Saturday picnic at Shades - The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa

We are so spoiled for choice in Abu Dhabi. I am one of the biggest fans of the Lemon & Lime Saturday Martini brunch at the Westin, but they recently launched  a new concept that could offer guests even more choice when it comes to Saturdays - a picnic on the grass. Four weeks into this newest addition to the Abu Dhabi food and beverage scene, I had the chance to give it a try. 



A perfect venue

This is not a brunch. There are no walls. No chairs. It is outdoors, connecting one to the earth, something that is dear to the Westin's wellness philosophy. We live in a city of shopping malls and air conditioning. This was a welcome change. The hotel has beautiful landscaping, we all know that, but the location of this picnic was in a  less obvious part of the hotel, but still green and with trees - adjacent to the swimming pool. Mums and dads bare feet, running after their kids, playing catch. This is not a brunch. This is in a city but not of the city. 







A real picnic

What is a picnic without a basket? Or a blanket? We were given both these as we arrived. We also had a low table for our basket, and instead of chairs, a blanket and a couple bean bags. What else do you want at a picnic? Well, I can tell you what you don't want, and that is a crowd. No concerns here, and this was a key part of the afternoon for me. The day was a sell-out, and yet there were only 20 families. I looked around and saw that there could easily have been more. Emphasis here is on feeling relaxed, so I understand they have capped the number of reservations at a conservative 20-25. This is a not a brunch. 

What else do you want at a picnic? Children. A lot of children. To ensure that the kids were entertained, What's On favourite, Kidz Factory, had arts and crafts for the kids as well as games. My 9-year-old had the best time. There was something very old school watching kids do spoon and egg races, but the best was the sack race!  Incidentally, and this may have been a coincidence, I did not see a single ipad! Children can still be children. Wellness. 







Food and beverage

A basket with cold dishes greeted us - sushi, sandwiches, grilled vegetables, cold cuts,  a selection of cheeses, some Arabic mezze and salads were a  perfect way to start the picnic. We were offered a choice of a bottle of wine or beers - we went for the wine. This was over and above the chilled ice tea and soft drinks that were available throughout the picnic. 

The smell of the barbecue was too much to resist and I made my way over to get a  selection of surf and turf - lamb, chicken, prawns and chorizo sausage, just a  small part of a nice variety on offer. Fairways Restaurant Chef de Cusine Anujith and his team did a splendid job with the barbecue. His recommendation, the chorizo sausage, turned out to be extremely popular, and rightly so. And just for good measure, side dishes included pasta, mashed potato and grilled vegetables. 




Verdict

There is one thing to say about this Westin offering - Hoo hoo! People in Abu Dhabi are becoming more and more cautious with their money as things become progressively expensive. This offer will appeal to everyone. At 355 AED++ for a family of 4, you have the average price of  a brunch package per person in Abu Dhabi. Throw in pool access for the day here, and a good offer becomes an excellent one. 

But this is more than about saving dirhams and having  a pleasant afternoon. It is about having all of that in a peaceful, chilled environment with good food, drinks and that Westin ethos of wellness, reminding us that there are alternatives to bricks, mortar and technology on a Saturday. 

Young and old feeling skin on grass - priceless. 

The Essentials

Saturday picnic at Shades
The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa
Every Saturday

11am-4pm
355AED++ for 2 adults and 2 kids (including pool access)
+971 2 616 9999

                                                   Disclaimer: I was invited to experience the Saturday picnic courtesy of the hotel
Brandon Stoltenkamp

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