Affordable Luxury Accommodation at The Southern Sun Hotel, Abu Dhabi

It is most unusual for me to select two different hotels in one city let alone for just a three night break. I am not one of life’s hotel hoppers but my Mother probably summed it up best when she said in horror, “You’re going to the Middle East – in May?!” What she was insinuating, sharply, was the moment of madness that must have presumably engulfed me to have arranged a visit at this time of year to a part of the world, renowned for its unbearably high temperatures.Tsogo Sun Abu Dhabi hotel decorHad I forgotten the lethargy I suffered as a child in those temperatures in Saudi Arabia, where she would carry me up the two flights of stairs to our apartment, so floored was I by the heat? Had I forgotten the streaming nose bleeds I suffered when my capillaries dilated predictably, standing in the face of the scalding, summer sun. I suppose I had and when she reminded me, I realised that much of this trip would be spent indoors, just as much of my early childhood was during the summer months for similar reasons.Southern Sun Hotel lobby

And thus, all of a sudden, the hotels became more important. Do we stay in the Corniche (rather like Abu Dhabi’s main strip) or venture instead to a hotel with more of a resort feel? In the end, I decided to do both and this was the absolute steal of a hotel we stayed in, right on the Corniche, proving that you can find affordable luxury accommodation in great locations with a bit of research!

The Southern Sun Hotel, Abu Dhabi

Tsogo Sun are the Africa-based management behind the high-rise Southern Sun Abu Dhabi and when you see what they’ve done with this bit of land here, I hope you’ll see how (at the time of publishing this post), they have managed to climb up into the Trip Advisor rankings to number 3 hotel in Abu Dhabi.Southern Sun Hotel lobby

For starters, let’s walk into the seemingly never-ending plush, glassy lobby, where a cool flannel and welcome drink helped revive two flagging Brits!

Straight ahead of me in the lobby, was a cabinet full of decadent desserts on sale. They say you should know your audience and these guys obviously know me! Certainly impressed so far.desserts Southern Sun Hotel Abu

After the two hour, water-less queue for immigration at Abu Dhabi airport, I cannot tell you what a joyous feeling of relief it was to be led out of the lift by the Southern Sun Hotel staff into our enormous sophisticated room and throw ourselves like weary tramps onto the flawlessly pressed, crisp, white linen.Southern Sun hotel room Abu DhabiThe bathroom was something I was rather curious to see, as I had heard a lot about this. As you can see, there is a textured glass screen separating the sink and bathtub area from the main bedroom. A similar surface is seen on the shower cubicle door but worry not, the toilet is well and truly private (as it always should be in my opinion!) Southern Sun Abu Dhabi hotel bedroomIf this is a little too caring and sharing for you, some guests have requested the hotel to put up a shower curtain, which I believe they are quite happy to do.bathrooms Southern Sun Hotel Abu Dhabi From a purely design and aesthetic point of view, I found it quite novel but it’s perhaps not a set up you would embrace if you were bunking in with your parents!

We checked in at approximately 10pm and were quite concerned that by the time we freshened up, it would be too late to dine in any of the hotel restaurants but they had no hesitation in welcoming us to their dimly lit Middle Eastern (and sushi!) restaurant as I was craving the local cuisine. Kahraman restaurant Baklava Southern SunThe lobster kibbeh was an indulgent first foray into our trip but unfortunately, I haven’t got a photograph of its colourful interior, which was far more photogenic than the exterior, as I was starving and ate the whole lot before I remembered!lobster kibbeh Southern Sun HotelWith breakfast taking place in the glamorous interiors of their award-winning steak restaurant and underneath the pearl-like linear decorations suspended from the high ceilings, even my bowl of porridge and fresh fruit felt fanciful. The Foundry Restaurant Abu Dhabihotel breakfast Southern SunThough in truth, with such an enormous choice available at the breakfast buffet including cooked breakfasts, Indian, Greek, Middle Eastern and continental, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get up for another plate (or two.)Foundry steak restaurant Southern Sun Abu DhabiBreakfast isn’t automatically included in room rates for a lot of Abu Dhabi hotels but I would highly recommend paying the extra to enjoy the huge spread here.Sun Hotel sandwiches breakfast buffet

And if you want to enjoy it on an island table surrounded by water, that can be accommodated too!breakfast restaurant Southern Sun

One afternoon, we sat in a cosy cabana on the hotel terrace to enjoy a dip in the rooftop pool.rooftop pool Southern Sun Abu Dhabi hotel

For the lay folk among us (and I certainly never claim to be an authority figure on this), the mind boggles as to how hotel star ratings are generated. After our speedy and efficient checkout, I sat there wondering how on earth this could possibly not be a 5 star hotel, even when comparing it to several other 5 star hotels I have stayed in and reading the reviews, it seems many others have left with a similar verdict.decor interior Tsogo Sun Hotel

If you have ever have discounted a destination like Abu Dhabi on the premise of accommodation costs for example, it is worth taking a look at the Southern Sun for an affordable luxury experience at suprisingly reasonable prices and if you have a glimpse at sites like and you may find rooms starting from as little as £55-£60 per night.

Disclaimer: We received reduced media rates for review purposes but I am opinionated little lady (particularly when I arrive at a hotel tired and hungry) and all views, good or bad, are entirely my own.

26 thoughts on “Affordable Luxury Accommodation at The Southern Sun Hotel, Abu Dhabi

  1. Looks like a lovely hotel – you’re write up made me chuckle as I regularly eat all my food up before I remember I haven’t take a photo for blogging purposes! lol

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 12, 2015 — 11:18 pm

      It was a great find for somewhere so plush yet affordable Keri and yes, I’m fine when I’m not starving as I usually remember in those instances but catch me when I’m starving and time and again, I forget. Glad to hear I’m not the only one :mrgreen:

  2. I like the look of that island table surrounded by water, did you try it out? I’d definitely like to visit Abu Dhabi

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 12, 2015 — 11:25 pm

      I liked Abu Dhabi – the mosque especially is stunning. We didn’t try that table Suze – it was available for breakfast but we got into supremely lazy holiday mode and ended up choosing the tables inside that were nearer the buffet! :mrgreen:

  3. So beautifully luxurious – this is definitely going onto our ‘must-visit’ list!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 12, 2015 — 11:29 pm

      It really was Emma and it’s hard to even find hostels at that kind of prices in some parts of London so it’s excellent value! The contrast between the air con inside and then stepping out in the afternoon heat was a bit of a shocker though :mrgreen:

  4. Looks very good. There are so many amazing hotels in Abu Dhabi. It’s hardly believable how good the value for the money is in the UAE 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 12, 2015 — 11:35 pm

      I completely agree Moritz! I was so surprised at how far tourists’ money can go in some of the hotels in Abu Dhabi! Really enables people to stay in some fantastic properties that might have been unaffordable in other countries!

      1. That’s it! Moreover, service and interior at most hotels in the UAE are a leve above what is offered in Europe and America, too. Such an amazing country!

  5. it looks great but not a fan of the glass between bathroom and room!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 17, 2015 — 10:07 pm

      Haha, yes I’m sure it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea!

  6. I wouldn’t of been able to resist the desserts in the lobby. The room looks very spacious, but I would definitely not like to stare into the bathroom. I can see where that would be a problem if you were sharing a room with someone. The breakfast spread looked delicious with many selections to choice from. If I travel to Abu Dhabi one day I will certainly look into staying at The Southern Sun Hotel.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 17, 2015 — 10:10 pm

      Thank you Carmen! I struggled to resist the desserts too as they looked so tempting but yes, I think the bathroom would definitely be a little awkward depending on who you were sharing a hotel room with! Abu Dhabi seems to offer excellent value accommodation!

  7. That hotel looks absolutely amazing and the price is very reasonable! The architecture of the lobby is so cool and so different. Plus, the food looks delicious, the room sounds inviting, and the pool area looks pretty awesome!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 17, 2015 — 10:11 pm

      It was a great all round hotel for such bargain prices Constance! Here in London, a hotel like this would be ridiculously costly! I quite liked the glassy lobby too! Thanks so much for reading ☺

  8. Love the look of that lobby (and the pastries!) and the rates are so good. Did you get to visit the mosque while you were there?

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 17, 2015 — 10:20 pm

      I did indeed Suzanne – the beauty of the Grand Mosque was beyond anything I could have anticipated! So stunning! The hotel rates in Abu Dhabi seem so reasonable compared to many other parts of the world – great place to be able to experience luxury without breaking the bank ☺

  9. travelingsaurus July 16, 2015 — 3:09 am

    I can totally understand the open bathroom concept, though installing an optional curtain is always a good idea (like when I travel with my mom…). But the open toilet thing is just bizarre to me.

    We were just talking about potentially a stop-over in Dubai during next summer on our way to a tropical isle, but I just can’t decide if it’s better to wait until the heat subsides. While I do better with heat now (everything is relative!), I still have the propensity to turn into a whining, heat-rash covered mess. Decisions, decisions.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 17, 2015 — 10:57 pm

      Hehe, Heather I’m pretty similar in the heat and would have been a bit of a whinging nightmare if we had been out much as May was pretty hot but so many of the attractions etc were indoors so it was actually alright. I’ve not really visited Dubai so will definitely look forward to hearing your take on it! We also stooped en route to tropical islands – we went to Seychelles, which islands were you thinking? ☺

  10. Good work Shikha. Keep it up.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 17, 2015 — 11:00 pm

      Thank you so much for the support and the kind words ☺ Really appreciate you taking time to read some of my posts!

  11. Great review – comprehensive and informative (and funny too – I would be exactly the same with the food, forgetting to take pictures until I after I had scoffed it!!).

    I’m heading to Abu Dhabi in a few months, so this is useful for me – thank you!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 23, 2015 — 9:12 pm

      Thanks so much for the kind words Tim! I’m thrilled to hear you found it useful and yes, I learned that in moments of hunger, even my blogging passion lags behind my stomach :mrgreen: There are so many options for accommodation in Abu Dhabi, which made it trickier to decide but this place was pretty impressive when considering what was on offer for the prices being charged. Hope you enjoy your trip and I look forward to reading about it hopefully!

  12. I like a hotel that has a lobby full of desserts. It’s just good sense. I can’t handle heat either, I wilt and faint and generally make a nuisance of myself 😉 XD

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) August 1, 2015 — 7:48 am

      Oh gosh, I’m glad I’m not the only one! I’m such a dying swan in the heat – totally hopeless and useless to anyone! Our whole itinerary pretty much was focused around air conditioned buildings 😁

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