Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates – a group of seven Emirates. Unlike its brash and modern neighbour, Dubai, Abu Dhabi is a very traditional Middle Eastern city. Its charm is its authenticity – the ladies in their modest dress, the evidence of their religion and its influence on everyday life – sorry, this is not the place for stag or hen weekends! The beautiful mosque dominates the horizons and the evening Call to Prayer is like a song in the twilight!
There are lots of interesting places to visit in Abu Dhabi – but my stay was a ‘short’ break, so I limited myself to just two – I stayed at the Hilton Hotel on the Corniche – overlooking the Gulf. It was newly refurbished and very comfortable. We had access to the beach club – a private beach, excellent spa and gym – and an array of pool-side restaurants and activities.
However it was quite ordinary compared to the grandeur of the Emirates Palace – the ‘Jewel in Abu Dhabi’s crown’ – a seven-star dazzling, luxurious and opulent hotel. Manicured gardens, resident camels, crystal chandeliers and coffee! – Coffee in the lobby with gold leaf shavings sprinkled like chocolate on the top! Delicious!
My second ‘must see’ was Yas Island – it’s a man made island and is home to Yas Waterworld, Yas Mall, Yas Marina Circuit and Ferrari World! There are hotels on the island like the Viceroy straddling ‘the F1 circuit’ itself, and live music concerts to enjoy – like Tom Jones in April!
I made a beeline for Yas Marina Circuit and took a tour of the circuit and pits and also got to sit in one of the cars (stationary of course!)
There’s lots of other sightseeing if you don’t want to crisp in 40° – ancient Forts, the Corniche Park, Khalidiya Gardens and the Dhow Harbour where you can watch local craftsmen build traditional boats. And shopping of course! Abu Dhabi Mall and the Marina Mall – buy by the label or haggle in the Souk for trinkets and knick-knacks.
Abu Dhabi was just perfect for a short break – but I wish I could have stayed longer!
What about you? Can I tempt you to some Abu Dhabi Delights?