One Day in Abu Dhabi

Where to go and what to see in Abu Dhabi trip from Dubai

How to Spend 1 Day in Abu Dhabi (Layover or Day Trip From Dubai)

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is a great place to visit. Whether you get there as a day trip from Dubai or have a layover in Abu Dhabi, here are the best things to do in one day in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi is an exceptionally pretty city and although it’s bigger than Dubai, it’s much quieter and has fewer attractions.

However, you can easily spend days in Abu Dhabi without getting bored. If you are visiting or passing through for just one day, then read on for my top recommendations of things to do in Abu Dhabi City. Here it is the best Abu Dhabi 1-day itinerary .

Travel Tips for One Day in Abu Dhabi

Even if you stay only 1 day in Abu Dhabi, here are some tips to keep in mind when visiting.

Do´s and Don´ts in Abu Dhabi

  • Any intimacy between couples should be reduced to a minimum (even holding hands) and is forbidden in some places (mosques etc.).
  • Never drink in public (except in restaurants etc.) and do not get totally drunk.
  • Follow the dress code – Abu Dhabi is a bit more conservative than Dubai, but you can show some skin (arms, legs) but my tip is always to respect the culture and religion and don’t forget that it is not an European country.

Disclaimer: This post also contains affiliate links – this means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my links (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

Is Abu Dhabi Safe for Tourists?

I personally think Abu Dhabi, like Dubai, is a great place to visit as a tourist, because it is safe – Abu Dhabi tourist places are safe in terms of crime, terror, and also a great solo female travel destination (read more about safety in the UAE here).

Solo Female Travel in Abu Dhabi

I visited Abu Dhabi several as a solo female traveler and absolutely loved it. Abu Dhabi is safe – for female and male travelers, for solo and family travel. As always, exercise common sense, but you should not be afraid to travel to this Islamic country (as I also think Dubai is great for solo female travel). Abu Dhabi is one of the best destinations in the Arab world for solo female travel, so enjoy!

Best Time to Visit 

I recommend visiting between October-March, as it gets really hot in summer (which is from April to beginning of October).

In December however, some days were really foggy and it was hard to do “sightseeing in Abu Dhabi” as I wished to do. Luckily, I had seen many parts of Abu Dhabi before, but it can be a bummer for Abu Dhabi first-time visitors.

If you visit the UAE (or any Islamic country) you probably should avoid the time during Ramadan as well. During this time, which last about 4 weeks, Muslims are not allowed to drink or eat during the day, which has also an effect on tourists as some restaurants are not open during the day and drinking and eating in public is not welcome.

There is also a stricter dress code and less alcohol available. In 2020 Ramadan is mostly during the month of May

Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi

If you stay overnight, then I have some hotel recommendations for oyu. Though hotels here seem a bit more affordable than in Dubai it is not a budget destination, even cheaper hotels offer good value for money.

Here is my detailed accommodation guide for Abu Dhabi – or click on the links below to find some of the places I recommend staying a

Luxury Accommodation in Abu Dhabi: Emirates Palace (one of the most luxurious hotels in the world)

Mid-Range Accommodation in Abu Dhabi: Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri (a beautiful 4* hotel with a view of the Grand Mosque)

Budget Hotels and Hostels in Abu Dhabi Click here to find budget-friendly hotels and hostels

How to Get to Abu Dhabi

If you spend 1 day in Abu Dhabi it is most likely, you will most likely get to Abu Dhabi from Dubai and do a day trip or you will have a stopover. So, here are tips on how to get to the city center from Abu Dhabi airport or from Dubai.

From Abu Dhabi Airport

The great thing about Abu Dhabi’s airport is that it is close to the city center and its main attractions, so even if you only have an eight to ten-hour layover you can still take advantage of a lot of the great places to visit in Abu Dhabi.

There is public transportation from the airport in Abu Dhabi. Buses take about 40 minutes and costs around $1 (24 hours a day).

If you take a taxi, you have to pay $6-20 (depending on the exact location).

Abu Dhabi is easily reachable from Dubai via bus or taxi. Depending on your exact location a taxi ride might cost around 55€ ($65) and takes about 90 minutes. A bus ride is much cheaper, but it will take more time and you are less flexible.

From Dubai to Abu Dhabi

Sightseeing bus tours from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

If booking one of the tours, either by hop-on and hop-off buses, or if you do guided tours, you can make some decisions on the itineraries and see which of the activities mentioned here are the most appealing to you. Many tours have bundled a couple of great activities in Abu Dhabi.

So my tip if you do an Abu Dhabi tour from Dubai is to check which places are the highest on your list.

Independent Tour:

If you visit Abu Dhabi by yourself, either by eating there by a normal public bus, taxi or (rental) car, you have more flexibility but it might be a bit more stressful when it comes to finding parking spaces.

If you want to do a full day in Abu Dhabi (including an overnight stay) then an in depend trip is for sure the best option.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which mean I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

How to Spend 1 Day in Abu Dhabi

If you have only one day in Abu Dhabi, my tip is not to waste time and start with the highlight first.

Grand Mosque

I’ll begin with what in my opinion, is one of the most awe-inspiring places to go in Abu Dhabi in one day.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi - best to see in few hours in Abu Dhabi
@shutterstock

This important sight in Abu Dhabi is the Grand Mosque which is located towards the inland side of Abu Dhabi Island, about 20 kilometers from the airport.

The mosque is probably the most beautiful building in the world and even if you are not religious or Muslim, I still highly recommend a visit. The mosque is always open to the public except on Fridays or on special occasions.

It’s extremely beautiful both day and night and if you want to feel a special atmosphere you can visit during prayers.

When the muezzin calls for prayers although you are not able to enter the prayer room itself, you still get a feeling for this really special experience that makes it one of the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi in one day.

There is a dress code and if you are interested in finding out more, you can click on this link. Females have to cover their heads, legs and arms and there are closets where you can find extra coverings and can get changed.

Men also have to cover their arms and legs and also have the option of either using their own things or taking advantage of items available to get changed into. Of course, it depends on how busy it is but I would plan in one to three hours for a visit as if it’s busy you may have to wait in line to get changed. Here are my travel tips for the Grand Mosque

Emirates Palace

After visiting this amazing tourist attraction in Abu Dhabi, I would then head to the Emirates Palace which is another must-see in 1 day in Abu Dhabi (at least to me).

2 Favorite Luxury Hotels in Abi Dhabi @shutterstock
@shutterstock

The Emirates Palace is one of the most expensive hotels in the world and it is open to the public. Normally you would need a reason to be allowed to enter, but here, the guards are very nice will let you in so that you can and take a look at the amazing, stunning lobby or have a meal or some coffee. Of course, it’s not very cheap, but it is worth it.

There are buses running between the Emirates Palace and the Grand Mosque, though even then, it can be a little bit difficult on public transport as it is not yet perfect in Abu Dhabi. An alternative if you prefer is to take a cab.

Heritage Village

If you are looking for more places of interest in Abu Dhabi, from the Emirates Palace you could also go to Heritage Village, a reconstruction of a traditional oasis village that gives you a little feeling of ancient Arabia.

Abu Dhabi layover

It’s quite small but it’s very lovely. It’s located at the Marina Mall which is then a great place to have a quick lunch or get some retail therapy.

Corniche

One of my favorite free things to do in Abu Dhabi is to take a walk along the Corniche, a very beautiful promenade with some public (and some hotel owned) beaches.

Corniche in Abu Dhabi @shutterstock
@shutterstock

If you’re fit enough it is a great walk to do and it’s fun to see how far you get along its eight-kilometer stretch.

Abu Dhabi’s beaches are, in my opinion, a bit nicer than the ones in Dubai and if you walk to the public beach section it is free of charge. It’s a lovely place to relax after the walk or you can take a taxi as it is not too expensive or you can hop on to a bus.

If you spend a lot of time at the beach then you can probably spend half a day there and have the time fly by.

So, the above top activities in Abu Dhabi actually would fill one day (unless you are super fast). 

However, you might not be into all of those things to do in Abu Dhabi and this is why I have a few more alternatives you can do if you want to swap out thing or if you stay in Abu Dhabi for 2 days or longer.

Desert Safari

I am a big fan of desert safaris – I have enjoyed a few in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi as well.

Abu Dhabi relax

You will get picked up in the afternoon and arrive back in Abu Dhabi before midnight.

HOWEVER, with only one day in Abu Dhabi you need to make sure you have time for it because it takes time and will not allow you to see many other sights/places that are on a typical 1-day Abu Dhabi itinerary.

So, if you do a guided tour a desert safari is often not included in the one-day Abu Dhabi itinerary. However, if you get to Abu Dhabi by car/taxi/Uber this might be a good way to end your day in Abu Dhabi.

Click here to find out about desert tours in Abu Dhabi in the evening. If you want to do a morning desert safari, then check out this tour. Keep in mind, that if you arrive early in the morning in Abu Dhabi that late flights etc can occur so plan in a buffer so you don’t have to worry.

Louvre Museum

Louvre Museum is beautiful museum with a stunning architecture that opened in late 2017 and you can add it to your one day in Abu Dhabi itinerary.

Abu Dhabi in a few hours

It can get busy at times, so if you want to go inside and see the huge collections of art and artifacts you probably should book your tickets in advance.

Squeezing all above mentioned activities in one day in Abu Dhabi is impossible (I did them in a few days, but traveled slowly) – you can combine this museum trip with a trip to the Grand Mosque and probably a quick visit to Emirates Palace.

Abu Dhabi at Night

If you stay a full one day in Abu Dhabi and spend the evening/night in Abu Dhabi, then you have several options for the evening.

If, however, you want to do something a little more exciting after and are looking for places to visit in Abu Dhabi at night, you can always go back to Emirates Palace where the area is illuminated very nicely after dark.

Or you could go to Downtown Abu Dhabi which is not very far from the beach section where you have more shopping areas, restaurants and cafes. Plus, it’s a fab place to stop for dinner! 

Visit a Theme Park

If you are looking for really cool things to do in Abu Dhabi, another thing that you could squeeze into your trip or layover is a visit to Ferrari World on Yas Island which is perfectly situated if you are heading back to the airport or going to Abu Dhabi as it is close to the airport.

Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi @shutterstock
Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi @shutterstock

It is ideal for those of you who either love Ferraris and cars in general or are totally into rollercoasters as there is a big theme park which you could also do in one day in Abu Dhabi. Some tours from Dubai have the Grand Mosque and a trip to Ferrari World as one tour.

However, you will not have much time to do much more if you head to Ferrari World. To check out day tours from Dubai to Ferrari World click here.

 

These are the most interesting places to visit in one day in Abu Dhabi. I hope these have given you some great inspiration for what to do in Abu Dhabi in 1 day – whether you explore Abu Dhabi as a layover or a day trip from Dubai.

P.S: As you have seen, I have added tours here for you. I personally love GetYourGuide and use them regularly for my own tours and used them for some activities in Abu Dhabi as well. They are quite new but great, so definitely a good choice for booking tours (Viator is also a good option)

Enjoy your one day in Abu Dhabi.

 

Safe Travels, Arzo

Best Things to Do in Abu Dhabi

Things to see and do in Abu Dhabi in 3 days. UAE.

WHAT TO DO IN ABU DHABI (ITINERARY SORTED BY DAYS)

Are you planning your Abu Dhabi itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Abu Dhabi?

Then read on as this post will help you to plan your trip – whether you stay in Abu Dhabi for 1 day, 3 days , 5 days or longer. Find out about what to do, the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi and many more travel tips for your first trip to the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

What to visit in Abu Dhabi - the desert is one of the best places to visit

ABU DHABI TRAVEL TIPS

Before talking about the best activities in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or even 6 days in Abu Dhabi, here are a few important travel tips for your Abu Dhabi trip.

Do´s and Don´ts in Abu Dhabi

  • Abu Dhabi probably is not as famous as Dubai (both cities border each other) but is actually the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and also has quite a lot to offer.
  • While I have written a more detailed post about the differences between Dubai and Abu Dhabi I recommend Abu Dhabi to anyone who enjoys nice beaches and a more authentic feeling of the UAE.
  • Any intimacy between couples should be reduced to a minimum (even holding hands) and is forbidden in some places (mosques etc.).
  • Never drink in public (except in restaurants etc.) and do not get totally drunk.
  • Follow the dress code.

Disclaimer: This post also contains affiliate links – this means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my links (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

What to Wear in Abu Dhabi – Dress Code for Females

Though the UAE is an Islamic country, you do not have to cover. However, you should be aware that there are dress codes in many places like shopping malls or public places.

You can wear bikinis at the beach and shorts/skirts in many places but probably should not take the shortest and tightest clothes you have. If you want to find out more about the dress code for Abu Dhabi you can read my post about “What to wear as a female in Dubai” (though Abu Dhabi is a bit more conservative the post gives you some great ideas about the dressing behavior in Abu Dhabi as well).

Is Abu Dhabi Safe for Tourists?

I personally think Abu Dhabi, like Dubai, is a great place to visit as a tourist, because it is safe – Abu Dhabi tourist places are safe in terms of crime, terror, and also a great solo female travel destination (read more about safety in the UAE here).

Solo Female Travel in Abu Dhabi

I visited Abu Dhabi as a solo female traveler and absolutely loved it. Abu Dhabi is safe – for female and male travelers, for solo and family travel. As always, exercise common sense, but you should not be afraid to travel to this Islamic country (as I also think Dubai is great for solo female travel). Abu Dhabi is one of the best destinations in the Arab world for solo female travel, so enjoy!

Best Time to Visit 

I recommend visiting between October-March, as it gets really hot in summer. I visited the UAE several times and it was actually too hot for me in October and April (and even March is still a bit too hot for me), but I am not good with heat.

In December however, some days were really foggy and it was hard to do “sightseeing in Abu Dhabi” as I wished to do – luckily, I had seen many parts of Abu Dhabi before, but it can be a bummer for Abu Dhabi first-time visitors.

If you enjoy heat then April and June, and September should be fine as well but be aware that some activities are not offered during the summer months and some restaurants etc. are closed during the time.

If you visit the UAE (or any Islamic country) you probably should avoid the time during Ramadan as well. During this time, which last about 4 weeks, Muslims are not allowed to drink or eat during the day, which has also an effect on tourists as some restaurants are not open during the day and drinking and eating in public is not welcome.

There is also a stricter dress code and less alcohol available.

When is Ramadan (Ramadan changes every year)

  • In 2020 Ramadan is mostly during the month of May

Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi has some amazing hotels – the standard is pretty high and so are the prices. Though hotels here seem a bit more affordable than in Dubai it is not a budget destination, even cheaper hotels offer good value for money.

Here is my detailed accommodation guide for Abu Dhabi – below you find a short summary of my recommendations.

5* Luxury Accommodation in Abu Dhabi:

3* and 4* Accommodation in Abu Dhabi:

Budget Hotels and Hostels in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Guide for First-Time Visitors

Visa Regulations

EU citizens, as well as US-Americans, will not need to apply for a visa. You will get a free visa upon arrival. Click here to find out if you need a visa if you have a different nationality.

Best Things to do in Abu Dhabi in 1-6 Days

Find out about fun things to do in Abu Dhabi – from free things to do to paid tours in Abu Dhabi.

In this Abu Dhabi itinerary I tried to include experiences and activities that are geographically located close to each which allows you to plan your itinerary but – of course – you might want to make some tweaks.

DAY 1 IN ABU DHABI

While Dubai wants to break all records, Abu Dhabi is home to the most beautiful building in the world!

Admire the Grand Mosque

Start your Abu Dhabi itinerary with visiting this stunning place. Visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is probably one of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi.

The mosque is one of the most stunning, or probably the most building I have ever seen and it is not a surprise it is one of the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque best tourist attraction in Abu Dhabi

The beauty is just beyond words, and it is worth to crowds and the abaya you have to wear despite the heat. If possible, visit it during the day and at night time as well. The best: it is a free thing to do in Abu Dhabi – free, free, and totally awesome.

There is no entry fee and you must follow a few rules when visiting. Click here to find out more about the most beautiful place in Abu Dhabi and what to know before visiting the Grand Mosque.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates Where to go in Abu Dhabi

How to get there: The mosque is located at the “beginning” of Abu Dhabi. Whether you are coming from Dubai or Abu Dhabi airport – it is almost impossible to miss it. There is a bus going from Abu Dhabi Downtown, or you can take a cab.

Personally, it is probably great to start your trip in Abu Dhabi with. Especially if you just arrive in Abu Dhabi from Dubai or the Abu Dhabi airport (as this is one of the main attractions you will see in Abu Dhabi).

While it is pretty to look at any time of the day, it has a special charm at sunset – though I am 0% religious, I love the call of the muezzin.

If I am in a place with a mosque and hear the muezzin´s call I get goosebumps all over – if you have the chance try to visit during prayers time (5 times a day). It is closed on Friday mornings for the big prayers though – so keep this in mind when doing your Abu Dhabi itinerary.

Visit Corniche

Then you can either take a taxi or a bus to get to Corniche.  Corniche, is a beautiful promenade with access to the public beach. In my honest opinion, the beaches here are nicer than in Dubai. The water is clearer and the sand finer, and in October, the beaches and the promenade were still pretty empty.

Corniche in Abu Dhabi @shutterstock
@shutterstock

It is also a nice place to just walk, jog, or ride a bike with some nice views of Abu Dhabi and so visiting Corniche is one of the places in Abu Dhabi – and another free thing to see in Abu Dhabi. Depending on how much you like strolling or spending time at the beach, you can either end you day 1 or visit some more of the best places in Abu Dhabi.

Here are more fun things to do in Abu Dhabi on the first day, as they are all close by.

Visit Heritage Village

Abu Dhabi sightseeing is not complete without a stop at Heritage Village. Heritage Village is a small recreation of a traditional desert village with crafts workshops & monthly cultural festivals.

Abu Dhabi layover -Heritage Village Sehenswerte Orte, Heritage Village

It is a very cute place, though quite small – if you do not visit any workshops you will not need a lot of time to visit this point of interest in Abu Dhabi but it is still worth a visit – and it is another free activity in Abu Dhabi.

It is located at the “end” of the city, so you can either continue to the Emirates Palace afterwards, Corniche, or to Marina Mall.

Explore Emirates Palace

Visit the Emirates Palace, which is one of the most expensive and luxurious hotels in the world and one of the main tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi.

I had lunch at one of the restaurants, but you can visit even without dining there – the guards might ask you what you’re doing there so be prepared for an answer.

Emirates Palace Kempinski in Abu Dhabi (Emirates)

The Emirates Palace is even one of the best places to visit at night in Abu Dhabi. Many tourists find their way to that luxury hotel and the buildings around are illuminated and it is fun just watching people.

I took the chance and dined at one of their restaurants and then headed to the backyard – which I had all to myself and which is a nice way to splurge yourself in luxury even if you do not stay overnight at the Emirates Palace.

If you are thinking about staying here overnight click here to find out about the prices.

Emirates Palace Kempinski in Abu Dhabi (Emirates)

So, whether you use this as ab itinerary for Abu Dhabi or just an inspiration to find out about the best things to do – above mentioned activities can be done in one day. Here are more fun things to do and see in Abu Dhabi.

DAY 2 IN ABU DHABI

For day 2, I have a few suggestions though you most likely will not be able to do them all- but given, that we all have different tastes and do not like 100% the same, you can just pick those activities you like for your 2 days in Abu Dhabi.

Shop Souvenirs or Traditional Clothes

Go (window) shopping. Of course, Abu Dhabi has some big shopping modern centers which are also one of Abu Dhabi tourist attractions, like Marina Mall, though they are not as numerous and bis as in Dubai shopping is one of the most popular things tourists and travelers do.

If you like to get souvenirs or traditional clothes, I recommend getting them from smaller markets, so-called souks, which you can find in many places – do not forget to bargain when you buy from the souk.

See Abu Dhabi From Above

To see Abu Dhabi from above go the to Etihad Towers Observation Desk.You might remember those views from the Furious 7 movie.

Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi @shutterstock
@shutterstock

As I have a thing for great views it was on my list but I did spend too much time Zaya Nurai Island so that I ran out of time.

It was on my list for the second trip to Abu Dhabi, after reading the reviews a visit seems to be totally worth it and is another great point of interest in Abu Dhabi, but Abu Dhabi in December can be quite foggy and so I had to postpone my visit again.

However, if you have a clear day you should visit (hotel guests can get up there for free, other guests have to pay an entrance fee while they also get a voucher they can use for a drink at the restaurant).

Do a Speed Boat Trip

One of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi – especially on a hot day – is doing a speed boat tour in Abu Dhabi.

Yellow Speedboat Tour with Arabian Adventures

You see a lot and can enjoy the fresh breeze. It took about an hour and it is the most fun things to do in Abu Dhabi on a hot day – it is extremely refreshing, you can forget the heat even in the hottest summer months.

The meeting point depends on the boat tour. Tip: if your boat tour starts from Emirates Palace, you can combine the trip to the Emirates Palace with the boat tour.

Click here for more information on the speed boat tour.

DAY 3 IN ABU DHABI

If you have 3 days in Abu Dhabi, I suggest going on a desert safari.

Do a Desert Safari

One of the most fun things to do in Abu Dhabi is… to go on a desert safari. I have done a couple of desert safaris in Dubai and totally loved them – they were actually one of my travel highlights and so I had to book one desert safari in Abu Dhabi.

Best things to do in Abu Dhabi

If you have not planned any desert safari in Dubai you should definitely do a desert safari in Abu Dhabi.

On my last trip, I visited the UAE with my cousin and I booked the trip for both of us. After asking her about the highlight of the trip to the United Arab Emirates one of the first things she said was “The desert safari in Abu Dhabi”.

The choices of desert safaris here are not as numerous as in Dubai but my two favorites in Dubai are also offered in Abu Dhabi. My top recommendation for a desert safari in Abu Dhabi is the one in the evening with dinner under the stars – what an experience!

You can click here go find out which tour I did exactly and click here to find out about the latest rates.

If you like a desert safari and would like to test sand boarding as well, I recommend this desert safari.

Okay, ready to find out about more things to see in Abu Dhabi?

DAY 4 in ABU DHABI

If you have 4 days in Abu Dhabi, I have a suggestion though I admit, I did not do it myself and while I am intrigued I am also honest, at the moment it is not worth my time nor money. However, it is one of the main attractions of the city,

Spend a Day at Ferrari World

Ferrari World is rated as one of the best activities in Abu Dhabi and considered as one of the top places to visit in Abu Dhabi, so visit Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi.

Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi @shutterstock best activities in Abu Dhabi

If you are into theme parks and/or interested in cars, it should be on your list, but plan a full day for that activity.

As it is located at “the beginning of Abu Dhabi” it is a great activity to start with coming from Dubai and heading back to Dubai.

Click here to check out the best rates for a day ticket to Ferrari World.

DAY 5 IN ABU DHABI

Have I mentioned that Abu Dhabi has some amazing beaches? No, then it is time to experience them (you might have gotten a good idea when you visited Corniche, though the best beaches are more secluded and private. So, if you have 5 days in Abu Dhabi, visit this beach.

Check out Saadiyat Island

Relax at Saadiyat Island – it is probably the most beautiful public beach in Abu Dhabi and one of my top recommendations for the most beautiful place to visit in Abu Dhabi.

Itinerary Day Tour from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

Though it is a public beach, you have to pay about 5€ entry (for 10€ you get a lounge and towels as well). Though the beaches at Corniche are pretty and free, this is even more beautiful and probably one of the most beautiful places in Abu Dhabi – it is also not very crowded and it feels save enough to leave your stuff at the beach while hopping into the water (I admit, I tend to be a bit paranoid in some places and never leave my stuff unattended).

If you stay in one of the few hotels on Saadiyat Island you will have free access to the hotel beach.

How to get there: I have not figured out if a public bus is getting there, but it is a bit farther away and I recommend getting there by taxi.

Do Cultural Sightseeing

Visit the Louvre. Yes, Abu Dhabi has just gotten its own Louvre and once you are on Saadiyat Island you can visit the newly opened Louvre museum – which is an art and civilization museum and has opened in November 2017. So, after some time at the beach at Saadiyat Island, it is time to explore the Louvre (or do it the other way around) as they are close to each other.

Arzo Travels Abu Dhabi Louvre best things to see

I am sure it will become one of the main Abu Dhabi´s attractions in a very short time –  I stopped by but the lines were quite long, so I did not get into it.

Click here to see prices for tickets and tours of the Louvre and get skip-the-line tickets.

DAY 6 IN ABU DHABI

I really enjoy the beaches in Abu Dhabi and so I would plan in another day at the beach – so if you have 6 days in Abu Dhabi make sure to add this beautiful island to your itinerary.

Visit Zaya Nurai Island

When in Abu Dhabi you need to plan in a day trip to this private island.

things to do in Abu Dhabi what to do in Abu Dhabi

I wanted to do several of the activities in Abu Dhabi which I did not do, as for example visiting the Etihad Towers. I missed out because I spent too much time at Zaya Nurai Island Resort which is a private island that has been voted to one of the most incredible islands by Conde Nast Traveller UK.

Depending on your budget you could either book one of their incredible villas or if you are on a budget you can get a day pass which is surely worth each penny.

DAY 7 IN ABU DHABI

Okay, in case you have not planned in a trip to Dubai, then it is about time to do so. If you have 7 days in Abu Dhabi, then visit the famous city of Dubai.

Visit Dubai

If you actually only stay in Abu Dhabi, then you really should do a day trip to Dubai. I know, not everyone likes the idea of a busy city, but I highly suggest at least a day trip to Dubai if you have one week in Abu Dhabi.

La Mer Beach Dubai - best places to visit in Dubai

There are buses from Abu Dhabi to Dubai for about 10€ ($11) return – however, whenever I wanted to use them, it turned out it is still not perfect as I would end up in the middle of nowhere in Dubai. So, I suggest either doing a guided tour from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, or to splurge and take a taxi from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (prices depend on your starting point, but I always paid around 60€).

In Dubai there is a lot to do – what exactly? Well, find out here.

Also, I have written a quite detailed post on whether to visit Abu Dhabi or Dubai that you can check out if you are unsure which city/emirate to visit.

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CONCLUSION: BEST THINGS TO DO IN ABU DHABI

Abu Dhabi in one day is possible – but with so many fun and interesting things to do in Abu Dhabi, you should try to add a few days to your Abu Dhabi itinerary so you can get a better glimpse of the city.

So, whenever you visit – stay safe and enjoy!

Safe Travels, Arzo

Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi best places to stay - where to stay in Abu Dhabi

The Best Places to Stay in Abu Dhabi for All Budgets

Wondering where to stay in Abu Dhabi? Here are my personal picks – the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi for each budget.

Abu Dhabi is often overlooked even though there is so much to see and do there! While nearly everyone knows Dubai, the actual capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi, is lesser known to the extent that, until not long ago, it was still a hidden gem.

This has changed over the last few years and Abu Dhabi is becoming more and more popular with tourists and there are quite a lot of things to do in Abu Dhabi. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that a lot of new hotels have been built.

If you are looking for the perfect Abu Dhabi accommodation, from cheap hotels in Abu Dhabi to luxury hotels in Abu Dhabi, keep reading to find your ideal hotel in the perfect spot for your trip to Abu Dhabi.

When looking for the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, you need to keep a few things in mind.

  • First of all, of course, is your budget. Are you looking for a budget hotel in Abu Dhabi, a five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi or a mid-range hotel?
  • The second thing that you have to consider is whether you are looking for a family-friendly hotel in Abu Dhabi, a beach, or business hotel in Abu Dhabi?
  • Your third consideration for your holiday to Abu Dhabi should be the location. While taking a taxi is quite cheap, the public transport system there still isn’t fully developed. With this in mind, you do need to think about which places you would like to visit the most often if you don’t want to spend a fortune on a cab (as mentioned, they are cheap by European standards but still…).

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS – THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU). MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

Abu Dhabi has several great areas to stay in so here are some of my recommendations for you:

Find out about the best areas to stay in Abu Dhabi 

  • Corniche
  • Saadiyat Island
  • Zaya Nurai Island
  • Yas Island
  • Near Grand Mosque

For each area, you will find

  • Luxury Accommodations
  • Mid-Range Accommodations
  • Budget Accommodations

READ MORE:

 
 
 

WHERE TO STAY IN ABU DHABI – THE BEST HOTELS FOR EACH BUDGET

Corniche in Abu Dhabi

One of the most famous and most popular places to stay in Abu Dhabi is Corniche.

Corniche in Abu Dhabi @shutterstock
@shutterstock

Corniche is a beautiful area right on the west coast of the UAE which is very modern and boasts a new promenade.

There is still some construction work going on but despite all of the development, it has a lovely beach (not all of the beaches are public, some parts are only for hotel guests) and there are hotels both directly on the beach and throughout the Corniche area.

Getting to Corniche beach from this area is quick and you can either walk, take the bus or get a taxi. Abu Dhabi’s most important landmark, the Grand Mosque is about a twenty-minute drive away from here so you should reserve around fifteen euros for that if you want to go and see it.

Neither choice will disappoint as it is one of the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi if you want to get to many other of Abu Dhabi´s landmarks quickly.

Luxury Hotels  in Corniche- Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

Emirates Palace is one of the most famous and most expensive hotels in the world. This luxurious 5* Kempinski hotel has 394 luxury rooms and suites and it is not only one of the most iconic places in Abu Dhabi but also one of the most iconic hotels in the region.

2 Favorite Luxury Hotels in Abi Dhabi @shutterstock
@shutterstock

All guests are spoilt with views of the Persian Gulf or the Abu Dhabi skyline, guests have several pools to relax, direct beach access (this area is of course a private section of the hotel) and there are several amazing restaurants with different cuisines.

While there are many great and secluded areas, it changes once you step out for the hotel – this area is one of the best places to stay at. Especially at night it gets busy and adds more beauty to this hotel and area.

Check out the best rates for a stay at Emirates Palace here

Luxury Hotels  in Corniche – Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel is a multi-award-winning hotel located by the beach that provides stunning views of the Arabian Gulf, especially if you head up to the Observation Deck on the 74th floor.

Usually, you have to pay to go and admire the views here as it is the highest observation point in Abu Dhabi, but if you’re a guest, it’s free.

Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi
@Pixabay

The hotel consists of 382 luxurious rooms and suites, and some world-class restaurants and bars as well as three swimming pools and the hotel’s secluded private beach.

If that’s not enough for you, Avenue in Etihad Towers gives you a wide choice of high-end outlets if you’d like to do some shopping and their Talise Spa is a great place to relax afterwards.

Click here to find the best rate for Etihad Towers here

Read more: Best things to do in Dubai

Luxury Hotels  in Corniche – The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

If you would like a view of the Corniche combined with top class service then St Regis, Abu Dhabi might be a good choice.

As well as the stunning views, each of the hotel’s 283 rooms come with complimentary butler service.

best places to stay in Abu Dhabi

Their popular Remede Spa provides a variety of treatments and a nourishing menu of drinks and snacks all in a serene location overlooking the hotel’s own 200 meter stretch of beach, the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf and the hotel gardens.

Find the best rates for your stay at St. Regis Abu Dhabi here

Mid-Range Hotels in Corniche – InterContinental Abu Dhabi

Though a five-star hotel, Intercontinental Abu Dhabi is definitely good value for the money and thus, it is listed here as a mid-range hotel

As well as its own marina, The Intercontinental also has that Abu Dhabi must, a private beach! Many visitors have great views of the marina and beachfront gardens from their room and there’s no shortage of restaurants to choose from, so you’re sure to find something that you love.

What’s more, the hotel’s Bayshore Beach Club provides lots of activities including water sports for those who are feeling active, an infinity pool, and a splash pool with slides that are great for kids.

Find the best rates for your stay at Intercontinental Abu Dhabi here

Mid-Range Hotels in Corniche – Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche

Another hotel overlooking the Corniche is Sofitel Abu Dhabi.

This luxury 5-star hotel also overlooks the Corniche and is just a 30-minute drive from Abu Dhabi airport. Included in your stay is the use of a shuttle bus that will take you to Marina Mall, Yas Island or direct to the beach which makes it a good location to stay if you want to stay in a nice hotel but do not want to spend a fortune.

Its architecture and 280 rooms are designed with a modern feel and a French Art Deco twist. Of course, it also has all mod cons such as free Wi-Fi, pool, gym, and spa and is very popular with couples.

Click here to find the best rates for Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche

Budget Hotels in Corniche- Aparthotel Adagio Abu Dhabi

Aparthotel Adagio boasts a central location in Abu Dhabi – in between the Grand Mosque and Corniche. Due to this handy location, you can be anywhere within a few minutes.

It is known for being very clean, quiet and spacious and shares a great pool and spa facilities with the Novotel hotel next door.

Find the best price for a stay at Aparthotel Adagio Abu Dhabi

Saadiyat Island

Saadiyat Island with its many luxurious, expensive-looking properties is one of the most beautiful areas in Abu Dhabi, and the beach is top-notch too!

Arzo Travels Abu Dhabi most beautiful places in Abu Dhabi

The few hotels here are all luxury hotels and they provide access to a private beach ( a part of Saadiyat Island is public even though there is a 5€ ($6) charge for the day but if you want to enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches around in a gorgeous, secluded setting, Saadiyat Island has some of the best hotels in Abu Dhabi.

Since the Louvre museum opened at the end of 2017 it is one of the very few attractions in this area, and so it is a quiet place that is one of the best places to relax in Abu Dhabi.

Luxury Hotels on Saadiyat Island- The St. Regis Saadiyat Island

St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort is ideally located on the beachfront, ten minutes away from the city center and just 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi Airport.

Abu Dhabi and its best places to stay

As would be expected from its island location, the St. Regis is known for being perfect for beach lovers with its private beach being thought to be one of the best in the UAE.

If this isn’t your cup of tea it also has three outdoor pools and 5 restaurants.

This new hotel is known as one of the best ones in Abu Dhabi and if you stay there you will surely not be disappointed.

Click here to find the best rates for a stay at St. Regis Saadiyat Island

Luxury Hotels on Saadiyat Island – Park Hyatt

The Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi is great for families, couples and lone travelers alike. If you’re after a relaxing vacation there are gardens surrounded by palm trees and one of the largest pools in Abu Dhabi.
where to stay in Abu Dhabi

For families, there is Camp Hyatt that hosts fun and interactive activities for younger guests to enjoy while parents can take a break and enjoy the spa.

It’s also in close proximity to a range of nightlife and the staff are known to be extremely accommodating too which we all know to be a very important detail!

Book your stay at Park Hyatt and find the best rates

Zaya Nurai Island

The most secluded and exclusive area to stay is Zaya Nurai Island which can only be reached by a twelve-minute boat ride.

Luxury Hotel on Zaya Nurai Island – Zaya Nurai Island Resort

Take it from me, Zaya Nurai Island is a very beautiful private island and just one the best place to stay in Abu Dhabi. Though day tickets are sold for people who don’t wish to stay there overnight, it is mostly for hotel guests and the beaches are incredible!

Private Pool at Zaya Nurai Island in Abu Dhabi

There is lots to see and do too so you can easily stay for two nights and not get bored. You can try your hand at water skiing, jet skiing or surfing and when you’re worn out from all of that there are restaurants, a spa and several pools where you can relax, unwind and have fun.

If you stay at the Zaya Nurai resort most rooms have their own private beach section and private pool so it doesn’t get much more secluded than this, even compared to other Abu Dhabi luxury hotels!

Getting off the island is a little bit more difficult so if you want to see a lot then I recommend staying longer in Abu Dhabi, perhaps a maximum of two nights on Zaya Nurai and then checking in at an Abu Dhabi hotel that is more centrally located.

Find the best rates for your stay at Zaya Nurai Island Resort here

Yas Island

Situated around 120 kilometers south-west of Dubai is Yas Island.

Yes Island is not only home to some of the top hotels in Abu Dhabi but also of Abu Dhabi’s Marina Circuit Ferrari World, one of the biggest theme parks in the world.

The only downside is that it is quite a bit further away from landmarks like the Emirates Palace which is located in North Corniche.

Luxury Hotels on Yas Island – Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi 

If you are any kind of Formula 1 fan or petrol head then you’ll love Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi. Located in the center of Yas Island the hotel hovers over the Yas Marina Circuit, the favorite racetrack of many F1 legends.

If you like to be woken to the sound of race cars whizzing around underneath you instead of songbirds then this is a really fun experience. After this you’re really close to Ferrari World, (the world’s largest indoor theme park!).

Being in the heart of Yas Island, it’s also right by Yas Mall, Yas Beach, and Yas Waterworld among many other great attractions and the hotel provides a complimentary shuttle bus service to all of the main attractions.

Click here to find the best rates for accommodation at Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi

Mid-Range Hotels on Yas Island – Radisson Blu Hotel Abu Dhabi

Another Yas Island hotel, the Radisson Blu, is close to Abu Dhabi city center and only 15 minutes away from Abu Dhabi Airport.

While it is still close to all of the Yas Island fast-car related attractions, this hotel is known for being a little more tranquil then Yas Viceroy with its peaceful atmosphere, including a special relaxation zone in the pool for adults only.

Of course, nearby you also have Yas Beach and top class golf course, Yas Links or if you feel like staying on site there is a spa, fitness center, and tennis courts too.

Find out about the best rates at the Radisson Blu Hotel

Area Around the Grand Mosque

As this beautiful sight is one of the main attractions in Abu Dhabi,  I can understand the urge to need to stay in this area.

Best places to Stay in Abu Dhabi

If you want to stay closer to the Grand Mosque and enjoy a great view of it I would recommend that you stay at the southern end of Abu Dhabi which is where I stayed, at the Traders Hotel.

Getting to Corniche takes about 10-15 minutes by taxi and costs about 12€ for one way.

Luxury Hotels Near Grand Mosque – Fairmont Bab Al Bahr 

This 5-star hotel is located at the gateway to Abu Dhabi and gives great access to the city center and Abu Dhabi Aiport.

It is said to boast some of the best views of the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi from both the rooms (make sure you ask for the view when booking) and its private beach and if you like to go for a wander on foot it is close to a popular local souk and many independent specialty shops where you can also take a leisurely boat ride down winding canals as though you were in Venice.

Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

Mid-Range Hotels Near Grand Mosque- Traders Hotel Qaryat Al Beri, by Shangri-La

Traders Hotel can be found on the beachfront between the two bridges of Al Maqta and Mussafah leading into Abu Dhabi and just ten minutes from Abu Dhabi Airport.

Where to stay in Abu Dhabi Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi Hotel review

As well as having its own small private beach with plenty of sun loungers and free towels there’s also a gorgeous garden to walk through towards the nearby souk where there’s lots of bars, cafes, and restaurants to while away your time when you’re not on the beach.

This hotel has its own little souk, a beautiful long stretch of private beach with nice views and friendly staff and even a little supermarket.

Don’t miss the gorgeous night-time views of the Grand Mosque from here either so of course this another tip I have to name for one of the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi.

Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Traders Hotel by Shangri-La

CONCLUSION: HOW TO FIND THE BEST AREA TO STAY IN ABU DHABI

Sо, whеthеr you’re looking for a rеlаxing break complete with luxurious surroundings and beautiful beaches  or you’re looking tо bооk уоur Abu Dhabi budget-friendly accommodation, hopefully, this post has helped you finding out on where to stay in Abu Dhabi.

The choices are numerous, but the above-mentioned areas are my personal tips for places to stay in Abu Dhabi.

 

Safe Travels, Arzo

Abu Dhabi vs Dubai – Which is the Better Place to Visit?

Where to go: Abu Dhabi or Dubai? Find out which city is the better choice for your next holidays. UAE

WHERE TO GO? DUBAI VS ABU DHABI

One of the questions I got asked a lot is whether I recommend Dubai or Abu Dhabi.  Abu Dhabi vs Dubai?! Which city is the better city to visit? To cut a long story short, can say it depends on your interests and preferences whether you prefer Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

Abu Dhabi vs Dubai, Dubai vs Abu Dhabi: Which city (emirate) wins? I am happy to share a list with you, which I have created based on my experiences, hoping that this list helps you to make the perfect decision for YOU :).

ABU DHABI VS DUBAI 

Both cities are incredibly safe, as in regards for female solo travelers or in regard of any kind of crime. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are “rich” and “clean”.

You can do desert safaris in both places (in my opinion desert safaris are one of the best things to do in both places), as you can do water sports activities, helicopter rides, and you can shop in both cities pretty well.

Both are quite westernized, so there is not a cultural shock for western tourists.

Why is Abu Dhabi better than Dubai?

Find an itinerary for Abu Dhabi here and find out what to do in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi

  • The capital of the United Arab Emirates
  • biggest emirate (in size of geography)
  • about 1 million inhabitants

Here are my personal reasons why I tend to say, that Abu Dhabi wins if it comes to: Abu Dhabi vs Dubai 

Grand Mosque

It is home to the most beautiful building: Grand Sheikh Zayed MosqueDubai has more interesting and famous buildings, but it does not have Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

Why is Abu Dhabi better than Dubai

The mosque is just beyond amazing and one of my favorites reasons to always re-visit Abu Dhabi.

To find out more about the mosque and tips when visiting (and too see many more images click here).

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates#
More Beautiful Beaches

Abu Dhabi has more beautiful beaches: the public beaches at Corniche or Saadiyat Island, the beaches in Abu Dhabi were more appealing to me. Though Saadiyat Island charges a small fee (about 5€) it is definitely worth the money and if you do not want to spend money on a day at the beach you will have a nice time at the free beaches in Abu Dhabi – which are quite empty and you´ll not see it crowded.

Luxury Accommodation is Cheaper

Accommodation in Abu Dhabi, especially luxury accommodation, is cheaper. As a test, I did some further research, so that I am sure it was not only at the time I visited.

It seems that accommodation is cheaper throughout the year in Abu Dhabi – to check out the best hotel deals click here.

I have stayed in several hotels in Abu Dhabi and whenever I visited the prices were below the prices in Dubai – while the standard is the same!

Which is better to visit Dubai or Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is Quieter

Abu Dhabi is quieter. This can either be a pro or a contra argument, but if you do not like too much “bling bling” and too much of a hustle and bustle, you´ll probably enjoy Abu Dhabi more than Dubai. Though you will also find authentic areas in Dubai Abu Dhabi is still a bit more “Arabian like”.

Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi

Emirates Palace

The Emirates Palace, the top hotel in Abu Dhabi, is also open to “ordinary” people who just want to have a look, while Dubai´s “top” hotel (Burj Al-Arab) is much more difficult to access.

Emirates Palace Kempinski in Abu Dhabi (Emirates)

Zaya Nuria Island

Abu Dhabi has Zaya Nurai Island – one of the most beautiful islands in the region. Zaya Nurai Island – after a 12-minute boat ride you will get to the private island – to be allowed to get on the island you have to get either a day pass or you can stay there as an overnight guest.

Why visit Abu Dhabi

So, this point goes to Abu Dhabi in terms of Abu Dhabi vs Dubai.

Better Place to Relax

Where can you relax better? In Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Well, I would say Abu Dhabi is the better place to relax. As it is less busy, less crowded, and there is less traffic Abu Dhabi is the better place if you like to…relax and  chill.

Abu Dhabi relax

Read about my 12 top tips for things to do in Abu Dhabi.

Why is Dubai better than Abu Dhabi?

Here are the reasons why I like Dubai better than Abu Dhabi.

Dubai

  • The Biggest city in terms of inhabitants and the most famous city of the UAE
  • about 2,5 million inhabitants
The City of Superlatives

Dubai is the city of superlatives, and there are many interesting buildings: It is home to the highest building in the world, Burj Khalifa (pictures from the top of Burj Khalifa here), the 7* hotel Burj Al-Arab, and many more interesting buildings. If you are into superlatives, visit Dubai.

Dubai in 2 days

More Attractions in Dubai

There are more attractions, more to see and more to do. It will not get boring in Dubai. Whether you head to the tallest building of the world (Burj Khalifa), or Miracle Garden, Dubai Mall, or Madinat Jumeirah – there is so much to do, that it was hard for me to pick only 5o top activities in Dubai (click here to read my tips 50 things to do in Dubai).

Abu Dhabi or Dubai

So many “wow” effects all the time, even though I have visited Dubai several times I have these “wow” effects all the time, one of them was when I visited the top of Burj Khalifa.

Dubai is More Liberal

Dubai is more liberal- I think it is less conservative compared to Abu Dhabi (click here to find out what to wear in Dubai as a female).

Though I am not into clubbing, there are more bars, more clubs, more parties than in Abu Dhabi. I, somehow, also feel less restricted in my clothing than in Abu Dhabi.

Better place to visit in UAE

More Luxury Hotels

There are more luxury hotels.  If you are on a budget you can just do hotel sightseeing for free – and you´ll do not get disappointed – like the  Atlantis- The Palm.

Palm Island

Dubai has the Palm Island. Though the beaches are private (you can get a day pass though at many hotels) it is a perfect place to ride a bike and enjoy great views.

Madinat Jumeirah

Dubai has Madinat Jumeirah, without any doubt, it is one of my favorite areas in Dubai. It is just a great place to spend the day, get lost and crop the day off.

Bigger Shopping Malls

Dubai has more shopping (and bigger) malls (quick guide for Dubai Mall here) and is the place to shop.

Crazy Souks

I have a love-hate relationship with Dubai Deira – the old part of Dubai often means to be stressed out as it is really busy but it is a place that reminds me like no other in the UAE (except for the desert) that I am in Arabia. The souks (markets) there are just something you have to experience once – you cannot find souks in that intensity in Abu Dhabi.

Which place to visit - Abu Dhabi or Dubai

Better Day Trips Options

Location: Dubai has, in my opinion, a better location. It is closer to Oman (and a day trip to Oman is fun) and to other emirates like Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah and so day trips to other places are easier and more fun.

Oman

 

Find my tips for the 50 best things to do in Dubai here – and click here to find all my Dubai posts. 

CONCLUSION: ABU DHABI VS DUBAI

As you can see, it really depends on what you are interested at and what you like to answer the question whether Abu Dhabi or Dubai is better for a vacation.

Are you more a person who likes to go out and enjoy those “wow” moments, or do you enjoy the “natural” beauty and more quietness?

What about me? Do I think, Abu Dhabi or Dubai is better?

I actually liked Abu Dhabi as well as Dubai. To be fair, I have to admit that I visited Abu Dhabi only twice while I visited Dubai more often and spent much more time there.

Knowing what I know now, I would say: If I stayed in the United Arab Emirates for one week, I would probably stay 4-5 nights in Dubai and then in Abu Dhabi for 2 nights.

By the way: Abu Dhabi and Dubai are not that far away from each other. So if you still cannot decide which place to visit you can just take a hop-on and hop-off bus to Abu Dhabi or to Dubai  or take a taxi to get from one city to the other (about 80 kilometers).

There is also a bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi or the other way around.

Ready to book your next trip? Will you visit Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Or both 🙂

Important Travel Information for Dubai and Abu Dhabi 

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are both fun cities to visit with great tours and activities to see – before you plan your trip to Dubai or Abu Dhabi check out visa regulations.

What to Pack for Dubai and Abu Dhabi 

Read more about important things to pack for Dubai and Abu Dhabi

10 Luxury Hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi 

Find out about the 10 luxury hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Dubai on a Budget

Click here to find some budget travel tips for Dubai

Where to Stay in Dubai

Ready to visit Dubai? Then book your hotel but make sure to get the best hotel in Dubai rates by clicking here.  Here are some of my favorite picks for your stay in Dubai:

Luxury Hotels in Dubai : 5* Grosvenor House – The Grosvenor has become one of my favorite hotels (with the most beautiful lobby restrooms 🙂 It is one of the classiest places and since it is located in Dubai Marina it is perfect for those who like busy areas – perfect for business and younger guests that want to be in a fun location.

Mid-Range Hotels in Dubai: 4* Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Dubai – When I visited Dubai for the very first time I stayed at this hotel and was positively surprised by the high standard of hotels in Dubai. It is a beautiful hotel located in Downtown.

Budget Hotels in Dubai: 3* Ibis Al Barsha – a great budget hotel quite close to Dubai Marina. Simple but sufficient if you do not expect much. Click here to find the best rates for Ibis Al Barsha

Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi

Here are some accommodation tips for your trip to Abu Dhabi (check out my full Abu Dhabi accommodation guide).

Luxury Hotels in Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi has several amazing luxury hotels.

Zaya Nuria Island: Zaya Nurai is like a dream come true. This exquisite boutique hotel is the perfect place for a nice getaway.

Emirates Palace: Emirates Place is located to many interesting sights in Abu Dhabi and is one of the most elegant hotels in the world. To check out prices and book your stay click here.

Mid-Range Hotels in Abu Dhabi: The standard of hotels in Abu Dhabi is high and accommodation is much cheaper than in Dubai.

Traders Hotel by Shangri-La: Traders Hotel is a beautiful hotel located close to the Grand Mosque with nice views of the impressive sight. It is a bit far from other tourists attractions in Abu Dhabi – like Corniche promenade or the Emirates Palace, but well, it comes with a nice private beach section and

Safe Travels, Arzo

P.S. Another little argument speaking for Dubai is the proximity to Oman – whether you visit as a day trip from Dubai or for longer, Oman is worth a trip. Either way, hopefully, this post will help ou decide which place is better to visit: Abu Dhabi vs Dubai.

Abu Dhabi or Dubai? Which is the better city to visit? Find out which is the perfect destination for you. United Arab Emirates.

 

Travel Highlight: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi - Grand Mosque

Travel Information for Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi

When you plan a trip to the United Arab Emirates make sure to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque – either as a day trip from Dubai or when you plan to stay in Abu Dhabi.

The Grand Mosque or the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in the UAE is probably the most beautiful building I have ever seen. Seriously, no words can describe its beauty.

I had friends asking me if I visited that beautiful mosque in Dubai or Abu Dhabi yet – it seems social media has spread the word about the beautiful mosque in UAE, though many cannot remember the name or mistakenly think it is in Dubai.

Though the pictures have not captivated the beauty, I hope you´ll get some travel inspirations and consider visiting it – as a Muslim or non-Muslim, since the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is also open to non-Muslims.

Find out all the important things you need to know before you visit the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates

Sheikh Zayed Mosque: Things to Know

Visiting the mosque was one of the first things I did when I arrived in Abu Dhabi and I was happy that the mosque did not disappoint at all. If you visit Abu Dhabi, this “attraction” should definitely be on your list.

This post gives you all the important information: 

  • Basic facts
  • How to get there (from Dubai or Abu Dhabi)
  • Rules at Sheikh Zayed Mosque (how to dress, don´ts etc.)
  • Opening Hours
  • Tours of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates

Facts Sheikh Zayed Mosque

The Grand Mosque can accommodate more than 40,000 worshippers, 10,000 in the internal areas and 30,000 in the external areas. and opened in 2007. It is now probably one of the most famous Islamic prayer houses in the world.

 The mosque has four minarets and eighty-two domes. Besides the beautiful symmetry, the white marble and golden elements impress. I would have loved to get on one of the minarets but this was not allowed to normal guests.

There are several guided Grand Mosque tours without any extra costs. Unfortunately, these guides are not every hour and I just missed one.

Read More: Sharjah – the less known emirate is another great place to visit in the UAE.

How to Get to Sheikh Zayed Mosque from Abu Dhabi

The mosque is located at “the beginning” of Abu Dhabi. If you come from the Abu Dhabi airport or from Dubai, it will be one of the first things you will see.

There is a direct bus connection from Abu Dhabi Corniche, but the stop is quite far. It’s probably only 1 km away, but with the heat, it felt more like 5 km.

A taxi from Abu Dhabi Corniche to the Grand Mosque is about 9-10€ (about 18km).

How to Get to Sheikh Zayed Mosque  from Dubai

There are buses going from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and it might be the cheapest way to get there (is about 100km from Dubai Marina to Grand Mosque).

Another option to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is to buy a hop-on and hop-off ticket in Dubai since there are buses going to Abu Dhabi as well (a review of the hop-on and hop-off bus in Dubai is here).

Taking a taxi might be another option since taxis are quite cheap in the United Arab Emirates.

There are parking options at Sheikh Zayed in front of the mosque if you come in your own car.

If you also have wondered which place is better, Abu Dhabi or Dubai, click here and find out which role the mosque plays in this question.

Rules at Sheikh Zayed Mosque

What to wear at Sheikh Zayed Mosque? Dress code Grand Mosque:

You can enter the area in your normal clothes. If you want to enter the actual mosque, you have to cover yourself up, as a female.

As a man, your arms and legs also have to be covered.

You can get appropriate clothes for free (ironed and washed) and there are dressing rooms (the red dress in the pictures were my own outfit).

Women and men are not allowed to touch each other.

The guards also forbid me using my GoPro and its tripod to take pictures.

You can wear your shoes and only have to take them off when you enter the prayer rooms.

There are a lot of guards so you had better stick to the rules.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque Opening Hours

Open daily, from 9 am to 10 pm, please check the visitor hours before your visit to make sure it is not closed for any reason.

The mosque closes every Friday mornings to tourists (open only for worshippers) and re-opens in the afternoon.

Best Time to Visit the Grand Mosque

I visited in the morning and would have loved to see it at sunset as well. Most people I asked told me it looks even nice then. If you get the chance try to visit the mosque twice because I would not have wanted to miss the mosque at daytime.

There is free drinking water and free tours available.

Conclusion: Is it Worth Visiting Sheikh Zayed Mosque?

I hope the pictures convinced you that it is worth visiting the mosque. I understand people who refrain from visiting religious buildings, but the Grand Mosque is probably the most amazing building, the most beautiful building and impresses with the colors and gorgeousness.

If you are visiting Dubai and do not plan to stay in Abu Dhabi for longer I still think it is worth to visit the mosque and to get here from Dubai. (more pictures below so keep scrolling down)

What else to do in Abu Dhabi? Check out this itinerary for your Abu Dhabi trip here

Where to stay in Abu Dhabi? Find my tips here.

 

Must see places in Abu Dhabi, Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I will earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Dubai @shutterstock
@shutterstock

Hotel Review: Traders Hotel by Shangri-La in Abu Dhabi

Where to stay in Abu Dhabi Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi Hotel review

Hotel Review: Traders Hotel by Shangri-La in Abu Dhabi

I have visited the UAE several times and on my recent trip to Abu Dhabi I really wanted to stay in a hotel close to the Grand Mosque – one of my favorite sights ever!

I think the Grand Mosque – also called the Sheikh Zayed Mosque – is the best landmark in Abu Dhabi and so I booked a two-night stay for me and my cousin at one of the top hotels in Abu Dhabi, the Traders Hotel by Shangri-La.

If you are looking for very beautiful, 4* accommodation with access to a beach and a good view of the main attractions in Abu Dhabi this might be the perfect choice so keep reading to find out about the Abu Dhabi hotel that could be just right for you.

Wondering why to add Abu Dhabi to your UAE itinerary? Click here to read my top recommendations for things to do in Abu Dhabi.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

 

Location and Lobby of Traders Hotel Qaryat Al Beri in Abu Dhabi

Traders Hotel is located in Qaryat Al Beri, one of the first areas of Abu Dhabi you will see if arriving from Dubai or the airport.

The hotel boasts a beachside location and it is also close to the Grand Mosque which is the main sight-seeing point in Abu Dhabi. It is also about fifteen kilometers from other important landmarks like the Emirates Palace or Corniche which will cost you around twelve to fifteen € (about $9) to get there.

Where to stay in Abu Dhabi - best 4 star hotel in Abu Dhabi

We arrived at the hotel from Ras Al-Khaimah and I was surprised at just how colorful and how fun the hotel was. We stayed there over Christmas so there was a huge Christmas tree and some other Christmas decorations too. The hotel lobby is very big and bright – the furniture is really colorful making it a lot more stylish than a lot of hotels by Shangdi La.

The check in was very quick and we hadn’t booked any breakfast so we were asked if we would like to and we actually only booked for one night.

Rooms at Traders Hotel Abu Dhabi

The Traders Hotel has about 300 rooms and suits and what is interesting to know, is that the hotel isn’t built upwards but spreads out instead. We had a superior room which was nice, clean and had a great view and a balcony which is always a plus.

Best hotel view in Abu Dhabi

Of course, the hotel was clean and had everything we could need: bottles of water, tv, air conditioning, and everything else that you would expect from a four-star hotel in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Where to stay

Breakfast at Traders Hotel Abu Dhabi

As mentioned, we didn’t book breakfast when we booked the hotel but booked it when we arrived for about 25€  – and it was a nice breakfast.

Served on the ground floor, it included warm hearty meals, a lot of sweet options, fruits, and you could also press your own fresh orange juice. You have the chance to sit inside or outside – and thus, enjoy a nice beach view, and the staff were very nice.

Over all, it was definitely worth the money given the fact that Abu Dhabi is not necessarily cheap.

Restaurants at Traders Hotel Abu Dhabi

The breakfast restaurant, Afyä, serves lunch and dinner as well but if you keep walking within the hotel complex (which is, as I mentioned, spread out) you will find many more restaurants in the Souk as well as cafes and bars so you will have a lot of options if you don’t feel like going out.

Alternatively, if you want to just have a drink at the beach that is also possible as there are some bars right on the beach.

Beach and Pool at Traders Hotel Abu Dhabi

I personally really enjoyed the beach and pool section of Traders Hotel and though we didn’t stay at the hotel very much, we enjoyed the nice beach with a view of the Grand Mosque.

Abu Dhabi Hotel review Traders Hotel Shangri La

I was pleasantly surprised when someone came immediately and brought us free water and of course, since it is a hotel beach it is just for people staying there so it didn’t feel crowded at all.

Afterwards we strolled towards the other end of the hotel which was a beautiful walk since there is a little canel and you could do an abra ride – it is quite cute and definitely quite romantic, so this is probably the perfect hotel for love birds or honeymooners in Abu Dhabi.

There are lots of loungers too, where you can lay back and just chill so it is a perfect place to relax, day or night. I also felt that the hotel was very family friendly and a great place to stay in Abu Dhabi with families with children as well as for solo travelers.

If you walk from the lobby area to the other side you will also have the beautiful view of THE mosque.

Hotel review Traders Hotel by Shangr-La

Other Things to Do at Traders

As mentioned, there is a Souk (or market) where you can buy clothes or souvenirs. There are also a number of supermarkets, bars, and cafes where you can sit outside and have nice views.

The souks are quite expensive compared to what you can buy at other souks in Abu Dhabi.

Despite this, it is still a lovely place to just walk around. I especially enjoyed it when it was very foggy, as it often is in Abu Dhabi in the morning, so then makes for a nice walk during the day.

Abu Dhabi Traders Hotel Review

 

Conclusion

Is the Traders Hotel by Shangri-La in Abu Dhabi worth the money?

We really enjoyed our time at the Traders Hotel. It is a very beautiful four-star hotel and as usual, the standard in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for hotels is quite high and this hotel was no different.

The staff were friendly, it was clean, and there were plenty of options for things to do there so for these reasons it is one of the best hotels in Abu Dhabi.

Although I personally enjoyed the location because it is close to the Grand Mosque, you should know that getting to other important landmarks might take some time and cost some money but if you enjoy staying at the beach then this is the perfect chance as you have the beach to yourself.

Overall, I can definitely recommend staying at the Traders Hotel and it is a great place to stay in Abu Dhabi.

Looking for other ideas on where to stay in Abu Dhabi? Then click here and find more great hotels in Abu Dhabi – for all budgets and all areas.

Book your stay at Traders Hotel Sharing-La here

Click here if you are looking for the most luxurious hotels in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Only read this review out of curiosity and actually only plan a day trip to Abu Dhabi from Dubai? Then this post will help you organizing your one day in Abu Dhabi.

 

An Abu Dhabi Evening Desert Safari Dune Bashing in Abu Dhabi and More

ABU DHABI EVENING DESERT SAFARI

If you are in Abu Dhabi you definitely have to go on desert safari.

It is one of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi. Seriously!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

I have done several desert safaris in Dubai but it actually took me a while to finally do a desert safari in Abu Dhabi and all I can say is that it is amazing and you should do it – a desert safari is one of the best activities in Abu Dhabi (click here to read about my other tips for Abu Dhabi).

There are different kinds of tours and tour operators and though there are fewer different tours available than in Dubai, there are enough tours to choose from and there will be something to cater for every taste.

So, keep reading if you want to get an authentic review of my last desert safari, an Abu Dhabi Evening Desert Safari, which I did with my cousin who visited the UAE for the very first time – and who had a very clear opinion about her first trip to the desert (her conclusion is at the bottom of the post).

Choosing a Desert Safari – Desert Safari Abu Dhabi Deals

As mentioned, there are different desert safari tours in Abu Dhabi available as there are different deserts in Abu Dhabi and the UAE with slightly differing programs.

Originally, I had wanted to go for an overnight safari which I then changed and did an evening Abu Dhabi desert safari with dinner under the stars and I was very glad I did!

You can also choose betweenAbu Dhabi  morning desert safaris where you can be a little bit more active or the evening safari which is a little more sedate. Personally, I recommend the evening safari, keeping reading to find out why and what’s included…

I booked my tour via GetYourGuide and paid around 60€  (about $75) but prices may change – it depends on the rates and the time of year as it is more expensive in the winter and in high season. Once you book your tour with GetYourGuide you will receive a confirmation as well as a reminder on the day so you will remember when the safari starts which is very handy.

How to Get to the Desert

You will normally be picked up from the hotel (we stayed at this beautiful 4* hotel in Abu Dhabi when we were picked up) or, if you arrive in the area via a cruise ship then you will be picked up from the port.

They will always let you know the exact location and you are also asked to provide the hotel information. Since it is not a private tour (which you can also book), you share the four-wheel drive vehicles with up to six other passengers (one in the back and one in the front seat) so it is up to seven people plus the driver that can do the tour in one car.

Based on my experience of desert tours before, I can tell you that your car is usually not the only one so usually there is a caravan of cars that all belong together.

Dune Bashing in Abu Dhabi

After you are all picked up you’ll be driven to the desert where the wheels will be deflated, allowing the driver to do the dune bashing which normally takes about fifteen to thirty minutes.

The driving starts off slow and progressively gets faster and faster! It’s definitely not for those who are faint of heart! You should be aware though, that very small children or those with any physical problems probably shouldn’t do the dune bashing, but normally it is a really thrilling experience.

It isn’t very easy to record videos because your car will bump up and down all the time but honestly, you’ll be so busy enjoying yourself that you won’t care, so don’t miss out on the chance while you’re in the UAE.

Photo Stops in the Desert of Abu Dhabi

On a desert tour before in Dubai there was a falcon show for participants which we did not have on this safari but that was fine with me.

We did have a couple of photo stops to take some pictures in the desert and it was so picturesque there that we got some great shots. We also stopped next to some camels where you could pet them or even ride them and then we headed to the camp.

Abu Dhabi Desert Camp

Each tour organization has its own camp and because it was winter we arrived in perfect time to witness the setting sun.

At the camp there were Arabian rugs and we each had our own little seat to sit on the floor amongst the cushions. There were lots of things to do while you are waiting for the dinner too, whether it was henna hand painting, trying on some traditional Arabian clothes and having your picture taken, shisha smoking or even sandboarding (our camp was right in front of a large sand dune).

There were, of course, toilets you can use but I really always try to avoid the toilets.

Overall, the whole place has an incredibly nice atmosphere and feels quite authentic so most people like to take pictures pictures pictures!

Belly Dance and Traditional Arabic Dance – Tanoura

I am not always a fan of belly dancing because I’ve seen many disappointing performances but the dancer we had here did a fantastic job.

She was very cute and afterwards many tours will have an Arabian man doing traditional Arabian dance (tanoura) which was very entertaining and very interesting to watch.

It took about twenty minutes in total, maybe a little more, and we were invited to do some dancing as well though we mostly stayed with Chinese and Indian people who didn’t do that much dancing but it was a very beautiful experience.

Dinner Under the Stars in the Desert of Abu Dhabi

Afterwards at around 6.30 pm dinner was prepared. I am a vegetarian but there were still lots of great options as well as some meat options.

Considering that food normally costs about 30€ in Abu Dhabi for this standard of food and the fact that it includes drinks, you get good value for your money.

Soft drinks are included as well as coffee and tea but no alcoholic drinks. This is a difference I think, between more expensive tours and this one, with the more expensive tours alcohol is probably included but you can still purchase beer and some other alcoholic beverages if you choose. There was rice, noodles, different kinds of salads and soups and so it was a nice dinner, especially sitting there under the sky.

Star Gazing

In fact, it might sound a little bit weird, but one of the highlights of the desert safari tour in Abu Dhabi was when they switched off the artificial lights and you just had the stars and the moonlight.

It just looked absolutely amazing and though simple, it was another part of the evening desert safari tour in Abu Dhabi that made it really really special.

More Activities in the Desert

Afterwards a lot of people smoked shisha or sat next to the camp fire and at around nine o’clock we were picked up and were back at the hotel by about ten o’clock so it took about six and a half hours and was an absolutely fantastic experience.

Conclusion

I had been on this type of desert tour previously but my cousin hadn’t and she said that after staying for a week in the UAE, that the dune bashing and the desert safari, including dinner and belly dancing, was one of the best experiences she had in the UAE and she loved it.

I totally agree, so if you are in Abu Dhabi you have to do a desert safari and as mentioned, this is a link to the safari I did.

How to Book a Desert Safari in Abu Dhabi

Desert safaris are not always offered – especially not in the hot summer months, so if a Abu Dhabi desert safari is the main reason to book a flight to Abu Dhabi make sure tours are offered around that time. Some tours are very popular and become sold out, however, there are several great tour operators (definitely try to avoid Royal Adventure as I have had some negative experiences with them in Dubai).

Always check what exactly is offered and what might cost extra.

If you are interested in doing a morning safari tour you can book via this link. Just be careful when checking dates as safaris are not always offered,  so in the summer or during Ramadan there might be some dates where you cannot book safari tours in Abu Dhabi.

Click here to book your desert safari in Abu Dhabi

Safe Travels, Arzo

Best Hotels: 10 Luxury Hotels in Dubai and 2 Luxury Hotels Abu Dhabi

Top luxury hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

10 Luxury Hotels in Dubai and 2 Luxury Hotels Abu Dhabi

If you are looking for a great luxury hotel in Dubai or Abu Dhabi this post will help you t pick the prefect luxury hotel for you.

Not each luxury hotel is the right choice for you, so find out what to expect at the top 10 luxury hotels in Dubai and at 2 top luxury hotels in Abu Dhabi.

Dubai’s hotels are synonymous with luxury – I do not think there is any other place with such a high density of luxurious accommodations as there is in the biggest city of the United Arab Emirates. Las Vegas might challenge it, but does not come close since the quality in Dubai is top-notch.

If you are looking to book an awesome accommodation in Dubai or Abu Dhabi this list can help you finding the perfect hotel for you.

Due to the huge number of top hotels in Dubai, I have not stayed in all of them (yet) but I have had the chance to stay in most of these awesome hotels, and here is my list of “Top 12 luxury hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi”.

Find out:

  • What are good hotels in Dubai for families?
  • What are good hotels in Dubai for couples?
  • What are the best hotels for business guests or solo travelers?

12 Favorite Luxury Hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The best hotels in UAE.

My 10 Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Dubai

5* Grosvenor House in Dubai Marina

Grosvenor House Dubai - a 5* Starwood Property

Grosvenor House Dubai has the best reviews of all hotels in Dubai – and, if you ask me, nothing is exaggerated. This hotel is one of my favorite hotels ever: the 5* Starwood property Grosvenor House in Dubai Marina.

Though I normally prefer hotels with a bright and light interior, and Grosvenor House is actually not bright, this hotel totally rocks it. It is the perfect luxury hotel for business people and people who like a classy hotel without too much modernity.

You can find the most beautiful lobby (especially at night with all the candles) at Grosvenor House, and the lobby restrooms are the best I have ever been to. The hotel has two towers, each 45 stories high, and a total of about 750 rooms.

There are 14 restaurants and bars at Grosvenor House, while the Buddha Bar is very well known in all of Dubai. The simplest rooms are the Deluxe Rooms. But of course, you can choose a fancier suite as well. The most expensive rooms are the Royal Suites.

The spa in Tower 2, the B/Attitude Spa, is probably one of the best ones in Dubai. Since it is a top-notch 5* hotel it is definitely not cheap, but the prices are not actually that high. Also, the hotel is located in Dubai Marina – one of my favorite areas in Dubai – with the marina and many restaurants and shops close by.

+ Location, an awesome lobby, great value for money, and fantastic service

– Not perfect for families with smaller kids. Though the hotel has a spa and pool area in each of the towers (and you can access the beach of the sister property, le Royal Meridien).

– I do not think it is the most family-friendly hotel in Dubai.

Click here to find out rates for a stay at Grosvenor House

Atlantis – The Palm

Atlantis - The Palm
Atlantis – The Palm
Royal Suite Atlantis - The Palm Dubai
30,000$ suite -Royal Suite Atlantis – The Palm Dubai

Atlantis – The Palm is probably one of the most famous hotels in Dubai. This huge iconic building is located on the Palm – a man-made island in the shape of a palm – which is home to many fantastic hotels. Atlantis is one of the hotels that is the

Atlantis is one of the hotels that is the most fun – to the point where you actually do not have to even leave the property.

I am not a person who can spend days at the same place, but this impressive hotel has everything you need. Tons of different restaurants, several pools, its own big waterpark, shops, beauty salons, clubs, etc.

I stayed there for 2 nights and was not bored for a second (and I did not leave the hotel for more than 50 hours in total). I stayed at a terrace club suite with a fantastic view over the Persian Gulf and enjoyed every second of the stay.

If your budget is smaller, you could opt out for a Deluxe Guest Room. Or, if you want to experience the highest form of luxury. could choose to stay at the Royal Bridge Suite – the most expensive suite of all. I had the chance to see this impressive suite and walk through it.

I have never seen a more beautiful hall and it felt almost unreal. Atlantis – The Palm is perfect for people who look for:

+ Fun hotel, with great restaurants (also with enough choices for vegetarians), a beautiful beach, the hotel is the best hotel in Dubai  for families with kids, or for people who want to stay at the hotel most of the time and enjoy an all-inclusive resort stay

– The hotel can be very busy at times, it is huge (which can be either seen as positive or negative), and it has so much to offer that I would not recommend it to those who plan to see a lot of Dubai or for those who will be mostly outside the hotel.

Check Out Rates for Atlantis – The Palm

Anantara – The Palm Dubai

Anantara The Palm Dubai
Anantara The Palm Dubai

Anantara- The Palm is a lovely, Thai-inspired resort, also located on the Palm, and an absolutely peaceful place. I loved the little bungalows, over-water villas, beach pool villas, and the typical Thai details all over the resort.

There are several beautiful pools and some rooms have direct beach access. Even though my room did not have direct access, I still enjoyed all the pools and the beautiful beach. The beaches on the Palm are definitely prettier than on Jumeirah Beach.

+ Heaven on Earth, perfect hotel in Dubai for families and people who seek silence, Thai-influenced.

– At the end of the Palm, so it is pretty far from many other attractions in Dubai.

 

Check out Rates for Anantara – The Palm

Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi

Beach and Pool Access at Westin Dubai Mina
Beach and Pool Access at Westin Dubai Mina

To be fair, I have to say that I did not stay at Westin Mina overnight.

I had a day pass for pool and beach access because I wanted to check out the pool. Westin Mina is known as one of the best hotels in Dubai.

Westin Mina is known as one of the best hotels in Dubai and has Dubai’s longest pool (500 meters). In a city where it is all about superlatives, this is pretty impressive. In addition, you’ll find the 1,200-meter long private beach and 9 restaurants and bars.

The fanciest rooms are the One Bedroom Suites, which can be up to 391 m2  and are (surely) pure luxury.

+ Location is pretty good (located on Jumeirah Beach, close to Dubai Marina), pool and beach area is extensive, another great choice for a stay with kids in Dubai

– Extremely big hotel. I cannot say much more since I did not stay overnight, but I assume it can get quite busy.

 

Check out Rates for Westin Mina

Intercontinental Dubai Marina

Intercontinental Dubai Marina
Intercontinental Dubai Marina

I have a thing for Intercontinental hotels and I have a thing for Dubai Marina. So this hotel is one of my favorites in Dubai. I really enjoyed my two nights stay in this 5* IC property and would book it again for sure.

+ This hotel is very modern and stylish with a bright and colorful lobby and rooms. I loved the pool with a view and the staff was just awesome. As the hotel is in Marina there is no beach access – if you want to get to the beach you need to walk a bit (or take a taxi) and can use the public beach at JBR Walk.

+ Perfect for the younger visitors who enjoy going out and explore Dubai Marina and for business guests

– As the hotel is in Marina there is no

– beach access – if you want to get to the beach you need to walk a bit (or take a taxi) and can use the public beach at JBR Walk.

– not the best choice for a family vacation

 

Check out Rates for Intercontinental Dubai Marina

Burj Al-Arab

Dubai Jumeirah Beach
Dubai Jumeirah Beach with Burj-Al Arab

Okay, I have never visited the Burj Al-Arab and was not even sure if I should add it. If I had not put it on my list it (probably) would have been the only “top hotels in Dubai” list without the Burj Al-Arab on it. Though I do not mind not going with the mainstream, I decided to put it on the list.

After all, it is the only 7* hotel in the world. Needless to say, that Burj Al-Arab has extremely fancy suites.

One of the most expensive is the Royal Two-Bedroom suite, but there are also cheaper rooms (like the Deluxe One-Bedroom Suite) available. What I know from hearsay is:

+ Only 7* hotel in the world, extremely private since it is not open to the “public” (so people cannot visit for a day if they do not have any reservations for a restaurant, etc.).

– Definitely not a bargain. According to hear-say the interior is pretty old-fashioned and not very new.

 

Check out Rates at Burj Al-Arab

The One and Only – The Palm

I have not stayed at The One and Only – The Palm but this is definitely very, very high on my list. If I could choose to stay at any hotel I have not been to in Dubai, I would probably pick this one as the interior looks beyond amazing (in particular the pool, which you can check out here).

 

Check out Rates at The One and Only – The Palm

The Ritz-Carlton at JBR 

Friday Brunch at Ritz-Carlton Dubai
Friday Brunch at Ritz-Carlton Dubai

Another hotel I would love to stay overnight is the Ritz-Carlton Dubai, which is located at JBR Walk, close to the Marina, with direct access to the beach.

I tested their famous Friday Brunch (review here) and realized how gorgeous this property is. Unlike most top hotels in Dubai, it does not rise up into the sky, but is rather a low-rise Mediterranean-style building.

Do not be misled by this: the Ritz-Carlton does live up to its name, and the pools and the location (at JBR Walk, a popular district at the beach with many shops, restaurants etc. close by) are superb.

The simplest rooms are the Deluxe rooms, and if you are ready to reach deeper into your pocket you could get the most expensive suite, the Presidential Suite.

+ Beach access,a great hotel in Dubai for families (I have not stayed overnight, but this is my impression after having seen the pool and beach area)

+ With the beautiful beach access, this seems to be the perfect hotel in Dubai for couples.

– Cannot say anything at this moment

Check out Rates at Ritz-Carlton

 

Click here to find all luxury hotels in Dubai and book your accommodation for the best price

2 Favorite Luxury Hotels in Abi Dhabi

Though Dubai’s density of top-notch hotels in unchallenged, Abu Dhabi has some fantastic hotels as well. It was not easy to pick only two, but here are my two most favorite luxury hotels in Abu Dhabi. Here is my full Abu Dhabi accommodation guide.

Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

2 Favorite Luxury Hotels in Abi Dhabi @shutterstock
2 Favorite Luxury Hotels in Abi Dhabi @shutterstock

Though I only had lunch at Emirates Palace, it impressed me straight away.

It is known to be one of the top 3 hotels in the UAE, but unlike the Burj Al-Arab, it is open to the public. And so I had lunch without making a prior restaurant reservation at one of their restaurants.

While I enjoyed the view from the outside I was very pretty but not as stunning as the interior. The minute I set foot into this giant property I felt overwhelmed by the luxury. Visiting the Emirates Palace is actually on almost any “to do list for Abu Dhabi” (it is also on my recommended Abu Dhabi itinerary).

After having visited it, I can say: the interior is more than impressive and definitely worth a look.

As the hotel is visited by many people who do not stay overnight, I was also surprised by the very friendly and patient staff. So a big thanks to them (and those who kept the fingers crossed that I would find my lost GoPro again).

The location is great, and though I lost my GoPro here (it was found later but with a missing card), I have very fond memories of this gorgeous property. I can clearly see why it is considered as one of the top hotels in a city (or in 2 cities) where everything is glamorous.

For the purest form of luxury you can book one of the Suites at Emirates (check out the prices for the fancy 3 bedroom Palace Suite at Emirates Palace here).

 

Check out Rates at Emirates Palace

Zaya Nurai Island Resort

Private Pool at Zaya Nurai Island in Abu Dhabi
Private Pool at Zaya Nurai Island in Abu Dhabi

Last but not least, let me introduce you to Zaya Nurai Island Resort, a resort on a private island in Abu Dhabi.

This resort tops the other places not only in the category of luxury, but also in location, being on the most beautiful beach in all of UAE, in little and big details, and in the privacy, it gives it guests.

I have a full hotel review here with many pictures and more details, but if you are looking for a boutique hotel with the most beautiful beach, you do not have to look further. Zaya Nurai Island has it all.

It just opened 2 years ago, so there was some construction work going on, which I did not see much of. However,  I enjoyed every second of my stay at this private island also known as the Maldives of the Emirates.

I stayed at the beach villa, which was extremely spacious, friendly, and just pretty. All rooms have their own private pool, so regardless of which room you choose, I am sure you’ll enjoy this little piece of heaven.

 

Check out Rates at Zaya Nurai Island Resort

Find all the luxury hotels in Abu Dhabi and get the best rates for your stay

I hope this post has helped you, either for daydreaming a bit, or deciding on a luxury accommodation for your next trip to the amazing UAE.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

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Safe Travels, Arzo

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