Abu Dhabi Holidays – An Incredible Experience!
Perennial sunshine, pristine beaches, impressive sand dunes and a vivacious cosmopolitan lifestyle await every holidaymaker in Abu Dhabi. All this combined with the unparallel Arabian hospitality and top-notch infrastructure makes the capital of UAE a delightful destination for experienced and novice travellers!
Ritzy high-rises, broad boulevards, awe-inspiring apartment buildings and spectacular shopping centres are the hallmarks of this wealth city. But the city’s fascinating culture and intriguing heritage pierces all the glitz and glamour, reaches the guest and overwhelms them. A holiday to Abu Dhabi is an experience that is sure to linger on with you as long as you live!
Popular Attractions In Abu Dhabi
Thanks to its amazing past and a present that is rich in vivacity and enthusiasm – Abu Dhabi presents its visitors an array of places to be explored, events to be experienced, culture to be acquainted with and natural attractions to adore.
Located in the centre of the scintillating Abu Dhabi, Heritage Village is a wonderfully designed museum that offers a peep into the region’s glorious past. Visitors to the museum can explore local Bedouin tradition and lifestyle that has been the part of the region for long. Heritage Village exhibits tents, courtyard houses and an ancient irrigation system that is just incredible. Visitors can also buy authentic pottery and exotic spices at the souvenir shops that are available here.
For relaxation, fun and entertainment visit the Khalifa Park – a popular attraction that is as alluring to the locals as it is to the foreign visitors on Abu Dhabi holidays. Located very near to the Abu Dhabi’s old airport, Khalifa Park has a lot to offer to all kinds of visitors! The park’s features include a beautifully landscaped grand avenue, central plaza for meeting, maritime museum, time tunnel ride, an amphitheatre, party hall and theme park. Visitors can also take a trip to a wonderful mosque.
Khalifa Park Museum
A visit to the Khalifa Park Museum is like taking an interesting lesson on the history and culture of Abu Dhabi! The museum takes the travellers back to the prehistoric times and acquaints them with the intriguing aspects of emirates’ past. The Time Tunnel ride is perhaps the biggest highlight of this museum that offers a rail journey through all the sights, sounds and smells of the past.
The Emirates Palace Hotel
Emirates Palace Hotel is a majestic landmark and is one of the most popular hotels in Abu Dhabi. This scintillating Abu Dhabi hotel is the venue for many of the city’s cultural activities. The Emirates Palace Hotel also welcomes non-residents to come and explore the hotel’s environs.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
One of the largest mosques in the world, Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a one Abu Dhabi attraction that has been beguiling holidaymakers from all over the world. Also known as the Grand Mosque (no surprise there!), the mosque is named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who was the founder and the first President of the United Arab Emirates. The mosque is currently under renovation and once done it is expected to hold up to around 10,000 worshippers.
The scenic area of the city is pretty popular among travellers as it boasts of fantastic fountains, park-lined coastal boulevard that skirts the city and contemporary buildings that speak of the region’s chic modernity. The Corniche Park is a perfect spot for some fishing and bird watching. No wonder, heaps of European tourists descend upon the area to engage in such leisure pursuits!
Ferrari World – Ferrari Rossa Roller Coaster
One of the newest attractions in Abu Dhabi has been built on the excitement generated by hosting the Etihad Airways 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Ferrari World experience “Formula Rossa” is the fastest roller coaster ride on the planet and you reach 240 km per hour at some points.
There are a number of 3D and virtual rides as well where you get to try out driving with the stars and taking a virtual trip around Italy. The Ferrari World site also possesses the largest collection of Ferraris outside the company’s home at Maranello.
There are a number of tour operators and you can sample the fun of taking a desert safari in a 4×4 and have a go at dune skiing. You can enjoy yourself on a canoeing trip around the nearby mangrove swamps or take a helicopter or light aircraft flights across the breathtaking landscape. Why not try exploring the areas waterways, coastline and islands in a speedboat, or a luxury sea cruiser, while the big bus offer tours around the city.
Around Abu Dhabi you will also find many examples of local traditions, craft and cultural expression. There are many curios shops and galleries brimming with locally produced embroidery work, pottery, woven shawls and handmade baskets. Competitions and exhibitions are a regular feature to show off the traditional skills and ancestral arts that have been passed down through the centuries.
Gallery One and the Folklore Gallery
These are two excellent places to visit and see the diversity and skills the people of the United Arab Emirates have. The Barakat Gallery specialises in art from around the world and in its collection has pieces from China, Africa, Greece and Rome. It also includes many different items such as coins, sculptures, jewellery and ancient pottery.
One of the greatest collections can be found at the Al Ain National Museum, this is part of the fort of Sultan Bin Zayed at the oasis of Al Ain. Here you can see many items found in the Hili Gardens nearby, along with collections of daggers, swords and a golden palm. This is also the location for the Al Ain Palace Museum, which holds the vast collection of artefacts and treasures collected by the ruling family over many years.
What To Expect At Abu Dhabi International Airport
Abu Dhabi International Airport has continuously been ranked as one of the most modern airports in the world due to the wide range of passenger-friendly amenities on offer. So much so, that in 2013, Skytrax recognized it as the best airport in the Middle East. The popularity of this famous airport is quite closely linked to the myriad facilities it offers to those reaching here aboard domestic and international flights. Following are some of the leading facilities offered at its three terminals apart from the commonly available amenities such as duty-free shopping and dining/cafeteria facilities.
Globetrotting corporate honchos arriving at Abu Dhabi aboard international flights can avail a range of amenities designed to specifically cater to their business needs. For those required to send/receive urgent communiqués, the Airport Services Centre in the Departures area of Terminal 1 is fully equipped with FAX and photocopy machines. Additionally, there are safety deposit boxes and left luggage facilities for the convenience of travellers. All lounges are fitted with Wi-Fi connectivity to help the enterprise worker stay connected while on the go. Additional options on offer include access to printers, PCs and laptops at some of the lounges including the magnificent Al Dhabi Lounge. While many of these services are free for those booking First and Business Class tickets with leading full-service carriers, some may be available for a fee.
Meet & Assist Services
Some foreign tourists arriving at Abu Dhabi onboard long-haul flights may be apprehensive about the perceived language barrier. Such individuals and families may choose to avail the convenient Meet and Assist Services at the airport. Abu Dhabi’s Meet & Greet system reflects the traditional warm-hearted hospitality of the Arab world and is sure to leave holidaymakers gloating over their decision to book air tickets on flights terminating at the airport. Ancillary facilities included in this category include floral, limousine, baggage delivery/storage services and much more.
The three terminals of Abu Dhabi International Airport are home to seven world-class lounges that enhance the comfort of travellers. Among these, those with First and Business Class tickets get complimentary access to the Al Reem, Al Dhabi, Al Ghazal and Al Dar Lounges. Being the primary hub airport for Etihad Airways, a leading full service carrier of the Middle-East, it is home to three exclusive Etihad lounges. These include two Diamond First Class lounges in Terminal 1 and 3 as well as a Pearl Business Class lounge in Terminal 3. Those travelling in Economy Class aboard flights can also avail the facilities at some of these lounges in lieu of a fixed fee.
Travelling long distances can be a tad tiresome and in such cases, spa treatments available at the terminal can be a godsend. Myriad rejuvenations services on offer at Abu Dhabi’s Six Senses Spa include a range of 15 minute therapies such as massages, eye treatments and skin care therapies.
Services for Differently-Abled Passengers
Differently-abled passengers landing on flights at any of the terminals can look for a wide range of services that enhance their travel experience. Such travellers are required to provide their information regarding their special service requirements to the airline or travel agent at the time of booking their tickets. Facilities on offer include wheel chairs, wheel chair accessible ramps and toilets as well as specially designed signposts and walk ways for those with auditory as well as visual disabilities. For updated information and charges/fees for the range of amenities available at Abu Dhabi International Airport, interested travellers are requested to visit the official website abudhabiairport.ae
The Best Hotels In Abu Dhabi
The capital of the United Arab Emirates is now one of the richest cities in the world, and its great wealth is reflected in its wide variety of comfortable and lush hotels. It may, in fact, be difficult for the traveler unfamiliar with this city to find affordable lodging because of the city’s emphasis on luxury. As Abu Dhabi has opened up to western tourism, however, relatively inexpensive hotels with excellent service have begun to appear around the city. Here are just a few of the best hotels Abu Dhabi has to offer.
1) Cristal Salam Hotel
Travelers who are on a budget might be nervous about booking a room in the famously expensive city. However, there are relatively cheap options, and the best of these is the Cristal Salam Hotel. Located in the bustling eastern neighborhood of Madinat Zayed, a mere ten-minute drive from the center of the city, the Cristal Salam offers travelers top-rated service, excellent rooms, and a central location.
Rates for a room at the Cristal Salam Hotel start at around $60 per night. Few other hotels in Abu Dhabi feature similarly low rates, and none of those hotels offer the same kind of service as does the Cristal Salam. For these reasons, the Cristal Salam Hotel is very popular with tourists, so be sure to book early to ensure inexpensive lodging in the city.
2) Beach Rotana
Another hotel on the eastern end of Abu Dhabi, the Beach Rotana is a great choice for travelers who want the convenience of easy access to the beach without having to leave their hotel. The Beach Rotana offers both great service and direct access to the beach, which also includes beachside bars and pools. Popular restaurants at the Rotana include Indigo, a “modern Indian” restaurant; Trader Vic’s, a French Polynesian restaurant; and the internationally known Japanese steakhouse chain Benihana.
Rooms at the Rotana let out for about $100 per night and up, but special deals are frequently available. Even at the regular rate, however, a room at the Rotana is more than worth it – visitors have easy access to both the beach and Abu Dhabi Mall, a massive retail center in the eastern Madinat Zayed district of the city. Lovers of suntanning, swimming, and shopping can’t ask for anything more out of a hotel.
3) Hilton Abu Dhabi
For those tourists who want to stick with the tried and true, the Hilton Abu Dhabi might be the best choice available. The Hilton features excellent service, well-maintained and luxurious rooms, a beautiful view of the wealthy west end of the city, and great restaurants and bars. Travelers staying at the Hilton shouldn’t miss out on Hemingway’s, a restaurant and bar featuring a Middle Eastern take on Tex-Mex cuisine and live music. Attached to Hemingway’s is the Jazz Bar & Club, a popular meeting place for tourists and resident expatriates alike.
The Hilton is located on the southwestern end of Abu Dhabi Island, about fifteen minutes away from the city center by car. Rates for a room at the Hilton are fairly reasonable, beginning at around $120 per night.
4) Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
Etihad Towers is a massive office, residence, and hotel complex in the west of Abu Dhabi. Developed by royal family member Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammad Al-Nahyan and built by Australian architectural firm DBI Design, these five giant towers loom over Abu Dhabi, dwarfed only by the 74-story Sky Tower located on the other end of the city. Etihad Towers offers more than simple height, however – it also contains the Jumeirah, a top-rated five star hotel. The Jumeirah occupies one of the five towers and features luxurious rooms, excellent dining, and the best views to be had anywhere in Abu Dhabi. Visitors staying in Abu Dhabi for business purposes can take advantage of one of the thirteen meeting rooms available in the Jumeirah’s conference center. The hotel’s restaurant fare, which includes Lebanese, Japanese, and everything in between, stands up to the best food this city has to offer.
Naturally, the Jumeirah’s luxury comes at a price. Rooms at the Jumeirah start at $200 per night. However, if you can afford the stay, the cost is well worth it, if only for the amazing view.
5) Emirates Palace
The undisputed champion in the fields of luxury and pure, unabashed decadence – this title is won handily by Emirates Palace, a hotel in the western Al-Ras Al-Akhdar district of Abu Dhabi. To simply call Emirates Palace a “hotel” is not doing it justice, however. This 85-hectare complex features stunning gardens and plazas. The hotel building itself truly is a palace – the interiors of its vast lobby and halls are decorated in gold, and the exterior gives off a Middle Eastern fairy tale feel, as though the entire structure had been pulled right out of the One Thousand and One Nights.
Some of the Palace’s astounding features include a beautifully-maintained 1.3 kilometer stretch of private beach, forty conference rooms for visitors in Abu Dhabi on business, and a wide variety of international cuisine. Etoiles Bar and Havana Bar are popular get-together spots for expatriates who don’t mind dropping 30 dirhams ($8) on a beer, and the lobby itself features a cafe service for both guests and non-guest visitors. One of the cafe’s most popular items is the 24-karat gold-topped cappuccino, which is a normal cappuccino sprinkled with real gold dust.
Emirates Palace is, hands down, the most expensive hotel in Abu Dhabi, with rooms starting at $400 per night and quickly rising to $2,000 for the deluxe suites. Fortunately for those travelers who want a taste of extreme luxury at the Palace but can’t afford a room, the hotel’s lobby and restaurants are open to the public. Indeed, Emirates Palace is one of the top holiday destinations for tourists in the city, and for good reason. Nowhere is the sheer wealth of Abu Dhabi more overtly displayed than at this incredibly luxurious hotel.
Best Time To Visit Abu Dhabi
Like any other tourist city, the emirate blooms during certain seasons of the year. The right time to visit is from November to February when Abu Dhabi is on its best behaviour. The cool weather encourages outdoor activities like desert safari; visit to nearby islands and beach bumming.
The outside temperature usually ranges between 9 to 25 degree Celsius. While the mornings are pleasant for a leisurely walk, do not forget to bring in warm clothes. It can get quite chilly at night when temperatures dip to freezing. You can also buy winter wear at the shopping malls that are displaying great autumn-winter collections. In fact, serious winter sales are organised during December though not all stores have them. In January-February, the annual Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) attracts many tourists from abroad who come to receive great discounts on branded goods, exotic products and local handicrafts. Abu Dhabi tries to keep up with the pace by offering discounts during the same period. Wherever possible visit the shops during the first week of the festival as to get goods as per your requirements. But in the last week of the sales, the shops further reduce the discounts to 50 to 70%, which makes it possible to get grand discounts.
If you are an outside person who loves beach activities, October, March and April are the best months to visit Abu Dhabi. It is neither too hot nor cold, but perfect to enjoy a suntan and surf the Persian Gulf waves. Even the roadsides and parks blossom with multi-coloured flowers.
Summers which starts in late May lasts till July – August. These are the hottest months in the emirate as temperatures soar beyond 40 degree Celsius. Even in September, the humidity is high with the breeze still blowing hot air. Only a slight dip in day temperature does not make the stay comfortable. Occupancy rate of hotels in Abu Dhabi is at an all time low, probably due to the weather and because of Ramadan festival. An annual religious occurrence, Abu Dhabi follows strict observance of public behaviour during Ramadan. Many tourists prefer to stay away from the emirate in July – August.
Abu Dhabi is a contemporary thinking city, but still adheres to its religious core values. Care should be taken while dressing publicly by both men and women as not to offend the local Muslims. Apart from that enjoy your vacation in Abu Dhabi!
Visit the Middle East destinations category to learn more about other tourism opportunities available in Middle East!