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Marriott Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi

Five-star luxury in the heart of the Arabian desert.

From Brazilian jiu-jitsu to falconry to Formula 1 Racing, Abu Dhabi has made a serious name for itself on the world’s sporting stage. As a result, it’s only fitting that Abu Dhabi’s newest five-star hotel was built in what is perhaps the Emirates’ finest sports complex: the Al Forsan International Sports Resort.

The five-star hotel in question, however, isn’t a Ritz-Carlton or a St. Regis, but rather one of their sister properties: the Marriott Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi.

Located half an hour outside the city centre and featuring 400 rooms and suites plus a bevy of destination amenities, the incredibly luxurious Marriott Al Forsan Abu Dhabi is fit for even the most discerning Sheikh. From the moment you enter the airy, expansive marble lobby—complete with show-stopper floral arrangements that wouldn’t be out of place at the Four Seasons George V—the property impresses with its sleek, modern decor.

Custom-built to be part of the massive 1.6-million-square-foot Al Forsan International Sports Resort—which is itself located only steps from one of the royal residences in a luxurious neighborhood—the complex at large is where sports-loving Abu Dhabians can participate in activities including horseback riding, wakeboarding, waterskiing, motorboating, shooting, racecar driving, archery, and tennis. Also on-site at the world-class facility: an equestrian training academy, polo fields, 169 stables, and an eco-friendly 800-seat indoor arena.

After guests finish a day of high-octane activities, they need somewhere suitable to rest their head, and the Marriott provides a posh pillow, indeed.

The 400 rooms and suites are just as stylish as the main areas, with boldly coloured design touches, modern art, Middle Eastern-inspired fixtures, and state-of-the-art electronics, including Vegas-style push-button controls for curtains and lights. Many rooms include walk-in closets and balconies with city views for miles, while the white marble bathrooms feature both deep soaking tubs and high-pressure spa showers, with the type of excellent lighting made for Instagram selfies, ample sink space, and yes, a bidet (this is the Middle East, after all).

Featuring 400 rooms and suites plus a bevy of destination amenities, the incredibly luxurious Marriott Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi is fit for even the most discerning Sheikh.

Six restaurants and bars on-property—don’t worry, alcohol flows freely—means it’s possible to never leave the complex. (Although not exploring Abu Dhabi would be a shame as the city is home to several must-see spots, including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the highly anticipated new Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World, and cultural haven Saadiyat Island, future home of the Louvre Abu Dhabi.) There’s also a circular, open-air lobby lounge, serving coffee, tea, and artfully-displayed treats in clear jars.

As befits the hotel’s sports associations, the Marriott Al Forsan features a palm-tree-laden and immaculately kept 50-meter Olympic-sized pool—one of the largest in the whole of the UAE.  Business travellers will feel at home—there’s a sleek Club Level, with free drinks, food, Wi-Fi, and workspace—but for guests visiting with large families in-tow, there’s also a sprawling outdoor kids zone splash area and adventure play space, plus an indoor kids’ club featuring a TV room, Xbox consoles, a reading room, and an interactive play area.

Meanwhile, those hoping for extra pampering can unwind in the Saray Spa, a destination spa complete with private marble hammam, nine treatment rooms, a couple’s massage room, steam room, and an extensive treatment menu including massages, full body exfoliation, facials, reflexology, paraffin manicures and pedicures, and waxing.

The hotel is a jewel in the crown of Marriott’s larger push into the luxury space. Following last year’s $13-billion merger with Starwood, Marriott is now the world’s largest hotel company and earlier this year announced an aggressive $2-billion growth plan that calls for the opening of one hotel approximately every 14 hours over the next three years. (Presumably, not all as luxe as the Al Forsan.)

One of Marriott’s newest initiatives is brought home at the Marriott Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi—the hotel recently partnered with TED to host talks exclusively for guests. Five global TED talks are being held in 2017, including in other cities such as Seattle, London, Bangkok, and Santiago. The content will then be piped into rooms, accessible on the flat-screen LED TVs in rooms and above the bath.

Despite the glitz and glam, it’s ultimately about the little things at the Marriott Al Forsan—particularly, the minute attention to detail. While the hotel is flush with the sort of high-end touches luxury-loving Emiratis expect, the well-trained staff, comfy beds, and top-notch service ensure a maybe-stay becomes a firm must.

Marriott Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi, Street 12, Khalifa City A, Abu Dhabi, UAE.


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