Abu Dhabi - Its a Yes from me !

Abu Dhabi - Its a Yes from me !

I have always been intrigued about Abu Dhabi I have been to Dubai several times and I presumed it would be similar so when I was told that I had won a 5-day trip there with luxury Tour Operator Pure Luxury I was excited to find out I was wrong about my assumptions as there is so much more to Abu Dhabi….
Our adventure began with a flight from London Heathrow with British Airways in the luxurious comfort of Club World, we were treated to a truly premium experience that set the tone for the exciting days ahead. This was perfect for the overnight flight as after a delicious meal selected from an extensive menu I was able to get a few hours rest in my very comfortable flat bed and was so fast asleep that I woke up to the cabin crew asking me if I wanted breakfast as there was 40 minutes of the flight to go!

Just a 20-minute transfer was our home for the first 2 nights the stunning Jumeirah Saadiyat Island. I was blown away as I took in the beachfront setting with the whitest sand and the glittering blue of the Arabian Gulf, it did match up to one of the best beaches I have been to! As the room was ready early it was time to slip into something more comfortable and it was time to explore.
With an invitation to the hotel‘s private Adults Only beach club ‘Sal’ some relaxation time at the beautiful pool area was welcomed followed by lunch where we were offered what felt like the whole menu, this seemed to set the tone for the next few days as I enjoyed a delicious lunch of various salads, fresh fish and woodfired pizzas it was obvious that I would not go hungry on this trip!

I did have concerns over travelling here in June when temperatures can reach the mid-40s but although hot there was a lovely sea breeze which made it very comfortable and the sea was refreshingly cool, there is always that difficult decision over where to base myself at either the pool or the beach, I did try both after all I am here to research it all for you.
It was the perfect end to the day after looking around the hotel our small group enjoyed drinks on the beach with a glorious sunset as a backdrop before enjoying a delicious dinner at the resort Italian restaurant ‘Mare Mare’ where the chef came to introduce himself to our group and asked if we minded if she brought out a selection of the menu…

As I have a dog who normally wakes me up at the crack of dawn I was up early the following morning and enjoyed a leisurely walk along the beach which stretches a mere 9 km, and took a few photos, I just love that time of the day before the rest of the world wakes up. Breakfast at the hotel was at ‘White’ where there was a huge array of delicious foods and cuisines and live cooking stations, when I asked for honey for my tea I was given a choice of 10!
Day 2 in Abu Dhabi and it was time to head to the cultural district. First on the agenda was the Louvre this iconic museum, designed by Jean Nouvel, is a masterpiece of modern architecture. The dome is inspired by traditional Arabic patterns, and allows sunlight to filter through, creating a "rain of light" effect that is mesmerising. We were treated to a global collection of art and artefacts spanning centuries and cultures.
Next, we visited the Abrahamic Family House, a landmark project that embodies Abu Dhabi’s commitment to fostering interfaith dialogue and understanding. The complex comprises a mosque, a church, and a synagogue, each designed to their respective religious traditions while promoting unity and peace.
We learned from the guide that this cultural district will expand in the next few years with plans for a Guggenheim and a Natural History Museum both of which construction has already started.

Lunch was at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi another great 5* option with a golf course opposite, after a look around the rooms and facilities we had lunch at the Beach Club again a huge array of tasty dishes and also a chance to try the speciality dessert of the hotel tiramisu disguised as caviar complete with tin as well!
With some free time that afternoon, it was time to enjoy more of the stunning Saadiyat Island setting with a swim. We learnt that motorised water sports like jet skis are not allowed on Saadiyat meaning it is a beautiful natural beach and you can often see dolphins splashing about and at certain times even turtles, that night the hotel did a turtle release with guests (we sadly had a hotel appointment elsewhere but would love to see this)
That evening we ventured further along the coast for a site inspection and dinner at St Regis Saadiyat Island another 5*hotel chain known for culture and elegance.
The next day we were sad to leave our hotel but excited to venture into the city and our next stop for the final 2 nights the iconic Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental.

Arriving at Emirates Palace is an experience in itself. As we drove up the palm-lined avenue leading to the grand entrance, the sheer scale and majesty of the hotel took our breath away. The golden domes, vast gardens, and intricate Arabic architecture set the stage for the luxurious stay ahead, when the hotel wall clock is a Rolex you know this is the epitome of luxury.
At check-in, we were informed that we had been upgraded to Club rooms with a host of additional benefits including access to the Club Lounge which provides daily cocktails and canapes and a private breakfast offering. With 11 dining options many of the restaurants were awarded Michelin stars lunch was some of the best Lebanese food I have ever tasted at the Lebanes Terrace where I lost count of how many dishes were brought out to us to sample.
I was excited to see where dinner would be held and I was not disappointed as we went to ‘Broadway’ one of the hotel's signature restaurants headed up by Gordon Ramsey’s mini-me George Lyon, where we sampled again a selection of their dishes the 1920s style complemented by American style food with a British twist. At the heart of the restaurant is a lively bar where skilled mixologists work their magic I even got a cocktail topped by a picture of Marilyn Monroe.
As we did not have an early start the next day we decided to try out some of the night spots of the hotel and ended up in ‘Hakkasen’ for some after-dinner drinks. For our last full day in Abu Dhabi following a sumptuous breakfast in the EP Club, we were surprised when we were told that we were heading into the desert to enjoy a day at Bab al Shams Resort

Just 90 minutes from Abu Dhabi (or 30 minutes from Dubai) The journey to Bab Al Shams is an adventure in itself, as the bustling cityscape of Abu Dhabi gives way to the vast, undulating dunes of the desert. As we approached the resort, the traditional Arabian architecture came into view, harmoniously blending with the surrounding landscape. Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by the staff and treated to refreshing welcome drinks, setting the tone for a relaxing day I recommend a couple of days as a twin-centre with the city which provides the perfect contrast.
At the resort, all the activities are included so you can enjoy things like camel rides, falconry r a desert drive. After one of the best lunch buffets I have seen (including lobster, oysters, and sushi) it was an afternoon of relaxing by the infinity pool which offers stunning desert views. It was a few degrees hotter here than in the city but the poolside staff kept us cool with regular rounds of complimentary water and fresh fruit lollies. For our last night on this epic trip, we headed to the resort's open-air restaurant ‘Al Hadeera’ where we were treated to a feast of Middle Eastern delicacies and live entertainment. It was the perfect end to our stay and before too long it was time to head back to Heathrow again in the comfort of Club World with British Airways.

So would I recommend Abu Dhabi? It’s a big YES from me, with a 7-hour flight, good weather and some of the best hotels I have stayed at it’s the perfect destination for all.

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