Abu Dhabi Overview
Boasting some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, Abu Dhabi is made up of three main regions – the UAE capital city and its surrounds, Al Ain (Eastern Region) and Al Dhafra (Western Region). Thanks to its geographically diverse scenery and rich culture and history, the emirate is a dream to explore. Enjoy exquisite desert sunsets in the Empty Quarter, kayak through mangrove forests, marvel at ancient UNESCO World Heritage sites, visit awe-inspiring architectural landmarks, museums and galleries, wander beneath palm trees in centuries-old oases, go wild at adventure and theme parks, relax at luxury resorts and shop in some of the world’s best shopping malls.
The name Abu Dhabi means ‘Land of the Gazelle’ in Arabic. The story goes that the emirate was founded when a young antelope led a wandering tribe to fresh water on an island with no more than 300 Barasti (palm frond) huts, a few coral buildings and the Ruler’s fort. That modest island settlement has since been transformed into the modern, cosmopolitan, high-rise capital of the United Arab Emirates. The gorgeous archipelago offers a mix of ancient history, rich culture and heritage, stunning nature, beautiful beaches, high-end luxury, surprising wildlife, family-friendly adventure, world-class shopping, renowned golf courses and a welcoming atmosphere.
The green garden city of Al Ain (a UNESCO World Heritage site) is home to historical buildings and the magnificent Al Ain Oasis, where 147,000 date palms and other fruit trees are tended to by still-operational centuries-old falaj (irrigation systems).
Making up over two-thirds of Abu Dhabi, Al Dhafra stretches along hundreds of kilometres of coastline and boasts exquisite beaches and islands, incredible wildlife, towering sand dunes, adventurous off-road driving, luxury resorts and ancient forts.
Abu Dhabi, as the capital of the UAE, as had a more modest growth in its hotel portfolio. It has over 168 hotels with over 33.000 rooms. Within that portfolio of hotels, the emirate has over 54 x 5* hotels representing more than 15.000 rooms. Again. this shows a clear leaning towards luxury in the location.
Whether your inclination is for beach, city or desert, there is almost guaranteed to have a perfect hotel for any budget and fast.
Abu Dhabi is home to 2 of the most iconic hotels in the region – Emirates Palace and Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort. But it also has some incredible 5* options on Yas Island, Saadiyat Island and also in the city itself. Remember the beach is also in the city, and lets not forget Sir Bani Yas Island, 2 1/2 hour south of the capital.
Most of the major luxury hotel brands are in Abu Dhabi, and you will also find some local brands that will surprise you with their authenticity and quality. Boutique hotels are not really common but there are a few luxury offerings with less than 200 rooms – these can be considered as Boutique.
Abu Dhabi Experiences
Abu Dhabi is known more for its culture as well as its desert experiences. Here is a list of our favorites…
- Historical treasures at the UAE Presidential Palace.
- Sunset cruising in a traditional dhow boat.
- See jaw dropping beauty at the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque
- Yas Marina Circuit driving experience.
- World-class dining, global flavors.
- Wildlife, desert, and beaches at off-grid resorts.
- Stunning art the Louvre Abu Dhabi
- Visit the expansive Empty Quarter
- Saadiyat Island beaches, recreation, and culture.
- Luxury shopping and fine dining at The Galleria Al Maryah Island
- Exquisite jewelry at Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre and Gold Centre
- Visit Masdar Sustainable City
- Hand with the sick Falcons at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
- See some amazing vehicles at the Emirates National Auto Museum
- Kayaking in the Eastern Mangroves
- Theme Park fun in Yas Island
Food in Abu Dhabi
Our favorite restaurants
There are over thousands of restaurants, bars and cafes in Abu Dhabi. From the most gourmet, select and chic to the finest street food, tasty fast food and scrumptious snacks, there will be always something for everyone
Maybe Abu Dhabi does not have the huge range that Dubai does, but it does have a very wide selection of cuisines and budgets to match anyones desire.
Culture & Museums in Abu Dhabi
Like every city, Abu Dhabi’s character is shaped by its culture. As the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi has made a conscious push towards culture and art, and is the proud host of the Louvre as well as the upcoming Guggenheim museums
These are the place we would love to take you:
- Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque
- Le Louvre
- Qasr Al Watan
- Qasr Al Hosn
- Qasr Al Muwaiji
- Guggenheim Abu Dhabi
- House of Artisans
- Al Qattara Arts Center
- Manarat Al Saadiyat
- Jebel Hafit Tombs
- Zayed National Museum
5 Star Beach
Anantara Desert Island Resort
Conrad Etihad Towers
Jumeirah At Saadiyat Island
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Saadiyat
Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi
Rixos Saadiyat Island
Rotana Saadiyat Island
St Regis Saadiyat Abu Dhabi
5 Star City
Andaz Capital Gate
Intercontinental Abu Dhabi
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr
Le Royal Meriden Abu Dhabi
St Regis Abu Dhabi Corniche
Sheraton Abu DHabi
W Abu Dhabi
5 Star Desert
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara