Everything in Abu Dhabi seems to be bigger and better than the last thing you saw. Yas Island is home to the fastest rollercoaster in the world, the glistening white marble mosque has space for over 40,000 worshippers and at Emirates Palace you’ll find an ATM that dispenses solid gold bars. This magnificent city, capital of the United Arab Emirates, is also home to stylish designer boutiques, swathes of sugar white sands and lavish hotels with five star dining and immaculate service. Abu Dhabi is contemporary, cutting edge and vibrant, yet beyond the awe-inspiring glass skyscrapers and post-modern architecture it’s also full of intoxicating Middle Eastern flavour.
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Abu Dhabi boasts over 200 natural islands, including the stunning unspoiled sands and turquoise waters of Saadiyat Island, given the seal of approval by the hawksbill turtles that nest here every year and the dolphins that play in the crystal clear waters offshore. Yas Island is increasingly becoming Abu Dhabi’s entertainment centre, with Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld and the Yas Marina Circuit, host of the annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, all based on the island, and a new mall, Abu Dhabi’s biggest, complete with cinema complex coming for 2015.
Explore further afield with a visit to the world-class Falcon Hospital, where falcons from all over the globe are nursed back to health, or head out into the breathtaking Liwa Desert, where the burning sun chases an endless vista of shimmering dunes. Back in the city, take a pleasant stroll along the picturesque waterfront Corniche or a tour around the breathtaking Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Reflecting every taste and culture under the sun, dining in Abu Dhabi is a veritable feast of the world’s finest cuisines. The restaurants in our featured resorts are all superb, but we particularly recommend the award-winning Chinese dishes of Michelin-starred Hakkasan at Emirates Palace and Silk & Spice at Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche for deliciously fragrant Thai specialities. Emirati cuisine is somewhat unsung but growing in popularity on the restaurant scene, with dishes typically meat or fish based and infused with the aromatic flavours of cinnamon, saffron and turmeric; try al madrooba, a tasty dish comprised of salted fish in a thick, spicy sauce.