Having never been to the Middle East other than Egypt, I thought I knew what to expect, however my perceptions were completely wrong! There are some amazing hotels, YAS Island home to Ferrari World, the F1 and the new Yas Waterworld. Abu Dhabi has a real charm about it, there are still many on going projects, but there is still lots of baron land giving it a spacious feel, unlike its neighbour Dubai. What I would say is Abu Dhabi is a very fast growing city with lots still to come, so now is a good time to go.
We flew Etihad Airways and I was absolutely amazed at how good the product and service was. We managed to see all the cabins and from Heathrow they offer first class with private suites and your own on board chef!! It’s such a good flight time (6 hours 45) from London, easy for a city break or some winter sun.
We stayed on Saadiyat and Yas Island, also seeing hotels closer to downtown. From whichever location you choose, there is easy access to the sights, and there are plenty. Including the Sheikh Zayed Mosque (which is stunning!), Ferrari World the largest indoor theme park in the world, Yas Waterworld next door offering some pretty hair raising water rides, 4x4 trips into the desert, galleries, Abu Dhabi cultural village, souks and of course a vast selection of designer shopping!
In summary I think Abu Dhabi offers culture, activities, and an exceptionally high standard, at a more competitive price than some of its neighbours.
My hotel recommendations:
Yas Is all about contemporary design that meets 5* hotel experience creating an unforgettable stay. This was my favourite hotel by far purely for the fact it was extremely trendy, the place to defiantly have a cocktail in the sky light bar but most importantly home to the F1 Yas Marina circuit – amazing!! It’s hooded by an incredible LED canopy emitting vibrant colours, the curves and lines of the building look like a wave at night it was amazing to see the lights all changing colours. All the rooms were very large in size, super sleek and either face the circuit or the marina. There are 7 dining venues to excite the senses including Indian, Italian, sushi and seafood! It has two rooftop swimming pools and a large Spa by ESPA. Not forgetting to mention Ferrari World and Yas Water world being next door all accessible via the Yas Shuttle Service. This would be for anyone looking for a colourful, energetic and innovative hotel!
St Regis Saadiyat Island
With its striking grandeur and abundance of amenities the St Regis Abu Dhabi is sure to impress. This was one of my favourite hotels because of the architecture, a place where the Med meets the Middle East! The rooms are very nicely styled from Superior right up to the Majestic Suites very calm and neutral but with all the mod cons you would expect and not to forget the St Regis Butler service for all categories. The resort has a large private beach and is also home to the Gary Player designed Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. There are a number of dining venues and lastly the beautifully finished Iridium Spa.! A great choice for couples of families looking for a resort based holiday as well as maybe doing some of the sights on offer.
Set on 1.3 kilometres of private white sand beach and surrounded by 85 hectares of impressively maintained gardens this hotel was just amazing! It’s one of the first 5* hotels Abu Dhabi built around 8 years ago costing over $3 billion dollars to complete, so as you can imagine it has some mind blowing features about it. When you venture through the magnificent gates the extravagance is immediately recognisable. There are 394 rooms in either the East of West wing all with marble clad and very opulent in style. Each wing has its own beach access, swimming pool and reception area along with the main hotel facilities. All rooms have private butler service and offer complimentary WIFI. This hotel is Dubai’s version of the Burj al Arab!