The Lonely Planet Middle East Showcases Photo Talent at the Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara
Here in the UAE there are a plethora of 5 star hotels. And being honest, having been here for 16 years on and off. A five star hotel here is a totally different kettle of fish to one back in, let’s say the UK. And having been here for so long you become a little blasé to the heights of luxury these places actually offer. The Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara is no exception. It offers the 5 star experience we ‘jaded’ ex pats expect, but you can’t fail to be awed by the grand entrance
as you step out of your car and into the bright and airy reception area. It’s a 45 minute drive from Dubai – traffic permitting – and a perfect destination for a weekend stay-cation for any residents of the UAE.
We had popped up to the capital to see some of the example photography from the Lonely Planet Contributors. There was some very nice examples on show, our particular favourite, was the shot of Ha Long Bay, North Vietnam. Probably because we had not long ago returned from that very spot. The event was intimate with pleasant company. The Goody bags upon departure had copies of the various magazines as well as some bits of paper from the hotel that kindly ensured our evening would carry on well after the exhibition was over.
Destination: Impressions – the hotels rooftop lounge. We can highly recommend the Sushi platter and Yakitori platters from Impressions. Although a lengthy wait for their arrival, the platters were very well received, as some of our party – Samantha Dancy – hadn’t eaten much all day and the hotels liquid hospitality was ‘going down a treat’ shall we say 🙂 A couple other friends had joined us for the evening as well and it turned into one of those very amusing, unplanned get togethers, in the very plush surroundings of the rooftop lounge bar. The night came to an end and our party divided and made for the ever so comfortable beds.
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and hotel breakfasts are up there as one of the best breakfasts you can get. Not least of which is usually the massive amount of choice you have. Ingredients on the Ground floor of the hotel, didn’t disappoint in this area either, with a plethora of different types of food, Western, Arab and Eastern catered too. Many fresh juices and the fresh honeycomb was a delightfully sweet treat for my freshly toasted rye bread. It seems that at some point over the last 8 years in Dubai I have turned into a coffee snob. I’ve also cut out milk and so a Long black or Americano or Espresso is my coffee of choice. I’m not sure who stocks Eastern Mangroves, but it definitely didn’t taste like a cup of instant granules! 3 cups later (they were small ones) and my coffee fix for the day was catered to.
Time to hit the pool. You can see the pool through the huge windows in reception and I had been looking forward to making use of the facilities ever since having clapped eyes on the pool as we checked in. As we weren’t staying for the Friday night, we decided to see if a late check out was possible. Those little things that you notice that really make your stay memorable, often come unexpectedly and writing this out, it seems so insignificant, but it made an impact. Before heading to the pool I approached the check in desk. The gentleman behind the desk, who I had seen yesterday for a total of 1 minute to sign the check in form, greeted me by name. I know the hotel wasn’t extremely busy, but Mr Shayan on reception you made my stay. Not only for the personal greeting, but for your flexibility and positive approach to everything. Thank you.
The rest of the party had made it outside and secured some sun beds. As I got out there some more small touches that set the hotel apart was, the provision of the bed towel to lie on, the rolled towel as your pillow, the fact that they guys set this all up for you. Then bring you an ice cold towel as well as sun glass cleaning towelettes and your complimentary lavender scented cooling spray (two bottles still in the fridge as very handy for the trips to the beach) The late check out afforded us by Mr Shayan meant we could stay out by the pool until just before 3pm, enjoying the cool water and the serene view over the Mangroves to the city in the distance.
We didn’t unfortunately get a chance to get on the Kayaks or the Stand Up Paddle boards, but we will I am sure be back to try these out. Keep an eye out for Ramadan offers and special summer rates for residents and get yourselves down there to experience ‘another’ 5 star luxury hotel – with a very pleasant personality.