Abu Dhabi is synonymous with luxury, dripping in the glamour of world-class design, impeccable standards and a sweep of experiences that will not be found anywhere else on earth. While this capital city could keep you entertained for weeks, it is possible to soak up your fair share of glitz in a short amount of time.
From historic monuments to extravagant stop-offs, here's how you can spend 24 luxurious hours in Abu Dhabi.
Where to Stay
Encompassing striking architectural beauty and world renowned service, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes time to book your accommodation. The Jumeirah at Etihad Towers certainly stands out though, looming large with multiple awards.
Along with 382 plush rooms and suites, guests are treated to no less than three beautiful resort pools, a private beach and the relaxing treatment list of the Talise Spa. The hotel is also home to a diverse selection of world class restaurants and bars. Sip cocktails at Ray's Bar overlooking the dynamic Abu Dhabi cityscape. Or sample the culinary creations of award-winning Tori No Su, masterfully prepared by kaiseki-trained chef Ando.
Astounding views are available in abundance at the hotel's Observation Deck at 300, which happens to be the highest vantage point in Abu Dhabi. A little retail therapy is also easily found with Avenue at your fingertips – an exclusive selection of shopping venues that stand amongst the best in the city.
It may be hard to peel yourself away from this luxuriously appointed hotel, but if you do, you will be amply rewarded with a central location that provides easy access to many of Abu Dhabi's best attractions.
What to See
It would be remiss to stop over in Abu Dhabi and not delve into the rich local culture. With a population dating back to the third millennium BC, it's appeal definitely runs a bit deeper than swish hotels and cutting-edge design.
Culture cats should set aside some time to take in the iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It was originally conceived as a structure to unite the cultural diversity of the Islamic world and now stands as a key place of worship for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Mosque's impressive architecture was a collaborative effort, drawing designers and materials from around the globe. Key features include seven Swarovski crystal chandeliers imported from Germany, 96 columns in the main prayer hall clad in marble and inlaid with mother of pearl and a bespoke prayer carpet weighing tipping the scales at 35 tons.
The city's famed Corniche is great for people watching. Aside from providing a glimpse into everyday lifestyle in the city, this famed walkway leads past beautifully manicured gardens while providing excellent views of the city and coast. You can even hop aboard a boat cruise along the Corniche for a whole new perspective.
Where to Play
The young and young at heart will find their Abu Dhabi paradise at Yas Island. This manmade island is known as the city's leisure, shopping and entertainment epicentre, playing host to the likes of Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld. Both are more than acceptable for families, but once-in-a-lifetime fun for the more adventurous will be found at Yas Marina Circuit. Offering a range of tracks and courses, you can climb behind the wheel for a first hand racing experience.
For a decidedly more relaxed approach to your 24 hours in Abu Dhabi, plan a stop at the Emirates Palace Spa. The seven treatment suites epitomise palatial decadence with gold leaf detailing, Arabic domes and beautiful tiled mosaics. Not to mention the extravagant Moroccan-themed Hammam, which provides a perfect setting for signature treatments available to men, women, couples and groups.
After your luxury spa experience at the Emirates Palace, you may want to consider scheduling a high tea. The palace is renowned for its afternoon service, presenting guests with the option of choosing between the Traditional Afternoon Tea and the Emirates Palace Afternoon Tea. The latter offers a selection of traditional sweets and delicacies.
Where to Eat
Abu Dhabi's penchant for the finer things extends to the food scene. Brimming with fine dining opportunities, the selection of restaurants showcasing the best in global cuisine is staggering.
For a little celebrity chef flair, famed culinary icon Marco Pierre White put his name behind two Abu Dhabi restaurants: Frankie's Italian Restaurant & Bar and Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill. Though, if you're hoping to tempt your tastebuds with something a little more exotic, Chamas Churrascaria serves up delicious Brazillian cuisine. Or try to modern Chinese of Hakkasan Abu Dhabi where the designer interiors are nearly as impressive as the plates.
Etihad offers daily direct flights between Australia and Abu Dhabi with First and Business Class cabins available.
As if you needed any extra incentive, from 16 March to 12 April book and pay for a return Etihad first or business class fare with Flight Centre First and Business and receive a complimentary upgrade to Etihad Gold Membership status (limited to the first 200 passengers).
Contact our travel experts on 1300 038 785 for all of the details and assistance in planning your next trip to Abu Dhabi.