We stop the car in front of the hotel, unsure where the valet area is, because there’s no typical driveway. We’re greeted with a grin by the friendly bell captain, who helps me with my bags and escorts us to reception, as well as arranging for my car to be parked.
The hotel, which opened in November, is beside Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and an assortment of hotels. When I stay, there’s no exhibition on, so it’s fairly quiet, but during exhibitions, especially the big ones, the place is probably buzzing.
The Arjaan brand comprises hotel apartments of varying sizes. I’m staying in a premium one-bedroom suite, which is 78 square metres and has a separate bedroom, living and dining rooms, study area, fully equipped kitchen with a washing machine, and a bathroom with a fabulous tub. The colours are fun purples and green, and the suite is light and bright. The Wi-Fi is good and free for online bookings.
Although well-meaning, the service is a bit slow at times. Check-in takes a while, despite the hotel not being busy, and we wait an hour for dinner one evening, even though the restaurant is relatively quiet. Having said that, the staff are incredibly friendly, and pick up on small but important details, such as my friend’s gluten intolerance.
The lobby is modern and stylishly decorated in neutral colours, with high ceilings and lots of natural light. The hotel is quiet when I stay, so most of the atmosphere is concentrated on the hotel’s two restaurants – Aroma Lobby Lounge, which has outdoor seating and serves refreshments and light snacks; and Tamarind, an all-day dining restaurant that offers international cuisine. The gym is small, but has enough equipment for a good workout. I find it quiet in the mornings, but popular in the evenings. Adnec is across the road, making this a convenient place to stay during an exhibition or event.
I eat breakfast and dinner at Tamarind, which has a relaxed vibe and a clientele who seem to be more long-term stays and business guests than holiday makers. For dinner on the first night, I choose the corn-fed chicken breast (Dh110) from the à la carte menu at Tamarind. The chicken is tender and flavoursome, served with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, artichokes and new potatoes. There’s a buffet for breakfast (Dh87), which has the standard breakfast items, while diners can also order eggs. Both mornings, I order poached eggs, and am pleasantly surprised to discover that soya milk is also available for my coffee.
The friendliness of the service, the size of the room and that enormous bathtub.
The confusion at the valet parking area and the hour-long wait at dinner.
A spacious, comfortable and conveniently located hotel with everything you need for long-term or business stays.
The bottom line
Classic studios at the Capital Centre Arjaan by Rotana (www.rotana.com/capitalcentrearjaanbyrotana; 02 495 4444) cost from Dh347, including taxes. Premium one-bedroom suites cost from Dh811, including taxes.