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A Royal Affair | Royal Rose Hotel Abu Dhabi

When working in within a highly toxic environment, staycations are needed to maintain your sanity and on this weekend, in early October, Habibi and I needed time away.

Sometime in September, we happened upon Royal Rose as we were leaving dinner nearby. I must admit that I’d never paid attention to it during daylight hours but its evening curb appeal is magical.

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See how it stands out among the others.

We were both very excited to get there, kick off our shoes, and indulge in all that a 5-Star Hotel is supposed to offer.

Of note, valet was fast and friendly which allowed us to get into the hotel straight away.

Upon entering, Habibi and I had very different impressions.

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Hababi thought, “Wow” and on the other hand I signed and mumbled, “Man this is cheesy”.

I didn’t want to get bent out of shape too quickly, but the lobby was just too gaudy for my tastes. In my opinion, when going for such an ornate look, you can’t skimp on quality. It was apparent that many of the furnishings were repurposed with lower quality materials. The trimmings on the tables and chairs looked spray painted and instead of hand painted designs on the columns, it looked like discount store wallpaper. Also, according to reviewers on Trip Advisor, the hotel carried a soft rose scent, hence the same. There was a scent but I wouldn’t label it rose, fermented flowers maybe.

After a short wait, we proceeded to reception to check in. The receptionist was pretty cold. I tried to engage her a bit but she was still desert dry. I believed it pained her when I couldn’t find my Expedia print out, though it’s not necessary upon check-in. She finally got herself unflustered as I found the sheet of paper because obviously her computer failed her. After being annoyed for what seemed like forever, we headed up to our room and wanted to kick back.

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My initial impressions of the room were a bit more favorable than the reception area.

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The desired style of the hotel is Arabian Royalty. A guest would definitely get the theme but may find other things deep in the folds of the wrinkled sheets. I don’t know if I’ve ever gone into a fresh room with such wrinkled linens. At that point, I really doubted that this was a 5-Star Hotel as listed. Importantly, attention to details matter in ratings, particularly in areas of comfort, style, and craftsmanship. Simple things like poor quality of linens, with allergens, can ruin a guest’s stay. Other details were missed as shown in some of the photos.

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The Roberto Cavalli Toiletries were a nice touch but they didn’t make up for the leaking shower and hints of mold. The shower had great heat and pressure though.

Of course, after we showered and prepared to relax on the first evening, I had to have a go at in-room dining. The menu was a bit sparse so Habibi rolled with the biryani and I had a burger.

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Habibi, yes.

Me, ehh. The burger was tight and stiff and dry. I picked at it for a few, hammered away the fries, and settled into my bad mood for the remainder of the evening. You see, it wasn’t turning out to be a great staycation after all.

Since it was prepaid with my Expedia points, we rocked on.

The next morning, we opted for in-room dining again. The American-Breakfast was much better and very generous. It was enough to feed a least three adults. So, please consider that when ordering.

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Thereafter, we were quite full and happy. We went up to lounge by the pool and for Habibi to take a swim (after his food digested some). However, the pool area was a bit disappointing and underwhelming.

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Sigh.

By this time, I nearly want to cry. This staycation was proving to be just as much of an annoyance as the charmers that drove me here to begin with. We decided to skip the pool and hang out in the room until it was time for Habibi to go to mosque.

Thereafter, it was time for brunch and I’d really hoped for the best, really I did.

Friday Brunch, what can I say?

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Friday’s Brunch offerings, set up, and dining space nearly sent me over the edge. In short, it was horrible. Out of all of the selections, none of it was appealing to me. At that point, I would have eaten at McDonalds. I’m not sure who the intended market is but having 98% fish dishes couple with a few rice dishes is a no go. On top of all of the other tantrum worthy items, the chicken dishes were dry and there was no lamb or beef to be found.

Awful, just awful I tell you.

Overall, I was disappointed with our stay and pretty pissed that I used the last of my Expedia points on this place. We could have very well stayed at one of the other true 5-Star Hotels in Abu Dhabi. I definitely can not recommend this as a five-star stay, but if you find a sale akin to a 3-star rate, this just may work out.

*Disclosure.

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