The Novotel Abu Dhabi Gate offers modern rooms, friendly service and great amenities including a beautiful pool, gym and several very good restaurants. The location half-way between the airport and downtown is a mixed blessing – with nothing in walking distance, but everything 20-30 minutes away by taxi. Read my Novotel Abu Dhabi review to find out if this could work for your stop in Abu Dhabi!
Location: The Novotel Abu Dhabi Gate is located halfway between the Abu Dhabi Airport and downtown. A taxi ride from the airport is 20-30 minutes and the ride to the Corniche or downtown takes about 30-40 minutes. That makes the Novotel reasonably close to everything, but not really close to anything. You’ll have to eat at one of the hotel restaurants – or get a taxi to pretty much do anything in the city.
If you are – like me – on a short stop-over and not really sure what you want to do, the location is convenient and made my early departure easier. And Abu Dhabi is somewhat like Los Angeles – it’s far from a walking-city, so you’ll have to drive anywhere. But if you plan to spend time on the beach, see the historic sights and do some shopping, I’d prefer a location closer to the Corniche or downtown for my next trip!
Service & Rewards: My welcome to the Novotel Abu Dhabi Gate was warm and friendly. I arrived early in the morning and my room, as expected, was not ready. But the front desk went out of their way to take car of me and allowed me to have breakfast at no charge to spend my time while waiting for housekeeping to finish. They did acknowledge my Accor LeClub Platinum membership (which I believe contributed to the great service), but an upgrade was not available. I did receive a voucher for a welcome drink at any of their restaurants. The front desk also provided information about the hotel and Abu Dhabi with a personal touch. Housekeeping did a good job with my room, leaving it thoroughly cleaned with all supplies restocked and everything in good working order each day!
Room: The Novotel features a new room decor and is held in beige and brown tones with some colorful, blue touches. The bed has a high headboard with a frame of backlighting. The bed was comfortable with sheets of high quality, although there were only two pillows. A sofa with side table is by the window and can double as a single sofa-bed for a third person. A small desk with chair and an integrated, wall-mounted TV are across from the bed, so you can enjoy some entertainment or get work done. I like the fact that it has a built-in shelf for marketing fliers, so they don’t clutter up the desk.
An open closet has an (empty) mini-fridge, a laptop size safe and coffee/tea facilities. Ths closet has enough space for clothes for 1-2 people.
The bathroom is large and offers a fully glass enclosed shower and the toilet on one side, the sink with plenty of space for your toiletries in the middle and a separate deep soaking tub with another shower fixture and a partial glass wall. The mirror is large and has a surrounding light strip, so it’s bright enough. Standard Novotel toiletries are offered, although I found the towels to be on the thin side for this category of hotel!
The free WiFi internet was reliable and consistently fast at an average speed of 5.1 Mbps, never dropping much below that. It’s great to get work done, stream video or make VoIP calls.
Restaurant & Amenities: Because of the location, you’ll need to rely somewhat on the hotel offerings, fortunately there is enough of them. The pool is large and beautiful, with a large resort-style pool and a small kiddie pool next to it. You can order drinks and food from the pool bar & restaurant next to it, making a day of lounging pleasant (photo courtesy of Novotel website).
For a more active day, there is a good-size gym with cardio and weight equipment for a full workout. (photo courtesy of Novotel website).
The main restaurant serving breakfast is beautifully set, with large windows looking out over the canal. The high ceiling, flowing curtains and chandelier make it feel very upscale, probably the nicest restaurant I’ve seen at a Novotel.
The breakfast buffet offers a broad selection of food, with lots of cereal, yogurt juices and fresh fruit, as well as bread and pastries, cold cuts and cheese as well as hot dishes. There is a make-to-order egg station that makes excellent omelettes.
The Novotel is co-located with an ibis hotel and the complex has three shared restaurants: A coffee shop that opens early, the Belgian Beer Cafe and Gabbiano Italian Restaurant.
I tried Gabbiano’s my first night. It had a steak special that night, which was a little lost in translation (well, from English to English…). It was all you can eat steak, which is the perfect meal for me – and I was expecting bite-size samples to eat my way through the various steak dishes. To my surprise, it were each full steak meals, so I gave up after two of them! Both were delicious and the elevator creaked noticeably when getting my back up to my room.
On my second night, I tried the Belgian Beer Cafe and was more cautious with my order. I tried a Belgian beer (I know, I know… I’m German – how could I??) and a sandwich with chips – it looked great and tasted great, no complaints.
Service in both restaurants was friendly and casual. The prices were comparable to other restaurants in Abu Dhabi, so you didn’t pay a penalty for being a “captive audience”.
Bottomline: At a rate of $77/night, the Novotel Abu Dhabi Gate offers modern rooms, friendly service and great amenities with several restaurants, a pool and gym. The location is a mixed bag, somewhat close to everything and not really close to anything. It’s good value for a short stop-over, but I’d probably pick a hotel near downtown or the Corniche for a longer stop-over – or an airport hotel for a short one-night stay. You can find current hotel rates here!
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