel milk ice cream was a particular highlight for us.
The Hyatt Capital Gate is an iconic building which is worth visiting in itself. The hotel is beautifully styled with great facilities. On our most recent stay, the service was personal and attentive, a marked improvement from previous stays. We strongly recommend having a treatment in the spa, but if you are on a budget, we would suggest eating outside the hotel. There is not a lot to do in the area around the hotel, so budget for taxis, or perhaps split your time in Abu Dhabi between Capital Gate and the Park Hyatt on Saadiyat Island.