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2015/16

Abu Dhabi TRAVEL GUIDE


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Published by BMI Publishing Ltd 2015 Suffolk House, George St, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1SR, UK T 020 8649 7233 F 020 8649 7234 enquiries@bmipublishing.co.uk www.bmipublishing.co.uk www.sellingtravel.co.uk Publisher: Sally Parker Advertisement Manager: Lisa Merrigan Editor: Steve Hartridge Contributors: Peter Mathers Julie Baxter Cameron Roberts Creative Director: Matt Bonner Art Director: Tina-Lee McDougall Designers: Louisa Horton Ross Clifford Junior Designer: Zoe Tarrant Production Manager: Clare Hunter Managing Director: Martin Steady We are members of: the Latin American Travel Association, the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, Visit USA Association, PATA, MENATA, SATOA, the Foreign Airlines Association and the Institute of Travel & Tourism. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, BMI Publishing cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. © 2015. Front cover image: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. © vent du sud SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! subscriptions@ bmipublishing.co.uk or visit www.sellingtravel.co.uk/ subscribe

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welcom Gone are the days when Abu Dhabi was just a stopover city en route to the East… Sure enough, daily flights with Etihad Airways from Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh – with onward connections to more than 100 destinations worldwide – continue to make the UAE capital a great place to pause on a long haul trip. But today’s Abu Dhabi is a ‘must see’ destination in its own right, regularly surprising visitors with its astonishing diversity. It’s this breadth that you’ll find in the following pages. If your clients have a passion for wildlife, surprise them with a visit to Sir Bani Yas Island, home to more than 10,000 free-roaming animals, including cheetahs, giraffes and highly-endangered Arabian oryx (p12). If it’s history and tradition they’re interested in, we recommend the forts and palaces of Al Ain, one of the oldest cities in Arabia (p10). Or send them sailing through the mangroves in a traditional wooden dhow, where not only will they learn about the history of pearl diving they’ll also get to keep any pearls they find themselves (p10)! Perhaps they’re looking for adventure? Then immerse them in 4 the dunes of the Empty Quarter, the world’s largest sand desert (p12). Or dare them to ride on the world’s fastest rollercoaster 6 (p16). If you’re catering to families, theme parks like Ferrari 10 World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld provide endless 12 entertainment for kids of all ages (p16). For more grown-up pursuits, see our recommended spas (p18), championship golf 14 courses (p14) and not-to-miss restaurants (p11). Hotels are just as varied, 16 from the traditional 18 opulence of Emirates Palace 19 to the sleek modern lines of Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, the 20 world’s only hotel to straddle 21 an F1 racetrack. 22 We hope you enjoy this guide. For more information 23 do check out:

DESERT ADVENTURES AWAIT

Contents

THE TASTE OF ABU DHABI

visitabudhabi.ae

Trending Now Hotel Headlines Authentic Abu Dhabi Adventurous Abu Dhabi Active Abu Dhabi Fun For All The Family Shopping & Wellness Agents On Tour Events & Festivals Who To Book With Essential Information Map & Itinerary


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SHANGRI-LA HOTEL QARYAT AL BERI

trending

now

EMIRATES PALACE & JUMEIRAH AT ETIHAD TOWERS

The latest rides, restaurants, museums and attractions everybody’s talking about in Abu Dhabi… Flying Aces Home to the world’s fastest rollercoaster, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi will next open ‘Flying Aces’ which will be the steepest steel rollercoaster in the world, with a 51-degree incline. It will also boast the world's tallest loop – a whopping 52m (170ft). ferrariworldabudhabi.com

welcome 220,000 passengers from 113 ship calls. MSC Cruises will be the first to call the new terminal home, offering 16 seven-day Arabian Gulf sailings out of Abu Dhabi between December 13, 2015 and March 26, 2016. Celebrity Cruises will follow, homeporting in Abu Dhabi for the winter of 2016/17. So it’s anchors away for booking pre- and post-cruise hotel stays. adports.ae

Shades of Gray Abu Dhabi-based DMC Kurban Tours has signed an exclusive agreement with Gray Line. Its Abu Dhabi offerings include city tours, desert excursions, seaplane tours, shopping expeditions, dhow dinner cruises and dining experiences at Emirates Palace and Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi. grayline.ae

Cultural Colossus Ferrari Fever Ferrari World Abu Dhabi’s new ‘Driving Experience’ offers visitors the chance to drive a Ferrari California for 25 minutes accompanied by an expert Ferrari co-pilot and up to three friends or family. ferrariworldabudhabi.com

Construction of the eagerly-anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island is well underway, with the Jean Nouvel-designed museum set to establish Abu Dhabi as the cultural hub of the Middle East. Works by Leonardo da Vinci and Van Gogh will be on show in the opening year. louvreabudhabi.com

Retail Royalty Cruise Control

FERRARI WORLD ABU DHABI

The 2015/16 cruise season is set to be Abu Dhabi’s busiest to date, with the new state-of-theart cruise terminal expecting to visitabudhabi.ae

Set to open in 2018, the Al Maryah Central shopping complex on Al Maryah Island will showcase the first Macy’s outside of the USA and the UAE capital’s first Bloomingdale’s – both of which will be among the Arabian Gulf’s largest department stores. almaryahisland.ae


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JUMEIRAH AT ETIHAD TOWERS, PEARLS BY MICHAEL CAINES

Airport Expansion Abu Dhabi Airport’s new Midfield Terminal Building is due to open in 2017. Dedicated to Etihad Airways and its partner airlines, the terminal will be the largest in Abu Dhabi, housing 65 aircraft gates, 28,000sqm of retail, food and beverage space, eight lounges totalling 27,500 square metres, and a three-star transit hotel with 163 rooms. adac.ae

Michelin stars at Shangri-La

LOUVRE ABU DHABI

Delicious duo at Ritz-Carlton

The Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri – recently inducted into the prestigious TripAdvisor Hall of Fame – has added to its culinary credentials with the opening of p&c by Sergi Arola. The two-Michelin star Spanish virtuoso has brought Mediterranean flavours and tapas-style sharing menus to the hotel's much-loved Pearls and Caviar restaurant. shangri-la.com

Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal has two new outlets in the hotel’s Venetian Village. Olives, created by celebrity chef Todd English, offers Mediterranean cuisine, while Barfly draws in the A-listers with its drinks menus and creative DJ sets. ritzcarlton.com

I had no idea there were theme parks in Abu Dhabi or that there was so much to see and do. There is so much on offer, with attractions to suit all client types; I definitely recommend it

Pearls by Michael Caines British chef Michael Caines – who earnt Gidleigh Park in Dartmoor its two Michelin stars – opened at Abu Dhabi’s Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in October 2015. Pearls by Michael Caines offers dishes inspired by the region with breathtaking views of the capital’s waterfront. jumeirah.com

JOANNE STANIFORTH, KUONI RITZ-CARLTON ABU DHABI, GRAND CANAL

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WATER VILLA, ZAYA NURAI ISLAND

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headlines Abu Dhabi’s cosmopolitan skyline sees stylish new additions every year. Check out the hottest new hotels and resorts…

Open now… Zaya Nurai Island Abu Dhabi’s latest luxury resort looks more like something you’d expect to see in the Indian Ocean than the Arabian Gulf. Reached in less than ten minutes by speedboat from Saadiyat Island, this private-island resort offers 32 spacious villas, each with a private sun deck, plunge pool, fire pit and beach access. Think soothing spa treatments, sustainably sourced food and flawless butler service. zayanuraiisland.com

Capital Centre Arjaan by Rotana will be the UAE-based hotel group’s 13th property in Abu Dhabi. Featuring 259 studios and suites, two dining outlets, as well as recreation and fitness facilities, the hotel is ideal for both leisure and business travellers, located just 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport in the Capital Centre development. rotana.com

 Top tips Abu Dhabi makes a great good value stopover en route to Australia or New Zealand

Shangri-La’s new Horizon Club Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi has revamped its Horizon Club Lounge. Now on the seventh floor, the new lounge offers Horizon Club guests continental breakfasts, all-day snacks and beverages, evening cocktails, wifi and reading materials, and a gorgeous terrace overlooking the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. shangri-la.com

Ayla in Al Ain New in the ‘Oasis City’ of Al Ain, the Ayla Bawadi Hotel offers 90 contemporarystyled rooms, 15 one-bedroom suites, a trendy restaurant and café, a modern health centre with gym and massage rooms, and a rooftop pool and separate kids pool. A third

Capital Centre Arjaan by Rotana CAPITAL CENTRE ARJAAN BY ROTANA

SHANGRI-LA HORIZON CLUB

Scheduled to open in autumn 2015, the visitabudhabi.ae


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SWISS-BELHOTEL CORNICHE

Ayla hotel in Al Ain, the Ayla Grand, is due to open later in the year. aylahotels.com

Swiss-Belhotel Corniche, Abu Dhabi The new Swiss-Belhotel Corniche has sweeping ocean views, 189 rooms and suites, a rooftop gym and swimming pool, and a rooftop restaurant offering authentic Abu Dhabi's Lebanese cuisine along with hotels are various flavours of shisha. more luxurious swiss-belhotel.com

far than I imagined and some are truly amazing. The service and cuisine are excellent too CHARLOTTE COLVIN, TURQUOISE HOLIDAYS

Opening soo‌ Four Seasons Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi’s first Four Seasons hotel will open in 2016. Being built next to the upmarket Galleria mall on Al Maryah

JUMEIRAH SAADIYAT ISLAND RESORT

Island, the 34-floor hotel will have 190 rooms and 54 serviced apartments, 1,290 sqm of meeting/conference facilities, a rooftop pool and a 300-sqm garden. fourseasons.com

Jumeirah Saadiyat Island Resort Set in a prime location on the award-winning beaches of Saadiyat Island, the Jumeirah Saadiyat Island Resort will be one of the most luxurious five-star resorts in Abu Dhabi. Expected to open in 2017, the hotel will comprise 294 guest rooms, including spa suites, presidential suites and private high-end villas. Facilities will include an all-day dining venue, two signature restaurants, a lobby lounge and bar, pool and beach bars, retail shops and outdoor beach and pool areas. jumeirah.com


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authentic

Abu Dhabi Enhance your clients’ holiday by highlighting Abu Dhabi’s great cultural credentials, from UNESCO cities to world renowned museums... The 'Oasis City' of Al Ain For an authentic taste of Abu Dhabi’s heritage leave the skyscrapers behind and make for the rustic charms of Al Ain. About 90 minutes from Abu Dhabi, the UNESCOAL AIN OASIS listed city is one of the oldest permanently inhabited settlements on Falconry Earth. Clients can explore Al Jahili Fort, built displays can in 1891 to defend the city’s palm groves; be witnessed tour the private rooms of the nation’s from the Abu founding father at the Al Ain Palace Dhabi Falcon Museum; wander the shady walkways of the Hospital, Sir Al Ain Oasis, kept green by a 3,000-year-old Bani Yas irrigation system; or haggle over livestock at Island and the Al Ain Camel Market, one of the last of among the its kind in Arabia.

 Top tips

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Easily one of the largest and most beautiful religious buildings in the world, the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – which The desert in 2015 came trip blew fourth in my mind. I had no TripAdvisor’s list of the world’s top idea that any hotel 25 landmarks – is or location could be able to so magical accommodate ANNA MARIA BOHANE, TRAILFINDERS more than 40,000

dunes at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara

worshippers, many of whom kneel to pray on the world’s largest handmade carpet. The mosque sits just across the front lawn from the equally spectacular Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal. Tours are run daily. szgmc.ae

Falconry Falconry has been an integral part of life in the UAE for centuries. Originally falcons were used for hunting, to supplement the Bedouin diet with meat such as hare or houbara. Today, falconry is practised purely for sport and to honour the traditions of the past. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital is the largest and most advanced of its kind in the world. Visitors can tour the 'wards' where the birds are kept and treated, explore the museum, and watch displays in the gardens. falconhospital.com

Abu Dhabi Pearl Journey This 90-minute cruise aboard a traditional wooden dhow through the city’s natural mangroves is the perfect mix of history, culture and relaxation. Not only will clients learn about the history of diving for pearls in Abu Dhabi, they’ll also get the chance to visitabudhabi.ae


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Don't miss The exhibition in Al Ain’s Al Jahili Fort is dedicated to the travels of 1940s British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, and shows Abu Dhabi as a coastal village before the oil boom AL JAHILI FORT

SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE

shuck their own oysters, continuing until they find a genuine pearl inside, which they can keep as a souvenir. abudhabipearljourney.com

Saadiyat Island Cultural District With three landmark museums set to open in the next few years, Saadiyat Island Cultural District is arguably the most ambitious cultural project ever conceived. Construction of the eagerly-anticipated Louvre Abu Dhabi is well underway, with artwork arriving from such esteemed institutions as the Louvre in Paris and the Palace of Versailles. Close on its heels will be the Zayed National Museum, which will

Best Bites Mezlai at Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi’s first fine-dining Emirati restaurant with a traditional atmosphere. emiratespalace.com

Top tips Visitors to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque must wear long sleeves, long skirts or trousers – but loose robes can be loaned

explore the emirate’s history and culture through a series of galleries, exhibitions and artefacts dating back to 2000 BC. Completing the trio is Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which when finished will be the largest Guggenheim museum in the world – about 12 times larger than its New York namesake. Clients can get a taste of what each of the museums will offer at the Manarat Al Saadiyat visitor centre. saadiyatcultural PEARL JOURNEY district.ae

The choice of dining options in Abu Dhabi is nothing short of sublime. Here are four worth recommending…

Observation Deck at 300 Suggest 'high tea' at Abu Dhabi's highest vantage point, on the 74th floor of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. Light bites and ‘mocktails’ are also served. jumeirah.com

Asia de Cuba Recently named ‘Best New Nightspot 2015’ by Time Out Abu Dhabi, this fashionable fusion beachside restaurant links to the 5-star St Regis Abu Dhabi. asiadecuba.com

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Benjarong Dusit Thani’s signature restaurant delivers the best Thai food in the capital. Try the wok-fried chicken with capsicums, dried chilies and cashews. dusit.com


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adventurous

Abu Dhabi Adventures abound in Abu Dhabi, be it on safari on Sir Bani Yas Island, in the skies above the city on a seaplane tour, or out among the desert dunes...

WHITE WATER RAFTING AT WADI ADVENTURE, AL AIN

Sir Bani Yas Island Surprise your clients by offering them the chance to see gazelles, giraffes, hyenas and even cheetahs on an open-jeep safari on Sir Bani Yas Island. Just a 40-minute flight from the UAE capital with Rotana Jet, this former retreat of Abu Dhabi’s first president is now the site of the Arabian Wildlife Park – 4,100 hectares of protected wilderness home to more than 10,000 free-roaming animals. Book your clients into one of Anantara’s three luxury hotels on the island, and add kayaking, hiking, archery, mountain biking, horse riding, diving or deep sea fishing to their wildlife encounters. sirbaniyasisland.com

The Empty Quarter You don’t have to travel far in Abu Dhabi to find the desert. Much of the Western Region is comprised of the Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter) – the largest sand desert in the world. Made famous by British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger in his book Arabian Sands, it remains a place of tireless natural beauty: enormous shifting dunes, kaleidoscopic sunsets and dazzling night skies. Day tours are hugely popular, with clients picked up from their hotel and treated to dune DESERT DRIVING bashing, camel

trekking, sand surfing and dinner beneath the stars before being dropped back at their door. For those with more time, suggest overnight stays at Arabian Nights Village or Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara.

 Top tips Double the fun by booking a seaplane safari to Sir Bani Yas, combining a flight with wildlife drives and a threeor five-night stay at one of Anantara’s luxury island resorts.

visitabudhabi.ae

Don't miss The UAE’s only known Christian monastery. Discovered in 2010 on Sir Bani Yas Island, this incredible site dates back to the 7th century.

Seawings & Yellow Boats Seeing Abu Dhabi from the air or from the sea offers a new perspective on the city. Offer clients a breathtaking snapshot of Abu Dhabi from the air plus an exciting water take-off and landing with a Seawings seaplane tour, available from either Emirates Palace or Yas Island. Or thrill them with a Yellow Boats tour, a 60-minute high-speed RIB ride along Abu Dhabi’s waterfront. seawings.ae; theyellowboats.com

Wadi Adventure Be sure to point thrill-seekers towards Wadi Adventure in Al Ain, the region’s only manmade white-water rafting, kayaking and surf facility. It’s a park of superlatives: the surf pool is the world’s largest, the kayaking and rafting network is the world’s longest, and the go-karting track is the largest in Arabia. adiadventure.ae


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active

Abu Dhabi From sand surfing to wakeboarding, golf to go-karting and kayaking to camel trekking, Abu Dhabi is a joy for the active traveller...

STAND-UP PADDLE BOARDING

Golf in Abu Dhabi Golfing clients can tee off at any of Abu Dhabi’s six fantastic payand-play golf courses, all of which have certified PGA professionals on the books. Three championship-standard courses are within a 20-minute drive of Abu Dhabi city, including PARK HYATT ABU DHABI the award-winning Abu Dhabi Golf Club, home of the annual Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, a European PGA Tour event; Yas Links on Yas Island, Arabia’s only true links golf course; and the Gary Player-designed Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, the first ocean course in the region. Best of all you can now book everything through one single source thanks to Golf in Abu Dhabi.

Motor Sports & Karting Abu Dhabi is a petrol-head’s paradise. Clients can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the Formula One® Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Or get on the track itself driving an Aston Martin or Mercedes AMG. If karting is more their thing, challenge them to beat the lap time set by the Ferrari pro drivers at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi’s famous Karting Academy.

Water Sports In an emirate comprising around 200 islands, perhaps it’s no surprise that water sports are everywhere. Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara offers kayaking and

stand-up paddle boarding through the city’s natural mangroves, activities that are also available at Yas Beach. Snorkellers and divers can spot rays and barracuda among wrecks and reefs. Surfing, wakeboarding and whitewater rafting are on offer at Wadi Adventure in Al Ain.

Top tips Golf in Abu Dhabi offers unbeatable rates at golf courses as well as all-inclusive packages tailored to suit your clients’ individual needs

Don't miss Adventure specialist Noukhada offers a range of kayak tours from mangrove and full-moon night tours to half-day island tours and an overnight stay on a desert island. noukhada.ae

Desert Antics No trip to Abu Dhabi would be complete without some fun in the desert. Arabian Nights Village and Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara offer the full complement of desert activities, including dune bashing in 4x4 vehicles, sand surfing, camel trekking, and cycling through the dunes on specially made ‘fat bikes’ with five-inch-wide tyres.

golfinabudhabi.com YAS MARINA CIRCUIT

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Let us introduce your children to the cultural wonders of Abu Dhabi.

AbadiMTStd-Italic_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz`1234567890-= [] \;’,./≠ ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ~!@#$%^&*()_+{}|:”<>? å∫ç∂´ƒ©˙ˆ∆˚¬µ˜øπœ®ß†¨√∑≈¥Ω`¡™£¢ §¶•ªº–≠“‘«…æ≤ ÷≠ÅıÇÎ´Ï˝ÓˆÔÒ˜Ø∏Œ‰Íˇ¨◊„˛Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿ Á¸`⁄‹›fifl‡°·‚—±”’»ÚƯ˘¿|áéíóúâêîôûàèìòùäëïöüÿãñõÁÉÍÓÚÀÈÌÒÙÄËÏÖÜŸÑÃÕÂÊÎÔÛ ”“’‘ '" € $‚Ǩ¬£¬•‚Ç©‡∏ø—Ä—É–±

Let us offer your family a private villa with a personal butler. Let us awaken all your senses at our spa. Let us leave you with sparkling memories of your beautiful stay.

Discover the secrets of Arabia at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal. Wake up to the view of one of the world’s most spectacular mosques and let your concierge create an adventure itinerary that will take you on a journey of a lifetime. Contact us on +9712 818 8181 or ritzcarlton.com/AbuDhabi

©2015 The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company


16

fun for all t fily

fun for all

t family Year-round sunshine, glorious beaches and some of the world’s greatest theme parks mean Abu Dhabi offers attractions the whole family can enjoy... Ferrari World Abu Dhabi There’s fast and furious fun for all ages at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi on Yas Island. The planet’s largest indoor theme park is home to more than 20 exhilarating rides YAS WATERWORLD and attractions, including Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest rollercoaster, which reaches speeds of up to 240kmph. Younger Save your kids can practise their racing skills at the clients money Karting Academy, or make a pit stop at the by buying Junior Training Academy, a fantastic play them a onearea with climbing walls, slides, suspension or two-day bridges, trapezes and soft play structures. Yas Park Pass, ferrariworldabudhabi.com

 Top tips

Don't miss Abu Dhabi's summer season runs June to September, coinciding nicely with UK school holidays. It brings concerts, comedy acts and children’s shows to the emirate and is also when many top hotels offer their best deals.

Yas Waterworld

which offers discounted entry to both Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld.

FORMULA ROSSA

or soak up Arabia’s longest suspended rollercoaster, the Bandit Bomber. yaswaterworld.com

Beach Bliss Saadiyat Island’s 9km pristine beachfront was recently named the ‘Middle East’s Leading Beach Destination’ at the World Travel Awards. Help families make the most of it by booking them into the five-star Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas. Besides being home to an amazing spa and some of Abu Dhabi’s best restaurants, the hotel offers direct access to the beach. Kids will love seeing the hawksbill turtles that come to nest each year in the sand.

Make a splash in Abu Dhabi with a trip to Family Adventures Yas Waterworld, a Abu Dhabi offers a raft of adventures for futuristic water park families to enjoy. Book them a desert yasparkpass.com with 45 rides, slides safari complete with dune and attractions. bashing, camel riding and Parents can relax sand surfing. Send them while younger kids enjoy the on the hunt for cheetahs and biggest children’s play area in giraffes at the Arabian Wildlife Arabia. Teens and the young at Park on Sir Bani Yas Island. Or heart can surf the world’s largest book them surf lessons at Wadi sheet wave, Bubble’s Barrel; drop Adventure, Arabia’s first manthrough a 20-metre-high funnel made white-water rafting, in a six-person raft on Dawwama; kayaking and surfing facility. visitabudhabi.ae


timeless legacy, arabian hospitality Discover a captivating destination on Abu Dhabiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Corniche, where esteemed St. Regis heritage blends with Arabian sophistication. Indulge in the extraordinary with the St. Regis Butler Service, relax at the iconic Nation Riviera Beach Club and seduce the senses at Remède Spa.

reservations.abudhabi@stregis.com stregisabudhabi.com +971 2 694 4666


18

shoppi & wellss

shopping &

welless

Shopping in Abu Dhabi is so good it’s become something of a national pastime.Combine retail therapy with a trip to one of the city’s sublime spas... Luxury Retail

GOLD JEWELLERY SOUK

Abu Dhabi is home to myriad luxury brands including some regional ‘firsts’. Direct the well Souks & Markets heeled to the luxury shopping The city’s souks offer a fascinating insight into local life, destination, The with traditional silks and perfumes sitting Galleria on Al Maryah cheek by jowl with the latest electronic Island, home to 130 goods, clothing and household items. Send of the world’s most early risers to the Fish Souk at Mina Zayed JUMEIRAH'S COUPLES MASSAGE renowned brand Free Port, where every morning fishermen outlets, or over to load their catch onto the quay to prepare for the Avenue at Etihad Towers where they can a day of haggling. Across the road is Al Mina For souvenirs browse through one of the world’s most Fruit and Vegetable Souk, where rows of look out for exclusive boutique collections. brightly-coloured produce make for fabulous ornate wood photos. Other worthwhile stops include the carvings, local Carpet Souk on Mina Road and the Gold Souk Shopping Malls art, gold on 4th Street in Madinat Zayed. Spacious, modern and air-conditioned, jewellery and Abu Dhabi’s malls provide a welcome handmade escape from the summer heat. They’re also Relax & Revive carpets social hubs where locals come to catch up Practically all of Abu Dhabi’s top hotels have reflecting Abu with family or friends as they eat, shop and heavenly spas attached. But if a spot of Dhabi’s socialise. Highlights include Yas Mall on pampering is high on your client’s wishlist, Arabian Yas Island, the biggest mall in Abu Dhabi; then the likes of the Rosewood Abu Dhabi on heritage. All Marina Mall on the Maryah Island, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers on are tax free, so Corniche the Corniche, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi on Yas cost a fraction Breakwater, which Island, and the Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al of the prices has recently opened Beri by the Grand Canal should all be on elsewhere CityStore, selling the your radar. Away from the city, in-villa A four-hand body full range of spa treatments are on offer at massage at Jumeirah’s Manchester City Zaya Nurai Island, while the Talise Spa, which won Football Club Thai influences brought by ‘Best Luxury Wellness merchandise; and Anantara to Sir Bani Spa in the Middle East’ Abu Dhabi Mall, Yas Island and the at the 2014 World whose 200+ shops dunes of the desert Luxury Spa Awards see an average of guarantee a good 40,000 visitors a day. night’s sleep.

 Top tips

Don't miss

visitabudhabi.ae


19

agts on tour

agents

on tour

Some 50 UK travel professionals recently joined a four-day fam trip to experience the diversity of Abu Dhabi. Here's what they thought... Caroline Parkin FLIGHT CENTRE “I had no idea there were so many incredible activities available in Abu Dhabi and having been I would definitely recommend it as a brilliant alternative to Dubai – and much better value.” Why go? “Abu Dhabi has diverse experiences that are all relatively close to the city – from desert safaris to historic sites and museums to theme parks to top-class malls. The hotels offer outstanding service, and every meal we ate was amazing.”

Emma-Louise Willis



Top tips Recommend Abu Dhabi to families as well as couples. It is very childfriendly with lots of fun things for them to do

CARRICK TRAVEL “Abu Dhabi was nothing like I imagined. It's so much more than a city break and a very authentic destination with lots going on.” Why go? “Where else can you ride the fastest rollercoaster in the world and then watch the sunset at the top of a sand dune or join a Bedouin BBQ.”

Peter Mattinson COX & KINGS “This destination has huge potential. The cultural side is great. The food, hotels and hospitality are flawless.” Why go? “I loved dinner under the stars in the desert, the dune bashing and holding a bird of prey, not to mention the exhilaration of the rollercoasters in Ferrai World Abu Dhabi. The mix of attractions on offer definitely makes Abu Dhabi something really quite different!”


20

evts & ftivals

events &

From great sporting occasions to cultural celebrations, Abu Dhabi boasts a year-round schedule of high-profile events. Reasons to visit include…

festivals GRAND PRIX RACING

Abu Dhabi Tour 08-11 OCTOBER The inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour will be a four-stage professional cycle race covering 555 kilometres. abudhabitour.com

ISAF Sailing World Cup Final 27 OCTOBER-01 NOVEMBER Sailing’s annual World Cup Final, which will be held in Abu Dhabi until 2019, will see 10 Olympic events contested over six days around Lulu Island off Abu Dhabi’s Corniche. sailing.org

Abu Dhabi Art 18-21 NOVEMBER Returning for its seventh year, Abu Dhabi Art will showcase works from some of the leading contemporary art galleries around the world. abudhabiart.ae

Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 27-29 NOVEMBER Lewis Hamilton will be hoping to take the winner’s position on the podium for a second consecutive year when the Formula 1 season comes to a spectacular conclusion in Abu Dhabi in November. formula1.com

Al Dhafra Festival DECEMBER Camel racing, falconry tournaments and high-stakes camel beauty contests are among the highlights of the annual Al Dhafra Festival, a celebration of Bedouin culture that takes place in Abu Dhabi’s western region of Al Gharbia. aldhafrafestival.ae

SAILING WORLD CUP

AL DHAFRA FESTIVAL

Abu Dhabi Classics Season OCTOBER-MAY This is a classical music concert season held each winter that attracts some of the world’s most prominent orchestras and musical talent. abudhabiclassics.ae

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 21-24 JANUARY 2016 Part of the annual PGA European Tour, this takes place over four days at the award-winning Abu Dhabi Golf Club. abudhabigolfchampionship.com

Qasr Al Hosn Festival FEBRUARY Celebrate centuries of Abu Dhabi’s history and heritage with the annual Qasr Al Hosn Festival, held in and around the grounds of the historic Qasr Al Hosn Fort. qasralhosnfestival.ae

Red Bull Air Race FEBRUARY The season opener of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship takes off over the capital’s Corniche in February. redbullairrace.com

ABU DHABI GOLF CLUB

Al Gharbia Watersports Festival APRIL Head to Al Mifra fishing village in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region for this annual water sports extravaganza, combining everything from swimming, kite-surfing and stand-up paddle boarding to dhow, kayak and rowing races. algharbiafestivals.ae

Abu Dhabi Festival MARCH & APRIL One of the Middle East’s leading cultural events, the Abu Dhabi Festival combines music, theatre and dance, as well as visual and traditional arts. abudhabifestival.ae

Abu Dhabi Summer Season JUNE TO SEPTEMBER This year’s Summer Season saw concerts, theatre acts, comedians, magicians and children’s shows storm the emirate. There’s guaranteed to be more of the same next year with star performers and acts to be confirmed as the year progresses.

Liwa Date Festival JUNE/JULY ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi MARCH Now part of the ITU World Triathlon Series, the Abu Dhabi event will be the sport’s season opener until 2019, attracting athletes from more than 100 countries and tens of thousands of spectators to the Corniche. abudhabi.triathlon.org visitabudhabi.ae

A fascinating insight into many desert traditions, the Liwa Date Festival includes a date beauty contest (with total prize money of around AED 5 million), a date auction, and educational sessions on how to care for palm trees. For more information on events in Abu Dhabi, please visit abudhabievents.ae


21

who to book with

who to

book with

Liwa desert dunes

Tour Operator

Website Address

Telephone

Carrier Celebrity Cruises Elegant Resorts Etihad Holidays Gold Medal Holidays Hayes & Jarvis If Only Kuoni Lusso Travel MSC Cruises Premier Holidays Sunset Faraway Holidays The Holiday Team Thomas Cook Travel 2 Virgin Holidays Youtravel.com

carrier.co.uk celebritycruises.co.uk elegantresorts.co.uk etihadholidays.co.uk goldmedal.co.uk hayesandjarvis.co.uk ifonly.net kuoni.co.uk lussotravel.com msccruises.co.uk premierholidays.co.uk sunset.co.uk theholidayteam.co.uk thomascook.com travel2.com virginholidays.co.uk youtravel.com

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22

stial inforation

essential

inforation Location: Abu Dhabi is

SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE

the largest and most populated of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), comprising more than 80% of its landmass. The UAE sits on the Arabian Gulf, bordered by Oman and Saudi Arabia. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE.

Geography: Abu Dhabi is divided into three

main regions: the UAE capital and its surrounds, Al Ain or the Eastern Region, and Al Gharbia or the Western Region. Together they offer 400km of pristine coastline, more than 200 natural islands, vast tracts of serene desert, cool oases, thriving mangroves and vibrant, modern cities.

Climate: Abu Dhabi has a subtropical, arid

climate. Sunny blue skies and high temperatures can be expected most of the year. Rainfall is rare, falling mainly in winter (November to March). Temperatures range from a low of around 13C (50F) on a winter’s night to a high of around 50C (122F) on a summer’s day. The cooler, most pleasant months are November to April when temperatures are around 24C (75F) by day, 13C (56F) at night.

Religion: Islam is the official religion of the UAE and is widely practised. The Islamic holy day is Friday and there are five pillars of Islam, which all Muslims must follow: the Profession of Faith, Prayer, Charity, Fasting and the Pilgrimage to Mecca. Additionally, a Muslim is required to pray (facing Mecca) five times a day. Abu Dhabi is tolerant of other religions, with people free to practise their own beliefs, so long as they do not interfere with Islam.

Time difference:

+4 hours Greenwich Mean Time visitabudhabi.ae

SAADIYAT BEACH CLUB

Currency: UAE dirham (AED), divides into 100 fils.

Language: Arabic is the official language, although English is widely spoken and most road and shop signs, as well as restaurant menus, are in both languages.

 

Visas: UK Citizens can get a free-of-charge

Getting there: The flight time to Abu Dhabi is

Getting around: Abu Dhabi has a well-

entry visa upon arrival at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

around seven hours. Etihad Airways is the national carrier of the UAE and flies direct to Abu Dhabi from London Heathrow, Manchester and Edinburgh. It currently offers three flights a day from Heathrow, two flights a day from Manchester and a daily flight from Edinburgh (please note that the Edinburgh route will be reduced to five flights per week from 28 October 2015 to 28 March 2016). British Airways also flies daily to Abu Dhabi from London Heathrow.

planned road system and is easy to get around. The simplest way is by taxis, which are reasonably priced and plentiful. They can be flagged down at the roadside or Abu Dhabi booked through your is easy to client's hotel. Public explore. Most of the buses are modern key attractions are and highly cost close together effective. All major JAMES WOODALL, car hire companies STELLA TRAVELBAG also have offices in the emirate.


23

map & itirary

map &

itinerary Al Jahili  Fort Wadi Adventure

A week to remember in Abu Dhabi… Day 1

Arrive and transfer to your hotel in Abu Dhabi City. Enjoy an evening stroll

Day 4

Travel to the ‘Oasis City’ of Al

along the Corniche, the UAE capital’s

Ain. Explore Al Jahili Fort,

manicured waterfront.

the Al Ain Palace Museum

Day 2

Start with a tour of the Sheikh Zayed

and the Al Ain Oasis. Drive to

Grand Mosque, which came fourth in

the top of Jabel Hafeet for

Arabian Nights Village

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort

TripAdvisor’s list of the world’s top 25

breath-taking views across into

landmarks. Follow this up with shopping at

Oman. And watch the locals haggle for

the charming Souk Qaryat Al Beri before

livestock at the Al Ain Camel Market.

enjoying afternoon tea at Observation Deck

Overnight in Al Ain.

at 300, on the 74th floor of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers.

Day 3

Day 5

Al Saadiyat for a sneak peek at Louvre Abu

Transfer to the desert dunes of the Empty Quarter for an afternoon of

Dhabi and other upcoming museums.

Day 7-8

Head out on the water; perhaps a

Spend the day enjoying the

dune bashing, camel trekking or sand surfing,

attractions of Yas Island. Ride the

topped off with a delicious meal beneath the

speedboat tour or the Abu Dhabi Pearl

stars. Overnight in the Empty Quarter.

Journey, a traditional dhow cruise that

world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Hit the shops at Yas Mall. Grab a round of golf at Yas Links. Or take the plunge

Day 6

Rise early to catch the sunrise over the

celebrates the emirate’s pearl-diving history.

desert then return to a beach resort in

Transfer to the airport the following morning

Abu Dhabi City, stopping on the way at Manarat

at Yas Waterworld.

thrill-a-minute ride on a Yellow Boats

for your flight home.

Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas

Abu Dhabi  Cruise Terminal

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

 Corniche

Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi

Yas Waterworld Yas Marina Circuit

Emirates Palace Jumeirah At Etihad Towers

Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi

Grand Canal

Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat al Beri

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi


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Abu Dhabi Guide 2015-2016  

The latest rides, restaurants, museums and attractions everybody’s talking about in Abu Dhabi…

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