To the average passerby, the Capital Gate building may seem like another one of Abu Dhabi’s glamorous all-glass architecture structures merely designed to decorate its skyline. However, what many do not know is that not only does the building hold the Guinness World Record for being ‘the world’s furthest man-made leaning building’ by 18 degrees vertically but it was also designed with sustainability in mind.
It all started in 2006, when the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, the building’s owner, developer and next-door neighbor, needed a building to complement and serve the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), the Middle East’s largest exhibition venue. The building had to meet the following goals: It had to be energy efficient, it had to be functional and its design had to reflect the innovative technology and international cultural advancements exhibited in ADNEC.
Envisioned to be the gate to Abu Dhabi because of its future location on Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, a main highway linking the island of Abu Dhabi to the mainland, the building also had to display the capital city’s skill in the areas of manufacturing, engineering and construction and form a landmark of its direction towards futuristic architecture.
World-renowned architecture firm RMJM was commissioned to complete the challenging task, which was documented and featured on National Geographic’s Mega Structures documentary series. Inspired by Abu Dhabi’s swirling dunes and curving, splashing waves, what emerged four tough years later in 2010 was an environmentally sustainable, curvaceous building that is four and a half times more leaning than Italy’s Pisa Tower is. The building’s slim, curvaceous shape meant efficiency, as it required much less glass and steel for construction than a typical rectangular building does. The installation of features such as double-glazed windows, ground-floor gardens, and rooftop solar panels ensures reduced-energy consumption.
But unlike the Pisa Tower, you can actually rent an office in or even stay in this building. Sekka was invited for an overnight stay at The Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel, which occupies floors 18 to 33 of the gravity-defying high-rise. Although the 160-meter-tall building looks very lean from the outside, the hotel encompasses a total of 189 spacious guest rooms, including 22 suites, all with floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows overlooking Abu Dhabi’s clean-cut highways and the nearby seaside residential palaces.
We checked into the hotel’s Capital suite, a 70-square meter one-bedroom suite composed of a spacious bedroom, a separate and private living area and office, and one and a half bathrooms. Greeting us was a TV screen that featured the hotel’s Whatsapp Messenger number for immediate correspondence. This novel service can be very handy for guests who remember that they have requests for the hotel while they are out and about.
But our favorite part of the suite had to be master bathroom, with its oversized bathtub strategically place in front of a floor-to-ceiling window. Draw yourself a bubble bath, and you will feel like you are floating on a cloud!
The workspace, stocked with Post-it notes, a glue stick, a pencil, eraser, pen and paper clips, reminded us that the hotel was designed with the solo business traveler to ADNEC and wider area in mind. However, due to its spacious rooms, affordable prices and strategic location, the hotel has attracted many Khaleeji families, with Emiratis composing the majority of hotel guests. Last summer, the hotel had a 90 percent occupancy rate, an extremely high number for a five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi.
As modern and as sleek as the rooms’ designs are, sustainability is heavily embedded in the hotel’s lifestyle. The hotel’s waste is managed in an effective way where the sewage water as well as solid wastes (plastic, paper and metals) are all recycled. In addition, the hotel opted for LED lamps and introduced water aerators throughout the premises to reduce electricity and water consumption. Food wastage, which is generally large in hotels, is at its lowest here, as most meals (in which locally grown produce is also incorporated) are offered a la carte.
But the hotel’s responsibility does not stop at the environment; it also extends to members of the UAE community. The hotel collaborates with different autistic centers to support autistic children by raising awareness about the disorder internally with its staff, offering gift items made by autistic children to hotel guests and by showcasing artworks made by local autistic artists.
The products used in the award-winning Ryanna Spa—debuted as Abu Dhabi’s first skyline spa—are of Eminence Organics, a company that is not only committed to using natural ingredients in its products but also is committed to planting a tree for every product sold and to providing sick children around the world with organic foods.
On the same floor as the Ryanna Spa is a cantilevered pool and deck. The curved infinity pool venue, floating on the side of the building structure, is available for private event booking. With no rooms overlooking it, its privacy makes it the perfect venue for veiled women who would like to book a five-star hotel for an outdoor event, as well as enjoy its pool and catered service. We have been told that it is popular for bachelorette and birthday parties hosted by Emirati women for their friends.
The guests would be enjoying mouth-watering food prepared by Chef Abdullah Bin Hussein and his team. The culinary delights created by this self-taught 30-year-old Jordanian, who is the head chef at the hotel’s 18 Degrees Restaurant and who has previously cooked for well-known figures, such as King Abdullah of Jordan and Shakira, are simply divine! The burrata cheese salad, which we had as an appetizer for dinner, as well as the freshly baked scones we had earlier for afternoon tea, especially put us in a daze. We know we will be coming back again for more, especially with the launch of the new Mediterranean brunch concept on Fridays.
If we got you wondering what it would be like to stay or dine in the world’s most leaning tower, then jump on to https://abudhabicapitalgate.hyatthotels.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html to book!
Sharifah Alhinai is the Managing Storyteller at Sekka.