CONCIERGE STAY Fairmont Bab Al Bahr is ideally located at the mainland gateway to the city of Abu Dhabi. Soak up spectacular views of Abu Dhabi Creek from one of two outdoor swimming pools or take in the white domes of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque from the 11,500-sq-ft (1,070-sq-m) ballroom, perfect for any grand occasion or business function. fairmont.com/babalbahr DO Visit the Al Bateen Shipyard on the west side of Al Bateen Island, one of Abu Dhabi’s oldest inhabited areas, to witness the ancient art of Arab shipbuilding. These traditional sailing boats, called dhows, are made from huge planks of wood and are handcrafted by skilled carpenters without the use of modern tools or blueprints. To catch these vessels in action, head to Dhow Harbor, near Port Zayed, for regular sailing races. For a different kind of race, test your skills behind the wheel at the family-friendly Ferrari World. Located on Yas Island, this indoor theme park is home to more than 20 Ferrari-inspired rides and attractions, such as Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster, which reaches speeds of up to 150 mph (240 km/hr), and the Junior GT, a driving school for future Michael Schumachers. ferrariworldabudhabi.com ABOVE AND LEFT Bergh rewards The Machine, a black shaheen/African Peregrine hybrid with a piece of meat; Titus, a one-year-old male Peregrine.
EAT Settle into a tan leather armchair by the flame-lit back wall of the cozy Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill for a culinary experience made for meat lovers. Located on the ground floor of Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, the celebrity-chef-branded restaurant offers a mix of
We want Mojo to make several passes, so as she wheels around us high in the sky, I watch for her to jerk her head toward me, a sign that she has the spinning lure in sight. When I see that, I let the lure fall flat on the sand, offering it to her. Mojo seems to pause in space, weightless. And then I see her dip one wing toward earth and turn in my direction, drawing her wings in and tightening aerodynamically as she approaches. (Here I have a flash image of what it would be like to be a field mouse in the crosshairs.) By the time she’s in her final approach, Mojo is a blur. And just the instant she’s about to strike the lure, I pull it away and Mojo shrieks by, a bullet of feathers and talons and one hard black eye that seems to stare at me as she passes. Then she streaks off over the desert like a rocket, carving a long arc high into the sky. After I feed Mojo, who is panting from her workout, she lets me slip the hood back over her head and I put her on the perch next to Marley and Speedy. Then we head back into Abu Dhabi as the sun sets. It’s my last day in the Middle East. But I feel like I’ve made real contact with at least one part of what’s local here: I’ve sensed the way desert dwellers forge a connection with this endlessly powerful, strong-willed bird, and take it on as an emblem of what it means to thrive in these environs. As a bonus, I’m taking home an experience I won’t soon forget.
innovative grill cuisine and classic English fare. An extensive wine list serves as the perfect complement to dishes like seared foie gras with apple butter and cuts of Wagyu beef. Steak connoisseurs can enjoy a fourcourse tasting menu featuring special cuts and preparations, which are introduced and explained by the restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine. fairmont.com/babalbahr If you’re still in the mood for something sweet, stop by Bloomsbury’s, the first international franchise of the London-based cake shop Bea’s of Bloomsbury. Opened in June on the ground floor of Al Wahda Mall, this outpost features a rotating cupcake menu (flavors include strawberries and cream, pistachio and double chocolate), Jing tea (suppliers of London’s The Savoy, A Fairmont Managed Hotel) and java from Square Mile Coffee Roasters, the only establishment outside of London serving the award-winning beans. beasofbloomsbury.com
Fairmont Magazine winter 2012, International edition