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Language: Arabic | Currency: Dirham (د.إ) | Local time: UTC | Avg. Flight time: 9 hrs
The allure of those sizzling sandy beaches and swimmable seas tempts most tourists to base themselves within strolling distance of the beach. You’ll find a selection of hotels to suit all budgets spread out along the Corniche, a six-kilometre stretch of waterfront that borders the downtown area.
Most are big-name luxury chains, but if you’re travelling on a shoestring then don’t be put off by the branding – many offer all-inclusive Abu Dhabi package deals that make a coastal stay reasonably affordable. Look at accommodation around the Dhow Harbour end of the Corniche for easy access to the bright lights and boutiques of the Al Zahiyah ‘Tourist Club Area’.
Behind the Corniche is Abu Dhabi’s downtown, which centres on the area east of Sheikh Rashid Street. If you prefer sightseeing to sunbathing then this is the place to stay – it’s home to the main island’s greatest concentration of nightlife, restaurants and shops, including the vast Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre.
Head further south-east towards the mainland to find more Abu Dhabi hotels in the Midtown area around Zayed Sports City. The appeal of staying here is really easy access to big attractions such as the Capital Gate skyscraper, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Does your dream holiday revolve around deserted beaches and rustic restaurants? Maybe you prefer riding on record-breaking rollercoasters or strolling around world-class museums. Whatever your idea of perfection, Abu Dhabi has an island to suit.
Saadiyat Island is the latest haunt of the international jet-set, mainly thanks to the slew of art galleries and museums opening in its brand new Cultural District. Keep an eye out for all-inclusive deals at hotels near the stunning blue-flag beach with its protected dunes and turtle nesting sites. Yas Island hosts more top hotels – not to mention a stellar selection of theme parks – while remote Sir Baniyas Island is a sustainable tourism hub with one of the region’s largest wildlife reserves.
If you want to see what Abu Dhabi was like before the oil boom, escape the city and book into one of the luxurious resorts dotted across the desert dunes. Oasis city Al Ain has a good range of both local and international hotels, but adventurous types should head to the Liwa Desert in the Empty Quarter for something truly special.
Stay in a five-star resort with extravagant facilities or get away from it all with a Bedouin-inspired camping break. Desert accommodation tends to be costly, so consider booking an all-inclusive Abu Dhabi trip to make your trip more affordable.