Last night I went to celebrity chef Todd English's Olives restaurant. I've actually heard of him because I love cooking shows and he was mentioned...somewhere. I asked my friend Dedra, to go to this restaurant with me. She says which one, I say I don't know. Then I looked in TimeOut Abu Dhabi and saw a blurb about Olives so I said, what about here. Dedra said great, where is it? I say I have no idea! So she did the rest of the research and found out it's in the Ritz Carlton hotel! Ohh la la!
Can I tell you how awesome the whole experience was?! From driving up this long, beautiful driveway, to valet parking, to walking through the lobby of the Ritz, to the restaurant itself, awesomeness!
The thing about the UAE is it's such a new country (had it's 43rd birthday this year!), that there is tons of construction going on, and also there is tons of empty space that is still desert. The Ritz-Carlton is located in one of these empty spaces. It is in a desert space with nothing else around it. The hotel is like a mini city unto itself! It is huge and is not just a hotel, but a shopping center, about 6 restaurants, a spa, and there is a dhow boat ride that will take you all the way out to the corniche or across the way to the Farimont Hotel.
And the experience starts driving thru the arches as you are greeted by a tuxoded gent with immaculate white gloves who is not even sweating in this 97 degree heat! All the employees are dressed in, I guess I would call it a sort of 18th century uniform, that have the same sort of theme but are all different and actually very beautiful and sparkly. Plus, the hotel and the employees were all extra sparkly because it's Ramadan!
After having a bunch of pretty unsatisfactory interactions with different customer service folks this week, the level of service at the Ritz was just over the top! All the smiles and greetings and offers to help, and they almost literally jumped to answer any questions we had! We were wandering around a bit because the hotel is huge and the restaurant is in the Venetian Village part of the Ritz, which is a relatively new part of the hotel.
|Outside view of the restaurant|
|We were greeted by these two ladies!|
|You can watch the chefs preparing the pasta|
|Ricotta Ravioli, yummy!|
As we were leaving, the manager and the head of front of house asked us what we thought of the food and the decor and the service. They asked us for our business cards for their collection (sadly, I don't have one, but Dedra did). And when Dedra asked about validation for the valet, the head of front of house was so apologetic that they did not have that service yet and he pulled out his cell phone and added valet service to his to do list! Then he took our valet card and said he would check on our car for us. We were talking to the employees for awhile and then we said, ummm, where did he go. And she said he will be back don't worry. He came back and not only did he have the valet price waived, he had our car delivered practically in front of the restaurant so we didn't have to walk all the way back around the hotel! Talk about 5 star service!
All in all, it was a marvelous experience and I will definitely return!!
See you soon (I hope!)!!