Who hasn’t had the urge to breathe, take a breather without the kids? We took the plunge in December for the Christmas holidays and chose to fly to the United Arab Emirates! And you, where would you escape to?
Heading to Abu Dhabi or the “Jewel of Arabia.”
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is located in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula and is made up of 7 emirates: Abu Dhabi, its capital and largest territory; Dubai; Ajman; Sharjah; Fujairah; Ras al Khaimah and Umm al Quwain.
time to stay here is between october and april even if the weather fine all year round.> In the summer, temperatures are around 50 degrees. We were happy to be there in December, the temperatures were perfect during the day and a little cooler in the evening.
The city is usually visited quickly, one or two days can be enough to discover its main attractions.
After a good shower at the lounge Arrivals from Etihad, we rented a car instead of using the taxi/uber or buses. We went directly to the famous Sheikh Zayed mosque, in view of the early hour, rather than settling down at our hotel, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi.
Driving is generally easy, however some directions are not always clear between the GPS and the signs; and other motorists sometimes drive in an anarchic manner. This is our rental car:
The first thing on the road that strikes is the feeling of space and cleanliness. The landscaping is perfect, no detail is left to chance; the infrastructure is new and well laid out. Cultural and historical sites are put forward.
It is a city in transformation, whose objective is clear, to continue its momentum to be the destination of attractive luxury unavoidable for tourists from around the world. Target for 2021 is to bring 8.5 million tourists to Abu Dhabi.
The city pays homage everywhere to Sheikh Zayed, “Fathers of the Emirates”, who is the former Emir of Abu Dhabi. This politician was at the root of the creation of the UAE federation and allowed the modernization of the country and the stability of the emirates. His son is now his successor, President of the UAE and ruler of the city of Abu Dhabi, the capital of black gold.
Arriving at the parking lot of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, we are impressed by its grandeur and beauty.
This one is colossal and reminds us of the tales of a thousand and one nights with its gilding and white marble. I am kindly asked to put on the local habit, a abaya, so that I can go home. We walk around the courtyard and have fun with the reflections of the marble in the water.
On the outside, one is captivated by the columns, the minarets, the domes. Inside there are 3 prayer rooms where you can find the world’s largest hand-woven carpet and the world’s largest chandelier.
We went back there a few days later; before taking our flight back in A380, but this time at sunset.
We decided to land across the esplanade in front of the mosque. Like many tourists or photographers, we stayed a long time to observe the change of color of the white marble and the lighting of the mosque.
Moment of calm and beauty. Unforgettable. Magic.
Once our visit was over, we went to the Louvre museum, located in the cultural area of Saadiyat island. Open since November 11, 2017, beautiful collections are present and the structure impresses.
When you look up at them, you might think that this silver dome is floating in the sky since there is no visible beam.
In the shape of a honeycomb, stars actually make up this dome, which is a play of light and shadow for visitors. It also allows a better regulation of the temperature felt outdoors.
We finally make it to our hotel, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi which is part of the Marriott Bonvoy program, and located on the Corniche.
The lobby is beautiful.
We will learn later, that the stairs were designed to resemble those of the Titanic. Thanks to the points and Platinum status, we get a suite with a view of the Persian Gulf.
We took advantage of the hotel’s facilities: the swimming pool located on the very pleasant beach.
Every St. Mary’s Hotel Regis offers the possibility to crack open a bottle of champagne for some of the hotel guests.. All you have to do is ask. We get lucky enough to participate in this sabotage at the hotel bar that night.
Meanwhile, a pianist plays a beautiful repertoire including the music of Titanic during the champagne service.
After this beautiful beginning of the evening, we go to the hotel restaurant, Villa Toscana. A delicious meal will be served to us, despite the sometimes long service. And as always, Jean-Maximilien had announced that we were celebrating our wedding anniversary… a superb birthday cake will be served for dessert as a result!
Having eaten, we made a stop in the beautiful hotel lobby to enjoy the perfect melodies of the pianist, and finally returned to our room. What was not our surprise to see a bottle of wine and … a cake identical to the one we had just eaten !!!
Thank you Jean-Maximilien… and to our Butler who celebrated us in his turn Happy Birthday!
In other words, this one went out in the cooler 😛
There’s no shortage of activities! In one day on site, we have privileged the unmissable ones but here is a list of what can be done:
- Emirates Palace, one of the most luxurious hotels in the world (7 stars) (it is located a few minutes away from The St. Regis Abu Dhabi Hotel)
- Zayeh National Museum
- Al Hosn Palace
- Theme park the Ferrari world and Yas Waterworld
- Excursions in the desert on camel back or in 4×4 vehicles
- Fly over in a helicopter, a hot air balloon or even a seaplane.
- Beaches, surfing, jet skiing, scuba diving
- Restaurants, shopping, market, walk along the cornice, exhibitions
Anything is possible in the United Arab Emirates. It’s up to you to choose between cultural visits, gastronomy, walks or sports activities! Direction… Dubai!