InterContinental Abu Dhabi
There’s nothing like a good breakfast. Shakespeare café, at their Souk Central Market branch, offers generous, fresh and satisfying bites. Eating outdoors is particularly recommended. There are four options to start your day: American, English, Healthy or Lebanese. After your breakfast, stroll in the Souk Central or cross to the World Trade Centre.
The must-see attraction in Abu Dhabi is Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a modern marvel of Islamic architecture and less than 20 minutes from the hotel. The Falcon Hospital makes for another fascinating insight into Emirati culture. Take a short taxi ride to Heritage Village to learn about the local pearl fishermen and Bedouin tribes who once lived here. To experience contemporary culture in Abu Dhabi, pay a visit to Manarat al Saadiyat visitor centre, which hosts exhibitions and theatre.
Many guests want to explore the desert near Abu Dhabi, so we recommend an evening safari. You can enjoy a traditional Arabian dinner out on the ancient sands, and watch the sun set behind the dunes. When you return, a trip across the Gulf on a traditional dhow sailing vessel lets you appreciate the bright lights of the modern skyscrapers from a different angle. Round off the evening with a meal in one of the InterContinental Abu Dhabi hotel’s buzzing restaurants and perhaps a shisha pipe at Byblos Sur Mer.
Abu Dhabi is situated in an archipelago of over 200 other islands. Meaning 'Land of the Gazelle' in Arabic, Abu Dhabi was founded when a young antelope led a wandering tribe to fresh water, on an island with no more than 300 palm ('barasti') huts, a few coral buildings and the Ruler's fort. This simple island settlement has since been transformed into the modern, cosmopolitan city of Abu Dhabi and the high-rise capital of the United Arab Emirates. Find out more about Abu Dhabi’s religion and traditions with a visit to one of the world's most impressive landmarks, the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This architectural marvel, with a capacity for an astonishing 40,000 worshippers, features 80 domes, over 1,000 columns, gold plated chandeliers and the world's largest hand woven carpet. Head to our landmark Corniche and enjoy an impressive eight kilometres of manicured waterfront that includes children’s play areas, separate cycle and pedestrian pathways, cafés and restaurants, and the Corniche Beach - a lifeguarded beach park. Beachgoers should also spend some time on the stunning Saadiyat and Yas public beaches or for a spot of luxury they can book a day in the uber-luxurious Saadiyat Beach Club. While in Abu Dhabi, don’t forget to get on the water! From wake-boarding to surfing and parasailing, from cruising in a traditional pearling boat to kayaking through our natural mangrove forests, from zooming to the pace of a speedboat tour to diving, cruising, snorkelling or swimming, the emirate’s waters are yours to discover. Shopping is something of a national pastime in Abu Dhabi, perhaps because it’s so diverse and tax-free: everything from luxurious and ultra-modern malls with the latest brands, to small, souk-like shops where you can buy traditional perfumes, handicrafts, spices and carpets. If you’re interested in culture and heritage, catch a cab to the Heritage Village on the Corniche Breakwater and step back in time to a traditional desert lifestyle. Bargain with souvenir sellers and watch craftsmen at work producing pottery, weaving and metal work. Diversity of experiences characterise Abu Dhabi’s great golf offering – whether it’s championship-ready parkland, ocean or Links facilities, a gentle urban centre course, the sheer uniqueness of a world-class ‘sand’ course or a country course in our heritage heartland of Al Ain.
Yas Island is aleisure, retail and entertainment complex built on reclaimed land in the Arabian Gulf. The onsite Formula One circuit hosts the annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but also serves as an open-air community fitness centre – you can walk, run or cycle around the track.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Less than 20 minutes from the hotel, the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates can hold up to 40,000 worshippers. Among other impressive architectural and design features, it boasts the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet and one of the world’s biggest chandeliers. This architectural work of art is one the world’s largest mosques. It features 82 domes, over a 1,000 columns, 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers and the world's largest hand knotted carpet. The main prayer hall is dominated by one of the world’s largest chandeliers –10 metres in diameter, 15 metres in height and weighing twelve tonnes. The mosque's first ceremony was the funeral of its namesake, Sheikh Zayed, who is buried at the site. Reflective pools surround the mosque, amplifying its beauty. The striking white and gold colours shining in the sun are transformed at night by a unique lightning system which reflects the phases of the moon.
The Corniche, a short stroll or 5-minute taxi ride from the hotel. This lengthy stretch of beach extends along Corniche Road. During the week you can usually find a beach umbrella, but during the weekend they may all go quickly. You can’t swim out very far; floating fences keep you within 40 metres of the beach, and there are plenty of lifeguards around. Abu Dhabi’s pristine Corniche beachfront has been awarded coveted Blue Flag status - the internationally renowned eco-label for beaches and marinas that guarantees clean and safe bathing water. Some 30,000 to 50,000 visitors flock to the Corniche every month, enjoying three separate sections for families, singles and the general public. There are more than 1,100 free parking spaces with a five minute walk of the beach, which charges AED 10 (US $2.7) entry to the family and singles sections.
Desert adventures in Abu Dhabi
As well as an evening safari, you can enjoy the desert with dune bashing, sand skiing and of course camel riding excursions. The concierge can help you choose the perfect desert experience.