Arabian Dreams: Abu Dhabi

By Shereen Shabnam

As an international cultural destination with a rich history and heritage, together with the diversity of its dramatic landscapes, Abu Dhabi offers visitors some of the best attractions the United Arab Emirates has to offer.

My monthly trips to the Capital include a mix of business and pleasure and post meeting visits to explore different places in the city is the norm. In this issue, I have curated some of my favourite places.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi

The world-class Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum not only hosts artworks and relics of the past but also does contemporary Art installations to keep the content fresh and intriguing. Set aside at least half a day or more depending on how much you like to spend in each area. I always try and take a break for lunch at the Fouquet’s restaurant, a fine French brasserie serving classic French dishes and is similar to the one in Paris.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Opulent, majestic and the pride of the UAE with its alluring Islamic architecture, The Sheikh Zayed Mosque pays homage to the great Islamic empires of the past combined with contemporary artistic elements of the present. The structure is a magnificent piece of art.

Yas Waterworld

Having a young adult who is a darling of the Yas island attractions means we get to go to venues like Yas Waterworld whenever she is invited for a collaboration. While she has cameras following her around, we get to enjoy the poolside laziness while watching the young ones giggling as they try the thrilling water slides and rides. Its a great place to catch up with friends over coffee too.

Ferrari World

Ferrari world is another venue we are fortunate enough to be invited to regularly with our adventurous young adult. While her favourite bit is the speed-freak Formula Rossa roller coaster, mine is trying out the different restaurants for coffee, pouring over all things automotive and the retail therapy at the end of the experience is better than a mall. The Ferrari store at Yas has the best collection of merchandise.

Yas Marina Circuit

Being an automotive journalist means we get some quality time on the tracks at the Yas Marina Circuit. It is the home of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and where we meet fellow Formula One fans every year. Visitors to the Yas Island can hop in the driving seat and try out the many drive experiences on offer.

Warner Bros World

This has to be one of my favourite theme parks in UAE. It is great to visit with family and friends and offers enough rides to keep you busy all day. Despite numerous visits, we can never get enough of this place.

Beach Life

While various hotels in Abu Dhabi offer the beach experience, my favourite is the Nurai Island and the Saadiyat Island.  Visitors can also have a slice of the beach life at Al Bateen, Hudayriat Island and the Corniche. My first beach experience in Abu Dhabi was at Al Lulu Island and we had to access it with a short boat ride.

Abu Dhabi’s Mangrove National Park

A great place to take in nature and watching flamingos, herons and crabs while kayaking and exploring the waterways. It is close to Anantara Eastern Mangroves hotel and a great place to go with the family.

Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

Despite organising a few events at Emirates Palace, I get lost around the hotel each time I stay there.  I love the long private beach, the decadent desserts and especially the cappuccino mixed with edible 24-carat gold. It is a great place to catch up with friends and the lobby is perfect for photographs.

Qasr Al Hosn 

Qasr Al Hosn is a building that holds strong historical and cultural significance of the country. We have spent hours going through the exhibitions and learnt some interesting facts about the history of locals and important events in the country.

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