The Splash garden Image Credit: Supplied

First-time visitors may be forgiven for thinking that they have arrived at a very modern youth hostel when they first enter the Aloft Hotel. It's the billiards tables, big-screen television and eye-catching contemporary paintings in the lobby area.

Ideal option

Located at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec), the hotel is only five kilometres from the airport and about 12-15 kilometres from various main areas that are part of the city. This is an ideal option for those who have just touched down in the country and want to freshen up as soon as possible and those who would like to do some quick excursions to Abu Dhabi's downtown areas for some exploring and shopping.

Positive energy seems to fill every corner of the hotel. Perhaps it is because of the many open spaces, the cheerful colours or the upbeat lounge music. One thing is for sure — you will find yourself walking with a spring in your step.

Space-specific designs

But at the same time, there are indications that remind you that this is a hotel that caters primarily to business travellers. The standard Aloft room is an exercise in maximising space efficiency while at the same time retaining the element of comfort, with additions such as wireless internet and a minimedia hub in each room, which allows you to use various electronic devices — something I found both useful and fun as I experimented with using the flat-screen television as a giant computer screen!

Having decided to spend a weekend exploring this semihidden gem of a hotel, I was not disappointed. My first foray into the hotel's restaurants was through its poolside café, Mai, for a delicious dinner. The weather and lovely night-lit pool were the perfect backdrop for an evening that sped by and before I knew it, my body was aching for the hotel's comfortable bed.

The next morning, having overslept, I headed down to the self-serve re:fuel. With a wide selection of snacks and beverages to choose from, I felt as though I was back at college. I chose my "brunch" items (fruit salad, a couple of sandwiches and the oh-so-essential coffee) and headed off to the pool.

Once there, I fell in love with the poolside couches and spent many an hour throughout the weekend just lazing in them, with the gorgeous pool, complete with olive trees, and the sunny sky above me.

That is, before forcing myself to go back to the room and freshen up before heading down to lunch at Dine, the hotel's international restaurant.

Afterwards, a proper tour of Aloft's various facilities was on the agenda. The multicoloured motif is evident throughout the building, which not only made me feel more energetic but the various facilities, including the gym, aptly called re:charge, also ensured that all the needs of guests are met.

And when evening falls, it is easy to see why one of the hotel's main attractions, Relax@12, has become popular with visitors and residents alike. Located on the 12th floor, the full-floor lounge, which is divided between an outdoor and indoor area, is a blend of relaxing wicker and funky infusion-inspired furniture, respectively.

People can choose between a breathtaking 360-degree outdoor view or a modern-chic indoor lounge with large windows that continue the "open space" theme of the hotel.

As the night wore on, I savoured the final vestiges of the UAE's mild winter and contemplated my invigorating stay before the sandman decided to coax me to the world of dreams once again. However, the next day, invigorated by the thought that I only have a few short hours before having to check out, I set out to capture some rays of sunlight at the pool before the work week began and I was cloistered in the office again. A blink later and it was time for me to bid adieu to my rather unique stay at Aloft.

While tempted to check out using the self-service portal, I decided instead to go the traditional route and a few short minutes later, was on my way out of the door — but not before jumping on the hotel's giant bean bags dotted around the ground-level entry way and the corridors of Adnec for one final foray into the lighter side of life.

Types of rooms

Aloft Room

This is a spacious 420-square-foot room with free Wi-Fi, 42-inch LCD TV, plug 'n play docking station, walk-in shower and amenities by Bliss Spa.

Splash Room

This is a spacious 420-square-foot room with all the amenities and is located on the higher floors with great views over the Splash pool.

Breezy Room

This offers a spacious 420-square-foot room with all the Aloft amenities and is located on the highest floors with fantastic views over the Adnec centre and the Capital Marina.

Sweet Suite

This offers all the features of the Aloft Rooms besides a living space. At 538 square feet, extra seating lets you cosy up or enjoy some lounging.

Breezy Suite

Breezy Suites, 560 square feet, have all the features of the Sweet Suite, with even more space and great corner views over the ADNEC Exhibition Centre, Capital Centre and the Capital Marina


w xyz bar

Meet over cool beverages and for hot conversation at the ever-abuzz w xyz bar. The fun flows freely with speciality sippers, plus a snack-attack menu, mood music and can't-miss events.


Dine offers live-cooked international cuisine, including pastas, burgers and sweet dishes.

Mai Café

Offering Arabic delights and healthy bites, this is the perfect spot for a leisurely lunch. Enjoy oversized beach chairs and lounge pods for two, complimented by an eclectic mix of tunes.


Treat yourself to delightful sushi and exotic bites. Catch the breeze at the terrace and enjoy the sunset over the city before hitting the dance floor.


This is a self-serve gourmet eatery full of mix-and-match meals, salads, sandwiches, make-your-own cappuccinos and snacks. It's a great place to find your fix when on the road, available 24x7 or even delivered for a great treat.