Abu Dhabi. Where to go and what to do during your visit.
Top things to do in Abu Dhabi:
- Stay in Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
- Visit The Louvre Museum
- Sheikh Zayed Mosque
- Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
- Yas Island
- Visit Liwa Desert, ride Camels, Dunes bashing, hiking
- Abu Dhabi History Museum
- Afternoon Tea in Emirates Palace
- Al Zahiyah Nightlife
- Abu Dhabi Formula 1
I want to keep Abu Dhabi as a hidden gem and not tell you about it, but I can’t resist! It is next door to Dubai, but feels a million miles away from brash ‘bling, bling’ Dubai. Sophisticated and stylish – I am drawn here time and again. Sometimes I stopover on my way east to take a break and revive after a long flight. Often, I fly over from London for a few days in the sun and a change from long winter days. The flying time is only six and a half hours, not too far.
One of my favourite hotels in the world is here! Emirates Palace Hotel. Gorgeous Suites, great Butler service perfect location on the Corniche (beware lots of Abu Dhabi hotels are miles from anywhere). This is my top choice of luxury hotel. Read more here:
PHOTO: Suites in Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi
My favourite place to go in the desert is Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Hotel. Set a couple of hours drive into the largest uninterrupted desert in the world
Pretty amazing? It looks better in real life and the aura of calm and tranquility in the desert is like nothing you will ever experience. It makes you want to embrace the spirit of Gertrude Bell, leap on a camel and explore the desert on a real trek.
Anantara Qasr Al Sarab
Anantara Qasr Al Sarab is situated 2 hours away from Abu Dhabi. An easy drive on good roads. Hire a 4 x 4 and venture into the desert. Stay at Qasr Al Sarab.
I rather like taking a camel ride, Anantara arrange lovely camel rides with well looked after ex-racing camels that are beautifully behaved and immaculately turned out. I loathe the use of animals for tourist rides normally, but not in this case, and would happily recommend.
PHOTO: Camels at Anantara Qasr Al Sarab
Return to a gorgeous, luxurious oasis to relax and unwind. Stay in a villa if you want to splurge.
This is one of the best Anantara hotels, others have a lot to live up to, and I have been disappointed by some but not this one.
PHOTO: Pool at night
Try and avoid the week-end and holidays when it can be busy, choose a quiet time to visit and really experience the desert at its best. After a few days head back to the city, well refreshed after resting by the pool and eating the most delicious food I have found in Abu Dhabi. Camel riding, San dune racing in 4 x4’s and hiking in the desert will keep you busy in the desert.
The St Regis Abu Dhabi
Last time I stayed in the city, my hotel choice was The St Regis Abu Dhabi http://stregisabudhabi.com This has a great location and is a very comfortable Hotel, boasting a good butler service. I can’t comment on the butler service, we never saw him – the worst butler service I have ever experienced. I guess he was looking after more important guests!
PHOTO: Lobby at St Regis
St Regis Hotels are always a good choice, I particularly like the butler service.
St Regis Abu Dhabi has a nice pool and spa by the sea – quite a trek through a tunnel to get there!
PHOTO: Poolside at St Regis Hotel Abu Dhabi
I hired a car and drove all around Abu Dhabi, totally safe and very sensible drivers – totally stress free. You will need to try out some of the nearby restaurants if you stay at The St Regis because the food was not the best to be honest, although I have not been back for a while and things might have improved.
PHOTO: Abu Dhabi from the Culture Centre
I will stay at The Emirates Palace for my next trip, my favourite hotel. Definitely my favourite hotel in Abu Dhabi.
MY TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN ABU DHABI
1. Stay in the desert.
2. Go Camel racing. Random, I know, but give it a go. I became hooked watching it on TV in Abu Dhabi. Sadly, it is still on my to-do list – I have not been lucky enough to be in Abu Dhabi during a race day. I did get to drive out to the new racecourse for a practice day (the concierge at The St Regis kindly gave me the details) and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
PHOTO: Camel Racing at the new track
3. Visit a Souk. Whether it is The Souk at Central Market, the Iranian Souk or the Fruit and Vegetable souk you will find them fascinating. I always come home with some treasures!
4. Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque. The architecture is truly amazing and a must see.
5. Ferrari world http://www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com Ferrari World! I know, but for anyone who is a five year old at heart, loves F1 and would love to have a go in an F1 racing car simulator this is the best fun. Children will love it too. It is on Yas Island which is, in itself worth a visit.
Catch up: I wrote this a long time ago! The fabulous Louvre Museum is a must see now!
I know, slightly quirky taste but trust me – you will have the best time!
WHAT TO WEAR?
Travelling in more conservative countries, Westerners sometimes struggle with ‘what to wear’. I know I do! Personally, and this is just me, I prefer to cover up arms and legs when out and about. This is just a choice and you are not restricted by a formal dress code. However, I feel more comfortable when out and about wearing loose, long sleeve tops and longer skirts or trousers.
You can wear the usual smart casual resort wear and swim wear at International hotels.
My Review of Emirates Palace: https://luxurytraveldiva.com/emirates-palace