Abu Dhabi has often been overlooked in favour of glitzy next door neighbour Dubai, but no more. This slick, cosmopolitan city is now the main attraction featuring some of the world's finest cuisine produced by award-winning chefs. Abu Dhabi takes hospitality very seriously, which is why you are treated to a selection of ultra-luxurious accommodation. No doubt, you'll be simply blown away by the sheer array of activities you have to indulge in whilst on honeymoon there. Oh, and the weather's great too.
Peak summer starts from late May with July and August being the hottest months, when temperatures average around 42°C. The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is November to February, when temperatures average the 25°C mark.
Flight time from London to Abu Dhabi is 6 hours 45 minutes. Fights from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi start from £419 per person with Etihad Airways.
Couples can stroll through Al Ain Paradise Garden, an expansive park the size of four football pitches, which is home to approximately 10 million flowers, a 12 metre replica of the Eiffel Tower and holds the Guiness World Record for the most hanging baskets (2,968 in total!).
The city also offers plenty of shopping opportunities for honeymooners to pick up a few souvenirs. Whether it’s something traditional from the souks or the modern Abu Dhabi Mall, there is something for everyone.
Couples can finish sight-seeing or shopping for the day and take the 5pm Sunset Tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The breath-taking Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the world’s largest mosques and definitely worth a visit, with 82 domes, 1,000 columns and 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers. Get to the mosque around 4.30pm, a wonderful time to take photos, to wind down and relax before the tour.
Those looking for a relaxing honeymoon won’t be disappointed with the beaches in Abu Dhabi – perfect for a honeymoon of sun, sea and sand! However for thrill-seeking honeymooners, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, the largest waterpark in the UAE, has recently opened and is perfect for a day of rides, slides and swimming pools.
Honeymooners should visit Mezlai, Abu Dhabi’s flagship Emirati restaurant for an authentic experience of Abu Dhabi cuisine. Guests can indulge in succulent roast meets and soft fluffy rice. Alternatively, head to traditional seafood hot-spot, Sayad, also located in Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, which has been transformed by the hotel’s new Executive Chef, Sandro Gamba, into a classical brasserie serving seafood favourites with a modern twist. The terrace offers stunning views of the marina and white beach.
Quest, situated on level 63 of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, is a pan Asian restaurant with 360 degree views of the Abu Dhabi cityscape, Arabian Gulf and Corniche. Resident Chef, Benjamin Whatt, was the winner of the What’s On Restaurant Awards 2012 Chef of the Year.
Atayeb, located in the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel, is the place to go if you’re looking for a private dining option. The restaurant boasts a remarkable backdrop of yachts harboured in Yas Marina, and the menu features delicacies from Tunisia, Lebanon and Syria.
Where to stay
Whilst in Abu Dhabi, visitors should stay at the newly-opened Arabian Nights Village. It's a destination nestled deep in Abu Dhabi’s heritage heartland of Al Ain, that lets visitors experience the mythical and timeless beauty of the Arabian desert and traditional Emirati lifestyle.
The Arabian Nights Village offers three different types of accommodation: Beit Shaar, lodgings based on the woven tents of nomadic tribes, Beit Al Barr, modern updates on traditional desert mud houses and Beit Al Bahr, rooms designed to mirror original Emirati beachfront houses made from palm fronds. All of the retreat’s overnight options are luxuriously re-imagined with in-room AC units, en suite bathroom facilities and modern beds.
The Arabian Nights Village also offers a range of adventures and experiences such as dune bashing, quad biking, sand boarding and camel riding.
Alternatively, the recently opened Ritz Carlton Grand Canal Abu Dhabi covers 57 acres of sunken, manicured gardens and ornate water features and fountains running throughout the Renaissance-inspired property. A major attraction is the 1,600m² outdoor swimming pool.
This 447-room hotel, which also features 85 one and two bedroom villas, boast views across the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Furthermore, award-winning restaurant designers, Super Potato have contributed three signature restaurants to the hotel.