Known as one of the most up to date cities in the world, Abu Dhabi is also the federal capital of the United Arab Emirates, as well as the largest of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi cities. Being the nerve center of many oil companies, it is also a very wealthy city, with many beautiful large parks and gardens, plenty of modern high-rise buildings, and lavish shopping malls.
Opulence abounds in most of the international Abu Dhabi hotels too, with many of them being extremely pricey, but all of them well managed. The majority of hotels are home to world-class restaurants, pool areas, and other first class hotel facilities that one would expect to find in luxury hotels.
One of the hotels for instance, has marble everywhere, and another, considered to be one of the most expensive hotels to build in the world, has just about every surface plated in gold! One of the hotels is extremely popular with businessmen and women, since it is centrally situated, with spacious rooms, well-equipped kitchens, a gym, as well as an indoor pool.
It is not just the hotels which attract visitors to go on holidays to Abu Dhabi though, but also the abundance of attractions and activities that the city has to offer, restaurants, and the fantastic shopping opportunities, often described as being an absolute dream for compulsive shoppers, that draws people from all corners of the globe.
Some of the things to see and do include:
• Swimming — Private clubs, and almost every hotel has a pool, normally as a private beach. Daily or yearly payments are available for the use of these amenities. The Club is another option for swimming, which is less expensive, and aimed at expats.
• Various natural outdoor activities – You might think the desert to be a boring, uninteresting, and even dangerous place, but there are some truly amazing natural areas to visit during your stay. These include crystal clear waterfalls, beautiful freshwater lakes, and some extremely interesting cliffs lined with fossils.
• The Camel Race Track — Camel racing is one of the unusual, must-see attractions which take place every Thursday and Friday during the winter months. Apart from watching the exciting race, you can also visit the paddocks where the racing camels are kept and looked after.
• The parks — One of the oldest parks in Abu Dhabi, Al Safa, is a popular venue for sport lovers, who go there to enjoy playing soccer, volleyball, and tennis. For children, there is a ferris wheel and bumper cars, as well as a video arcade where they can play games. There are picnic areas and barbecues for those who would like to spend the day there, and a maze as well, to stroll around in.
• Dune Bashing or Desert Safari — Expert desert drivers will take those looking for an adrenalin rush, on a memorable drive over the sand dunes, let you watch a spectacular sunset from a special vantage point, and then take you to end the day with a sumptuous dinner, complete with music and dancing to end the exciting day.
Abu Dhabi has several malls, aimed at both locals and foreign visitors, where just about anything and everything can be purchased. The one thing that surprises most female visitors to the city is that although women, according to local custom, must be entirely covered when out in public, short skirts and tops are sold in most stores, together with the very long skirts and high-necked, long-sleeved tops that the local women are expected to buy.
Most of the malls are huge. Like one for instance, which is three storey’s high, and another which has a beautiful musical fountain (the Marina Mall), as well as a ceiling that thunders and rains! Most of the malls have plenty of high-end stores, and extensive food courts.
Independent stores are also plentiful in the city, where you can buy anything from computer parts, to clothing, to antiques, to exotic chocolates. Carpets, local jewelry, antiques, and art is better purchased from these small stores rather than at the malls, because not only will you pay less for these items, but you can also bargain with the shopkeeper for an even better deal.
Cuisines from all over the world are found in restaurants in the city, with hotel restaurants being the most expensive. Fast food chains such as Hardees and McDonald’s, and many others as well, are also plentiful. The one great thing about eating in Abu Dhabi though, is the fact that you can have food delivered to anywhere in the city, from the smallest food shack, to fast food places, to luxury hotel restaurants. Delivery is normally fast and reliable, and in most cases won’t cost you anything extra.