Ray's Bar, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
Looking down from level 62 of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, you feel like you're at the top of Abu Dhabi. Almost. The Observation Deck at 300 m is the highest vantage point in Abu Dhabi. Nevertheless, Ray's Bar is the location with style, cocktails and an ambience, that is very "Jumeirah". Which says a lot, considering the fact, that this hotel has a lobby that is ... overwhelming? Fantastic? All that! Why not combine both: first a coffee in that superlobby and return for a drink in the night to Ray's Bar. Just for the view. This design. The style.
The five-star hotel Rosewood Abu Dhabi's grand living room, Majlis, is a good place to enjoy snacks, Italian coffees and sandwiches. The Rosewood complex with the hotel and the residence in the luxury sector was designed by Handel Architects. Speaking of design: the whole area, the Al Maryah Island, a natural island of 114 ha, has been radically altered. There is the headquarters of the city's international financial centre, the Sowwa square with its steel, glass and nature design and the scenery with water and the skyline of Abu Dhabi. That alone is worth the time in the Majlis. Time it with the afternoon tea served between 3 and 6 pm and it's close to perfection.
Beach House, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi is a luxury beach resort nestled along the beach of Saadiyat Island. We had a lunch at the Beach House, that serves home-made dishes from the Mediterranean coastline, accompanied by a selection of wines, sangrias and cocktails. At noon however we preferred juice and water with our light meals. What distracted me, was not only the (good) food, but the view (again), overlooking the waters of Saadiyat Beach and the white sand of the beach. It would've been perfect for a siesta after our meal, but unfortunately we had to leave for a meeting in the afternoon.
Skylite, Yas Viceroy Hotel
"A spaceship, legume or even a whale – the Yas Island Viceroy Abu Dhabi is an architectural wonder which is subject to various interpretations among critics and journalists." That's how we described this hotel in our "Architectural Guide United Arab Emirates". The interiors of this resort, the only luxury hotel worldwide on a Formula One track, are a contemporary fusion, very elegant, very sculptural – like the bars and lounges, especially the Skylite Rooftop Lounge. Having a drink underneath the white exoskeleton is like having a drink in a spacehip, legume or ... yes, a whale. Or like sitting in a very stylish piece of art under a light-filled canopy.
Relax@12, Aloft Abu Dhabi
This view. I know, I know, but what can you do, when you step out of the elevator and onto the terrace of the relax@12 and Abu Dhabi lies at your feet? You have the Hyatt Capital Gate, the whole Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (both by RMJM) and the skyline of the capital. I had some very inspirational and educational talks here during the recent Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. Journalists, authors, intellectuals from Europe, the UAE and other parts of the world would gather and talk, discuss, argue. As much as I have enjoyed those moments, every now and then I had to look at Abu Dhabi's skyline, its lights, its colours.
Pearls and Caviar, Shangri La Between the Bridges
A culinary highlight awaits guests in the form of the p&c by Sergi Arola. The restaurant, owned by the Spanish two-Michelin star chef, projects out into the water and serves a novel interpretation of tapas, paella and seafood amidst a monochrome world alternating between perfect noblesse and warm intimacy. According to critics and journalists, the Amsterdam-based designers from "concrete" have created one of the most beautiful restaurants in the city. I can confirm the beautiful part. We had our dinner outside on the terrace and it's one of those evenings, when everything seems to be perfect. Note to self: return to p&c whenever you get a chance to visit Abu Dhabi again.
Ingredients, Eastern Mangroves
Opulence meets greenery: the generous spatial concept behind the Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa focuses on the imposing mangrove belt of the capital. The restaurant "Ingredients" is regarded as one of the best Abu Dhabi's restaurant with culinary specialties from around the world: freshly baked Arabic bread, a live sushi bar and five different kitchens. Our favourites: the selection of Arabic Mezzeh with moutabel, hummus, tabouleh.
Abu Dhabi Culture and Tourism Authority supported our research tour in 2015 and 2016.