The St. Regis Abu Dhabi - Luxury hotel with views of the Arabian Gulf
An excellent place to start is the stunning white and gold Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Designed to ‘unite the world’ and one of Abu Dhabi’s most revered architectural treasures, the Mosque was initiated by the late president of the UAE and used artisans and materials from all over the world.
The size of five football pitches, the Mosque accommodates an incredible 41,000 worshippers, has 82 domes, over 1000 columns, 24-carat gold gilded chandeliers and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet.
At night, the mosque is lit by an extraordinary lighting system inspired by the phases of the moon, creating beautiful reflections in the surrounding pools.
Continuing with culture, the Manarat Al Saadiyat – ‘place of enlightenment’ – is becoming an island of astonishing international historical and artistic excellence. The island will be the only place in the world to boast work by five individual Pritzker Prize winners. Among the many visionary cultural projects will be the new Guggenheim by Frank Gehry and Louvre by Jean Nouvel, a performing arts centre by ZahaHadid, the Maritime Museum by Tadao Ando and a New York University campus.
In complete contrast, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is the world’s first and largest indoor theme park. Among the many Ferrari-inspired attractions is Formula Rossa, the fastest rollercoaster in the world.
After all that speed and excitement, it may be time for a more sedate experience. The wonderful FalconHospital offers a unique insight into a practise which has been an integral part of desert life for centuries.
Finally, shopping. Designed by Foster + Partners, the Souk at Central Market is a reimagining of a classical Arabic marketplace in a lower-rise, environmentally sensitive environment.