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Planning Your Trip

Whether you are visiting Abu Dhabi on business, pleasure or both, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates offers a wide range of cosmopolitan, cultural and natural attractions to captivate you beyond the length of your stay. Here’s what to bring along.

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BUSINESS TRAVEL

In general, those of non-Middle Eastern descent should wear their usual corporate attire when traveling on business in the UAE, though keeping modesty in mind.

 

  • Women need not wear a headscarf, or hijab. Wear a dress or skirt hemmed at least to the knee or full-length trousers. Shirts must cover the shoulder; avoid low or plunging necklines. Open-toe shoes and sandals are fine.
  • Smart business casual — long pants, a collared shirt — is fine in most professional environments, though if in doubt check with your company or err on the conservative side with a necktie and suit jacket.
  • Avoid synthetic fabrics that can trap heat in favor of natural fibers such as cotton, silk, linen and tropical wool. Bring an outer layer such as a light jacket or scarf as strong air conditioning is common.
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EXPLORING THE CITY

Throughout the UAE, dress for a mix of comfort and modesty. There’s no need to sacrifice your own style while respecting local traditions.

 

 

  • Abu Dhabi has a desert climate, with hot summers, ideal winters, abundant sunshine and little rainfall.
  • Lightweight, comfortable clothing in natural fibers such as cotton and linen are ideal in hotter months. Bring a sweater, jacket, closed-toe shoes and socks for cooler months (November to April), when temperatures may descend to the mid-50s (Fahrenheit) or mid-teens (Celsius).
  • Indoor areas such as malls and restaurants will be well air-conditioned; it’s a good idea to take along a pashmina, wrap or sweatshirt.

CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS

While clothing customs in the UAE may differ from that of many visitors’ countries, a few simple guidelines ensure a smooth trip:

 

  • In public areas, women should wear clothing that covers from the shoulders to the knees. Men may wear shorts to the knee; a T-shirt is considered more respectful than a tank top or muscle T-shirt.
  • Swimwear (including bikinis, one-piece suits and swimming trunks) are appropriate for the beach, but not as streetwear.
  • Dress more conservatively when visiting the Grand Mosque or other religious venues. Women should be covered from wrists to ankles and cover their hair (abayas may be borrowed on-site) and men must wear trousers and shirts with sleeves. Remove shoes before entering a mosque.
  • Dress with special care during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when rules are more likely to be officially enforced.

Don't Forget:

There are a few things to keep in mind regarding photography in the UAE. In general, taking photos or videos in public is acceptable unless explicitly stated otherwise — areas that may be restricted include government buildings, military sites, bridges and airports. Don’t photograph locals, particularly women, without permission. With those guidelines, be ready to capture your own unique views of one of the world’s most photogenic destinations. Keep in mind the bright sun and monumental scale of Abu Dhabi’s sculpted skyscrapers can be challenging. International photographer Trey Ratcliff offers several surprising tips for improving your mobile photos.


Take advantage of Abu Dhabi’s esteemed good life: year-round sunshine, a beautiful bay, cultural treasures, a diverse population and top-notch global cuisine. Here’s what to reserve in advance.

DINING RESERVATIONS

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In a city saturated with extravagant options, the ultimate luxury may be discovering the small cohort of culinary innovators who are quietly dedicated to producing unique, masterful meals. For the city’s most meticulously sourced and prepared steak, reserve dinner at The Forge at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, where an ambitious range of cuts from seven nations are served in a sleek, romantic ambience alongside a global wine list. A short walk from the hotel lobby is the Venetian Village, where adventurous foodies can discover options from traditional Japanese robatayaki cuisine to authentic emirati fare to an iconic French brasserie.

SPA APPOINTMENTS

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Abu Dhabi is a world-class spa city, with its Bedouin traditions authentically informing treatments for a sophisticated clientele. The sumptuous setting of ESPA at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal is unlike any other in the emirate: a secluded, oceanfront oasis whose more than 20,000 square feet includes a private beach, 16 luxurious treatment rooms, a plunge pool and a waterfall. Try the Indulgence Hammam Ritual, a two-hour treatment that includes a hammam exfoliation, full-body and foot scrubs, a face exfoliation and mask, a hair cleanse and a gentle body massage. For the ultimate in relaxation, two therapists administer the Four Handed Synchronized Massage with warm oil and hot volcanic stones, followed by a facial custom-tailored for your skin type.  

OUTDOOR EXCURSIONS

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Abu Dhabi offers a beguiling mix of city, sand and sea. When you’re ready to explore beyond its futuristic skyline, plan a trip exploring the beautiful beaches of Saadiyat Island, or a kayak ride along the coastline’s pristine mangrove forests and lagoons. Your concierge can also help you plan a desert “glamping” excursion — the untouched dunes of the Al Khatem desert, 50 miles outside the city, make a fine spot for stargazing and wildlife-spotting. No need to retreat indoors when you return to the hotel; reserve dinner at the outdoor Pan-Asian restaurant Li Jiang, set in a beautiful olive garden with views of the Grand Mosque.

MUSEUM TICKETS & CULTURAL SIGHTS

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From strolling the city’s picturesque Corniche to bargaining in the souks, Abu Dhabi offers many opportunities to engage with vibrant gulf culture. Experience the soaring beauty and serene surroundings of the legendary Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, then shift into high gear for the fast-paced thrills of Ferrari World. The Souk at Central Market combines Arabic souk traditions with modern design, luxury boutiques, and local food and crafts. One of the area’s unique attractions is the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, an award-winning institution that offers an up-close look at the stature of these magnificent creatures as they are brought in by anxious owners from across the region and attended to with world-class medical care. The lush facility also features education on the history of falconry and chances to feed and even pose with the raptors for pictures. Lastly, don’t miss the recently opened Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is home to some of the world’s finest art.

Abu Dhabi is one of the world’s rare destinations that can simultaneously enchant and excite — a place where thousand-year-old traditions and ultramodern attractions commingle to create an entirely new type of desert oasis. Visitors already have a dizzying array of outstanding options in everything from international cuisine to daily entertainment, and the capital of the United Arab Emirates has ambitious plans for cultivating and expanding its cultural and culinary offerings even further. Imagination and enterprise have no boundaries in Abu Dhabi, which means your visit will be an experience without equal. 


2-Day Culinary Tour

The international influence in Abu Dhabi is perhaps best reflected in the dizzying array of culinary options in this Middle Eastern metropolis. Visitors need not travel far for classic Italian fare, or sweets and treats from a French chef who perfected his pastry skills at multiple Michelin Star culinary properties. views.

 

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24 Hours In …

Home to stunning cultural sights, delicious dining experiences and natural wonders that beg to be explored, Abu Dhabi is a modern, cosmopolitan city like no other. A single day here can take you back a thousand years one moment, then shoot you into the future with 4G force the next.

 

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