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ABU DH ABI Hotels / Culture / Shops / Activities / Restaurants



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World Traveller // We Love Abu Dhabi

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welcome to

ABU DHABI The past few years have seen the UAE capital mature into a cosmopolitan city without losing sight of its Bedouin roots. And a quick flick through the pages here will show you the many historical and happening reasons why Abu Dhabi is slowly emerging as a must-visit destination. Whether you find yourself here on business or holiday, visitors can relish in a sea of hotels, culinary gems and cultural hotspots. The only problem youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll face is choosing which ones to visit first.


2 Essentials 5 Hotels 18 Shopping 22 Restaurants 27 Culture 29 Activities

About This Guide Our writers have experienced the very best of Abu Dhabi and selected their choice picks of what the capital has to offer you. Enjoy.


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ESSENTIALS All you need to know

Getting there


Abu Dhabi’s airport has won awards for its customer service, with flights arriving daily via multiple airlines from all over the world. To book a flight to Abu Dhabi, contact dnata (+971 4 316 6666),

GCC residents do not need a visa to enter Abu Dhabi, and citizens of most other countries can get a free entry visa upon arrival at Abu Dhabi International Airport. However, this doesn’t apply to everyone – to find out if you need a visa, check

Getting around A new and intuitively-planned road network means that getting around Abu Dhabi is best done by car. Landmarks such as the world’s most leaning building, Capital Gate, Emirates Palace and super-hotel Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi will help you navigate the roads. You’ll be able to rent a vehicle from any of the major car rental companies, but if you’d rather let someone else do the work, taxis are reasonably priced and extremely plentiful. A fleet of modern air-conditioned buses serves public transport, with an easy-to-use system allowing you to hop on and off any bus you like, simply by placing a one Dirham coin in the box next to the driver.

15 The number of football pitches Yas Waterworld would spread over

87% The amount of land mass of the UAE in total that the emirate of Abu Dhabi occupies

The size in square metres of the pl




World Traveller // We Love Abu Dhabi

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The number of seconds it takes Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, to go from 0-100kmh


The height in feet of each of the four minarets of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque


Prove your globetrotting knowledge with these facts

Authentic Emirati restaurants are thin on the ground in the UAE – you’ll need no more than one hand to count them – so be sure to reserve a table at Mezlai in the glitzy Emirates Palace for a true taste of the region. Despite its many modern and futuristic-looking buildings, remnants of the ancient have been found in Abu Dhabi. An archaeological dig on Sir Bani Yas Island revealed a crumbled Christian monastery, said to date to 600AD. The Yas Marina Formula 1™ race circuit has been part of the F1 season since 2009, and took 35 million man-hours to construct. It’s also one of only four race circuits to run in an anti-clockwise direction. (The others are Interlagos in Brazil, Yeongam in Singapore, and Circuit of Americas in Texas, USA).

lot of land Emirates Palace sits on



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WELCOME TO EMIR ATES PALACE Your gateway to a one-of-a-kind experience ocated on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, this landmark hotel is an icon of Abu Dhabi that exemplifies luxury and true Arabian hospitality. Going beyond five-star luxury, guests have a choice of rooms and suites that range from those affording stunning views of either Abu Dhabi’s burgeoning skyline or the hotel’s 1.3km expanse of pristine white beach, refreshing pools and acres of lush



gardens. In each case you will be served by your own butler, on hand to meet your every need. Those aforementioned facilities include the Anantara Spa, which offers a long list of deliciously indulgent treatments to enjoy. Equally indulgent are the dining options. Serving a variety of the world’s finest cuisines crafted by international culinary experts, here you can dine at

the country’s only fine-dining Emirati restaurant, Mezlai, a genuinely unique proposition, and BBQ Al Qsar, Abu Dhabi’s most romantic spot for a beachside dinner under the stars. Wherever you dine, be sure to leave room to sample the extraordinary creations of the hotel’s pastry chefs, whose sweet treats are a touch of luxury. In a hotel without equal, a truly remarkable stay is guaranteed.

World Traveller // We Love Abu Dhabi

HOTELS we love

There are many superb spots to rest up in Abu Dhabi, and almost as many reasons to do so. We round up the very best of themâ&#x20AC;Ś Hotels

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bu Dhabi’s hotel offering continues to expand and amaze in equal measure – you can now add the world’s highest suspended hotel suite to the world’s most expensively built hotel and world’s only hotel to straddle a Formula One track when listing the city’s standout accommodation options. Such landmark hotels are a good place to begin our recommendations of places to stay, so let’s start with that suite. You’ll find it at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi, bridging the twintowered Nation Tower some 200 meters in the air. Inside, opulence abounds: a cinema, spa and private elevator access are some of the highlights, while enchanting panoramas come as standard. Not to be outdone, sister property St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi (the out of town alternative to the city centre-based sibling) boasts the biggest suite in the whole of the UAE. The Royal Suite spans two whole floors and among its extravagant features are a Steinway grand piano, billiards room, minicinema and the not-so-small matter of a private pool, housed on an outsized, ocean-facing balcony. Other suites of note at this beautiful resort – which offers up a nine-kilometre beach – include the aptly named Majestic Suites and Spa Suites, which house a treatment area and Jacuzzi. As with all St. Regis hotels, the brand’s legendary butler service is laid on for all guests. The armadillo-like façade of the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi hotel is captivating day or night, but particularly at night when it’s entirely bathed in bright, colour-changing lights that give it an otherworldly glow. Get past that eye-catching exterior and you’ll be in a truly unique setting. Suites here place you, quite literally, on the edge of the action – in this case, overlooking the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the city’s annual F1 race. Go all out with a stay in one of its two-storey Presidential Suites, memorable for their standout features – notably an indoor lap pool, revealed from behind a partition at the click of a button. The extravagance of Emirates Palace is well documented and to label it simply as palatial is an understatement. Inside, gold leaf and Swarovski chandeliers abound, while each guest gets their own butler to bend to their whim. It’s just as lavish outside, too, with a huge stretch of cotton-white beach, pools aplenty and beachfront spa cabanas where you can indulge in a personally-tailored treatment Hotels

Opening page, clockwise from top: Rosewood Abu Dhabi; Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi; Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara; InterContinental Abu Dhabi. This page, clockwise from top: Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel And Villas. Next page: Jumeirah at Etihad Towers.

DISCOVER A MEDITERRANEANINSPIRED GETAWAY The legacy continues with The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort.

Beautifully placed at the gateway of the Beach District of Saadiyat – a natural island and visionary destination, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi offers Mediterranean-inspired living on a beach so sublime that Hawksbill turtles find refuge in the dunes and Bottlenose dolphins play in the surf along the shore. With a pristine beach and azure waters, the resort is an address of choice for discerning well-traveled connoisseurs.

saadiyat island, abu dhabi +971.2.498.8888

a legacy of luxury. now at over 30 of the world’s finest hotels & RESORTS. ©2010–2013 Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Preferred Guest, SPG, St. Regis and their logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates.

moments from the city footsteps from the beach luxur y has never been closer

E XPE RIE NCE L UX URY AT A S P EC IA L RAT E Enjoy a luxurious stay with our Advance Purchase rate at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi along with numerous benefits including: - 15% off the Hyatt Daily Rate when booked 14 days prior to arrival - Complimentary stay, breakfast, lunch and dinner for children below the age of six - Valid for both mid-week and weekend stays Reservations +971 2 407 1234 or Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi | Saadiyat Island | Abu Dhabi | United Arab Emirates Terms and Conditions apply. The trademarks HYATT™, PARK HYATT™ and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. ©2014 Hyatt Hotels Corporation. All rights reserved.

World Traveller // We Love Abu Dhabi

while listening to the waves lap the shore. Close to Emirates Palace is one of the city’s perennial favourites, the InterContinental Abu Dhabi. Prior to the building of Emirates Palace, this is where the country’s royalty would stay and host visiting dignitaries, and the iconic landmark has lost none of its charm through the years. In fact, its already impressive line up of attractions – large beach, never-fail restaurants, its own yacht-filled marina – will grow with the addition of a grand spa and dedicated kids’ pool and play area, making it a great choice for all. Also in this part of town is Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, which occupies one of five skyreaching glass towers that look out to sea. The lobby here is spectacular, made up of soaring panoramic windows and oversized glitter balls that dazzle overhead. It’s a hotel chockfull of standout attractions – three pools, a great spa and a handful of

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gastronomic delights – though none more so than the label-loaded shopping destination, Avenue at Etihad Towers, to which there is direct access and designer names at every turn. The high-end shopping opportunities afforded by a stay at Rosewood Abu Dhabi come in the form of The Galleria at Al Maryah Island – walk through to it from the hotel. But the hotel is a big enough draw without that added attraction. Every guest at this lavish property – where ever-changing works of conversationstarting art adorn walls and walkways – is welcomed by their own butler, and the choice of fine and intriguing restaurants and lounges lists is as long as your arm. Then there’s a nine room, full-service treatment spa (which also boasts two hammam rooms), and a choice of rooms and suites that make full use of the hotel’s waterside location – book yourself into the exceptional Executive




There’s never been a better time to treat your family to a weekend at InterContinental Abu Dhabi. Stay Thursday, Friday or Saturday in a deluxe room for only AED 555 per night and get a second room for AED 333. Or upgrade to a deluxe suite for AED 999. Rates include two buffet breakfasts per room, one F&B voucher worth AED 200, 25% off massage treatments, 4pm check out, 10% service charge and 6% tourism fee. Offer valid till 31st May 2014 for GCC nationals and residents only.

Book online at or call +971 2 666 6888 Terms and conditions apply. © 2014 InterContinental Hotels Group. All Rights Reserved.

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World Traveller // We Love Abu Dhabi

Below: Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara.

Suite to see what we’re talking about. As Abu Dhabi’s skyline continues to take shape, one of its most eye-grabbing attractions is Hyatt Capital Gate, Abu Dhabi, which leans a record-breaking 18 degrees. Standing (well, leaning) close to the airport, this hotel lays on the luxury, with stylish rooms lit by spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows and featuring marbleladen bathrooms. Its high-rise spa, specialising in holistic therapies, is a gem. From the same stable is the beautiful Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel And Villas, which is spread before a nine-kilometre stretch of environmentally protected beach and close to the 18-hole, Gary Player-designed golf course at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. Those villas alluded to in the hotel’s name are an outstanding option, with the oak-floored Executive Villa housing two rooms and an expansive terrace that faces the ocean, and the bigger still Royal Villa offering three bedrooms and the same, sea-facing setting. Both also boast private plunge pools. The exterior of this hotel is instantly calming; all glistening pools, swaying palm trees and styled gardens, and if you want to crank your relaxation up a notch

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Every guest of the Rosewood Abu Dhabi is greeted by their own butler

there’s a fantastic spa on site. Yet this is also a hotel that caters well to families – Camp Hyatt lays on activities aplenty free of charge for kids aged five to 12. Another first-rate spa – this one housing 11 treatment rooms – can be found at the Grand Millennium Al Wahda. At Zayna Spa you can be scrubbed, wrapped and massaged to perfection, so you’ll be in fine fettle to shop up a storm at the adjacent Al Wahda Mall. However, you’ll find us soaking up the sun and the fine vistas at the hotel’s stylish rooftop pool. For rooms with a view – the stunning Sheikh



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Zayed Grand Mosque being the object of your gaze – head to the serene Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri. Here you’ll get a true taste of Arabia, channelled through the low-rise architecture, lush décor, warmth of service and a traditionalstyle souk, which you’ll reach via meandering waterways aboard a gliding abra. Come here for a post-lunch stroll around shops selling artefacts before relaxing on the hotel’s slice of soft sand or inside its superb spa. Also looking out to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the Renaissance-style Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, which stands proud aside the water like an Italian palace. This crescent-shaped abode has all the trimmings needed to keep you in the lap of luxury, including 85 beautiful villas and a huge spa, while gourmands will be tickled pink by the vast choice of restaurants. Book a Club Level room and you’ll get to enjoy continuous culinary – and complimentary – offerings throughout the day

Abu Dhabi’s hotel offering continues to expand and amaze in equal measure


as you soak in that splendid view. The Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi has just celebrated its twentieth birthday – a rarity in this ever-changing hotel landscape, and even more rare is that some of the original staff remain, including the concierge. That’s the sign of a good hotel, and the Beach Rotana is just that, boasting great rooms, its own slice of sand and an enviable line up of restaurants. The fabulous facelift undertaken by Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi has made it a match for any of the city’s other luxury dwellings. Most of the rooms here afford guests panoramic views of the sparkling sea and are great value to boot, with the marble-floored, elegantly furnished suites particularly enticing. On arrival, guests discover a curated collection of high-impact contemporary art installations, while further exploration reveals amenities that include indoor and outdoor pools and some of the most innovative dining options in the city (artisan Hotels

Clockwise from top: Emirates Palace.

Discover the allure of timeless Arabian destinations

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara

Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort

Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara

Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara

Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villa Resort

Explore breathtaking beauty, unsurpassed opulence and the warmth of Arabian hospitality at each of the unique Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas in Abu Dhabi. Be mesmerised by the alluring charm of the Liwa Desert at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort or escape to the calming serenity of the mangroves at Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa. Relax body and mind in the natural beauty of one of our three Sir Bani Yas Island resorts. No matter what your heart desires, these magnificent Anantara destinations will set the stage for unforgettable memories.

Embark on a journey rich with discovery at

Call +971 (0)2 656 1399 or email for enquiries and reservations United Arab Emirates • Cambodia • China • Indonesia • Maldives • Mozambique • Thailand • Vietnam

World Traveller // We Love Abu Dhabi

Clockwise from top: St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi.

bakery and bistro whEAT is excellent). Not far from here, on the city’s Corniche, is the Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche. Here, French and Arabic styles are celebrated in equal measure, influencing everything from the food to the décor and even the bathroom products – you can lather up with Lanvin or Hermès products while soaking under an invigorating rain shower. But whichever room you plump for – and they range from the art deco-inspired Superior Room right through to the whole-floor Royal Suite, inside which is a Jacuzzi – you can be sure to retreat to seriously chic interiors. Yas Island is a destination in itself, the city’s

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entertainment hub that’s home to a brilliant waterpark, splendid golf course, the whiteknuckle rides of Ferrari World and the famous F1 Grand Prix track (plus an impending mega mall). A stay here, then, puts you at the heart of the action, and the hotel options are plentiful. Away from the aforementioned Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi hotel they include the ever-popular Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi Yas Island, which boasts unbroken views of the golf course and the inky-blue ocean beyond from its lobby – there’s also soothing vistas to be had from the rooms and, best of all, from the swim-up Sundowner Pool Bar. Back inside there’s a good spread of dining options and a kids’ club that entertains four to 12-year-olds – that’s assuming they have any energy left in the tank after a day enjoying all Yas Island has to throw at them. Their elders, meanwhile, will have no problem winding down in one of the hotel’s ultra-comfortable suites. The shortest of walks from here stands the Radisson Blu Hotel, Abu Dhabi Yas Island, where the views on offer are no less outstanding. Book a Business Class Room – sink-in king-sized bed, sun-soaked private balcony – and you’ll get complimentary drinks and delicious snacks throughout the day. For those whose chief aim is to get away from it all, Anantara offers two standout resorts in Abu Dhabi. Anantara Desert Island Resort on Sir Bani Yas Island is one of the few places you can get to grips with local nature – enjoy a 4x4 drive around elegant gazelles and the rare Arabian Oryx. Book a Pool Villa and you’ll be privy to your own private pool, splendid tropical gardens and an outdoor shower. Further sanctuary can be sought in the sweeping, red sands of the Liwa Desert – among the world’s largest uninterrupted sand deserts – where you’ll find the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara. Like at its sister property, the room of choice here is the Pool Villa, which allows you to soak in a plunge pool while drinking in the sight of seemingly endless dunes before you. Back in the city, the Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa, built among protected mangroves, looks every inch the royal residence and its serene atmosphere makes it a fairytale spot in which to relax – best undertaken with a spell in its acclaimed Anantara Spa.


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YAS ISLAND The most uniquely brilliant leisure destination in the Middle East

Yas Islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s du Arena has hosted concerts by some of the biggest names in music history, including The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder and Sir. Paul McCartney

The stunning Yas Marina has room for 192 boats and yachts, the longest of which can be 150 metres

Spanning 2.5million sq ft, Yas Mall will be Abu Dhabiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest shopping mall when it opens in November of 2014, and boast over 450 stores and 4 international department stores



Yas Links Abu Dhabi is a 7,450 yard, par-72 course and the first links golf course in the whole of the Middle East


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Yas Waterworld Ferrari World Yas Links Yas Marina Circuit du Arena Yas Beach Yas Island Rotana Park Inn Centro Yas Island Yas Viceroy Radisson Blu Hotel Crowne Plaza Hotel Staybridge Suites

World Traveller // We Lovea Abu Dabi

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1 Yas Marina boasts the longest straight of any current Formula 1™ circuit, plus 21 twists and turns to make it a truly testing drive

Yas Island is home to 7 hotels, including Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, the only hotel in the world to straddle a Formula 1™ race circuit

In total, Yas Waterworld spans an area the size of 15 football pitches, and includes 43 super slides and attractions to enjoy

Bandit Bomber at Yas Waterworld is the longest suspended roller coaster in the Middle East at 550 metres long







2 SECS The








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SHOPPING we love


If your version of perfect sightseeing is more bulging shopping bags than beautiful landscapes, Abu Dhabi’s got you covered…


he most exciting shopping news last year was the opening of The Galleria at Al Maryah Island. The mall’s slogan is ‘explore the wonder of luxury’, which describes The Galleria perfectly. You’ll find the finest fashions from Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo, Tom Ford and countless others among the pristine white pillars of the building. Be sure not to miss the spectacular views of the city from the unique atrium roof. Of the same ilk, Avenue at Etihad Towers – the city’s first all luxury shopping destination – is good enough to make even the most seasoned label lover jump for joy. Step inside and you’ll find two pristine, marble-clad podiums where designer fashion boutiques (Salvatore Ferragamo, Hermès,

World Traveller // We Love Abu Dhabi

Avenue at Etihad Towers.

Chloé, Burberry…) appear alongside the very best high-end jewellers and watchmakers. The likes of Rolex, Van Cleef & Arpels and Bulgari all show their latest models here. And when you’re done perusing you can take a breather at Avenue’s gorgeous Fauchon Le Café, where a stunning fuchsia and black décor guarantees the chicest coffee experience this side of the capital. Nearby you’ll find the World Trade Centre Mall, a cool shopping destination catering to a range of fashion and food-centric customers. Must-visit stores include Missoni, Karen Millen and House of Fraser. The UAE capital is also home to two shopping stalwarts, Abu Dhabi Mall and Marina Mall. The former delivering hundreds

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of shops – from department stores through to specialist boutiques (the likes of Paspaley for pearls and Montblanc for luxury accessories) – and bowling to pep you up once you’re all shopped out. Marina Mall, meanwhile, mixes the highstreet with the high-end. Here you can trawl the latest collections from Chanel, Fendi, Dior and Louis Vuitton, or if your budget is a little more modest, the likes of Gap, Reiss and Ted Baker too. If this is your first time in Abu Dhabi – or even if it’s not – don’t miss out on the eye-catching S*uce boutique. It’s definitely the place to bag a glamorous outfit by a local label that you can be sure nobody else will have. Both malls also house the Emirati-owned Yas Perfumes, which specialises in the traditional


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tanding tall and looking out to the ocean, with its all-glass façade iridescent in the sunlight, the impeccably designed, state-ofthe-art Etihad Towers houses myriad gems (Abu Dhabi’s only Jumeirah hotel and some of the city’s finest restaurants included). Yet chief among them is the designer label-loaded Avenue at Etihad

ELECTRIC AVENUE Head to Abu Dhabi’s first luxury shopping destination, where the world’s leading designer labels await you…

Towers - Abu Dhabi’s exclusive luxury shopping destination. Set across two floors, shoppers will find some of the world’s leading luxury brands here: Tom Ford, Van Cleef & Arpels, Burberry, Chloé, Givenchy, Hermès, Rolex and Versace to name but a few. The contemporary shopping space was also the chosen location for Stéphane Rolland’s flagship prêt-àporter boutique, as well as the venue of choice for watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne’s Middle Eastern debut. In all, close to 35 luxury brands sell their high-end wares here, with many of the watch and jewellery boutiques showcasing unique-to-the-region pieces. This is a retail destination for the discerning shopper. To top up those energy levels in the midst of your shopping spree, you’ll find the upscale Fauchon Le Café here too. Open daily, its elegant cuisine features the most sublime French pastries and always-in-vogue macarons. Aside from fashion, Avenue at Etihad Towers also champions the arts, acting as a high-end exhibition space for local and international artists to showcase their work. Check for upcoming exhibitions.



World Traveller // We Love Abu Dhabi

scents of the region. You can also select – from a vast number – an ornate bottle in which to store your perfume of choice, making for a great souvenir. Al Wahda Mall has cemented itself as a firm favourite, offering hundreds of stores that see international and local names stand side by side. Its crown jewel is the cavernous Magrudy’s bookstore, where you will find literature of all kinds from all over the world. Solace Organics can beautify you with all their lovely lotions and potions, and Galler is a must for chocoholics. If you have little ones in tow, Al Wahda Mall houses what’s probably the city’s best in-mall entertainment zone, Wanasa Land, where you’ll find bowling, paintballing, rock climbing and, for younger tots, face painting. The Collection is an urban getaway deep in the heart of the St. Regis Saadiyat resort. Small but perfectly formed, it features 26 high-end stores and restaurants, but what really sets it apart is the stunning backdrop of Saadiyat Beach, perfect to help you unwind after you’ve shopped yourself out. For new visitors, Mushrif Mall prides itself on its accessible and carefree attitude. With three floors, entertainment areas and an enormous car park, you can lose yourself for days if you aren’t careful – unless that’s exactly what you’re aiming for. Another mall housing a huge number of highstreet brands and specialist stores (some 480 in total) is Dalma Mall. You’ll find it close to the airport on the way into the city, and aside from all those stores – everything from Damas Les Exclusives where you can buy fine jewellery, to Grand Sunglasses which stocks the latest-style shades. If you’re in the market for a new watch, Khalidiyah Mall is your destination. The mall is home of Rolex, Rasool Khoory and Sons and a Rivoli Arcade, all of which are chock-full of myriad brands. Fashion-wise, you can take your pick from an array of international brands spread across three levels and congregating beneath an airy atrium. For fun, why not check out Bowling City or the multiplex cinema. Away from the capital’s bustling shopping malls, you may wish to savour a more historic shopping experience: cue Abu Dhabi’s souks. Of course, gone are the days when people haggle away in labyrinthine souks, but that’s not to say you can’t sample a taste of times gone

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by. Authentic flavours can be savoured at The The Galleria. SOUK at Central Market, which maintains an air of earlier times thanks to traditional wood detailing and coloured glass. You’ll be surprised when you get inside – the traditional look of the outside gives way to modern-looking pillars. That’s not to say it’s all new inside. Lift your head up and admire the impressive slatted ceiling, which allows the Arabian sun to soak the blue mosaics you’ll find under your feet. Once you’re there it will be impossible to resist the individual boutiques, which serve up a refreshing change to the big name brands seen dominating the malls. Souk Qaryat Al Beri (find it beside the Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri) is another place designed like a souk of old. Inside, you’ll find tasteful jewellers and regional dressmakers. Not only that, but this shopping spot is flanked by waterways, which means (if you’re a hotel guest at least) you can try out an afternoon’s shopping aboard an abra, one of the UAE’s oldest modes of transport. You will not regret stopping off at one of the multitude of waterside cafés and drinking in the views pre- or post-shop. It’s as idyllic as it sounds and makes for a memory you will always treasure. If you’re feeling really generous, why not indulge in the ultimate souvenir: gold. Decadent deals can be made at the Gold Souq in Madinat Zayed, where precious metals are imported from around the globe, plus pearls from Japan.


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No matter the size of your budget or appetite, you’re sure to find a culinary spot to satisfy both in Abu Dhabi…



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bu Dhabi has been cultivating a position of culinary authority in the region for some time now, with a steady stream of Michelin-starred, high-profile restaurateurs and chefs touching down in the UAE capital for one culinary event or another. But it’s a Dubai favourite that has everyone clambering for a reservation. At time of press, Zuma was due to open its doors at The Galleria, promising Abu Dhabians the same sublime Japanese delights beloved by diners at its Dubai, London and other international outlets. One of the emirate’s newest hotels, Rosewood Abu Dhabi, also houses one of its finest culinary draws, Catalan. It’s the city’s first restaurant to focus on Catalan dishes, and what makes those dishes more unique is that they’re prepared by the two Michelin-starred chef who is based at the hotel. Come here for seasonal menus, the finest ingredients and a refined atmosphere.

The location of Scott’s, like the food, is outstanding

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, a one-of-a-kind retreat offering enough dining options to keep you full for days, has the stylish signature steakhouse, The Forge. It will tantalise your taste buds with its prime cuts of meat, while the open kitchen at Li Jiang cooks up baskets of dim sum in flavoursome fashion. Over on Saadiyat Island you’ll find Park Bar & Grill, with its range of charcoal-grilled meats, seafood and Asian-themed starters, served in the chic environs of the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel And Villas. If it’s a lighter meal you desire, The Beach House here dishes up elegant Mediterranean cuisine in understated, woodaccented surroundings. On the same island is 55&5th, The Grill at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island, named as an homage to the New York street address of the original St. Regis hotel. It offers up hunks of perfectly cooked, grass-fed vintage cuts – if you’re in the mood to treat yourself, order the Donald Russell dry-aged Côte De Boeuf. In


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created by Alan Yau, should not be allowed to leave without ordering the Hakka steamed dim sum platter, featuring textbook examples of har gau, scallop shumai, and prawn and chive dumpling. A hop and skip from Hakkasan, in the same hotel, is Mezlai, the first Emirati restaurant in the UAE. Pitch up here for authentic cuisine served in inviting, laid-back surrounds. Cooking up a storm in the city since 2008 is fact, if you’re a committed meat-eater, Rodeo Grill at The Beach Rotana has to be on your list. Bord Eau in Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri. Billed as Abu Dhabi’s first steakhouse, it’s hard This culinary stalwart has gone from strength to strength, wowing diners with its fresh, to tell what’s softer – the green leather chairs you’ll sit in, or the prime steaks you’ll sink your innovative take on modern French cuisine. Marco Pierre White has also made his indelible teeth into. mark on the city’s restaurant scene with Marco Meanwhile, at the other St. Regis in town, St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Rhodes 44, Gary Rhodes’ Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, which opened in 2009. celebration of British favourites mixed with his Abu Dhabi offers a generous selection of own culinary creations, is the only one of his Japanese restaurants to please super-svelte UAE outlets to open for breakfast. Opening page, clockwise from top left: Catalan; Pachaylen; Park Bar & Grill. This page, clockwise from below left: Tori No Su; 55th&5th The Grill.


A stone’s throw from here is Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. London’s famous Scott’s restaurant chose it to host its first overseas location, and the hotel is all the better for it. Offering the finest oysters, fish and crustacean, as well as seasonal game, meat and vegetarian dishes, the menu here is simple, with the added bonus of produce being sourced locally wherever possible. The location of Scott’s, like the food, is outstanding: perched over the Arabian Gulf with spectacular views across the sea. Quest, the hotel’s pan-Asian eatery on the dizzyingly high 63rd floor, is another gem. A handful of culinary delights can be found at the neighbouring Emirates Palace, home to the UAE’s first Hakkasan restaurant – the second outpost opened in Dubai in 2011. Anyone visiting this venerable dim sum restaurant, Restaurants

One of the emirate’s newest hotels also houses one of its finest culinary draws types who eat nothing but sushi. Toki at Hilton Abu Dhabi is worth visiting for its commendable selection of katsu curries and donburi, as well as its perfectly prepared maki rolls, while Yotto at Cipriani Yas Island epitomises the chic and sleek vibe that many have come to expect from high-end Japanese restaurants in the UAE. Since opening its doors in 2009, InterContinental Abu Dhabi’s Belgian Café has

World Traveller // We Love Abu Dhabi

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT Gastronomy takes centre stage at Rosewood Abu Dhabi with a medley of dining delights on offer… n a city of gastronomic delights, one hotel truly stands out from the crowd. The Rosewood Abu Dhabi blends traditional cuisine with exciting new creations, in a variety of stunning restaurants. The two-Michelin-starred chef Antonio Saez helms Catalan, the first Catalonian restaurant to open in the capital. On its delectable menu you’ll find contemporary Catalonian cuisine as fresh as any in Barcelona. In fact, ingredients are flown in from Catalonia’s mountains and deep seas to serve the chef ’s exacting requirements. To experience the fun, style and glamour of Beirut, head to Sambusek, where an upbeat vibe is matched with traditional Lebanese cuisine. Fine meats and freshly hooked fish are grilled to perfection and served with hot and cold mezze. The lively atmosphere is stoked by its stunning al fresco bar, Smoke, where open fire pits provide the perfect setting for a post-dinner drink. These two showstopper restaurants are augmented by seven other restaurants and lounges, from the dynamic Indian Spice Mela, to the open-all-day Glo, from which the views are nothing short of sublime. Remember to pack your appetite. Promotion


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Clockwise from top: Angar; Mezlai.

been Abu Dhabi’s foremost gateway to this most European of cuisines. Mussels, frites, and a staggering variety of beverages will greet you. From traditional Belgian to traditional Brazilian in the same hotel, Chamas Brazilian Churrascaria is a fun and lively venue where a seemingly endless supply of freshly barbecued meat and chicken is served at your table on skewers. And exceptionally tender meat is also the highlight of a meal at Barouk, an authentic (and award-winning) Lebanese restaurant at Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi Yas Island. The city is awash with quality cuisine from across India’s states and territories, too. The best known, and indeed most popular, is Ushna, which you’ll find in Souk Qaryat Al Beri. Not only does the restaurant serve a fragrant and colourful combination of multiple Indian dishes but it’s good value to boot. Angar at Yas Viceroy, finds favour by means of its Tandoorcooked meat and fish. It’s divine. For Italian cuisine, try an old favourite: La Mamma. It’s been the go-to restaurant at the Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort for decades and serves never-fail, homely food. A big part of its success is due to an all-Italian staff – perhaps Mamma knows best, after all. Porto Bello, at The Grand Millennium Al Wahda also serves exemplary incarnations of classic Italian recipes, as well as more refined fare including truffle-infused dishes. You can dine in sumptuous surroundings at the majestic Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara. Take some time to meander around this Arabic-inspired resort before heading straight for Pachaylen and its sophisticated Thai cusine. The flavourful curries and spicy salads served up here will transport you to the Land of Smiles in a few bites. And for somewhere special to watch the sun slip away, head to Le Deck, the destination restaurant at the Monte-Carlo Beach Club on Saadiyat Island. Sublime seafood dominates the menu here, with recipes influenced by the French and Italian rivieras. Enjoy.



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CULTURE we love

With the opening of the Louvre and Guggenheim on the horizon, Abu Dhabi is gearing up for an artistic revolution – here’s where to get caught up in the cultural buzz…



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For something truly incredible, head to Sir Bani Yas Island


exhibition of the work of British adventurer Sir Wilfred Thesiger and his 1940s crossings of The Empty Quarter desert. Also in Al Ain is the Al Ain Palace Museum. Built in 1910, it is the former home of the late UAE founder, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and later became a museum housing a large amount of material relating to the ruling family. The ‘Father of the Nation’ is also celebrated at Zayad Centre in downtown Culture

Abu Dhabi. It features a plethora of interesting memorabilia, from rifles to his fleet of cars. For something truly incredible, head to Sir Bani Yas Island where you’ll find an archaeological site that’s believed to be the UAE’s only discovered Christian monastery. Researchers think the original building was erected in 600AD, and archaeologists continue to dig the site to unearth historical treasures. The falcon plays a leading role in Emirati culture, which makes the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital a must-visit spot to learn about these fascinating hunting birds. Visitors are welcome to tour the hospital from Sunday to Thursday at 10am and 2pm. Advance booking is recommended. Abu Dhabi is forging its own identity as a place of modern artistic interest. Saadiyat Island is set to become the region’s cultural HQ, with Louvre Abu Dhabi due to open next year, followed by Zayed National Museum in 2016 and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in 2017. Until then, Manarat Al Saadiyat and Gallery One inside Emirates Palace both stage high-profile exhibitions, while Abu Dhabi Art Hub in Mussafah exhibits emerging artists from the UAE and beyond.

Previous page, clockwise from top: Renderings of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; visitors to Abu Dhabi Art; Renderings of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. This page: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Images: TCA Abu Dhabi

he first stop for any self-respecting tourist is the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which certainly lives up to its name. Completed in 2007, the architectural icon is one of the world’s largest mosques, featuring 82 domes and 1,000 columns, and can accommodate 41,000 worshippers. Free tours take place from Sunday to Thursday at 10am, 11am and 4.30pm, Friday at 5pm and 7.30pm, and Saturday at 10am, 11am, 2pm, 4.30pm and 7.30pm. To discover what life was like in the preoil days, take a trip to Abu Dhabi Heritage Village. The open-air museum is run by the Emirates Heritage Club, and is effectively a reconstruction of a traditional oasis community. Expect lots of goats, barasti huts and traditionally dressed cultural experts on hand to display their Emirati know-how. Qasr Al Hosn – often referred to as the symbolic birthplace of Abu Dhabi – was once the centrepiece of the city, a watchtower then impenetrable fort from where political power emanated. It has stood for 250 years and was the emirate’s first permanent structure. Today, an annual festival bearing its name celebrates the UAE’s heritage as a whole. In fact, the emirate is home to many historic buildings that have a story to tell. Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain is one such building. It was erected in 1891 to defend the city and protect precious palm groves, and now stands in beautifully landscaped gardens. Visitors are encouraged to explore it and inside you’ll find a permanent

World Traveller // We Love Abu Dhabi

bu Dhabi is slowly becoming the Emirates’ favourite playground, thanks in large part to the development of its worldclass entertainment hub, Yas Island. And the island’s newest attraction, Yas Waterworld, has made quite a splash. Opened last year, the waterpark has 43 wet and wild rides including Falcon’s Fajal (a scream-inducing water coaster full of twists, turns and drops) and the 238-metre-long Dawwama (officially the world’s longest waterslide). It’s going to be an even bigger year than usual at the island’s Yas Marina Circuit. In November, it plays host to the final race of the Formula 1 Grand Prix season, adding extra excitement to an already action-packed weekend (from 21-23). For tickets and further details, visit Outside of F1, Yas Marina Circuit hosts an array of other motor-related activities, from drift driving lessons to a spin in a single-seater Formula 3,000 car. The Yas complex also holds some of the country’s biggest concerts – including Justin Timberlake and Black Sabbath in 2014. For tickets, see Staying on Yas Island, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is one of the city’s top attractions. Highlights include the Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest rollercoaster (240km/h in under five seconds – yikes!) and the Tyre Twist, a classic teacup ride with a Ferrari-inspired spin. The Karting Academy is also set to open later this year, allowing visitors to race souped-up go-karts with a top speed of 80km/h around a 290-metre track. For those seeking a more sedate pace, Yas Island’s beach stretches some 400 metres and is well worth seeking out for some serious sunbathing. If you’re after something altogether more glam, head to Saadiyat Island’s exclusive Monte-Carlo Beach Club, Saadiyat. Spend the day lazing in a private cabana by the 650-square-metre pool, then dress up for dinner at its signature restaurant, Le Deck, or watch the sun set over the Arabian Sea from the stylish terrace of Bubbles Bar. If you’re a golfer, you’ll be pleased to hear the capital boasts a wealth of first-class courses. The Abu Dhabi Golf Club features 27 holes, including the 18-hole National Course, which is where the annual Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship (an European PGA Tour event) is played. Yas Links, meanwhile, is the city’s only Activities

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From the world’s longest waterslide to indoor skydiving – when it comes to having fun, Abu Dhabi’s got something for everyone…


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Opening page, top to bottom: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi; Dune Bashing. This page: Yas Waterworld.

links course (set on the coast and punctuated with natural sand dunes). And then there’s the region’s first ocean course at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club on Saadiyat Island, which features three saltwater lakes and 60 bunkers. While hubby plays a round, golf widows can head to one of the city’s many luxury spas for some head-to-toe pampering. The Anantara Spa at the spectacular Emirates Palace has an equally impressive Moroccanstyle hammam, with traditional domes and arches, heated marble beds, Jacuzzis, steam rooms and ice room. Try the signature caviar facial – as indulgent as it sounds. On Saadiyat Island, the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi’s Atarmia Spa has gorgeous grey stone walls and a goldmosaic Jacuzzi and combines ancient Arabian ingredients with modern skin care technologies. Plump for the signature Zaytoun Oriental body treatment, a Middle Eastern-inspired ritual that begins with a sweet-smelling honey exfoliation, before you’re slathered in a hydrating Zaytoun olive leaf and mint mask and cocooned in a warm blanket. Two hours of pure bliss. If you’re more of an active type, why not try kayaking and jet skiing around the Corniche?

Abu Dhabi is slowly becoming the Emirates’ favourite playground


Adventure tour company Noukhada offers 90-minute kayak tours through Abu Dhabi’s famous mangroves where you can catch a glimpse of indigenous wildlife, such as flamingos and black crabs. For a somewhat speedier (and, arguably, less eco-friendly) tour, you can hop on a jet ski at the Hiltonia Beach Club, Hilton Abu Dhabi. Other water-related activities include sports fishing charters with Arabian Divers & Activities

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This page, top to bottom: Yas Marina Circuit; Balloon Adventures Emirates.


Sportfishing Charters in Khor Al Bateen, and scuba diving with Al Mahara Diving Centre in Mussafah, which offers PADI Open Water courses for groups and individuals, as well as lessons, courses and excursions for more experienced divers. Or head to Jebel Dhanna Port and catch a 90-minute ferry to Delma Island a oncebustling hub for the Gulf’s pearl trading industry that is now Abu Dhabi’s last residential desert island. There are plans to develop Delma Island for tourism, but for now expect very basic accommodation at the island’s only hotel. If you’d rather not sail too far from the city, there’s always a traditional dhow. Abu Dhabi Dhow Cruise organises two-hour dinner tours along the picturesque Corniche – the perfect way to enjoy sea breezes, views of Abu Dhabi’s impressive skyline and a slap-up meal to boot. There are plenty of things to do in the desert too, from sandboarding and dune bashing (effectively being driven up and down massive sand dunes in a 4x4 at breakneck speeds) to camel rides and falconry demonstrations (the latter being a sacred pastime of the Emiratis). Abu Dhabi Desert Safari and Arabian Adventures are two well-respected companies that offer these heady activities, as well as overnight packages sleeping under the stars in a Bedouin-style campsite. One way to really appreciate the vast magnificence of the desert is from above. Balloon Adventures Emirates offers early morning flights over the desert, starting from the Nahel Mosque meeting point, or cruise the skies with Falcon Aviation which operates out of Marina Mall heliport and offers luxury helicopter tours of the city. Superb. Another way in which to experience the sensation of flying without actually taking to the skies is at Spacewalk Indoor Skydiving at Abu Dhabi Country Club. Both children and adults can throw themselves into a massive wind tunnel, which propels visitors into the air, thus simulating the sensation of skydiving (fear not, qualified instructors are on hand to help you get the knack of it). A truly uplifting experience. Activities

Live the ultimate water adventure Book tickets online now at Open daily from 10AM / +971 2 414 2000


You are different. That is why we have created a modern urban lifestyle experience in the cosmopolitan city of Abu Dhabi that is sure to exceed your every expectation. Introducing Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in the heart of Abu Dhabi.

For reservations please contact +971 2 811 5888 or visit


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WeLove Abu Dhabi Guide Mar'14  

Guide to the finest resorts in paradise.

WeLove Abu Dhabi Guide Mar'14  

Guide to the finest resorts in paradise.

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