I bit into the squishy Arabic date, and my taste buds awoke to the sweet flavor. We were offered more dates with a local Arabic tea, and heard a kind voice say, “An enchanting experience awaits you. A day like this lingers forever. And it all begins at Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri.”
We turned to meet Arbind K. Shrestha, General Manager, who welcomed us to the 214-room hotel located on the east bank of the canal between the Al Maqta Bridge and the Mussafah Bridge. After exchanging greetings, we entered the grand golden-white Arabic decorated hotel, and felt at ease. The lush garden landscapes, Arabesque designs, magnificent views of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque across the canal, and the reflections of the impressive hotel that shimmer in the pool waters were magic!
Christina Lopez, Communications Manager, gave us a tour and escorted us to our beautiful room with a private balcony overlooking the gardens and courtyard by the pool. We were ready to explore the exotic grounds and areas around the hotel complex.
While walking the pathways, our fascination heightened when we found ourselves in the hotel’s souk, a traditional Arabian market. Handicrafts, paintings, jewelry, perfumes, and Arabic sweets filled the variety of shops.
Post-shopping, we wanted to see what the hotel’s “Venetian canal” was like. Mohamed Bakr, the Front Desk Manager, told us, “The hotel complex is connected by a winding waterway featuring Arabic traditional boats, known as abras. You lie back, utterly relaxed, while the abra slowly meanders throughout the verdant garden scenery.”
We climbed into the abra, and got off at the Chi Spa stop, where we were warmly received by Vanicha Phaphoom, the Director of the Spa. Here we checked into the Yang Oasis, and then prepared to relax in the Yin Lounge. We experienced the Arabian Date Body Wrap and Asian Blend Massage. Our skilled therapists, Joy and Rachana, lulled us into a blissful state. To balance your Yin and Yang, book a spa reservation at email: firstname.lastname@example.org
After our spa treatments, we were hungry and headed to the hotel’s restaurant, Hoi An. We savored Vietnamese cuisine, where Chef Vu Dang served up an assortment of appetizers, oven-baked black cod and wok-fried sliced veal loin.
A sunset stroll on the private white beach entranced us as we watched majestic orange rays light up the river’s waters. Pampered and feeling the serenity of Shangri-La, we head back to our luxurious room, and in the distance, see the traditional Arabic domes and minarets lit up against the starry sky.
“A day like this lingers forever. And it all begins at Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi.” We nodded and agreed before falling asleep in our Arabian oasis.
By: Patricia Stone, a travel writer and consultant for www.GlobalAdventuress.com
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri for hosting us during our stay in Abu Dhabi. Also, a special thanks to EET Tours, www.eet.ae , who provided us with transportation, and a private tour of Abu Dhabi. Opinions in this article are our own.