Honeymoon guide to Abu Dhabi

With its glittering skyscrapers, luxurious 5-star hotels, fine dining restaurants, ornate mosques, lively souks, expansive shopping malls and white-sand beaches, the vibrant island city of Abu Dhabi offers newlyweds all the ingredients you need for a short break or longer honeymoon holiday.

Abu Dhabi is the perfect place to break a long-haul flight, Abu Dhabi is also the perfect spot for a honeymoon or romantic getaway in the UAE.

What to do and see in Abu Dhabi

Unwind on a choice of white-sand beaches, enjoy sailing and kayaking the calm waters surrounding the island and take a relaxing stroll along the picturesque garden-fringed Corniche, a 6km-long coastal road that runs parallel to the sea.

Visit the iconic Qasr Al-Hosn Palace (White Fort), once home to the ruling Al-Nahyan family and the city’s oldest structure, built in 1761. Admire the triple-domed roof of the Grand Mosque, the world’s third largest mosque, and take a guided tour through its opulent interior.

Get an insight into Abu Dhabi's history and traditions at the Heritage Village, which replicates a traditional Bedouin nomad camp. Watch demonstrations of camel riding and falconry, see artisans’ workshops and browse stalls selling pottery, perfumes and spices. Learn about the desert kingdom’s fast rise to a glittering 21st century city at the Petroleum Exhibition.

Explore some of the almost 200 uninhabited offshore islands on a sunset cruise or go dune-bashing in an air-conditioned four-wheel drive through the sweeping sand dunes around Liwa Oasis.

Browse for local Arab handicrafts, antiques, gold and carpets in the bustling souks or shop for high-end fashion, jewellery and perfume at the glittering air-conditioned Marina Mall or the Abu Dhabi Mall.

After dark, enjoy a range of nightlife options at any of the major hotels, including belly dancing shows and swinging your heels at one of the many hotel nightclubs.

A massive US$27 billion tourism and cultural expansion program is presently underway to transform the offshore island of Saadiyat into a cultural centre. The centre will feature the Louvre Abu Dhabi (opening in late 2016), several luxury hotels, two championship golf courses and three marinas.

Where to stay in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi boasts an excellent choice of accommodation options, including the following 5-star hotels…

Emirates Palace Hotel
Location: Abu Dhabi
Rating: 5-star
Ave nightly price: AUD997 per room
Description: Located on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, overlooking its own private natural bay, Emirates Palace Hotel is situated on 1.3 km stretch of private beach. The silver, gold and glass mosaics décor is evocative of Arabia’s rich history of hospitality. This luxury accommodation, with the latest technology and 14 food and beverage outlets to choose from during your stay, offers guests the very best of new and old world charm. All rooms and suites feature luxurious bedding, and well-appointed furnishings. All rooms have spacious marble bathrooms and come equipped with an iPad mini with integrated room controls, interactive HD TV, a choice of over 150 TV channels, complimentary movies, On Demand services and free high speed WiFi. Every room comes with 24-hour butler service. Emirates Palace’s diverse range of the world’s finest cuisine in its 14 opulent restaurants offers meals to tempt every gastronome. Diners may experience exquisite seafood at Sayad served with a magnificent view of the Gulf, and the Palace’s Caviar Bar is renowned for its world-class champagne menu and caviar selections. Diners may dine as the locals do at Mezlai or simply partake in an international smorgasbord at La Vendôme. The hotel has 2 expansive swimming pools, and a spa that offers massages, and a full range of lavish body treatments. The Emirates Palace also has a fitness centre and a kids’ club so enjoyable small guests will beg their parents to stay. Emirates Palace Hotel is 25-minutes’ drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The Palace is few minutes away from high end shopping malls, numerous restaurants and cultural institutions, and Marina Mall and Heritage Village are a mere seven minutes’ drive away.

The St. Regis Abu Dhabi
Location: Abu Dhabi
Rating: 5-star
Ave nightly price: AUD451 per room
Description: In a great location in the heart of Abu Dhabi's Corniche, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi is a 5-star hotel. It is a 5-minute drive from Marina Mall, 7-minute drive from the World Trade Centre Mall and 15-minute drive from Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Marble walls, rich drapes and luxurious furniture are part of the Arabic décor. Every guest room enjoys a signature butler service providing complimentary tea and coffee throughout the stay and the pressing of 2 items. Guests can enjoy international cuisine at The Terrace on the Corniche and Al fresco dining at Cabana Bar and Grill. Arabic delicacies along with shisha are served by Azura's terrace overlooking the Corniche. The St. Regis Bar features cocktails, and afternoon tea is served at Crystal Lounge. For an energizing workout, St. Regis offers a fully equipped gym with cardio equipment. For rejuvenating massages and treatments, Remėde Spa is available along with a ladies' salon. Guests are also provided free access to the Nation Riviera Beach Club. Abu Dhabi Mall is a 10-minute drive from The St. Regis Abu Dhabi. The hotel provides free Wi-Fi in all areas along with free valet parking.

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel
Location: Abu Dhabi
Rating: 5-star
Ave nightly price: AUD348 per room
Description Overlooking the Arabian Gulf and Corniche, this modern hotel is part of the iconic 5-tower complex in Abu Dhabi. Apart from its landscaped pools and gardens, it also features a private beach and a spa. Guests can enjoy free WiFi Throughout the property. With stylish furnishings and cutting-edge technology, all rooms offer views of the city skyline or the coast. Each includes a flat-screen TV and a iPod docking station. Some rooms include access to the executive lounge. Fine dining can be enjoyed at Jumeirah’s 2 restaurants serving sophisticated world cuisine. For casual dining, guests can choose from 5 different venues, while drinks are offered at the hotel’s 2 bars. The Jumeirah has a full-service spa with 13 treatment rooms, and a large fitness centre with modern equipment. Located on level 74, the Observation Deck is the highest vantage point of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi International Airport is a 30-minute drive from the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel. Marina Mall is a 5-minute drive away.

Rosewood Abu Dhabi
Location: Abu Dhabi
Rating: 5-star
Ave nightly price: AUD365 per room
Description: Located on Al Maryah Island at the core of Abu Dhabi’s new International Financial Center, directly connected to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and The Galleria luxury shopping destination, Rosewood Abu Dhabi offers 154 guest rooms and 35 suites with views of the Arabian Gulf and Abu Dhabi skyline. All rooms feature amenities including an iPad® room navigation system, media centre with 55” flat-screen TV, oversized Villeroy & Boch tub and Pratesi Egyptian cotton linen. For relaxation, you can take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool after an energizing workout at the gym. The hotel’s Health and Fitness club contains state-of-the-art equipment dedicated to a range of cardiovascular and strength training workouts. Sense® Spa provides an extensive range of indulgent therapies, treatments and services. Rosewood Abu Dhabi’s 8 restaurants and lounges offer distinctive dining experiences for guests. Enjoy authentic dining of worldwide cuisines, relish in a cigar or a glass of wine at La Cava, or savour a refreshing drink at Glo or Hidden Bar. Rosewood Abu Dhabi is situated next to The Galleria, Abu Dhabi’s premium shopping destination and the prestigious Sowwah Square commercial development, where you will find premium luxury brands. Saadiyat Island is 15 minutes away by car and Abu Dhabi International Airport is a 25-minute drive away.

Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island
Location: Abu Dhabi
Rating: 5-star
Ave nightly price: AUD365 per room
Description: Embracing expansive views of the city skyline and the sparkling waves of the Arabian Gulf, lies the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island. It offers a swimming pool with panoramic skyline and water views. Located just outside the Spa, it’s a laid-back, relaxing destination from day to night. It’s also the setting for Eclipse, Terrace Lounge. Guests can enjoy free WiFi throughout the property. Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi offers 200 rooms and suites that are bright and airy – all with water views. Sophisticated residential-style interiors feature the legendary Four Seasons Bed, a plush sofa for relaxing, an oval desk that doubles as a dining table and a spa-like bathroom. Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi includes six creative restaurants and lounges such as steakhouse Butcher & Still, Café Milano, and cocktail bar Zsa Zsa– all with expansive outdoor waterfront terraces and most with private dining rooms. Dahlia Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi offers eight spacious spa treatment suites – including one exclusive couples’ suite. Four Seasons Abu Dhabi is only 800 m from Abu Dhabi Mall. Al Wahda Mall is 3.8 km from Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island, while Qasr al-Hosn is 4 km from the property. The nearest airport is Abu Dhabi International Airport, 27 km from the property. Free private parking is available on site and valet parking is complimentary.

Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri
Location: Abu Dhabi
Rating: 5-star
Ave nightly price: AUD360 per room
Description: On a private beach with panoramic views of the strait in Abu Dhabi, this exclusive property has Arabic gondola rides and the lavish CHI Spa featuring outdoor pools and massage treatments. Shangri-La Hotel, Qarat Al Beri has luxurious rooms decorated in a modern Arabic style with warm, rich colors and chic, elegant furnishings. Each room has a balcony or terrace where a view of the grounds or Gulf can be admired. Shangri-La has several dining options such as Shang Palace, where authentic Chinese cuisine is served, and Bord Eau, where French delicacies can be savored. Before and after dinner, Al Hanah Bar provides drinks in a relaxing atmosphere. Abu Dhabi International Airport is a 15-minute drive away. Attractions nearby include Sheikh Zayed Mosque, a 15-minute walk away, and Al Maqtaa Fort, just over 1.6 km from the property.

Best time to visit Abu Dhabi

The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is during the winter months between October and April, when the temperature averages 24°C (75°F) with a high of 35°C (95°F). You can expect sunny skies in Abu Dhabi year round.

Summer, from May to September, is very hot – often reaching 48°C (120°F) – so it can get very uncomfortable. Night-time lows average 29°C (84°F).

For more climate info: Abu Dhabi Weather Guide

How to get to Abu Dhabi

The capital of the United Arab Emirates occupies a T-shaped island that juts into the Persian Gulf and is connected by numerous bridges to the mainland. Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven Emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi International Airport receives daily flights from the major cities of North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

For more information on getting to Abu Dhabi

More about Abu Dhabi…

Latest update: Abu Dhabi: 27 April, 2024