Back in March I returned to the UAE for the first time in years and although I didn’t fall massively in love with the place, I did have an amazing time out there. We flew into Dubai but the majority of our trip was spent in Abu Dhabi, so I thought I’d share my favourite parts of our stay:
I’ve put this first because it was my favourite! I LOVED this water park, it was great for kids but also so much fun for adults!! Mo and I had a blast trying out all the rides and generally enjoying the sun from the water. The food at the kiosks was tasty, we spent the whole day there, didn’t get bored and all the staff are friendly and helpful.
*** Top tip – take your own towel, otherwise you have to pay to hire one!
The view from Tiara
During our stay, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at the Tiara restaurant in Marina Mall. Not just any kind of restaurant, a sky high revolving one. I’ll be honest, the food wasn’t great – it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t amazing either. The view however, was fab and I only wish we could have visited during the day as well to see just how far out the skyline stretched.
One of the most luxurious hotels I’ve ever walked into, Emirates Palace is ostentatious even by Arab standards. Theres marble and gold leaf pillars and arches. Obscenely large crystal chandeliers and spectacular lighting scenes illuminating every perfectly thought out nook and cranny. Even the grounds on the outside are a sight to behold, the hotel has its own beach and private marina as well as 14 seasonal restaurants!?! We stayed for a light mezze lunch – although it obviously wasn’t cheap. The afternoon tea here is meant to be spectacular and costs around £50 per person – once you’ve added all the extra charges.
Shopping, shopping, shopping
Now I’ve probably pointed out many times that shopping really isn’t my thing. At all. I will never ever ever pick shopping as an experience. Wait I tell a lie – I do enjoy souvenir and local craft shopping – the kind of stuff that is locally made, locally sourced and you can connect with local people. But anyway, back to the other kind of shopping – the Emirates are famous for their large and heavily populated malls filled with big brands from all over the world. Dubai mall may be the most famous, but there are a number of nice ones in Abu Dhabi too such as: Marina Mall, Yas Mall, Al Raha Mall and The Galleria.
Last but definitely not least…
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The most famous tourist site in Abu Dhabi, and what a sight it is. Its architecturally beautiful, a peaceful place for reflection and is dripping in opulence. I wrote a whole blog post about it some time ago (click here to check it out) but it’s definitely one of the few things in Abu Dhabi you can’t afford to miss, visually stunning during the day or night.
*** Top tip – There’s a dress code for anyone wanting to enter the mosque. You can hire abayas (Arabian cover ups) on site but it’s advisable to wear clothes that cover your arms and legs out of respect.
Have you been to Abu Dhabi? What did you get up to?