Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the UAE needs no introduction in the luxury market. Catering to a healthy market demand for high-end products, Abu Dhabi today is en par with cities like New York and Paris. The city which has seen a recent surge in the number of luxury and five-star properties is also positioning itself as one of the largest luxury retail capitals of the world.
Here are our recommendations:
Flying into Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways, UAE’s national airline would be the ideal way to touchdown in the capital city, Abu Dhabi. The award-winning airline’s Diamond First Class has redefined luxury air travel with its individual suites, higher levels of comfort and offering more personal space than ever before. Passengers can take advantage of the airline’s completely flat, 6 ft 8 inch, extra wide beds set in their own personal suite with sliding doors.
Staying in Abu Dhabi
Our pick for a unique stay experience in Abu Dhabi has to be the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara. Located in the Liwa Desert in the Empty Quarter, the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world, Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara embraces desert culture with legendary luxury service. Guests can soak in the desert-life in plunge pools outside their own private villa, or stretch out on a day bed surrounded by rich Middle Eastern fabrics and local artefacts.
Experience the speed of Abu Dhabi:
With the Formula One now a regular feature on Abu Dhabi’s busy sporting calendar, adrenaline junkies can get the best of Mercedes AMG experiences at the Yas Marina Circuit. Among those on offer are the SLS AMG Driver Experience, priced at AED 1,900 ($517) per person, enthusiasts can take the legendary ‘Gullwing’ for a spin around the circuit. The driver and four other petrol heads can enjoy a full briefing followed by a lively warm-up session before you break out into this unbelievable joyride. The AMG Driver Experience, priced at AED 1,300 ($353) per person, will put the driver behind AMG’s C and CLS models. Alongside seven fellow racers, drivers can experience unadulterated driving bliss all the way to the finish line.
Several other experiences are available including the AMG Dynamic Driver experience (AED 950 ($258) per person); AMG Hot Laps Passenger Experience (AED 400 ($108) per person + AED 150 ($40) for every extra passenger (CLS63, E63, C63) OR AED 550 ($149) per person (SLS ROADSTER)) and AMG Drag Racing Experience (AED 750 ($204) per person).
Pampering in Abu Dhabi
Set on over 100 acres of landscaped gardens, the Anantara Spa at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi is without doubt, the best in Abu Dhabi. Just like the hotel, the Spa and its seven treatment suites are designed in traditional Arabic styles with lavish gold leaf and marble, soaring domes, dramatic arches and the calming sound of running water echoing from the ornately tiled walls. The main feature of the Spa is its Moroccan-style hammam featuring double-heated marble beds, Jacuzzis, steam rooms, water fountains and an ice room.
Dining in Abu Dhabi
The name Cipriani is well known from New York to Hong Kong, Monte Carlo or Miami. The popular restaurant is also one of the landmark dining spots in Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island and as part of Yas Marina recent makeover, the Italian restaurant and events venue finished a complete refurbishment last month. Very Italian in style and menu, the Cipriani Yas Island features some of the classics from the original Harry’s Bar in Venice like Beef Carpaccio, Risotto Primavera, Tagliardi Pasticciati and Veal Ragu and its renowned Bellini on its à la carte menu as well as offering diners a choice of set menus with budget-friendly options.
With views of the Yas Marina, the Yas Viceroy hotel and the Yas Marina Circuit, the Cipriani Yas Island is the ideal venue for lunch or dinner especially during race weekends.
Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi
It is a bit difficult to describe in words as to how one feels on first seeing this mammoth structure made from pristine white marble. Named after the late President of UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, his vision for constructing the Grand Mosque was that of a structure which unifies the cultural diversity of the Islamic world and showcases the art and architecture using materials, talents and inspiration from the four corners of the world.
If you ask me, the Grand Mosque is a statement of what Abu Dhabi is – grand, opulent and traditional.