Review: W Abu Dhabi Yas Island
I stayed at the W Abu Dhabi Yas Island during a recent trip to the Middle East, as I popped over to Abu Dhabi for a few days in between attending the World Cup in Doha.
The W Abu Dhabi Yas Island is a revamp of the former Yas Viceroy hotel. Upon its refresh, it became the second W hotel to open its doors in the UAE, following the W Dubai The Palm.
As an iconic landmark on Yas Island and the first hotel to span a Formula One racetrack, the W Abu Dhabi Yas Island was very much a property that I had been eyeing for a long time prior to this long-awaited visit.
W Abu Dhabi Yas Island – Booking
Cash rates at the W Abu Dhabi Yas Island typically fall between 600–800 AED ($220–300 CAD) per night for a standard room. During the summer months, you can expect cash rates at the lower end of this range, but otherwise, they’ll tend to lean toward the higher end.
An award booking at the W Abu Dhabi Yas Island typically hovers around 32,000–41,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, with the average falling somewhere in the middle.
This property is indeed quite reasonably priced on points. With our valuation of Bonvoy points at 0.9 cents per point (CAD), redeeming points can certainly be advantageous, especially when cash rates are higher.
Likewise, this property can be an excellent opportunity to take advantage of a topped-up Free Night Award worth 35,000 points, with rates consistently falling below 50,000 Bonvoy points per night.
This is precisely the route I took, burning a Free Night Award and topping it up with an additional 7,000 Bonvoy points.
Keep in mind that W Abu Dhabi Yas Island participates in Marriott Luminous, which is Marriott’s preferred partner program. By booking the W Abu Dhabi Yas Island through an authorized travel advisor, you’ll enjoy elite-level perks such as free breakfast, a $100 (USD) hotel credit, room upgrades, early check-in, and late check-out (subject to availability) at the same rate you’d find by booking directly with the hotel.
Book a hotel stay with Prince of Travel through Marriott Luminous and enjoy exclusive additional benefits at no cost to you, including:
- Daily breakfast for two guests
- Room upgrade, subject to availability at check-in
- Early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability
- Welcome amenity
- $100 (USD) property credit at select properties
- Third, Fourth, or Fifth Night Free at select properties
W Abu Dhabi Yas Island – Location
As its name might suggest, the W is located on Yas Island, one of Abu Dhabi’s man-made islands connected to the mainland via a bridge.
It’s nestled directly at the curve of the Yas Marina Circuit in the island’s entertainment district, between the Formula One racetrack and Yas Marina.
The immediate area has established itself as a major tourist hub, packed with a diverse mix of leisure and entertainment, just minutes away from the W.
The Yas Parks encompass Ferrari World, Warner Bros World, and Yas Waterworld, all of which are a five-minute drive north of the hotel. The Yas Mall is conveniently located nearby as well.
If you’re keen on exploring these attractions on Yas Island, the Yas Express is a complimentary shuttle service which conveniently stops at the most popular attractions on the island.
For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the entertainment district, Yas Beach is a five-minute drive south of the W Abu Dhabi Yas Island. Here, you’ll find the beach, pools, private chalets, and an array of dining venues and restaurants.
From Abu Dhabi International Airport, it’s only a quick 10-minute drive to the W, making it quite a suitable choice if you’re passing through the UAE capital on an overnight layover.
W Abu Dhabi Yas Island – Check-in
Due to the limited availability of flights between Abu Dhabi and Doha, Jessy and I took separate flights, so she arrived at the hotel and checked in first.
The W Abu Dhabi Yas Island has a striking presence. The façade is bold and futuristic, with an illuminated veil covering the glass structure.
The hotel is made of two towers, one inside the racetrack and one in the marina, connected by a glass bridge that jets over the racetrack.
Stepping inside, I was met by an imaginative lobby decked out in a signature W style.
In 2019, the hotel’s public spaces went through a refurbishment to better reflect the modern development and direction of the W brand.
Much of the design draws upon regional influences, along with touches of Formula One-inspired décor throughout.
There are four check-in desks to the right, depicting “oil drops” inspired by the country’s economic history, whilst the wall behind is decorated with pegs as an ode to pearl divers in the region.
Adjacent to the check-in area, there’s ample jewel-toned seating with velvet upholstery dotted around The Roastery, the hotel’s lobby café.
W Hotels are known for their incredible suites, so naturally, I had applied a Suite Night Award to my booking and was able to secure a Fabulous Suite. This was the highest room type available via Suite Night Awards, characterized by its impressive Formula One racetrack views from the balcony.
(Indeed, as one of the most iconic hotels on the island, directly situated on the Formula One venue, bookings here can get incredibly hotly contested during the Formula One weekend.)
I was then informed of my privileges as a Titanium Elite member, and headed up to our Fabulous Suite, which was situated in the hotel’s main building.
W Abu Dhabi Yas Island – Fabulous Suite
Upon entering the suite, I was greeted by the same futuristic style of the hotel’s exterior. The furnishings and design were minimalistic, with sleek jet-black flooring contrasted by light upholstered furnishings.
A desk is at the forefront of the living area, adjoined to a large column in the room and strategically positioned facing the floor-to-ceiling windows.
I appreciated that the desk was equipped with ample universal chargers for convenient connectivity.
To the right of the desk is the pantry equipped with a Nespresso coffee maker and a minibar with light snacks, as well as alcoholic and soft drinks in the mini-fridge.
On the far side of the room is a small dining table for two with vintage-style chairs.
The seating area comprises a small couch paired with a modern coffee table. Mounted on the wall opposite the seating area is the flat-screen TV.
The suite features a small half-bathroom with a marble vanity and a stylish vessel sink. A regular toilet and bidet are discreetly housed behind a half wall for added privacy.
Immediately to the left at the suite’s entrance is a compact kitchenette with a microwave, sink, electric kettle, and well-stocked cabinets.
Continuing further into the suite, the bedroom is equipped with a comfortable king bed, a small chair, and secondary flat-screen TV.
The views afforded from this Fabulous Suite’s balcony are pretty incredible. The balcony wraps around the living area and the bedroom with fantastic views of the Formula One track below from multiple vantage points.
However, given how high up this Fabulous Suite is, the veil which covers the façade of the hotel creates a fair bit of obstruction. Thus, a Fabulous Suite on a lower floor may offer a clearer view of the tracks.
Drawing our attention back to the suite, there’s a spacious walk-in closet with ample storage space, complete with a plush robe and slippers.
Just off the bedroom is a well-appointed, stylish, and spacious main bathroom. Upon entry, you’re greeted by a tasteful stone-clad walk-in shower to the left and a dual-sink vanity to the right.
Tucked at the bathroom’s rear is a free-standing oversized circular bathtub, thoughtfully positioned by the floor-to-ceiling windows for views of the circuit.
This Fabulous Suite bestows a true W-style suite with a very distinctive and stylish appearance, but also with excellent functionality.
The suite had everything we needed for a comfortable stay, complete with a desk, living area, bedroom, oversized bathtub, and ample space, while the floor-to-ceiling windows, despite the partial obstruction, offered impressive views of the racetrack below.
W Abu Dhabi Yas Island – Wonderful Room
I also had the chance to tour a few other base-level room types, including a Wonderful Room with twin beds.
The room was spacious, with a pristine and airy colour scheme among contemporary furnishings, sleek floors, and walls.
Opposite the twin beds is a lengthy curved desk equipped with a Nespresso coffee maker and two mismatched seats.
A beautiful wooden accent piece complete with the flat-screen TV and mirror is a striking focal point in the room.
Positioned by the windows are a plush brown sofa and a glass table, accentuated by two metallic artworks hung above.
The bathrooms offer a single vanity and oversized tub to the left and right, respectively. A walk-in shower is located at the back, and the toilet is concealed behind separate frosted glass doors.
It’s worth noting that some of the rooms at the W Abu Dhabi Yas Island face the racetrack, while some face the marina. The hotel has two separate buildings connected by a hallway, so overall, there’s quite a range of room types to choose from.
The Wonderful Room also embodied the W brand, with an additional touch of warmth achieved through bronzed and brown tones.
Overall, the guest rooms at this W property are perhaps a tad subdued compared to the newly refurbished public areas of the hotel, as well as compared to some of the other, more boisterous W properties around the world.
Perhaps a refresh to the rooms would bring them in line with the hotel’s vibrant public spaces and further elevate the guest experience, but I wouldn’t call it an urgent need either.
W Abu Dhabi Yas Island – Breakfast
Breakfast is served buffet-style at the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, Garage, on the ground floor near to the lobby from 6:30–10:30am.
As a Titanium Elite member, breakfast was complimentary, so we headed downstairs the next morning to partake in the buffet.
The restaurant has ample seating both indoors and outdoors, ranging from large communal tables to regular four-person dining. The interiors evoked a street food atmosphere, with some stations mimicking food trucks.
There was a good range of international breakfast items, such as sambar, vada, samosas, and upma, and a selection of Asian-inspired dishes, including fried noodles and dumplings.
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Western hot items included porridge, beans, eggs, hash browns, roasted potatoes, waffles, pancakes, and roasted potatoes.
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On one end, there’s a wide selection of bread, pastries, and jams available.
Then there’s an assortment of dips, spreads, chutneys, and a salad bar.
You’ll also find your staples of cured meats and cheeses, cereal, yogurt, and an extensive fruit display with exotic options.
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I thought the breakfast offered at Garage was very impressive. The buffet was quite generous and varied, spread across many different cooking stations throughout the restaurant, and we walked away from breakfast feeling full to the brim.
W Abu Dhabi Yas Island – Dining
The hotel has three restaurants, a bar, and a café, all located on the ground floor of the main building.
Amici is the hotel’s Italian eatery, open for lunch and dinner. The restaurant offers a casual dining setting with numerous chef specials and aperitivo offerings in the evenings.
Angar provides a more upscale dining experience with a sophisticated contemporary atmosphere, better suited for an evening or night out. The restaurant offers a twist on traditional Indian cuisine.
The Living Room, a signature space found in all W Hotels, is swanky and dynamic, with interplays of eclectic patterns and textures adorning the walls, floors and furnishings.
The design was inspired by tales of a desert botanical miracle, where high rainfall leads to the flourishing of native flora.
The W Lounge, located in the Living Room, is open from 6pm to 1am, with three separate bars and a resident DJ.
Energetic plush seating lends splashes of colours, which vary from bench-style arrangements to bright red booths accentuated by bronzed caging.
The Roastery is located in the lobby and is open from 9–12am. The small café offers specialty coffees and unique brews that are carefully crafted for any coffee aficionados out there.
I stopped by and had a smooth and velvety cappuccino with a well-balanced flavour.
Furthermore, there’s an outdoor terrace with ample seating directly adjacent to the Formula One race for prime views of all the action.
The terrace is accessible from the restaurants, where we enjoyed a burger and caesar salad from the Garage.
There’s a central shallow pool as a water feature, which was creatively decorated and displayed the FIFA World Cup at the time of our stay.
W Abu Dhabi Yas Island – Pools
The rooftop WET Deck is located on the 19th floor of the main building and is home to the swimming pool, sun deck, and bar, which offers cocktails and an in-house DJ.
The pool is spacious, separated into an upper and lower area with ample loungers dotted around. There are individual sun loungers and then larger daybeds in assorted sizes.
The bar at the WET Deck has a colourful and funky chic vibe, as do the daybeds, with splashes of colour and unique shapes and designs.
A secondary family pool is located on the ninth floor of the second building.
W Abu Dhabi Yas Island – Other Facilities
The hotel’s facilities are also located in the second tower, among the larger suites.
The FIT fitness centre is large and well-appointed, with a diverse range of equipment. The fitness centre has two sections, one with cable machines and free weights for strength training, then the cardio equipment and weight machines are dotted along the windows.
There’s ample natural light that floods in through the windows, which is always pleasant when working out, and you can take in views of both the racetrack and the hotel’s pool.
Additionally, locker rooms, saunas, and steam rooms are accessible through the gym.
The spa at the hotel comprises two-stories and looks out over the marina. There are nine treatment rooms, and then a couples massage room and hammam.
The hotel has a few other unique amenities. The W Store is the hotel’s unconventional take on gift shop merchandise displayed between large illuminated metal loops.
You can also find a full range of hair services at the Saal Beauty Salon located directly inside the hotel.
The W Abu Dhabi Yas Island is another excellent W hotel, and I was pleased to add it to my collection of stays with the brand.
The property embodies a fusion of liveliness, creativity, and traditional Middle Eastern elements in a distinctive W style that was showcased through everything from the Fabulous Suite to the base-level rooms to the public spaces.
What’s more, the hotel’s breakfast offering was expansive and varied, with numerous cooking stations distributed throughout the restaurant.
The WET deck is a standout feature of the hotel, with an attractive and lively setting to soak up the sun or cool off while taking a dip. And of course, the views of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix circuit from the guest rooms, rooftop, and outdoor terrace are quite simply an unparalleled feature that no other hotel can match.
The W is a fantastic option for anyone visiting Abu Dhabi and looking for an energetic edge to their stay, especially if you’re redeeming points at a great value – outside of Formula One season, of course, when you’ll likely need to pay out the nose for a front-row view of the action.
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