For Koopman, the hotel is immediately set apart from the Abu Dhabi competition by its location, space and design.
The mantra of location, location, location certainly rings true at Eastern Mangroves; it’s the first landmark you see driving from Dubai over the Sheikh Zayed Bridge into Abu Dhabi, it’s close to the airport and the corniche, and sits opposite the neighborhood housing Abu Dhabi’s elite, meaning the core market of embassies and government business is right on the doorstep.
On this Koopman is clear: Eastern Mangroves is a corporate, government hotel, and everything at the property is geared around meeting the needs of these particular guests and the Abu Dhabi locals — for which Anantara aims to be the preferred hotel.
There are extensive leisure facilities, all part of the Lifestyle Club, but these are designed primarily with the requirements of in-house guests in mind.
For a corporate hotel, the location is enviable, set on the banks of the Eastern Mangroves, nature is a whisper away and the landscape is what inspires the interior design — of which water features form an integral part.
A mangrove pattern occurs in various guises throughout the hotel — from patterns made from mangrove roots on carpets in the corridors to the mangrove leaf on the hotel logo — and Arabian elements also feature heavily, with lots of symmetry, repetition and mashrabiya.
Golds, cappuccinos, sands and caramels dominate the colour scheme with accents of colour highlighting specific areas. Overall, the design is clean and uncluttered, luxurious but subtle, with an emphasis throughout on quality and generosity of space.
As we walk the building, Koopman pulls back plastic coverings and protective wrappings to enable me to feel the walls, embellishments, doors and details — quality of material is evident in the weights and textures of the structure and finishings.
His passion for the property is infectious, and the knowledge Koopman and Darwiche bring of the design and Arabic culture is inspiring — the pair walk the site three times a week and as we go, they make numerous observations and pass instructions to various contractors following in hot pursuit. The project is alive, and this team clearly live and breathe every detail.
Koopman is keen to emphasise that investment “has been generous but not silly, over the top like you see in some of the developments here”.
As if to explain, he recalls a friend’s comments upon seeing the guest rooms, which start at 65m² in size. “A friend who is a company chief executive officer said to me: ‘if I stayed here, I would feel like I was in luxury but I wouldn’t feel like I was wasting my company’s money,” says Koopman, summing up the elegant but understated feel of Eastern Mangroves.
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