Abu Dhabi ay? I had never been to that part of the world before so when a friend of mine suggested it, naturally, I wanted to go.
As I sat on the flight to Mumbai, I knew this trip was going to be amazing and I couldn’t wait to spend time with my friend. I was full of excitement and anticipation of seeing a new part of the world. After a couple hours layover in Mumbai, I arrived at Beach Rotana Hotel in Abu Dhabi to find that my friend had already changed rooms because he had wanted a beach view for us. Unfortunately, there was construction going on so a beach view we did not get but the room we had was perfect with a view of the impressive buildings on Al Maryah Island on the other side of the water.
Beach Rotana is a 5 star hotel, luxurious in every way; 11 restaurants, a few bars, swimming pool, private beach and tennis courts. It could be very difficult to leave the place because whatever you want to do, the hotel caters for it. It really was stunning. I congratulated my friend on his impeccable choice. The water by the beach is so calm and clear, except when the odd boat passes causing waves to lap onto the shores of the small, man-made, beach. I sat on a sun lounger feeling like the cat that got the cream, I was going to relish the 4 days I was there.
On the first day, we just relaxed all day. We had breakfast which is buffet style and there is a huge choice of food to start your day with; delicious cheese omelettes, cereals, full English breakfasts, toast, fruit, coffee and juices. The weather was hot. Around 40 degrees but there was a lovely breeze and not much humidity so it didn’t feel so hot. There were quite a few people around but the atmosphere was so calm and peaceful it didn’t feel at all crowded or even as if anyone else was there.
The evening was spent with a quick wander around Abu Dhabi mall, which has a private entrance from the hotel, followed by dinner at Prego’s, a lovely Italian restaurant and one of Beach Rotana’s 11 places to eat. The pizza and pasta was delicious and afterwards we had a couple of cocktails in Trader Vic’s, a French Polynesian bar, where we listened to a band playing salsa music. Food, cocktails and music; simple pleasures in life. I could get used to this 5 star living.
Abu Dhabi is the playground of the rich. Just an hour and a half away from its more touristy neighbour, Dubai. There were construction sites all over the place so I imagine in a few years there will be even more hotels and tourist attractions but for now it has a real laid back feel to it. From where I sat on the beach that day there is a bridge over to Al Maryah Island but there was hardly any traffic on it and what traffic there was you can hardly hear it. In fact, when I arrived and took a taxi from the airport, I was surprised by the lack of traffic. A less congested and smog-filled destination. It’s a refreshing change coming from Thailand.
The following day, we took a trip to Dubai. We went to Dubai Mall and I was amazed at how plush it was. Probably, the most extravagant mall I have ever been in. The souk area had Greek-like columns and huge extravagant lighting, there were carpets on the floor and there was even a huge aquarium which was home to some beautiful fish. Flash eh?
We had planned to take a trip up the Burj Khalifa; Dubai’s iconic tower, but we were told that the tickets were more expensive if we bought them on the day. If you book a day ahead you can get the tickets for around 125 AED (21 GBP) but on the day they were 400AED (67 GBP.) So we went to see how much a bus tour of the city would cost. The bus tour takes four hours and you can get on and off where you want and much cheaper than the ticket for the Burj Khalifa. However, after a little conversation about the fact that it was too hot to be sitting on a bus for four hours and we probably wouldn’t be in Dubai again for the foreseeable future, we went back to get tickets to go up the Burj Khalifa.
It really was worth the expense though and I am very glad we decided to; the views are phenomenal. In the lift, the guy gave us a little speech about the history of the tower and told us that it takes around 1 minute to get up to the 124th floor.
Since it was completed in 2010, the Burj Khalifa is ranked as the tallest building in the world, and on the observation deck you can enjoy 360 degree views of the surrounding area of Dubai.
It was busy with everyone having the same idea as us trying to get the best spot to take pictures of the sunset. We stayed up there for a couple of hours, and we were glad we did because the views became even more spectacular when the sun went down and the neon lights of the city came on. We took so many photographs; it was an amazing experience.
In the distance you can see the Burj Al Arab Hotel, the world’s only 7 star hotel, and Palm Jumeirah and the World; only in Dubai will you find a group of islands shaped into a palm tree and the world both of which house a range of luxury hotels, residential beach villas and apartments, marinas, water theme parks, restaurants, malls, sports facilities and spas.
When we decided to go back down we queued for about twenty minutes, and we were nearly at the lift before we remembered we had fast track tickets. Having paid 400 AED each, one would expect a little reward. We laughed when we realised that we could have got down much sooner.
The next thing we saw at Dubai Mall was the Dubai Fountain and, I have to say, it is one of the most spectacular things I have ever witnessed. It gave me goosebumps. The Dubai Fountain sprays 22,000 gallons of water into the air in many different combinations and patterns and, accompanied by music, the water appears to dance as it is projected upwards.
Outside the mall, we amused ourselves by taking photographs of the very expensive but very beautiful cars. I am not one for cars but even I had to admire them. Money talks in that part of the world and people were pulling up in there Maseratis, Roll Royces and Audis, getting out and leaving them for the valet service to park.
We watched as one guy was parking his car at the same time as another guy, in a range rover, drove into the same space. They proceeded to argue with the range rover guy saying that it was over an hour to get parked and how much money did the valet guy want so he could park there. I don’t think he got away with it; if everyone did that there would be total chaos.
The next day, we slept through breakfast until the early afternoon and relaxed on the beach for a couple of hours. Then, in the evening, we got dressed up and went to Indigo; a lovely Indian restaurant and another of the hotel’s many restaurants. Afterwards, we laid by the beach under the cool night sky chatting about what we had done there. A perfect end to a perfect few days.
On the journey home, at Mumbai airport, all I could hear was “flight to Abu Dhabi departing…..” and I was on my way home. Time goes far too quickly sometimes but I enjoyed every second and it’s a trip I will always remember.