It might be fair to say that Abu Dhabi is Dubai’s less ostentatious sister. With development projects chosen more carefully in the wake of Dubai’s massive expansion, Abu Dhabi is a more peaceful, livable city than its frenetic, traffic-jammed neighbour. Here, you can enjoy desert oases as well as fine seafood, the awe-inspiring Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and heady cocktails by the beach as the sun goes down. And of course, you’ll want to stay in appropriate Arabian luxury: Abu Dhabi is extremely well served for comfortable boutique hotels.
For something truly special, try the 5* Anantara Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort. This “desert castle” features a private onsite villa for a really opulent experience: think private plunge pool, personal butler, rain shower, and included adventure activities. Surrounded by palm tress, this luxury desert hotel offers an experience you’ll never forget, with Arabian style rooms, natural, earthy tones in the decor, and an island restaurant.
Hedonistic resorts are something of an Abu Dhabi staple, but even by Emirati standards, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort is something special. With junior suites situated on private islands, butler service, private balconies, spa centre, 5 pools, 7 restaurants and bars as well as its own private boutiques, the St Regis is the last word in earthly delights.
For something a little more futuristic, The Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi slightly resembles London’s Shard building- if only the Shard were a luxury hotel. Think marble bathrooms, rain showers, floor to ceiling windows, panoramic views, and the only spa in Abu Dhabi which overlooks the city. With sumptuous Eastern Mediterranean cuisine being served in the 18 Degrees restaurant, and a fantastic suspended outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool, you may feel as if you don’t even want to leave the hotel to explore the city (but you should).