The time to visit Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, is now! In seven years, there will be an entirely new city like Dubai. Visitors should go now while it is pristine!
We stayed at the brand new St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort with a gorgeous beach, beautiful public areas, large ocean view rooms, and terrific food. As with all our preferred resorts, we offer exclusive amenities here. For a brand new hotel service was outstanding. As with all St. Regis properties, the standards are high! Just opened is the new Ritz-Carlton, which reminded us more of Las Vegas-style hotels than anything befitting Middle East luxury. It was huge, opulent, overdone, and palatial, with lots of gold and crystal. There is an excellent Chinese fusion restaurant… Guests can easily get lost in this palatial hotel.
What is there to do in Abu Dhabi? A lot!
We started at the Yas Drag Racing strip where we lived the fantasy of being a Formula One race driver. We were suited up, provided instruction on how to drive the vehicles around the track, and then participated in a very fast race, speeding along up to 160 miles per hour, until that checkered flag dropped! What a thrill!
We took a tour of Manarat Al Saadiyat by helicopter-- you can virtually see a city rising from the sand dunes as a work in progress. The plans for the modern city are on display for visitors to see at the Manarat Al Saadiyat.
Lunch at Mezlai in the Emirates Palace is so special. While seated on a spectacular balcony, you feel as if you are dining in a real palace, which it indeed was at one time.
The next incredible site was a visit to Sheikh Azyed Grand Mosque, perhaps the most beautiful and clean contemporary mosque anywhere. Grand & breathtaking!
We spent a late afternoon traveling in SUV vehicles to Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, where our safari guide took us on a thrilling journey over rolling sand dunes deep into the heart of the desert. Sunset was magical as we stopped to watch the stunning vistas of endless dunes in the sunset amidst a display of trained falcons. Magical!
We then traveled by camelback to a private camp where a chef prepared a sumptuous BBQ dinner on an outdoor fire grill. We relaxed under the stars and sampled the local Shisha pipe, and were entertained by belly dancers and an authentic Arabic oud player. It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
We also visited Ferrari World, a Ferrari-themed amusement park on Yas Island. This is the largest indoor amusement park in the world, and home to Formula Rossa, the world's fastest roller coaster. The theme park also offers Italian food and beverages and several retail outlets, including the largest Ferrari Store in the world and a Ferrari boutique capable of creating personalized souvenirs.
The best part of all is Abu Dhabi is only a forty-minute ride to Dubai; so seeing both makes an incredible Middle East trip easy and fascinating!