If there’s one place in the world known for its opulent hotels, it’s the United Arab Emirates. And within the UAE, the city of Abu Dhabi, an island city in the Persian Gulf and a popular stopover for Australians on the way to Europe, is brimming with them.
From a resort with a helicopter landing pad and 1.3km of private beach to another on an island, 12 minutes from the mainland, these are eight of the most opulent hotels in Abu Dhabi.
Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental
The lavish hotel that is Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental features a helicopter landing pad, 1.3km of private beach and marina and the largest dome in the world. It also has eight dining venues serving food from all around the world by world-renowned chefs, two temperature-controlled pools and a spa. All of its rooms and suites come with 24-hour butler service.
Andaz Capital Gate
Nicknamed the “leaning tower of Abu Dhabi”, Andaz Capital Gate is a distinct building in the city’s skyline with its tilted look. In fact, it’s four times the lean of the famous Tower of Pisa in Italy and even holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s farthest leaning tower. Its ground floor is a permanent gallery space with work by local artists, called 165 Below, and it also has an outdoor pool, spa and fitness centre.
Zaya Nurai Island
Zaya Nurai Island is located on a dedicated, private island, a 12-minute boat ride from Abu Dhabi mainland. Each villa at the resort has a private plunge pool, outdoor shower and cabana with direct beach access. When guests aren’t relaxing in their villa, they can catch a flick at the resort’s outdoor cinema, swim in its wave pool or book in a treatment at the spa.
Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers
Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers is a hotel, part of a five-part complex, featured in 2015 film ‘Furious 7’. Guests get complimentary access to the Observation Deck, Abu Dhabi’s highest viewpoint on the 74th floor, though the resorts’ rooms and suites offer stunning views of the sea and Corniche, too. The on-site spa has 13 treatment rooms, and the resort has no less than three outdoor pools.
W Abu Dhabi Yas Island
To get to W Abu Dhabi Yas Island, guests have to drive over the Yas Marina track where they hold Formula One races, which only adds to the experience of a stay here. The hotel has 499 rooms and suites, seven restaurants and a spa. Its Extreme WOW Suite is spread across two levels and features a Swarovski crystal chandelier.
Jebel Hafit Desert Park
UNESCO World Heritage site Jebel Hafit Desert Park is home to glamping domes that’ll let you sleep beneath the stars. Choose from tents Skylight Dome, Sky Bubble and Heritage Tent. Many of the tents are equipped with four-poster beds, private terraces, fire pits and outdoor showers. If you’re after a more simple stay, book a public campsite spot and bring all your own equipment to set up.
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi marries modern with tradition and aims to let its guests surrender to their senses. Swim in a 1,600-square-metre outdoor pool, relax on its private beach or take in views of Al Maqta creek from the glass walls of the Club Level Lounge, while nibbling on complimentary treats. When you’re ready for something more substantial, choose from the resort’s eight restaurants.
Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri
Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri has 213 rooms and suites, six private villas and seven restaurants and bars, including the renowned Shang Palace. All rooms have Arabian architectural flare, but also modern facilities, and many offer views of the Khor Al Maqta Creek and Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque. At its Chi, The Spa, guests can book hot stone, tension-relief neck and soothing foot massages, as well as facials and hammam treatments.