Abu Dhabi is a wonderful stopover destination. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to squeeze in everything the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has to offer, in just a short 24 hours. It's incredible to think that not so long ago, Abu Dhabi was home to only a few desert-dwelling, roaming tribes and a simple scattering of small villages. The emirate has quickly developed into an impressive, cosmopolitan and cultural haven, with no sign of slowing in terms of growth or stopover options. With sunshine and blue skies available practically all year round, it's no wonder that visitors from all over the globe choose to stay in Abu Dhabi for a chance to experience its vast array of pristine beaches, idyllic islands, rich culture, outstanding hospitality, fine cuisine and luxury shopping experiences.
With a little advanced planning, you could enjoy some of these out-from-the-norm experiences during your next Abu Dhabi stopover.
A Morning of Abu Dhabi Culture
A stopover in Abu Dhabi would not be complete without a visit to the awe-inspiring Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque. With over 1000 towering columns, gold-plated chandeliers and boasting the world's largest hand-knotted carpet, a complimentary morning tour around this striking monument is an absolute must.
Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital is an award-winning, highly advanced facility, giving visitors an exciting opportunity to learn about the region's much revered practise of falconry. Where else can you watch a falcon enjoying a 'pedicure' or having their fallen feathers replaced by artificial ones. In fact, these magnificent birds are so highly valued in Abu Dhabi's history and culture, they are even permitted to travel in the main passenger cabin of Etihad Airways. Well, that's certainly something to look out for during your next flight!
A stopover in Abu Dhabi is a great excuse to truly indulge. At the iconic and exceedingly opulent Emirates Palace, you can sip your way through a Palace Cappuccino topped with 24K gold flakes. Why not combine it with a 'Day of Gold' spa, where you'll experience a Signature Palace Massage, Hamman, light lunch and a 24 Carat Gold Radiance Facial. If you're still going for gold, make sure you check out the rather fascinating gold-plated, gold bar vending machine in the Emirates Palace's grand lobby.
For something a little less lavish, how about high tea at the Observation Deck at 300 Jumeirah, Etihad Towers. From here, you can marvel at the panoramic sights of Abu Dhabi's impressive cityscape, turquoise waters and surrounding islands, whilst enjoying a sumptuous afternoon tea from the heights of the 74th floor. Now that's high tea!
Not sure where to stop during your Abu Dhabi Stopover?
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara offers a luxurious, oasis getaway in the very heart of the Rub'Al Khali desert. Find sanctuary between the sun-soaked dunes, surrounded by desert wildlife, and enjoy all the remarkable resort facilities. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, try your hand at camel trekking or dune bashing before settling down to a quintessentially Middle Eastern or international gourmet feast in one of the numerous fine dining venues.
Zaya Nurai Island offers an even more secluded retreat. Located on its very own private island, this is the perfect setting for sunset cocktails, fresh seafood, and international gastronomy with spectacular views of the surrounding Arabian Gulf. This celebrity hot spot is rumoured to have recently played host to Hollywood A-listers, Brad and Angelina Jolie-Pitt. Well if it's good enough for them!