Tuesday, 15 May 2018

UAE: Abu Dhabi. Liquor Permit Required To Buy Alcohol, Pork Allowed To Non Nationals, Homosexuality Is Illegal.

Abu Dhabi is the federal capital and centre of government in the United Arab Emirates. It is the largest city of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and one of the most modern cities in the world.

With a population of just under 1.5 million, Abu Dhabi is the headquarters of numerous oil companies and embassies.

With only 420,000 citizens in the entire emirate, each has an average net worth of USD17 million.

The city features large gardens and parks, green boulevards lining all the streets and roads, sophisticated high-rise buildings, international luxury hotel chains and opulent shopping malls.

Long viewed as a staid bureaucratic outpost entirely lacking in neighbouring Dubai's pizazz, things started to change radically in 2004 after long-ruler Sheikh Zayed passed away and his son Sheikh Khalifa took over.

In a bid to attract tourism and investment, land sales to foreigners were allowed and restrictions on alcohol were loosened.

Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second most populous city of the United Arab Emirates the most populous being Dubai, and also capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the UAE's seven emirates.

Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western coast. The city proper had a population of 1.5 million in 2014.

Abu Dhabi houses federal government offices, is the seat of the United Arab Emirates Government, home to the Abu Dhabi Emiri Family and the President of the UAE, who is from this family.

Abu Dhabi's rapid development and urbanisation, coupled with the relatively high average income of its population, has transformed the city into a large and advanced metropolis.

Today the city is the country's centre of political and industrial activities, and a major cultural and commercial centre, due to its position as the capital. Abu Dhabi accounts for about two-thirds of the roughly $400-billion United Arab Emirates economy.

The city was planned under the guidance of Sheikh Zayed by Japanese architect Katsuhiko Takahashi in 1967 initially for a population of 40,000.

The density of Abu Dhabi varies, with high employment density in the central area, high residential densities in central downtown and lower densities in the suburban districts.

In the dense areas, most of the concentration is achieved with medium- and high-rise buildings.

Abu Dhabi's skyscrapers such as the notable Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Tower, the National Bank of Abu Dhabi headquarters, the Baynunah Tower (Hilton Hotel), Etisalat headquarters are usually found in the financial districts of Abu Dhabi.

Notable modern buildings include the Emirates Palace with its design inspired by Arab heritage.

The development of tall buildings has been encouraged in the Abu Dhabi Plan 2030, which will lead to the construction of many new skyscrapers over the next decade.

Particularly in the expansion of Abu Dhabi's central business district such as the new developments on Al Sowwah Island and Al Reem Island.

Abu Dhabi already has a number of supertall skyscrapers under construction throughout the city.

Some of the tallest buildings on the skyline include the 382 m (1,253.28 ft) Central Market Residential Tower, the 324 m (1,062.99 ft) The Landmark and the 74-story, 310 m (1,017.06 ft) Sky Tower, all of them completed.

Also many other skyscrapers over 150 m (492.13 ft) (500 ft) are either proposed or approved and could transform the city's skyline. As of July 2008, there were 62 high-rise buildings 23 to 150 m (75.46 to 492.13 ft) under construction, approved for construction, or proposed for construction.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
One of the most important architectural landmarks is the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. This is arguably one of the most important architectural treasures of contemporary UAE society—and one of the most opulent in the world.

It was initiated by the late president of the United Arab Emirates, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, fondly thought of as the father of the UAE.

Its design and construction reportedly unites the world, using artisans and materials from many countries including Italy, Germany, Morocco, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Iran, China, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Greece and the United Arab Emirates.

More than 3,000 workers and 38 contracting companies took part in the construction of the mosque.

Natural materials were chosen for much of its design and construction due to their long-lasting qualities, including marble, stone, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals and ceramics.

Construction began on 5 November 1996. The maximum capacity is approximately 41,000 people and the overall structure is 22,412 square metres (241,240 square feet), the internal prayer halls were initially opened in December 2007.

As one of the most visited buildings in the UAE, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center was established to manage the day-to-day operations, as a place of worship and Friday gathering and as a centre of learning and discovery through its education and visitor programs.

Abu Dhabi has a diverse and multicultural society. The city's cultural imprint as a small, ethnically homogeneous pearling community was changed with the arrival of other ethnic groups and nationals.

First by the Iranians in the early 1900s, and later by various Asian and European ethnicities in the 1950s and 60s.

Abu Dhabi has been criticised for perpetuating a class-based society, where migrant workers are in the lower classes, and suffer abuse which is endemic to the system.

Major holidays in Abu Dhabi include Eid al Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, Eid ul-Adha which marks the end of Hajj, and National Day (2 December), which marks the formation of the United Arab Emirates.

This unique socioeconomic development in the Persian Gulf has meant that Abu Dhabi is generally more tolerant than its neighbours, including Saudi Arabia.

Emiratis have been known for their tolerance; Christian churches, Hindu temples, and Sikh gurdwaras but no synagogues, can be found alongside mosques.

The cosmopolitan atmosphere is gradually growing and as a result, there are a variety of Asian and Western schools, cultural centres and themed restaurants.

Abu Dhabi is home to a number of cultural institutions including the Cultural Foundation and the National Theater.

The Cultural Foundation, while closed for reconstruction as of spring 2011, is home to the UAE Public Library and Cultural Center.

Various cultural societies such as the Abu Dhabi Classical Music Society have a strong and visible following in the city.

The recently launched Emirates Foundation offers grants in support of the arts, as well as to advance science and technology, education, environmental protection and social development.

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) will be based in Abu Dhabi. The city also stages hundreds of conferences and exhibitions each year in its state-of-the-art venues.

This including the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) which is the Persian Gulf's largest exhibition centre and welcomes around 1.8 million visitors every year.

The Red Bull Air Race World Series has been a spectacular sporting staple for the city for many years, bringing tens of thousands to the waterfront. Another major event is the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC).

The diversity of cuisine in Abu Dhabi is a reflection of the cosmopolitan nature of the society. Arab food is very popular and is available everywhere in the city, from the small shawarma to the upscale restaurants in the city's many hotels.

Fast food and South Asian cuisine are also very popular and are widely available. The sale and consumption of pork, though not illegal, is regulated and it is sold only to non-Muslims in designated areas.

Similarly, the sale of alcoholic beverages is regulated. A liquor permit is required to purchase alcohol.

Alcohol, although available in bars and restaurants within four or five star hotels, is not sold as widely as in its more liberal neighbour Dubai.

Shisha and qahwa boutiques are also popular in Abu Dhabi.

Poetry in Abu Dhabi and the UAE is highly regarded and often is centric around the themes of satire, religion, family, chivalry and love.

According to an article from an Abu Dhabi tourism page, sheikhs, teachers, sailors and princes make a large bulk of the poets within the UAE. A unique form of poetry to the UAE was formed in the 8th century by Al Khalil bin Ahmed and it was written in 16 metres (52 feet).

The first known poet from the UAE, Ibn Majid, was born sometime between 1432 and 1437 in Ras Al Khaimah. According to the tourism page Majid came from a family of sailors and 40 of his works have survived.

Another Emirati poet, Ibn Daher is from the 17th century. Daher is important because he used Nabati poetry (AKA Bedouin poetry), poetry written in the vernacular instead of the classical/religious Arabic.

Other important poets from the UAE are Mubarak Al Oqaili (1880–1954), Salem bin Ali al Owais (1887–1959) and Abdulla bin Sulayem (1905–1976). These poets made headway in the field of Classical Arabic poetry as opposed to the Nabati poetry of the 17th century.

Today in Abu Dhabi there is a group called the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation that works to preserve the art and culture of the city.

According to an article from the English Pen Atlas Al jawaher wal la'li was the first manuscript to come out of the UAE. According to another article this book was written in the 1990s and was banned in the city for some time for making accusations about the ruling family.

Homosexuality is currently illegal throughout the United Arab Emirates with possible resulting penalties of deportation, fines, prison time, or the death sentence.

Several massive projects are also under way. Yas Island hosts Abu Dhabi's Formula 1 track and the new Ferrari theme park, while the upcoming USD28 billion cultural zone of Saadiyat Island and its centrepieces the Guggenheim and Louvre Museums have been repeatedly plagued by delays.

It remains to be seen how well the strategy will work but the city is certainly experiencing a construction boom.

The core of Abu Dhabi is a wedge-shaped island connected to the mainland by the Maqta and Musaffah bridges.

The wide end of the wedge forms the city centre, with the Corniche running along the coast and a road variously known as Airport Rd or Sheikh Rasheed bin Saeed al Maktoum St running lengthwise out to the bridges.

Street addresses in Abu Dhabi are simultaneously very logical and hopelessly confusing.

Many roads have traditional names, like Airport Rd, which may not correspond to the official names, like Maktoum St, and the city is divided into traditional districts like Khalidiyya.

However, by recent decree, the city has been split up into numbered zones and sectors, with all roads in each sector numbered, First St, Second St, etc, and the vast majority of street signs only refer to these.

The system of main streets is straight forward enough once you realize that the odd numbered streets run across the island and the even numbers run along it.

First St is in fact the Corniche, and the odd numbers continue out of town to 31st St which is near the new Khalifa Park. Airport Rd is Second St and the even numbers continue to the east through to 10th St by Abu Dhabi Mall.

On the west side of Airport Rd, the numbers go from 22nd Street to 32nd St by the new Bateem Marina. Alas, confusion is caused by the local streets, which are on green signs yet main streets are on blue signs and are also called First, Second etc.

Most locals opt to ignore the system entirely, and the best way to give instructions is, consequently, navigating by landmarks. If taking a taxi, odds are you will get to behind the Hilton Baynunah much faster than Fifth Street, Sector 2.

Abu Dhabi International Airport is the UAE's second busiest airport after Dubai and the home base of Abu Dhabi's flag carrier Etihad.

Launched in 2003, Etihad Airways has been expanding rapidly and now flies to every inhabited continent from the United Arab Emirates, and its services particularly on long-haul flights are remarkably good in all classes.

Other major companies that fly into Abu Dhabi include Air India, British Airways, Jet Airways, KLM, Pakistan International Airlines and Turkish Airlines. The majority of flights that operate into Abu Dhabi are operated by Etihad Airways.

The airport is separated into Terminal 1 the original terminal, Terminal 2 dedicated to services to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in addition to services operated by Rotana Jet and Terminal 3 a new terminal dedicated to Etihad Airways and its codeshare partners.

Terminal 1 provides a slightly dingy appearance and a spectacularly bizarre blue-lime tiled mushroom canopy that awaits you at the gates. The airport itself is quite well-maintained and has duty-free shopping.

Passengers with UAE identity cards and/or GCC passports can use dedicated lanes.

If you or other people in your party have mobility problems, problems standing up without any access to facilities for a prolonged amount of time, or you're travelling with children, you might want to consider contacting your airline and asking for fast track immigration.

Otherwise it would be sensible to bring some water and avail use of the lavatories before entering the queue to avoid a disastrous welcome into the Emirates.

Terminal 3 is much newer and has improved shopping and gate access. Etihad flights to and from the US utilise the older terminal.

A midfield terminal has been planned for many years.

Al Ghazal taxis travel to the city at a flat rate of Dhs 75 and take around 40 minutes. Metered taxis are now allowed to pick up passengers at the airport.

A trip into Abu Dhabi city centre will cost AED60-70. Metered taxis can also bring passengers to the airport. The taxi stand is at the end of a long walkway from the main terminal.

Passengers must turn left when leaving the arrivals area and travel through a long passageway to the curb area, where a covered platform next to the taxi stand is provided. Expect long lines at the taxi stand during the evening and late night hours.

Bus Stops are located in front of Terminal 1 Arrivals Hall and Terminal 2 - to Abu Dhabi: bus service A1, every to 30 - 60 minutes, 24 hours, AED 4 one way - to Shakhbout City and Baniyas: bus service 240, every 120 minutes, 06 - 22 hours, AED 4 one way - to Shwameikh.

Al Mafraq Hospital and Mussafah: bus service 211, every 120 minutes, 06 - 22 hours, AED 4 one way - to Al Bahya and Shahama: bus services 211 & 240, every 60 minutes, 05 - 23 hours, AED 4 one way - to Al Ain: bus service 490, every 120 minutes, AED 4 - to Ruwais: bus service X61

If you are flying on Etihad, complimentary shuttle buses are provided at regular intervals to Dubai. Etihad does not go to the Abu Dhabi city centre. These depart from the main car park at the front of the airport, by the car hire offices.

A viable alternative is to fly to Dubai International Airport in the neighbouring emirate of Dubai and continue onward by bus or, if really in a hurry, by taxi.

A metered Dubai airport taxi direct to the Abu Dhabi town centre will cost about AED300. To get a bus, you will have to go to one of several bus stations in Dubai to catch the Emirates Express to Abu Dhabi.

If you have got a car, you can hire Mahtara's Car Storage Service and get a free transportation to Dubai Airport. It's going to cost much cheaper as the charge of the service is not exceeding AED25/day.

The five-laned E11 highway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is the country's heaviest-travelled route, and the 130-km journey can be covered in about 90min.

While there is a national speed limit of 120km/h, speeds up to 140km/h are tolerated, yet this is often wildly exceeded by some drivers. Stay out of the leftmost lane and drive carefully, especially at night.

To travel directly into Abu Dhabi from Dubai on E11, keep to your left at Al Shahama and follow the E10 highway, which passes Yas Island (exit at the E12 highway) and Al Raha Beach on the way to the Sheikh Zayed Bridge into Abu Dhabi City.

This bridge connects directly to Salam Street (8th Street), a newly widened mega highway along the northern shore of Abu Dhabi Island.

There is still significant construction along this route entering the central business district so expect delays and detours.

As an alternative to the Zayed Bridge, there are ramps off E10 that connect to the Maqta Bridge, which leads to both 2nd Street (Airport Road) and 4th Street (East Road or Muroor Road). During off-peak periods, these routes run fairly quickly into the City.

Parking can be very challenging in the central business district and business areas around the City. While there are some free parking areas, much of the surface parking throughout the City is governed by the Department of Transport's Mawaqif program.

This allows payment both at curbside meters and receipts should be displayed inside your windscreen. Through a subscription program that allows you to SMS a parking request after you've pulled into a space.

The markings on the side of the pavement indicate the type of parking spot. If you see yellow and grey, you cannot park there.

Blue and black shows standard parking and blue and white show premium parking. You will receive a Dhs 500 fine if you have no ticket.

Multi-storey car parks can are commonly found in shopping malls such as Al Wahda mall.

You can get into Abu Dhabi from the other Emirates of Dubai, Sharjah, etc, by bus. The Emirates Express between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is operated jointly by the Abu Dhabi and Dubai municipalities.

The 130km route takes around two hours. The buses operated by Dubai's RTA are luxury buses that charge 25 dirhams for the onward journey to Abu Dhabi and AED15 for the return journey.

The Abu Dhabi transport buses charge 15 Dirhams each way. The first bus departs from the Abu Dhabi main bus terminal on the corner of Hazza bin Zayed the First (11th) St and East (4th) Rd at 05:30 and the last leaves at 23:30; they leave at 30 minute intervals, or if the bus gets full sooner.

From Dubai, the buses leave from 05:30, and run until 23:30, from the Al Ghubaiba station in Bur Dubai opposite Carrefour Shopping.

If you hold an Emirates flight ticket and arrive to / depart from Dubai airport, the airline offers a complimentary extension of your trip to/from Abu Dhabi.

Busses depart from Dubai airport Terminal 3 and arrive to Emirates Abu Dhabi office located in Al Sawari Tower . Contact Emirates customer service for booking

You can flag down any metered taxi on the street in Dubai or any other place in the UAE and ask to go to Abu Dhabi. The cost between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is about AED250. From Abu Dhabi, taxis cost about AED200 to Dubai.

Abu Dhabi is built for cars. As a result, there are a lot of them and lots of traffic jams in the down town area.

Taxis are a great way for people to travel around Abu Dhabi if they don't have a car. They are also fairly cheap compared to other developed countries.

The most common kind of taxi is the silver taxi. These can be flagged down anywhere in Abu Dhabi, if you happen to see one passing. They start at AED 12.00. Check the sticker on the window to see what they charge.

Their speed is monitored and are not allowed to go over 120km/h. The sign on top is yellow.

To see if they are available, check the sign on top of the cab. If they are available, the lights in the middle will be off and at night, the sign will be lit. If they are not available, the sign will be unlit and the red lights in the middle will be on.

Airport taxis look more modern and have a display on top which shows you if the taxi is available or taken in English and Arabic.

You can only get on them at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

The yellow and gold taxis are not in service any more. You'd be lucky to even see one.

You are not expected to tip cab drivers, but gratuity will be extremely appreciated. Many taxi drivers are displaced persons, far from their home countries and families, so often they take out pictures of family members for you to comment on.

The main Bus station in Abu Dhabi is on Hazaa Bin Zayed Road. You can get buses here going to the different points within the city as well as inter city buses. The bus stand also serves as a taxi stand, for inter-emirate taxis.

The fare system is simple: AED2 for a single ride within Abu Dhabi City, AED4 for a single ride on a regional bus, or DAED80 for a one-month Ojra pass.

Local buses require exact fare pre-loaded on a single or multiple use smart cards, regional buses including the A1 airport bus will give change. The dark bluish green buses are air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible.

Passengers can board and alight at the designated stops along the route. These locations can be identified by the temporary Department of Transport bus stop poles.

Beware: bus stops that do not have the DoT bus stop sign may not be served as not all bus stops along the route are used.

Route 005: Al Maryah Sowwah Square to Marina Mall via Abu Dhabi Mall and Hamden Street. Every 10min, every 30min at night, 24 hours

Route 007: Al Reem Shams Gate to Marina Mall via Zayed the 1st Street (also known as Electra). Every 10 min, every 30 min at night, 24 hours.

Route 008: Tourist club to Break Water via Hamdan Street, Zayed the 2nd (via 4th) Street, Airport Road, Al Manhal Street. Every 20min, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.

Route 009: Al Marina to Al Mina Souq via Al Falah Street. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.

Route 010: Ras Al Akhdar to Al Mina Co-Op via Al Falah Street. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.

Route 011: Al Marina to Al Mina Fishermen Association via Hazzaa Bib Zayed Street. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.

Route 032: Sports City Carrefour to Marina Mall via Airport Road, Bus Station, and Zayed the 1st Street. Every 20 min, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.

Route 034: Ras Al Akhdar to Abu Dhabi Courts via Al Marina and Muroor Road. Every 20 minutes, evevery 60 minutes at night. 24 hours.

Route 040: Al Maryyah to Khalifa Park South via Zayed 1st Street and Khäleej Al Arabi Road. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night. 24 hours.

Route 044: Al Mina Fishermen Association to Officers Club. Every 20 min, every 60 min at night, 24 hours

Route 052: Al Maryyah to Umm Al Naar via Airport Road. Every 20 minutes, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours.

Route 054: Sports City Carrefour to Abu Dhabi Mall via East Read, Bus Station, and Hamden Street. Every 20 min, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours. This bus stops outside the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

Route 056: Al Mina Souq to Khalifa Park Entrance. Every 20min, every 60 minutes at night, 24 hours

Route 063: Al Reem Shams Gate to Marina Mall via Corniche Rd. Every 20min, every 60min at night, 24 hours

Drivers in Abu Dhabi have the reputation of being reckless drivers. It is not uncommon to see cars change lanes at random, pull out in front of other cars or trigger radar/speed cameras.

If you rent/own a car in Abu Dhabi, be extremely careful. Tests for alcohol can be administered, and even the blood-alcohol level rise from a glass of wine will be sufficient grounds for one month's incarceration.

If you do decide to take the plunge, beware that the street numbering system is unusual and it can take 30-45 days to get used to it. U-turns are allowed at almost every intersection.

When the left lane signal turns green, you simply have to swing a U-turn and come back. Whatever other flaws drivers here may have, they do not run red lights.

There are cameras at many intersections, fines are high (about AED500), and residents who are not citizens can be deported for running too many red lights.

When the light turns yellow, that taxi in front of you will jam on the brakes, and you should, too. When the light turns green, however, expect someone behind you to honk at you immediately to get you moving.

Traffic lights will flash green before turning to yellow.

Unfortunately, despite excellent roads, and a traffic signal system, vehicle accidents remains the largest cause of deaths in the UAE.

While walking in Abu Dhabi is not a problem for locals, tourists from the colder countries will suffer from the heat and sun.

Temperatures in Abu Dhabi can exceed 50 degrees Celsius, although the weather reports change"the forecasts so that they say it is cooler than it actually is.

Jaywalking is illegal in Abu Dhabi just as it is in the USA, but you would expect that from the reckless drivers.

Pedestrian crossings are far in-between, especially on Reem Island, where most of the traffic lights in the near-empty and blocked-off parts are turned off.

On some intersections, the pedestrian lights will have a timer at the top to see how long you have before the lights change.

Extreme caution is recommended when crossing at lights, and especially pedestrian/zebra crossings.

There is no chance a local will stop for you at a crossing, and you will be injured/killed unless proper care is taken on your part. Some expats who have arrived recently may stop for you.

Abu Dhabi offers little in the way of historical or cultural sights but it certainly isn’t lacking in attractions and many of them are free.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The 6th largest mosque in the world. There are guided tours of the interior several times a day. Note that there is a dress code, quite strict for women; less so for men who can even wear shorts; albeit beyond the knee.

You can easily get there by public bus. Ask the bus driver to let you know once you get there. The public bus stop is a 100m before the mosque and after that is no stop for the next 5km.

Entrance is either from the North or the South gate for free. At the South gate women and men can borrow appropriate dress, men: white Kandora; women: black overdress. There are hourly tours in English, between 10am and 5pm.

The Corniche. Abu Dhabi's spectacular waterfront stretches for 6km from the Breakwater near Marina Shoping Mall almost up to the Mina Zayed port.

It has a walkway for the entire length, and certain stretches have sandy beaches. There are also many activities like go-cart riding, playgrounds and even stages for shows.

See the impressive towers of downtown Abu Dhabi. Come in the evening and you feel as if the whole of Abu Dhabi have come here for their evening walk.

Flagpole. At 123m, this is among the world's tallest flagpoles, and you won't miss the massive UAE flag hanging off it. On Marina Island across from Marina Mall.

Heritage Village. Near the Flagpole. A 3 dh pittance gets you entry to a modest collection of dusty replica buildings, traditional wooden boats, and handicrafts stores. However, it has a pretty beach with a great view of the city.

Abu Dhabi has several large green spaces, many of which include play areas and equipment for children, and the city is studded with lovely fountains, swathes of neon light, and the occasional sculpture.

Khalifa Park, off Al Salam St (8th) near the Grand Mosque. The best park by far, built at a cost of $50 million. Has its own aquarium, museum, train, play parks and formal gardens. AED1.

Cultural Events The Abu Dhabi Cultural Centre has become a landmark in the Emirates and holds cultural events and workshops throughout the year.

It has a well-stocked library, children's programs, art exhibitions, benefits, and other culture-related activities that are the hallmark of any city. It's well worth a look. There are still vast number of projects coming up in Abu Dhabi.

Saadiyat Island is being developed into a cultural haven.

Yas Island: The alpha-male motorsports den of Yas Island features a world-class motor sports racetrack which held the final Formula 1 race of the 2009 season and is on the race calendar for 2010 - the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a Ferrari theme park, water park, and of course an enormous shopping mall.

It is also home to the Yas Links golf club, which is a world top 100 rated links course.

Lulu Islands are a group of artificial islands, already built just offshore at great expense, but currently sitting there doing absolutely nothing after a tourism venture failed to even start construction.

Reem Island is a newer island with many developments ongoing and planned. Much of the island is unfinished.

Activities To Enjoy In Abu Dhabi

Swimming. Nearly all hotels and private clubs in Abu Dhabi offer swimming facilities, usually in the form of private beaches. You can pay for a day's use, or for a year's.

Another, notably cheaper, option is The Club, an organization geared towards expatriates.

Lessons. Some hotels also offer dance lessons, aerobics classes, and other physical entertainment.

Natural Outdoors. Although at first glance the outdoors may seem dull and uninteresting, and even dangerous due to the desert conditions, there are actually amazing natural destinations in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

This extends all the way south to the Empty Quarter and east to the mountains of Oman,the difficulty is in knowing where to find these beautiful spots.

There are pristine waterfalls, cliffs lined with fossils, even freshwater lakes - Weekenduae is a blog that freely shares ideas, routes and plans for weekend adventures with all trip details including description, GPS track, interactive map, and photos.

Parks. Al Safa Park is one of the oldest in Abu Dhabi. It's a favorite for sports enthusiasts, and many visitors enjoy playing tennis, volleyball, and soccer.

Children love playing games in the video arcade, or riding the ferris wheel and bumper cars. The park even has a maze to wander through. Barbeques and picnic areas are available for those who want to make a day of it.

Camel Races. The Camel Race Track is one of the more unusual attractions, with races being held on Thursday and Friday in the winter.

Not only can you watch the races, but you'll have the opportunity to visit the paddocks. the town of Shweihan, in the eastern part of Abu Dhabi emirate is well-known for its races, and Liwa has annual event, too.

Desert Safari or Dune Bashing. Head out to the desert in an SUV with specialist Desert Drivers.

The drivers will take you for a roller-coaster ride over sand dunes, show you the sunset from a strategic vantage point and then take you to a lavish dinner with music and dance to complete the atmosphere.

You may want to stay clear of the dune-bashing if you know that you get carsick easily.

Another option would be renting/buying a 4x4 and joining the many growing 4x4 clubs in the UAE, which are varied and each carry their own different flavour: 4X4 dune ride, uaeoffroaders, arabianoffroader, IOH4x4, emarat4x4, Nuzhath Ideas, etc.

They offer a free learning experience for all newcomers with scheduled weekly trips to suit all levels of driving skills, some of them have over 2,000 members from many nationalities.

Abu Dhabi Dhow Cruise or Boats and Yachts Cruising along Corniche area with 5 Star international Arabic food.

Also available various Yachts and boats that is having cruising options to various parts of Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Classics Run - Beat Beethoven, Corniche Beach, Abu Dhabi Charity event, proceeds go to music education and diabetes prevention programs.

Helicopter Tour Board a luxurious 6-seater Eurocopter EC130 B4 and Discover Abu Dhabi from a birds' eye view with Falcon Aviation Services.Tours operate daily from 9AM to 5PM out of the Marina Mall Terminal. Reservations recommended. Tours can be booked on an individual or private basis.

Abu Dhabi is a compulsive shopper's dream. There are several malls, most of which have the same stores as other malls. Besides establishments aimed at locals, malls also include popular foreign chain stores, as well as designer places.

Many visitors will be surprised at the female fashion dichotomy while local custom calls for women to be covered in public, most stores sell short skirts and halter tops alongside the more sedate floor-length skirts and high-necked shirts.

Abu Dhabi Mall is a three story shopping mall located in Tourist Club Area, adjacent to the Beach Rotana Hotel.

Marina Mall boasts a musical fountain and ceilings that thunder and rain. It is in the Water Breaker area near the magnificent Emirates Palace. It also contains one of two Carrefour hypermarkets in town.

Al Wahda Mall, opened in 2007, is a large, modern mall in the center of downtown on 11th and 4th Streets. Stores are high-end, the food court is extensive, and the LuLu Hypermart in the basement is probably the largest grocery and dry goods store in, well, anywhere.

Khalidiya Mall. Khalidiya mall is a nice place to visit. The droll fashion stores may grip you for maybe several seconds, but then the obvious lack of things to do kicks in.

However, the food court is popular, alongside New York Fries, Chili's and a Dunkin' Donuts + Baskin Robbins. Downstairs there is an extortionate Krispy Kreme and Starbucks, and a what looks to be an Indian/Arabian cuisine restaurant, which seems good but looks to be unpopular.

Boutik, Reem Island Follow the signs once you are on Reem Island. 10am-11pm. Boutik opened in 2013 and is a mall with a cafe, two restruants, a pharmacy, a Waitrose, and a bank.

While walking around the mall you will see that there are a lot of spaces where there are no shops, especially on the first floor. You can also access the two apartment towers connected to the mall from here.

There are also many small, independent stores around the city. On the bottom floor of one building, a person can purchase fancy chocolates, computer parts, antiques, and clothing.

It is better to purchase things like carpets, art, native jewellery, and antiques at the independent or souk-like places than at the malls, as the price will be lower and the shopkeepers more willing to haggle.

Bargaining is a big part of shopping in the Emirates, but be prudent. Don't bargain at Marks and Spencer or Hang Ten. Save your discounting skills for independent shops dealing in antiques and the like.

Shopping in most places can be frustrating, as the clerks will follow you around the store. This is partly due to their concept of what constitutes good service, and partly because there is a shoplifting problem.

Most will not be intrusive, but some employees can be very pushy and overly obsequious. Smile and thank them often, and you're more likely to be left alone after a bit.

In carpet stores or anywhere that sells tapestries, Indian antiques, and the like don't feel too pressured to buy, and don't be shocked if they start unrolling beautiful rug after beautiful rug at your feet.

You are under no obligation to buy, no matter how much time they spend with you. However, the pressure will be very steady, and shyer shoppers may want to travel in packs for comfort's sake.

Grocery stores such as Spinney's, Carrefours, and the Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society are inexpensive and usually stocked with Western goods. Be careful to examine all products before purchasing.

Visitors wishing to purchase pork products will likely have to enter a separate room to do so, as no nationals are permitted in these sections of the grocery stores.

Prices in Abu Dhabi tend to be very competitive. There is an new 5% VAT from 01.01.2018

General discount season end of the year and midyear. These are the time where you can get some branded items with a very low price, maybe last season stock.

Although Abu Dhabi hosts to a wide range of palates and ethnicities, there isn't much variety when it comes to cuisine. Indian food is relatively cheap, and there are a few Chinese chain restaurants with reasonable prices.

Hotel restaurants are usually the most expensive. The city is home to all manner of fast food like McDonald's and Hardees, but there is little call for most people to eat at those places.

The fun thing about Abu Dhabi is that everywhere, literally from tiny falafel shacks to the cushy hotel restaurants to Burger King, delivers to anywhere in the city. Delivery is quick and reliable, and usually doesn't cost extra.

Vegetarians will find the city's selection of meals very satisfying. Vegetable and bean-heavy native dishes, the array of splendid pure vegetarian Indian cuisine, and the ready availability of fresh salads make eating in Abu Dhabi a stress-free experience.

Strict vegans may have a little difficulty communicating their precise demands, but most places offer vegan dishes and are always willing to accommodate a paying customer.

The best choice for pure Vegans would be one of the many Indian veg restaurants like Evergreen, Sangeetha in Tourist Club area.

Visitors should always check the Islamic calendar to determine whether they will be visiting during the month of Ramadan. Since Muslims fast during daylight hours, restaurants are, by law, closed during the day.

It is also against the law to eat or drink anything, even water, in public and tourists and non-Muslim residents have been arrested and given fines.

Large hotels generally have one restaurant open during the day to serve meals to non-Muslims.

During the evening, however, it's quite a different story, as the festive atmosphere of iftar breaking the fast begins and residents gather for lavish, Thanksgiving-like meals.

As long as you don't mind tiding yourself over in private, the evening meals are magnificent.

The Olive Branch, Mafraq - Abu Dhabi. Mafraq’s all day restaurant serves up fresh Mediterranean cuisine borrowing influence from various regions, including France, Spain and Turkey.

The buffet is prepared with the freshest of ingredients and the interior decor is equally breezy and funky. Open 24 hours daily serving buffet and an A La Carte menu Buffet serving times: Breakfast 06:00-10:30, Lunch 12:30–15:30, Dinner 19:00–23:00

hunter’s b&r, Mafraq - Abu Dhabi. The international bar and restaurant showcases a new look, taking on a modern twist with green brick walls, solid wood tables and numerous flat screen TVs showing all the latest sporting action.

The menu is packed with sumptuous mains and tempting nibbles to accompany the thirst quenching bevies on tap.

Ideal for after work drinks, or an evening with friends, hunter’s b&r offers a casual environment with a social buzz. Open daily from noon to 02.30 with food served throughout

Rimal, Mafraq - Abu Dhabi. The new Rimal Asian fusion bar serves up oriental dishes in an authentic atmosphere with a modern edge.

Taste the delicious flavours from Korea, China and Japan in this Asian inspired outlet, complete with Sake and signature cocktails. The perfect place to enjoy an evening with friends. Open daily from noon to 02.30 with food served till midnight

Oasis Courtyard, Mafraq - Abu Dhabi. This poolside bar and restaurant serves refreshing drinks under the sun and a wide selection of snacks.

The swim-up bar in the pool offers another level of refreshment, with dedicated bartenders who blend and whip sensational cocktail creations.

Shisha is also available in a melody of flavours, perfect for an afternoon or evening with friends. Open daily from noon to 21.00 with food served throughout.

Figaros Pizza, Figaro’s Pizza (Sensegourmet PJSC) Port Zayed, Abu Dhabi. Online restaurant provides quality pizza, pasta, and other fast food products. Home delivery service available.

The Burlington Grill, Mafraq Abu Dhabi. The hotel’s signature grill restaurant serves up succulent grilled meat and seafood steaks. The red leather interior, coupled with a show kitchen delivers a treat for all the senses.

Choose from an array of starters and salads including crab cakes and goats cheese tartlets, dig into American-style Louisiana fish gumbo, or choose an al dente risotto.

The main event brings a hefty offering of grilled fish, rack of lamb and meaty steaks complemented by a selection of daily chef’s specials.

With al fresco dining on the terrace, an aperitif bar and a knowledgeable team, The Burlington Grill will soon become an Abu Dhabi favourite. Opening Hours: Lunch noon – 15.00 and Dinner 19.00 – midnight.

Some of the cheapest but not necessarily good food in the city can be found at its many Indian restaurants. Portions are almost always generous, prices low, and quality excellent.

Set meals of rice, fish curry, lentil curry (dhal), peppery soup (rasam), a vegetable side dish and perhaps a small fried fish, served on a large steel tray (thali) with little steel bowls for the accompaniments, can go for as low as Dhs.5.

Arabian Palace, behind Baynunah Tower. The decor is basic and the food, while cheap and filling, is forgettable, but the shisha here is excellent. Puff up a pipe, order their excellent lemon with mint drink and gaze at the skyscrapers. Dh 50.

Anand Vegetarian Restaurant, Hamdan Street behind Dunia Finance Building and Al Mansouri Plaza. This is a pure veg Gujarati (North Indian) style restaurant.

The demand for Puri Bhaji a deep fried bread and Potato and Chick Pea veg dish is so great that you will have to wait your turn but it's worth it. There is a special part for ladies and families.

Friday lunch with sweets and as much Puri as you want for only at Dhs 12. Sometimes you will have to wait for 10 mins to get a roti. Dhs.10 per person Eat all you can and various.

Nalas Aappakadai Restaurant, Behind the NDC building on Salam St. Speciality for Aappam & Excellent South Indian food from the Chettinad cuisine, Chinese & Tandoor

Cettinad Restaurant,Behind Eldorado cinema/National cinema, in between Hamdan and Electra St, next to Abudhabi Floor Mill. Authentic Chettinad food available at reasonable price. Also serving North Indian,Chinese,Tandoor and Mughalai food.

Both vegetarian and non vegetarian foods are available. Cettinad Restaurant branch is next to the taxi station flyover traffic light, on the back isde of Brightway advertisement building.

Al Safadi, Sheik Zayed Road Khalidiya Area. In an older building in one of the older & more walkable parts of Abu Dhabi, Al Safadi is a Lebanese gem for Shawarma: both lamb and chicken. Shawarma sandwiches for 5 AED each.

Each entree comes with a huge plate of greens, pickles, peppers and Lebanese bread. Dh 50.

Royal Rajasthan, Adjacent to Home center in Hamdan street. One of the city’s many restaurants that serves both Indian and Chinese dishes. This is a pure vegetarian restaurant.

This little place does excellent Indian snacks,Indian soups, biryanis and an absolutely huge selection for vegetarians. Their bread menu is also extensive. Their Thali costs around Dhs22.

Hyderabad Bites, Branch 1: near Strand Hotel in tourist club area. This hidden gem offers a range of excellent Indian/Chinese dishes at very affordable prices. Popular among cab drivers in Abu Dhabi. Typical price 12-30 AED per person including beverages. Dh 12.

Rodeo Grill at the Beach Rotana Hotel is an excellent steak house that is a bit pricey.

Prego's at the Beach Rotana Hotel is a very good Italian restaurant with a good wine selection, and an artichoke dip appetizer to die for.

Benihana at the Beach Rotana Hotel is the world famous Teppan-yaki chain.

Zen, Al Ain Palace Hotel. 12PM-3PM, 7PM-12AM. The more widely known and older Japanese restaurant, serving traditional Japanese foods and drinks. The fine dining experience is accompanied with a great decor.

Blue Grill at the Yas Island Rotana Hotel is also an exquisite steakhouse restaurant, serving the best prime steaks and other grilled favourites, great seafood and fine wine.

Tori no Su at the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers (Podium Level 3) offers Japanese fine dining, including a wide selection of sake. The location and interior design are breathtaking; perfect for an intimate dinner in a glamorous venue.

Chappan Bhog is also one of the best in serving vegetarian food with nice flavors.

Only restaurants located in hotels are allowed to serve alcohol. Therefore, all nightlife is associated with hotels. The drinking age is 21, but most places don't care. Unlike some other Middle Eastern nations, the bars in Abu Dhabi will be able to accommodate most drink orders.

Technically, you are supposed to purchase a permit to buy alcohol for private storage, although Spinney's and other liquor stores usually take proof that you aren't a local Muslim, a military ID or driver's license.

Hemingway's, Hilton Abu Dhabi (Corniche West) – There are three different places inside. The main restaurant has a good tex-mex menu, a wide selection of beer on tap and features live music in the evening.

Jazz Bar – The second venue, has great food and a good jazz band. The band normally changes every six months or so, but the quality is consistent and they take requests. The bartenders normally put on a show by tossing bottles around while mixing a mean cocktail.

The third place is Cinnabar, a nightclub that normally gets going after midnight, although it can be a nice place for a quiet drink early in the evening, even though bartenders there can be rude. The music is mostly house/club, although they have a salsa night.

The Captain's Arms Le Meridien (Eastern Abu Dhabi) – Traditional British pub located in the hotel courtyard. The pub features traditional food and a great selection of beer on tap.

The large terrace is great during the cooler months of the year. A typical hang-out for the expat crowd, but try to get there early, as it attracts a large after-work crowd.

Wakatua, Le Meridien (Eastern Abu Dhabi) is a Polynesian-themed cocktail bar located at the far end of the courtyard, right on the water. The cocktails are amazing. The Navy Grog is highly recommended. It has a nice view at night, over the water.

Rock Bottom, at the Capital Hotel, is one of the most popular night club locations in all of Abu Dhabi. It stays open later than most venues, and is cheaper. If you get there early enough, they have decent food you can enjoy in the restaurant area.

They have both a live band and an excellent DJ, along with black lights and lasers. There is even a hot dog stand later in the night, providing some delicious drunk snacks. Thur nights can get extremely crowded, be warned.

The Embassy is a fairly new nightclub in The Emirates Palace Hotel. Though drinks are expensive, it is worth a visit.

The grand hotel is a must-see in Abu Dhabi and the actual club is nicely decorated, comfortable, has great service, a balcony overlooking the hotel grounds, and provides a fun time with great music and very colorful laser shows.

Sax is a popular night club located in The Royal Meridian Hotel not to be confused with Le Meridian Hotel. Next door to the restaurant/bar Oceans. Sax is a beautifully decorated club with sleek black marble floors, two bars, a DJ, and depending on the time, a jazz band.

The club is often very loud and very dark with little more than lasers lighting the room. It's not a place to go if you expect to talk at all, at least not on a weekend night.

Collared shirts are required for men, and sneakers usually don't pass the bouncers either. It's not uncommon to have to pay an entry fee. There are free drinks for the ladies on Wednesday nights, so expect it to be crowded.

PJ's is a traditional Irish Pub in the Royal Meridian Hotel, boasting brunch buffets and a long happy hour. The majority of the guests are usually English/British/American/Australian.

There is something entertaining going on every day of the week, from Quiz Night to Ladies Night. If you want to start drinking early, this is the place to go.

No one will bat an eye if you order beer with brunch, and you'll probably find yourself staying for more than one round. The music earlier in the day is a mix of oldies and rock with faster-tempo songs for the late night crowd.

This is also a great place to come to watch sports, as the quiet daytime atmosphere and televisions throughout ensure a pleasant experience. The outdoor seating near the hotel's pool is also a great asset on cooler days.

Zenith at the Sheraton Corniche is nicely decorated club and has a nice sized dance floor. If you like the local Abu Dhabi crowd and Arabic music, this is a great place to go.

The drinks can be expensive,but the presentation is entertaining. Just around the corner is a quiet outside venue where you can drink and smoke sheesha near a pond.

Trader Vic's is a famous cocktail bar/restaurant located in The Beach Rotana Hotel connected to The Abu Dhabi Mall.

The flattering lighting, interesting menu, and soft but fun island music make this a great place for a date or hanging out with people you actually want to talk to.

The cocktail menu is pages long, and ordering a complicated fruity concoction is a must. The drinks may be a little on the expensive side at times, but the atmostphere is great.

Try ordering one of their two or four person drinks, which come in a giant fishbowl. They're a lot of fun if you don't mind sharing.

49ers is a steakhouse/bar. It is often quoted as More of a meat market than a steakhouse because of its solid reputation for prostitution. I wouldn't recommend a non-prostitute woman going there.

It is uncomfortable and the men in the bar will probably assume you are for sale. The Novotel Hotel and The Sands Hotel are also notorious for their nightclubs that men frequent when looking to purchase a date for the night.

Heroes is a friendly sports grill/bar. Located in The Crowne Hotel's basement, it offers reasonable meals, and fair drink prices. The bar is often full of men and women watching various sports games on television.

Later at night they have a DJ and a live band that play softer rock songs. It is a pleasant place to hang out with friends, though the lack of windows or ventilation can make it stuffy and smoke-filled quickly.

Mardi Gras is a small restaurant/bar located in The Capital Hotel. Its ambiance reminds one of a spa. The service is good, the drinks are reasonable, and the food is tasty. The band often leaves much to be desired, and the DJ is worse.

The Yacht Club at the Intercontinental Hotel is newer bar/restaurant, and offers a gorgeous view of the sunset over the marina if you sit outside. Inside has a very modern, minimalistic feel. The cocktails are delicious, but expensive.

Left Bank at the Souk at the Shangrila Hotel between the two bridges, is a popular and lively spot. It serves a wide range of interesting cocktails. Try the pineapple-ginger collins as well as nicely prepared and presented meals.

They are still new so they are trying a little harder right now, and the service tends to be pretty good. Worth the 15 to 20-minute trip out of the downtown core.

Rabbit Hutch. The dedicated British Embassy Rabbit Hutch is a nice pub with music, a pool and a small play area for children.

Although you have to know someone on the inside to get into this rather exclusive pub, the British friends and the refreshing pool is definitely worth it. They do all sorts of drinks, but don't ask for a martini, on the rocks, shaken not stirred.

Lebanese Flower, downtown Abu Dhabi. Great food and nice atmosphere.

Arkadia (marina club), marina club,tourist club area, besides abu dhabi mall. 8PM -3AM. one of the hottest club in town,just check it out and you'll surely enjoy your night with their resident band wired to the floor and dj onnie. 50dhs below.

Harvesters at Sands Hotel, electra street, abu dhabi. 12pm untill 3am. great english pub, free pool, dart boards, multiple screens showing sports, excellent fish and chips as well as other english style meals.

Friendly staff, english band every night except sundays, quiz nights every tuesday and possibly the cheapest beer in town.

Hotels in Abu Dhabi used to be half price compared to Dubai but no longer, with many hotels charging above Dhs 500 per night. However, all are well-tended and host to first class restaurants, pools and other high-end hotel facilities.

Beach Rotana Hotel and Towers (Beach Rotana), Tourist Club Area. Marble everywhere sums it up. It is luxurious and the luxury is well done from the lady who welcomes you to the hotel to the concierge.

Of course, it is also expensive, very expensive if you don't arrive off peak and off peak is rare in Abu Dhabi. The Club rooms are worth it if you are having to pay full rates for the classic rooms in the main older hotel.

They are not much bigger but the use of the Club lounge is valuable if you are going to be in the hotel a lot and the TV arrangements are more modern, the view wide.

It now looks over the hectic construction on the new artificial islands across the creek. The rooms could use headphones to allow watching of TV at a louder but more personal level. The Club rooms jacuzzis in the bath are OK for the user but a noisy nuisance for the neighbours.

Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi a Four Star Business Hotel Zayed the 1st Street, Behind Hamed Center. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00.

Park Rotana Abu Dhabi (Five Star Hotel), Al Salam Street, Near TwoFour54 and Khalifa Park. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Best known for it's British Pub Cooper's, Park Rotana is a sleek business hotel that's rather far from the city but offers quite a respite.

Watch out as the rooms don't have bath tubs though they're quite tech savvy with the switches and the likes.

Emirates Palace, Corniche East. Built at an estimated cost of US$3 billion, this was one of the world's most expensive hotels to build, with oodles of gold and marble plating every available surface.

The scale of everything is gargantuan, you need directions just to find your way from the gate to the lobby. The hotel feels like it's straight out of Las Vegas, minus the slot machines.

Day tripping visitors are welcome, and entertainment options include caviar and champagne at the Caviar Bar, a fine Cohiba and cognac at the Havana Club, or a Turkish coffee (Dh 30) at Le Cafe. From about US$500.

Grand Continental Flamingo, near Hamdan St and Khalifa Bin Zayed St. This is the hotel the taxis can't find. A 2 story atrium, quiet setting, rooms with bidet, bath and over-bath shower and wide screen TVs all contribute to a pleasant stay.

Only the dimness of the lighting and the overdone carpets in the room lets it down. The bath towels are also a bit small. Dhs. 200.

Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche East. One of the older hotels in Abu Dhabi, but kept in good shape and recently renovated. Huge Hiltonia beach/pool/spa complex across the street free for guests, small gym in hotel itself.

Rooms face the sea but are otherwise identical to normal ones. Located a fair distance from the city center, which is both good with no construction noise and bad virtually nothing within walking distance.

However, there are shuttle services to the Marina Mall and the city center. US$150.

Hilton Baynunah, Corniche. Popular with business travellers, the Baynunah's main selling points are the central location and spacious rooms equipped with kitchens. Indoor pool, gym, small lounge open to all guests. US$120

Novotel Centre Hotel Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Street & Airport Road. Adequate rooms but inadequate and expensive breakfast in a tower block. Reception is cramped and lacks style. The lifts or elevators are very slow.

You pay for internet access. Only the cheerful staff and, if relevant to you, the central location redeem the place. The Chinese restaurant is said to be good, too.

Park Inn Abu Dhabi Yas Island, Golf Plaza, Yas Island. Recently opened hotel with clean rooms, excellent service and friendly staff. The restaurant is a great option for dinner. Dhs. 550.

The Yas Hotel, Yas Island. Set half on land and half on water, overlooking the marina, and positioned on the Yas Marina Circuit, which plays host the annual Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, this hotel is distinctive.

The exterior's gridshell can be seen for miles around and mimics the throw of a local fishing net. Fourteen total restaurants and lounges.

Aloft, Atop the National Exhibition Centre. Trendy hotel with cool dark colors, attractive young hotel desk clerks, relatively small rooms but beds are comfortable though, good restaurant and lobby bar, fantastic outdoor lounge on the roof, and half-empty disco next door.

Great if there's a convention, but it's walkable to nothing else. Car or taxi is needed to get just about anywhere. Maybe when the nearby residential/commercial development is ready in a few years, it might be more desirable.

4 star with few amenities, you bring your own bags to the room, but there is still a definite sense of style. US$90-200.

Crowne Plaza, Hamdan St. Luxury hotel for a little less money than the Hilton or both of Les Meridiens. Best Asian and Italian restaurants in the city are on the ground level. Service can be a little slow, bed is comfortable.

There is a rooftop bar upstairs which seems always empty. Maybe more a 4 1/2 star hotel, not a 5 star. You can sometimes get a car instead of taxi to take you places, for not much more than the taxi. US$100-400.

Hilton Corniche Residence, Corniche Road.

InterContinental Abu Dhabi. One of the long-time prestige hotels. Expensive, but occasional Internet deals on the hotel independent booking websites are worth it if you're willing to pay upfront online.

Lobby is huge, and appears recently renovated. Rooms seem a little 80s with their decor, way too many mirrors but beds are comfortable and the views are nice. Gym and fine restaurants but expensive.

Abu Dhabi locals frequent the hotel piano lounge and the Brazilian restaurant. It is somewhat remote from the centre of town but the setting and amenities are worth it. US$150-400.

International Rotana Inn Hotel.

Le Meridien Abu Dhabi, Tourist Club Area. Tell the taxi driver Lee Meridien and he won't confuse it with Royal Meridien. Best amenity is the Meridien Village, an outdoor garden filled with restaurants and pubs, and on Thursday nights during the cooler months, a hangout for literally thousands of expats.

Slated to be replaced by a bridge to Suwwah Island financial district, so enjoy while you can. Don't know much about the rest of the hotel, assume it is compatible with Royal Meridien.

Le Royal Meridien, Sheikh Khalifa Street. Beautiful views of the gulf and Corniche, comfortable beds, lots of restaurants and bars are very pricey.

Service is very good, but things like bringing a welcoming fruit plate to your room formerly common in 5 star hotels are extras now. Rotating restaurant at top, and a somewhat hidden nightclub on the 4th floor for dealings on the dark side.

Sometimes can get real good deals on internet booking sites as low as $139/night, but generally expect to pay over US$200/night even during quiet season, and over US$500 when they have defense contractor exhibitions and such.

Internet is US$24/day which is ridiculous. However, if you use the wireless network in the lobby, there is no charge.

They hold $135/day against your credit card if you want to put meals or other amenities toward your room charges, so make sure you have a good credit line available if you are staying here more than a few days. $150-400/night.

Millennium Hotel Abu Dhabi, Khalifa St.

One To One Hotels - The Village, Al Salam St. A four-star hotel.

Radisson Blu Abu Dhabi, Yas Plaza, Yas Island. Overlooks the Golf Course and F1 Circuit. It has 397 rooms comprising of suites & business class. All day dining restaurant, Italian restaurant, Persian restaurant, Lobby bar & pool bar.

Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel and Resort, Corniche Rd.

Sheraton Khalidiya Hotel, Zayed the First Street, Khalidiya Area.US$50.

The Olive Branch, Mafraq Hotel Abu Dhabi. Mafraq’s all day restaurant serves up fresh Mediterranean cuisine borrowing influence from various regions, including France, Spain and Turkey.

The buffet is prepared with the freshest of ingredients and the interior decor is equally breezy and funky. Open 24 hours daily serving buffet and an A La Carte menu.

The Royal Hotel, P.O. Box 37399, Salam Street. All rooms are equipped with own climate control, safety deposit box, separate showers, non alcoholic mini bar, in-room iron and ironing board.

Some of its facilities and services are business center, gym, pool, jacuzzi, concierge, 24-hour room service, laundry and dry-cleaning. Rates start at 348.00 AED.

Nuzhath Ideas Bedouin Camp, SM office 248 A, Block I1. Bedouin camp at Al Khatim desert camp with seperate rooms.

Balnkets, pillows and sleeping bags provided for traditional Arabic Vedouin camp experience with well maintained rest rooms with 15 programs at desert at evening including dune bashing Rates start at 450.00 AED.

Nuzhath Ideas LIWA Tents, SM office 248 A, Block I1. Tents for sleeping carried in 4 X 4 Land Cruisers from Abu Dhabi with a car of maximum 4 persons. Two persons are accommodated in a tent with sightseeing, dune bashing and BBQ Dinner option Rates start at 3000.00 AED.

Long-term visitors and people working in Abu Dhabi can use apartments. There are lots of apartment blocks in Abu Dhabi, some are tall towers with office spaces, while others are above small shops, not very well maintained and small.

Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa, P.O. Box 128555, Sheikh Zayed Street, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Located along a 1.2 kilometer stretch of Abu Dhabi’s protected Eastern Mangroves District,15 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Late check-out until 6.00 pm subject to availability. Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara is set along the Abu Dhabi’s protected Eastern Mangroves District and in the heart of the city, Stay relax in the finest rooms with best views in the Mangroves." USD 136.

Anantara Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort By Anantara, P.O. Box 131277, 1 Qasr Al Sarab Road, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Late check-out until 4.00 pm subject to availability. Garner insights into unparallel cultural experience and desert luxury at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara in Abu Dhabi’s Empty Quarter. USD 326.

Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Resorts, Al Ruwais, Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Located just 8 kilometers off the Abu Dhabi Emirates in the Sir Bani Yas Island.

Late check-out until 4.00 pm subject to availability. Located on the nature reserve island envisioned by His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates, Sir Bani Yas Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara invites you to explore and feel the wonders of an Arabian oasis. USD 220.

Abu Dhabi has many job opportunities for those willing to take the plunge and move. Oil companies, construction firms, banks. They all hire Westerners as managerial staff.

The lower-skilled jobs are, as always in the UAE, usually worked by people from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Starting a few years ago, the Abu Dhabi Education Council began hiring English speaking teachers from Western countries to reform the public school system in Abu Dhabi.

Several hundred teachers are hired every year. Western teachers looking for an opportunity in Abu Dhabi can contact a government authorized recruiter such as Footprints Recruiting and work in the Emirate for an excellent, tax-free salary.

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