THE NEW EMI­RATE

Lux­ury, art and ad­ven­ture meet in Abu Dhabi

India Today - - CONTENTS - By ADITI PAI

How to make the most of 48 hours in Abu Dhabi

The land of luqaimat, bakhoor, sun and sand of­fers a stun­ning palette of sights and ex­pe­ri­ences— pow­dery sand dunes ca­ress­ing the sky­line, turquoise wa­ters of the Per­sian Gulf, plush re­sorts, grand recre­ation cen­tres and the Grand Prix arena that lure lux­ury seek­ers to Abu Dhabi. The sprawl­ing emi­rate and its cap­i­tal city of­fer trav­ellers a bevy of var­ied ex­pe­ri­ences from ad­ven­ture to lux­u­ri­ous pam­per­ing and gas­tro­nom­i­cal jour­neys around the globe. In 48 hours, you can ex­plore the best that Abu Dhabi of­fers—cul­ture, food, ad­ven­ture and deca­dent lux­ury.

Ara­bic An­tiq­uity

Meet the ear­li­est hu­man com­mu­ni­ties to have come to the re­gion, ex­plore the an­cient pil­grim routes and trace the evo­lu­tion of trade with the new on­go­ing ex­hi­bi­tion, Roads of Ara­bia—Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Trea­sures of Saudi Ara­bia that’s show­ing at the Lou­vre, Abu Dhabi. Al­ready shown in 15 cities around the world, the

ex­hi­bi­tion has ob­jects and ar­ti­facts found in the UAE that re­flect the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal re­search in the re­gion. As you wan­der through the four in­door gal­leries that house ar­ti­facts from the world over, the daz­zling

Foun­tain of Light by Ai Wei­wei meets you in the last wing. Made with more than 32,000 crys­tals, the twisted glit­ter­ing struc­ture is an In­sta­gram star and wraps up the tour that nar­rates the shared his­tory of hu­man­ity across re­gions, an idea that Sheikh Zayed sup­pos­edly stressed on. Roads of Ara­bia is on ex­hi­bi­tion till Fe­bru­ary 2019; Book tick­ets on www.lou­vre­abud­habi.ae

Ara­bian Nights

Sto­ries of Al­ladin and Ali Baba come alive at the Ara­bian Nights Vil­lage that of­fers a glimpse into the life of the land be­fore the dis­cov­ery of oil trans­formed it into a mod­ern in­ter­na­tional desti­na­tion. Go dune bash­ing in the Al Kha­tim desert, hit the sand trail in sturdy 4 X 4 cars, hur­tle down the sun-scorched sand dunes and stop to ad­mire the sun­set. Back at the Vil­lage, you’re wel­comed with strong, spiced Ara­bic cof­fee poured in tiny ce­ramic cups and served with a date as the scent of Bakhoor floats through the cool evening air. Get Ara­bic henna prints drawn on your palms as an Oud player and belly dancers trans­port you to a by­gone era re­mem­bered in books and films. Book­ing on ara­bi­an­nightsvil­lage.com

Play­time

The first glimpse of the re­cently opened Warner Brothers World brings a flood of child­hood mem­o­ries as Scooby Doo, Bugs Bunny, The

Flint­stones and Su­per­man spring to life. The 29 fun rides of­fer a mix of thrilling ad­ven­ture with the Joker Fun­house and Fast and Furry-ous and the slower Galac­tic Odyssey with Green Lantern that is more about tech­ni­cal prow­ess than thrill. If speed and sports cars are more your choice, Fer­rari World is right around the cor­ner at Yas Is­land, the leisure desti­na­tion of Abu Dhabi. Ex­pe­ri­ence the in­tense G-force on the For­mula Rossa that zips at a speed of 240 km per hour, gokart with chil­dren or chal­lenge the best lap times on sim­u­la­tors. The bathed-in-red first ever Fer­rari­branded theme park in the world of­fers ad­ven­ture junkies 37 rides and at­trac­tions re­volv­ing around the Ital­ian sports car. Tick­ets cost AED 295

Culi­nary jour­neys

From ho­bool to ra­jma and steak to sashimi, Abu Dhabi’s restau­rants of­fer a gas­tro­nom­i­cal jour­ney from around the globe. While the steak­houses at Ritz Carl­ton and Fair­mont Bab Al Bahr are a de­light for meat lovers, the Emi­rati cui­sine restau­rants give a glimpse into lo­cal del­i­ca­cies. Me­zlai at the Emi­rates Palace wel­comes guests with a bowl of luqaimat, fried dough balls driz­zled with date syrup, and of­fers a menu of fresh sal­ads, hum­mus, babaganoush, mughra­bia, Rgag, a tra­di­tional bread and ha­rees, a pop­u­lar dish in this part of the world. Wrap up the din­ner with the famed cof­fee at the Emi­rates Palace that is fin­ished with gold dust for a taste of deca­dence. If you’re look­ing for a more tra­di­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, go to Al Fa­nar where the sam­boosa, ho­bool and khoboz khameer are served in flo­ral print ce­ramic ware.

Stay­ca­tion

If your idea of a get­away is lux­u­ri­ous pam­per­ing, the Ritz Carl­ton and Jumeirah at Saadiyat step in to of­fer just the per­fect ex­pe­ri­ence. The cres­cent-shaped, Re­nais­sance-styled Ritz Carl­ton Grand Canal with a cen­tral Vene­tian-style wa­ter­way of­fers multi cui­sine restau­rants, lush lawns and the ESPA spa for mas­sages and back rubs. At the newly opened Jumeirah on Saadiyat Is­land Is­land Re­sort, the beach­side re­sort ex­pe­ri­ence is ir­re­sistible with stun­ning views of the glit­ter­ing Per­sian Gulf, mul­ti­ple pools and rooms that open up to vis­tas of the white sands.

EX­OTIC ES­CAPE (Top) Camel­back rides at the Ara­bian Nights Vil­lage; (right) Rides at Fer­rari World

ARA­BIAN NIGHTS (Top) Qasar Al Sarab ho­tel at the Empty Quar­ter; the Abu Dhabi sky­line at sun­set

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