Overview of the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal

Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal

The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal is a resort located right next to Abu Dhabi’s Grand Canal. | By Charlie Lewis

The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal Hotel is a prestigious destination found on the eastern cusp in Zone 1. It’s right by the Grand Canal and within easy walking distance of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

It features 532 guest rooms, and I would consider it a luxury hotel. It blends Venetian flair with traditional Middle Eastern elements to create a sophisticated and unique vibe.

The 52-acre property seems huge, but it’s well-planned. Most of the people staying here are wide-eyed tourists who come to immerse themselves in the glamor and glitz the space offers. However, well-off locals also stay here.

Overall, the hotel caters more to adults, but it does feature a Ritz Kids program, so it’s family-friendly, too.

How I Booked the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal

I booked a Venetian Room, Guest room, 1 King, in the Venetian Village with a free night certificate valid for hotels costing up to 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points from one of my Marriott credit cards. The hotel was charging 34,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for the night we wanted to stay. This hotel almost always costs over $200 per night with points rates typically in the range of 30,000 to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Marriott points can be earned with the following credit cards, and many of the cards offer certificates valid for a complimentary night costing anywhere from 35,000 points to 85,000 points:

  • Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful™ Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

Marriott allows you to increase the value of your certificate with up to 15,000 additional Marriott Bonvoy points from your account, so even if you only have a certificate worth up to 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, you can still stay at this hotel most nights by making use of the additional points.

Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal Location

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is under 15 minutes walking distance from the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal, which is manageable even in Abu Dhabi’s extreme heat. It’s also possible to take an Uber or Careem, and the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle. | By Charlie Lewis

The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal Hotel is found on the eastern border in Zone 1, which overlooks the Grand Canal waterfront. It’s a centrally located hotel, and it’s directly opposite the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is a main attraction in Abu Dhabi. You can take a hotel shuttle there, or you can take an Uber or Careem. It’s also possible to walk there in about 15 minutes, which is what we did. It’s not so bad even in the UAE’s extreme heat.

One of the highlights of this hotel is its Venetian Village, which is found on the grounds and is about five minutes away by foot from the main building. It features beautiful architecture, snaking cobblestone streets and a central plaza.

Best Parts of the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal

shaded pool

The shaded pool area is a magnificent touch for a hotel in such a hot destination. | By Charlie Lewis

Before visiting a new hotel, you want to know everything about it, including the perks and benefits. There were many things to enjoy about the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal Hotel, but here were our favorites:

  • Stunning Views and Relaxing Atmosphere—You can’t help but relax when you arrive because the staff is so attentive, but that’s only part of it. The views are absolutely stunning, and you’ll feel like you’re in a storybook. It really won’t seem real, but it is. I often wanted to pinch myself because I truly believed it was all a dream!
  • Shaded Pool Area—Want to go to the pool but don’t want to be in the sun? It’s no problem at the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal, which offers shaded areas in the pool.
  • Personal Touch—The staff went above and beyond at the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal Hotel. I felt like royalty because everyone learned my name quickly, they asked if I needed help, and they really made me relax and unwind while I was there.
  • Eco-friendly Options — This hotel is trying to change the world, and it brings joy to my heart. It doesn’t offer Styrofoam and it provides a “save our amenities” program, which offers refillable bathroom toiletries to reduce the carbon footprint and promote recycling. There’s also a vertical farm, which just launched a few months ago. It offers fresher produce and reduces the need to transport food from other areas.
  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Close By — One of Abu Dhabi’s highlights, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, is very close to the hotel. It’s possible to walk there in about 15 minutes, but the hotel also offers a complimentary shuttle service.
  • Arabic Coffee — There’s Arabic coffee available in the lobby for much of the day.

Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal  Drawbacks

Hotels are businesses, and you expect them to run smoothly. However, I did notice a few drawbacks when I stayed at this location. They weren’t terrible, but it’s important to make a note of them to keep this review fair and honest:

  • Cleanliness Issues — I noticed a few ants and bugs in the room when I arrived. Though it didn’t bother me, it did make me wonder how they were getting in. I think the basket of fruit on the table may have been the culprit.
  • Outdated Rooms — The Ritz Carlton is well-known for being a luxury brand, so you expect certain things. However, the furniture in the rooms seemed a little outdated. The lounge pillows were slightly tattered, and the curtains seemed old. Regardless, it was still a pleasant stay!
  • No Breakfast for Elites — Breakfast is not offered as an amenity for those with elite status at Ritz Carlton hotels. We knew this going into our stay, but it’s still always a disappointment.
  • Hot HOT Shower — The shower in our room was hot and it just wouldn’t cool down! I know that it’s hot in the UAE, but I’ve never experienced the issue where I couldn’t get any cool water.

Getting to the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal

We arrived at the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal from an international flight into Dubai. We landed relatively late in the evening and took an Uber from DXB straight to the hotel so we could check in.

When the driver arrived, he was pleasant and helped me with my luggage. It was worth the price because he did all the work. This allowed me to relax after a long travel day.

Some people will likely arrive at the Abu Dhabi International Airport, and the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal Hotel is about 20 minutes away by taxi. I still recommend getting an Uber or Careem because it’s easier all around. The drivers are familiar with the area and will ensure you arrive at your accommodations effortlessly.


Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal lobby

The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal lobby is exactly what you would expect out of a Ritz Carlton. | By Charlie Lewis

The lobby is just gorgeous and gives you a sneak peek at what you’ll experience during your stay at the hotel. I felt like I was walking into a palace out of the movie Aladdin.

There was a team of receptionists at the front desk making the check-in process quick and seamless. I’d booked the Venetian Room, which is a guest room by the Venetian Village with a king bed. However, I was immediately upgraded to a deluxe king guest room.

The Venetian Room features a mini fridge, a 42-inch LCD TV, and 646 square feet of space. It included a bidet, marble bathroom, lighted mirror, 24-hour room service, complimentary bottled water, minibar and much more.

However, I was upgraded to the deluxe king guest room, which had 452 square feet of space and the same amenities. Though it was smaller, I felt like I got the better deal because it had a balcony and a stunning view of the pool and Grand Canal.

The Room at Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal

Room at Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal

The only thing we didn’t much like about the room was the glass desk: It makes it hard to use a mouse and work on the computer. Since we were only here for a quick stop, it wasn’t a huge deal. | By Charlie Lewis

The room was decorated in natural and soothing hues, and I received the king bed like I’d wanted. There was also a private balcony, which overlooked the manicured gardens, the pool and the Grand Canal.

The bathroom was gorgeous and featured a rainfall shower, a soaking tub, and two wash basins.

Overall, the vibe I got was luxurious but homey. There are tiled floors and a large rug with intricate décor. There is a beautiful, wide window that brings in natural light, but there are also blackout curtains when you want it darker.

I felt the décor was a little outdated, but there were still gorgeous pieces of furniture, such as the bar stand and the small end tables with beautiful lamps. The staff had put flowers by the beds, which was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.

Food and Drink

If you enjoy eating and drinking at your hotel, you’re in for a marvelous surprise. The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal Hotel has many options:

  • The Forge — This steakhouse offers meats from around the world and also serves fine wines. It’s only open for dinner.
  • Li Jiang — This is another dinner spot, and it features vibrant colors. It’s an Asian restaurant with an open kitchen, so you can watch as chefs prepare your meal.
  • Mijana — This al fresco (outside) restaurant features Lebanese and regional cuisines, but it’s only open for dinner.
  • Giornotte — This all-day restaurant serves Mediterranean dishes and brunch on Saturdays. It also offers an outdoor patio.
  • Dolce — This small café serves healthy foods, such as vegan and keto options.

Those who want to branch out and try other restaurants have many options:

  • Entrecote Café de Paris — You’ll find this in the YAS mall, and it has a beautiful setting.
  • Punjab Grill Abu Dhabi — This fine dining spot is within walking distance of the hotel in the Venetian Village.
  • Mazaj Bab Al Bahr — This is about half a mile from the hotel and serves Mediterranean food with a local flair.

We didn’t try out any of the food at the hotel or nearby as we arrived late at night and left after visiting the mosque the following day.


gym at the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal

The gym at the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal was very well equipped, though we didn’t have a chance to use it on our short stay. | By Charlie Lewis

Amenities are something a lot of people value in a hotel. Guests tend to want all the things they don’t have at home, especially pools! There are tons of amenities to enjoy here, including:

  • Health Club — The 24-hour fitness center is fully equipped with all the latest machines and equipment.
  • Swimming Pools — There are two pools at the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal Hotel: the main pool and the adult pool. They aren’t open 24/7, but you’ll be able to splash and play during your trip.
  • Activities — There are plenty of activities available, such as the beach day pass. You also have the football pitch and padel courts.
  • Ritz Kids Programs — The Ritz has various kid-friendly activities planned throughout the week. You can learn more by asking the hotel staff.

Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal Family Friendliness

beach on the Grand Canal at the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal

In addition to the pools, there’s a beach on the Grand Canal at the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal, which may be a fun option if you have the kids in tow. | By Charlie Lewis

Though this is a luxury hotel, it is suitable for kids and families. The main pool and beach are where I saw the most children. The hotel also offers specific kids’ programs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. You can choose a full or half-day option, and the activities focus on the natural wonders of the space.

Whether your kids like arts and crafts or prefer to play, there are many things to do for children between 4 and 12 years old, including some outdoor activities.

Final Thoughts on the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal

There’s not much to dislike about the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal Hotel. It has just about everything you could ask for. Though I did notice a few drawbacks, such as problems with the shower being too hot, the glass desk and somewhat outdated rooms, these things were minor.

Overall, I enjoyed my stay thoroughly and believe it kept me relaxed and ready for the next adventure. It’s also pretty incredible to be able to book a Ritz Carlton property for under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or with a free night certificate. There aren’t many places in the world that can be booked for that price.

There are plenty of dining options on the grounds, so you never have to leave, but breakfast isn’t included for elites. On the plus side, there are many amazing sights to see, like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.