- Thursday 06 October 2016
Laura, a member of staff at Shandon talks about her great experience of Abu Dhabi
My Trip to Abu Dhabi September 2016
So where do I start – absolutely amazing trip. Totally changed my idea of what a place like Abu Dhabi is – I expected it to be quite conservative and for tourists to only spend time in their hotels but it was so different – loved everything about it ! The people are so friendly and nice and so respectful to visitors and tourists.
Checked in for our flight with Etihad. Quick efficient check in with lovely staff.
We made our way to the business class lounge where you can get a breakfast and unlimited drinks. We were served a glass of champagne and had a full Irish breakfast. There is a shower room and a prayer room here for guests to use and also a kids room with toys and games to keep the little ones entertained.
If you’re not travelling business or first class then you can pay € 40 per person and use the lounge if travelling with Etihad. Well worth paying this – it’s like you’re waiting in a hotel for your flight. You must ask at check in for this service as it depends on how busy the flight is whether you can go into the lounge or not.
The flight was brilliant – lovely food and great service. The seats are comfortable and spacious with a good selection of food, drinks, movies and games available. We got extra leg room seats and I must say was fab to have these – blankets and pillows were provided and the pillows were the ones that go around your neck so you can really relax.
We stayed in the Rotana Beach Hotel for our first night – beautiful hotel and loads of character- big chandeliers and spacious rooms. This hotel is downtown Abu Dhabi beside the Abu Dhabi mall. We arrived late but the bar was still serving food and had a great live band here.
Up early and had a tasty breakfast at the hotel before check out.
After breakfast we set off to the Grand Mosque. We had been told beforehand to bring appropriate clothing however when we got there we found out that you can get appropriate clothing for free at the mosque to wear. I would recommend doing this as the clothes we had brought were too warm to wear in the heat. The mosque is amazing – grand opulence and amazing features. It is closed on a Friday only as this is a holy day in UAE. The working week for people in Abu Dhabi is from Sunday to Thursday!
After the Mosque we got on the Big Bus tour right outside the Mosque and got a tour of Abu Dhabi. This tour takes about 2 and a half hours. We got to see Reem island, where there is currently plenty of construction taking place. The aim by 2020 is to have over 280,000 residents living here with schools and a golf course and multiple businesses.
What I liked about Abu Dhabi is that it doesn’t have the plethora of high rise buildings like it’s more flashy counterpart, Dubai.
After the bus tour we went to the Hilton in Abu Dhabi along the Corniche. The Corniche is the main beach area of Abu Dhabi. I would definitely recommend a stay here. It is an extremely convenient location if travelling to/from the airport ( approx. 20 mins from the hotel ) or cruise terminal ( approx. 15 minutes from the hotel ). A 5* Hilton hotel at great prices with nice food and it’s located directly across the road from the beach.
Late that afternoon we checked into our hotel on Yas Island. This amazing island has a fabulous marina area with bars and restaurants, The Gran Prix Circuit race course, Ferrari World, Water world and the Yas Mall.
The hotel is in an area called the Yas Plaza hotels – a group of about 5 hotels directly in the heart of Yas Island. The hotel was great with comfortable rooms and in an exciting location directly opposite the Grand Prix track.
On the morning of our 3rd day we went to the Anantara Eastern Mangroves hotel. A stunning luxury hotel overlooking the mangroves of Abu Dhabi. Here you can boat trips or paddle a canoe around the mangroves. The hotel has an amazing spa and is about a 20 minute walk from downtown Abu Dhabi or if you’re feeling more adventurous you can hire bikes at the reception also. This hotel is well known for its Spa facilities and has a Turkish hot stone massage room and 15 different treatment rooms.
After the Anantara hotel we went to the Ferrari World. This is a theme park with rollercoasters and fun for adults and families. It is attached to the Yas Mall. Ferrari World the fastest rollercoaster in the world!
Once we were finished in Ferrari World we went to the Park Hyatt on Saadiyat Island. Saadiyat Island is for the rich and famous. There is a residential area on the way onto the island and the homes there cost millions. The Park Hyatt is the only hotel on the island and has an amazing beach area and beautiful pools and there is also a golf course across the road from the hotel. In the next few years there will be 3 different hotels on the island.
We spent the full day at the water park – best waterpark ever !! The design and lay-out of it is brilliant. There is something here for all the family.
After the waterpark we went to the Crowne Plaza for dinner just across the road from our hotel– lovely restaurant here and a great bar called the Stills.
Our transfer back to the airport took only 15 minutes from the Yas Plaza hotels. Check in was quick and efficient and getting through security was so easy also. Abu Dhabi airport is one of the nicer airports I’ve been to and there is a good selection of duty free shops.
Over all Abu Dhabi was amazing. I would definitely recommend it to anyone – both for couples and families. I would suggest to avoid June to September as the humidity can be quite high at times.