We had an awesome few days checking out Abu Dhabi although, I have to say, it’s different than I expected. Basically, I expected Dubai… with a beach… and that is not the case. Dubai seemed to be a lot more lively than Abu Dhabi and while it’s also a brand new city, there are still little pockets of things that have been there for more than 20 years – like the old gold souk. Of course, many people don’t like Dubai because it’s so new and bright and shiny but at least they decided to go all out and do it right. They have the biggest mall in the world, the tallest building and the most luxurious hotel so hate on it if you will but it’s definitely something to see.
Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, sill needs more time. There are shiny new malls but they don’t compare to those in Dubai and things that are supposed to be the main attraction to the city aren’t completed yet. The Guggenheim was supposed to open this year but makes people laugh because it’s nowhere near done and the Louvre (on its own manmade island) is a whole other story.
I know, I sound so negative but it was actually a lot of fun in its strangeness however, two things really stood out. The first, was the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – just recently completed, grand and impeccable. We spend hours walking around this beautiful building totally losing track of time and trying to remember the rules, like absolutely no holding hands/no physical contact of any kind. The second, was being able to spend time lounging by the pool and surprisingly beautiful beach at the Park Hyatt. When we asked about how there could be such a lovely beach in Abu Dhabi, the hotel concierge laughed and said all the white sand had been brought in to make the beach bigger and picture-perfect.