When offered the United Arab Emirates as a destination, or stopover point, the majority of visitors think of Dubai as being “The UAE” and would consider it to be the capital city of this emirate. Well, you would be wrong if you did, as the capital is in fact Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi offers much more than just perfect sandy beaches and year-round sun. Whether you are travelling to the UAE for a quick stopover, en-route to another destination, a business trip, or an extended holiday, the perfect adventure is waiting, as we will explain.
The Attractions of Abu Dhabi
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is one of the largest and newest mosques in the world, also known as the Grand Mosque, is as breathtaking as it is large. Visitors will be dazzled by the Swarovski crystal chandeliers, 24-carat gold, precious stonework, and the endless white marble domes and columns.
Yas Island is Abu Dhabi’s hottest destination for events and attractions. Home to the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, visitors can explore Marina Circuit, ride the world’s fastest roller-coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi – the world’s largest indoor theme park, and now you can experience the thrills and spills of Yas Waterworld, an exciting new waterpark with no less than forty three rides, slides and attractions, which opened in 2012, and can be visited seven days a week, between 10am and 8pm.
Locals will tell you that if you only do one thing in Abu Dhabi, or Dubai for that matter, it should be a desert safari. You can chose from either the adrenaline-packed dune-bashing variety, or the more sedate camel trekking. Tours often include dinner at a Bedouin campsite, belly dancing, a traditional henna artist, a falconry demonstration and the chance to try out sand boarding.
No visit to the desert is complete without seeing camels, and if those camels are galloping at speeds of up to 40mph, then so much the better. A visit to the camel racetrack near Abu Dhabi allows you to experience this traditional Middle Eastern sport.
Many people don’t realise that Abu Dhabi has its own seven-star hotel: the enormous Emirates Palace. Lavishly appointed and set upon an impeccably manicured lawn at the end of a long drive, the Emirates Palace is a favourite of celebrities and football stars. If staying here is a little bit out of your budget, then you can experience its famed luxury by booking its decadent high tea. We will, of course, have sourced a hotel for you to stay in, which does not break the bank.
For those of you that enjoy city life, The Corniche is arguably the most picturesque part of Abu Dhabi, a coastal promenade dotted with manicured gardens and fountains, against an impressive skyline. There is also world class shopping at one of Abu Dhabi’s numerous markets or shopping malls.
Abu Dhabi’s culture is firmly rooted in Arabia’s Islamic traditions, creating a shining example of Islam’s true commitment to tolerance and hospitality. The combination of international influences and a strong commitment to local heritage has created an intriguing mix of new and old. For a more cultural experience visitors can visit Abu Dhabi’s Heritage Village or take a trip to the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital or visit the Al Jahili Fort which dates back to 1891 and was birthplace to the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the nation.
Abu Dhabi is a city that loves its sport, from golf to scuba-diving there is something to suit all tastes.
With fabulous courses carved out of the desert and along spectacular coastlines, Abu Dhabi’s golf offering is second to none. Yas Links has sparkling coastline views of the Arabian Gulf, as does Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, which harnesses the natural beauty of Saadiyat Island’s magnificent, white sand beaches. Abu Dhabi Golf Club, home to the annual Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and has ranked among the World’s Top 100 courses by Golf World magazine.
For those who love water sports, you can be assured that you will not be left wanting. Abu Dhabi offers year-round driving including reefs, wrecks, and night diving. Snorkelling trips are also available. In addition to this thrill seekers can enjoy wakeboarding, water-skiing, white water rafting, kayaking, sailing, pedal boarding, jet-skiing and parasailing.
Hotels in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is home to some of the most iconic hotels in the world, including the opulent Emirates Palace, the Yas Viceroy which overlooks the Formula One circuit, and the St Regis on Saadiyat Island.
The Beach Rotana provides the perfect stay for both leisure and business travel with more than 450 comfortable rooms that are complemented by award-winning restaurants, a tranquil spa and private beach with full recreational facilities.
Abu Dhabi International Airport is only a forty-five to sixty minute drive from Dubai’s main hotel and business area. Making it the perfect gateway to Dubai and Jebel Ali.
The beautiful and relaxed Palm Tree Court in Jebel Ali is situated on the palm-lined beachfront in a lush garden setting, and is a fantastic beach resort for families.
When travelling with Etihad Airways, all guests can benefit from complimentary transfers to Dubai, with premier guests receiving Etihad Chauffeur to any address in the UAE, and Coral Economy guests enjoying a luxury coach service straight into the heart of Dubai, with two stops at Marina Mall or Chelsea Towers. There is also a coach service to Al Ain, that Coral Economy guests can use.
Etihad flies three-times daily from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi, with convenient morning, lunchtime and evening departures and twice daily from Manchester to Abu Dhabi with a morning and evening option for its guests. If you reside in Ireland, you can fly from Dublin up to nine times a week with Etihad on its direct flights (more if you route via London Heathrow, Manchester or Amsterdam), and there are connections from Belfast’s George Best Airport (via London Heathrow or Manchester), twice daily.
The airline offers Coral Economy, Pearl Business and Diamond First Class on their services from London Heathrow and Coral Economy and Pearl Business Class from Manchester and Dublin (direct services).
From 2014, Etihad takes delivery of its first Airbus A380 aircraft, which is to be used on the carrier’s service between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow, amongst other routes. This aircraft will bring new heights to Etihad’s already excellent in-flight service.
- 10.4” personal touch screen with over six hundred hours of on-demand entertainment
- MP3 player connectivity and universal power sockets
- Cuisine that is regularly voted among the best in the industry with a choice of menus
- A private chauffeur for two one-way transfers to or from the airport (available at selected destinations, mileage restrictions apply)
- State-of-the-art lounges – including all-day fine dining, business centre and complimentary luxury treatments at the Six Senses Spa
- Award-winning flat-beds in an innovative 1-2-1 layout. All seats have aisle access, are forward-facing and have an in-built massager
- 15” personal touch screen with over six hundred hours of on-demand entertainment
- A dedicated Food & Beverage Manager, restaurant quality dining on-demand and boutique wines
- A world-leading First Class product
- Door-to-door luxury Etihad chauffeur service at both ends of your journey (available at selected destinations, mileage restrictions apply)
- Some of the finest First Class lounges – including a la carte dining, chef’s table, Champagne Bar and pre-flight treatments in the Six Senses Spa
- Personal suite with sliding doors – including a 6’ 8” fully-flat bed with in-built massager
- 15” personal touch screen with over six hundred hours of on-demand entertainment
- A tailor-made menu, prepared by the on-board chef at the Mezoon Grille
Ten Reminders of Why You Should Holiday or Do Business in Abu Dhabi
- A dynamic city made for business and recreation
- Centrally located in the world – ideal for global events
- No visa is required for UK passport holders
- A vast selection of luxurious, state-of-the-art corporate hotels
- Cutting-edge technology infrastructure
- Outstanding meeting facilities, conference and exhibition centres
- Safe, clean, crime-free destination
- Dedication to Arabian hospitality and service
- Enjoy an exciting range of leisure facilities and team-building activities in the year-round sunshine
- Outstanding golf courses such as Yas Links, Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Abu Dhabi Golf Club
So, now that we have extolled the virtues of this fine destination, why not let us assist you with your booking? As we said to start with, Abu Dhabi can be a stop-over point or a final destination. There is so much to do and see, and a wide choice of hotels, which we can offer. When it comes to Etihad Airways, the carrier partners with the likes of Aer Lingus, Air Berlin, Air Seychelles & Virgin Australia, offering seamless connections in Abu Dhabi (or London Heathrow, Manchester or Amsterdam in the case of Aer Lingus). When travelling to/from Australia, the partnership with Virgin Australia opens up travel to the whole of the carrier’s network in Australia and New Zealand.
World of Transport Travel is delighted to offer you, our valued readers, tickets on all Etihad routes, worldwide, as well as great deals on holidays, accommodation only or all-inclusive packages to Abu Dhabi, with or without car hire. Tours and excursions are available to book from our office. If you are traveling on business, or as a group, we would be pleased to work with you to ensure your plans are fulfilled. So, contact us with your requirements, and allow us to take the strain and pain out of your travel needs.
For our clients in Australia, we urge you to contact, Lucy Fenwick, who owns Travel By Ange, and is based in Victoria. Lucy has access to a wide range of Australia-originating air fares that we just don’t have (due to local sales restrictions), which allows her to tailor-make your travel needs to your exact specifications. Her knowledge is superb and both our companies work together to ensure all our clients are given high-quality service and affordable prices.