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48 Hours in Abu Dhabi: Your Guide to the Capital of Style

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is a hot spot for hospitality and leisure. Photo: Shutterstock

From its awe-inspiring high rises to its quaint and cozy brunch spots, Abu Dhabi can do no wrong. Home to some of the nation’s most glamorous hotels, acclaimed restaurants, and renowned museums, the city is a hot spot for hospitality and leisure. With something for everyone, visitors can immerse themselves in the 5000-year-old history that inches back to Jebel Hafeet, or acquaint themselves with the sophisticated modernity of Yas Island.

While one could easily while away days if not weeks breathing in the culture and excitement of the nation’s capital, here is our recommended itinerary for 48 hours in Abu Dhabi.

Check into… W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island

Chic, sophisticated, and central, the W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island hotel is the perfect spot to begin your 48 hours in the capital. An exhilarating getaway, the hotel features bold and modern architectural components juxtaposed against delicately decorated hotel rooms and hallways. Offering views of the race track or marina, each room comprises floor-to-ceiling windows, giving guests the perfect excuse to stay in bed all day. For more adventurous pursuits, the hotel includes seven unique bars and restaurants, in addition to a spa, gym, and kid’s zone for younger patrons. Located in the heart of Yas Island, the hotel is a stone’s throw away from the best Abu Dhabi has to offer.

Grab brunch at… Café 302

Located in the heart of the city, Café 302 promises to make mornings delicious. With its expansive menu of breakfast and brunch bites, diners can help themselves to sweet treats such as the Belgian waffles, or savory delights such as the café shakshouka. Make sure to leave room for the decadent array of desserts, which include carrot cake, toffee pudding, and potted banana cream pie.

Spend the afternoon at… The Louvre Abu Dhabi

A beacon of history and culture, The Louvre Abu Dhabi is an art enthusiasts’ dream. Embodying the boldness of human creativity, the museum houses a plethora of artistic masterpieces, inviting visitors to partake in a sophisticated dialogue between Abu Dhabi and the rest of the world. A celebration of curiosity and intrigue, the museum champions cultural achievements from the Middle Ages to the present. Regardless of one’s affiliation with the arts, there is something for everyone within this state of the art facility.

Stop for Afternoon Tea at… The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi

Known for its superb service and opulent setting, afternoon tea at The Ritz is an unmissable experience. Replete with dangling chandeliers and a vaulted ceiling, the venue bears semblance to the decadence of Old World Europe. Patrons can help themselves to a wide range of classics, from sandwiches and scones to choux pastry and cake. Also on offer are a number of rare and impressive teas including white tea sourced from the mountains of Nepal and pu’erh, a fermented black tea from China.

Shop the night away at… The Galleria Abu Dhabi

Home to a wide array of restaurants, cinemas, and the world’s most renowned luxury brands, there is something for everyone at The Galleria. Including stores such as Balenciaga, Cartier, Gucci and Miu Miu, visitors can browse an expansive catalog of the newest collections or grab a bite to eat at one of the acclaimed food outlets, including Coya, Zuma and P.F. Changs.

Watch the sunrise at… The Corniche

Famous with locals and tourists alike, Abu Dhabi’s corniche is an iconic landmark wedged between the city’s skyscrapers and the glistening Arabian Gulf. For early birds in search of morning light, there is no better location than this serene stretch of sand, shore and skyline.

Grab an açai bowl at… AcaiXpress

Located at the vibrant Yas Mall, this Emirati owned company is bursting with color, flavor, and fun. Dedicated to the glorious açai berry, the store’s offering comprises lively renditions of the humble breakfast bowl, with toppings such as peanut butter, fresh fruit, granola and Nutella. Patrons can also help themselves to other flavor-packed treats such as fresh juices, milkshakes, and salads.

Pamper yourself at… Elle Spa & Salon

Offering a luxurious dose of Parisian flair, the Elle spa offers a number of self-pampering treatments including facials, massages, body wraps, and scrubs. Locating on the 24th floor of the Marriott Downtown, visitors are treated to some of the best views of the city before entering into treatment rooms that boast elegance and comfort. Using top of the range products sourced from famed UK skincare brand Elemis, highly trained therapists take patrons on a journey through rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.

Eat lunch at… La Petite Maison

Located at the stylish Galleria mall, La Petite Maison is a timeless ode to all things fashionable, fancy and French. With its floor-to-ceiling glass-paned windows and a combination of indoor and outdoor seating, the restaurant boasts an expansive menu resembling the culinary excellence of French food. Choose from a selection of hors d’oeuvre including salade niçoise and carpaccio de thon, before diving into an expansive selection of mains including pâté au bœuf and foie gras poêlé. Desserts, in true French fashion, include a decadent selection of cassata, gâteau, and sorbet.

Before checking out, stop by… Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Arguably the city’s most iconic landmark, one would be remiss to leave Abu Dhabi before visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Capturing the unique interplay between Islam and world cultures, the Grand Mosque incorporates architectural components from different Muslim civilizations in a bid to celebrate cultural diversity. A haven that is as versatile as it is inspirational, the mosque was designed by British, Italian, and Emirati architects, and garners over 40,000 worshippers and visitors each year.

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