THE TRIP ABU DHABI HIGHLIGHTS
in Getting there & around
Three direct flights operate daily between London Heathrow and Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways (etihad.com; 0345 608 1225), the national carrier of the UAE. Flight time is around seven hours and return fares cost from £350pp (economy) and £2,223 (business class). Direct flights are also available from Manchester and Edinburgh. Once there, most people rely on taxis to get around (relatively inexpensive) or hire a car (all the usual players are available at the airport and roads are very good).
Cost of travel
Abu Dhabi is not cheap but the quality of food, hotels and service is good. Expect to pay upwards of AED100 (£19) for a meal in a decent restaurant or bar. Alcohol is only served in venues attached to hotels or sports clubs and is pricey – around AED30 (£5.80) for a bottle of beer.
Accommodation You’ll not find many budget
stays in Abu Dhabi and chain hotels are ubiquitous, but there are some good options for location and Arabic style. In Abu Dhabi city, the author stayed Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara (abu-dhabi.anantara.com), which is right next to the Mangrove National Park. Doubles from AED600PN (£115). Sir Bani Yas only has three hotels. Highly
Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villa Resort (sir-bani-yas-island.anantara.com), as they are the only hotel within the wildlife park itself. Doubles from AED1,600PN (£310).
recommended are the villas at Food and drink
With a big international community, there is food from every part of the globe – particularly India (
shawarma roasted on a spit) are enduringly popular staples. For dessert, be sure to try luqaimat – deep-fried dumplings soaked in sweet date syrup – an Emirati favourite.
Hummus and (kebab meat