07 December 2023

Expore The Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Abu Dhabi,
the Arabian jewel
John Hutchinson travels to quieter neighbour Abu Dhabi
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espite its reputation for more restrained attractions, my trip to Abu Dhabi offered me the chance to live life in the fast lane in the Arabian Jewel. Often referred to as Dubai's little brother, Abu Dhabi has matured and moved out of the shadows of its more showy rival.

My stay was two-centre, based first at Rotana Beach and then Rotana Al Ain resorts, both incredibly luxurious My first day began at full throttle, literally, with a visit to Ferrari World. It is home to the world's fastest theme park ride, the Formula Rossi, which peaks at 150mph, as well as the hugely entertaining Karting Academy. I was slightly disappointed to secure only a fourth-place finish in the karting - I'd hoped to show my potential as the next Lewis Hamilton.
Try out your driving skills at Ferrari World
Rotana Al Ain , with desert trekking on the doorstep
my standards have been raised a notch. A seafood special at Finz restaurant and fine Italian dining at Pregos, Beach Rotana are followed by exquisite meals at Thai-inspired Teatro, Park Rotana, and a meal of huge proportions at Lebanese restaurant Min Zaman. One of the highlights of the trip is a visit to the Grand Mosque – a moving and spectacular scene.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the third largest of its kind in the world, and standing outside at sunset seeing the throngs of worshippers streaming around is a special sight. Kayaking in the Mangroves provided the perfect opportunity to take in the beauty of Abu Dhabi - as well as providing some muchneeded exercise. Rowing out into the large expanse of water, before taking twists and turns into undergrowth is both challenging and a treat. My next hotel, the Rotana at Al Ain, was the perfect location for desert trekking.

I get the chance to demonstrate my need for speed again, this time on quad-bikes on the sand. Just as I was motoring quite nicely, my leg seizes up with cramp – maybe it's Abu Dhabi telling me to slow down and enjoy the quieter side of this exquisite country.

Original article published in Jun 2015. All info and prices correct at time of publication.
I 'cool my engine' with a dip in the pool at Yas Waterworld, as well as check out some of the wondrous water-rides. Some culinary highlights come next. My favourite food is Indian, and after lunch at Yas Island Rotana's restaurant Rangoli,
"Abu Dhabi has matured and moved out of the shadows."
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