Greetings from the Marriott Al Forsan
PHOTO: The media folks taking a tour of Sheik Zayed's Grand Mosque (c) Sery Kim
Yesterday was a truly action-packed day on our first full day here at the new flagship Marriott property the Marriott Al Forsan in Abu Dhabi. The hotel is large, to say the very least, a vast expanse of both indoor and outdoor space. I have gotten lost at least twice and I don't think it's quite my fault as there are two huge buildings which have been combined to turn this former Hilton property into a Marriott property.
The outdoor space is probably my favorite, with a gorgeous Olympic size pool lined with palm trees, as well as the large Lobby Lounge in the rear facing this view. Be sure to order one of their fun natural juice infused drinks such as the "Superb Colada," which is basically a pina colada except with fresh strawberry, raspberry and pineapple juice blended together with coconut cream. It tasted so fresh I ordered two within the span of three hours!
PHOTO: The Superb Colada at Marriott Al Forsan (c) Sery Kim
Another great element to the property is the Executive Lounge. Personally, I always think it is worth it for anyone to pay a few extra dollars to have lounge access. You get multiple meals included in the fee -- breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert -- as well as plenty of beverages. For someone like me who practically lives on coffee and sparkling water, I can't get enough of any lounge. I can park myself at a table to power through work while fueling myself up with enough caffeine to survive non-stop jet-lag. (I swear my body hates me and rejects my non-jet lag life because when I don't travel I gain weight, but when I do travel and am on the road I lose weight. GO FIGURE!)
PHOTO: Bedroom of my Executive Suite (c) Sery Kim
Rooms here are also quite spacious. I ended up in the enormous Executive Suite with its two bathrooms, a living room and dining room space double the size of mine back home, a king size bed, as well as a soaking tub big enough for two. Very nice.
Also, the rooms do have balconies which overlook the even vaster Al Forsan sports complex which the property resides in the middle of. Last night, actually, I was doing work while listen to folks pay European football here. I rather enjoyed it as you tend to lose these neighborhood aspects of life when you travel.
PHOTO: View from my balcony (c) Sery Kim
Tonight is the big opening party for the hotel but even if you don't get here for a big party, the hotel is plenty close to a slew of great things to do in Abu Dhabi. It's about a 20 minute car ride to the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, which took 22 years to built. Incredible architectural feat.
PHOTO: In front of the reflect pool at Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque (c) Sery Kim
Also, it's really close to the surprising cool Guggenheim museum being built here in Abu Dhabi. The current contemporary art exhibit is fascinating -- and not a bit unscary! My favorite piece is the canvas below. "Pirodactyl Over New York" was created by Niki de Saint Palle in Paris in 1962. Niki was known for putting paint on canvas with a gun, a reflection of her traumatic and difficult childhood.
PHOTO: "Pirodactyl Over New York" (c) Sery Kim
I rather liked it because of the vibrancy but also it's a kind of contemporary art which is accessible. Too often I find contemporary art to be a question of "Why is this art?" In fact, I asked the curator on a different piece of art that very same question. "Why is this art?," I said when confronted with a canvas having strictly geographic numbers on it. I'm not ashamed to ask these kind of questions because I think it helps me to understand a narrative, coming to a level of appreciation, I don't often get in my more Impressionist loving brain.
PHOTO: Outside of the Guggenheim on a super windy day (c) Sery Kim
The hotel, naturally, can help craft other places for you to visit as well and Abu Dhabi themselves are really trying to up their tourism game to get folks to come and visit. For someone like me who has never had a real desire to come to Abu Dhabi, it was an eye-opening day. The city is actually quite modern, with people running around dressed like me as well as in bright neon clothes typical of tourists in any country, and that's a very pleasant surprise. Also, I didn't feel unsafe but, then again, I was with a large group of people with plenty of protective corporate types.
More from me later from Abu Dhabi!