In November 2015, I spent three nights at the Courtyard by Marriott World Trade Center, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. I was in town after taking the inaugural flight of the KLM Boeing 787 Dreamliner from Amsterdam. The Courtyard Marriott is located on Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street (5th Street), in the city’s Business District. It sits directly next to the towering World Trade Center building.
Built in 2014, the property is one of the newest hotels carrying a western brand in Abu Dhabi. It is one of only two Marriott-family properties in the city, the other of which is the brand-new Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal. The Courtyard primarily attracts business travelers, but tourists stay there as well. For the purposes of my trip, the hotel’s location and amenities far exceeded my expectation, given the relatively low rates of approximately $100-$150 USD per night. This Courtyard embraced a higher quality of design than properties of the same brand in the United States. Its recent construction also ensured that my room was fresh and modern. In this blog post, I will review the wheelchair accessible accommodations and features available at the property. I will also offer some insight into what my experience was like, as a traveler using a power wheelchair.
Checking-in to Room #502
My reservation was for a standard room with a king-size bed and roll-in shower. Check-in went smoothly, and the staff were very courteous. I was assigned room #502, on the hotel’s 5th floor (of 12 total).
The hallway leading to my room was wide, accessible and very aesthetically pleasing. The door to my room was more than wide enough for my wheelchair to pass through, and could be unlocked with just the tap of my keycard. The door swung into the room and to the left. It was not a heavy door, and could be easily pushed open.
The room was very spacious, and featured a king size bed. The bed was comfortable, with a pillow-top mattress. There was space for my wheelchair to pull along both sides of the bed, which sat a bit higher than the seat of my wheelchair. The bed was flanked by nightstands on each side. Power outlets were within easy reach of the bed. I charged my wheelchair here, using my step-down power transformer. If you plan to charge a powered wheelchair or scooter while in the United Arab Emirates, be sure you are familiar with different power voltages abroad. As a warning, the hotel does not presently have a step-up/step-down voltage transformer, but I have recommended to management that they purchase one for guest use.
Although there was a lot of space in the room, the area containing the sofa, desk and flat-screen television was not well designed. In fact, it was cramped. Sitting in front of the sofa is a coffee table, which can be easily repositioned/moved. Just under the TVis a mini-bar, but the sofa’s protrusion from the wall made accessing the mini-bar extremely difficult.The desk is otherwise of a nice design, and I was able to roll my wheelchair underneath it.
The Courtyard Abu Dhabi Hotel has a well-designed, wheelchair accessible bathroom with a roll-in shower. Pictured above is the sink, with plenty of room for the wheelchair user’s knees. Also pictured above is the roll-in shower, which is open to the rest of the bathroom. It features a shower seat that folds down from the wall, as well as fold-up/fold-down grab bars that enclose the space. The handheld shower head is attached to the wall, along with the water and temperature controls. A soap tray is also affixed to the wall next to the shower chair. Water drains through the floor, but standing water can be an issue. The lack of a shower curtain also makes it a challenge to protect mobility equipment from inadvertent water blasts.
The toilet design was really the highlight of the bathroom. It sits next to a wall with grab bars, while the opposite side has adequate space for a wheelchair to roll alongside. This makes an easy and safe transfer possible. There is a backrest behind the toilet, and a fold-down grab bar on one side of the toilet. Toilet paper is within easy reach, as is the bidet shower (also known as a “bum gun” or “butt hose”). A telephone and emergency intercom button is also located on the wall next to the toilet.
Dining & Local Area
During my stay, I ate several meals at the hotel, which has three restaurants of its own. There is a deli on the lobby level, a more traditional restaurant on the 12th floor, and a rooftop bar.
Pictured above is the quintessentially American dinner – a cheeseburger and fries. I had this meal at the Bistro restaurant on the 12th floor. I also enjoyed breakfast here on two occasions, which was served in a buffet style.
I did not spend any time at the rooftop bar, but I did see that the space is accessible. The rooftop pool does not have a lift or hoist for wheelchair users, which was disappointing. The view from the rooftop was especially nice at nighttime.
The hotel is connected directly to the World Trade Center Mall, which contains a host of retailers and dining options. There are also a number of ATMs and a currency exchange.
My time in Abu Dhabi was meant primarily as a time to recover from the long journey from the United States to Amsterdam, Bahrain, and ultimately the U.A.E. The Courtyard by Marriott World Trade Center Abu Dhabi served as a great home base for me to relax for a few days. The hotel is located in an extremely convenient location, with all of the necessities within walking distance. The concierge was able to reserve a wheelchair accessible taxi for all of my transportationneeds – including the 90-mile taxi ride to Dubai. The hotel staff were friendly and helpful, and the room was adequately accessible. I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at the Courtyard Abu Dhabi again in the future.