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Latifah Al-Hazza, Contributor
Abu Dhabi has a reputation for extravagance, and although that can be true, the city is much more than just a playground for high rollers. Yes, the capital of the United Arab Emirates may be home to some of the world’s top luxury accommodations, but the best hotels in Abu Dhabi all offer impeccable service, high-end amenities and refined hospitality, no matter the category. Whether you’re heading to Yas Island for a family vacation or looking to enjoy some of the city’s impeccable design, there are plenty of kid-friendly attractions and intimate getaways to be found for every type of traveler.
For an intimate experience featuring private villas and attentive butler service, we recommend Nurai Island, while a relaxing beach getaway on a prime spot on the Arabian Gulf can be found at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi. For families, The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection By Hilton is sure to win you brownie points from the kids, while Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi At Al Maryah Island offers indulgent treatments for the serious spa lover. Below, we’ve selected the best resorts in Abu Dhabi for 2023, all of which are sure to deliver the experience you’re in search of.
Best High-End Hotel In Abu Dhabi: The St. Regis Abu Dhabi
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi
Who Will Love It: Business travelers; couples; honeymooners; luxury lovers; families
All-Star Amenities: Private beach club; kids club
What Not To Miss: Staying in a corner view room; indulging in the property’s signature red velvet cake
At the epicenter of the glitz and glamour of Abu Dhabi lies The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, a hotel that effortlessly embodies Arabian hospitality. This luxury hotel offers direct access to the private Nation Riviera Beach Club as well as a newly renovated swimming pool. The hotel’s prime location allows guests to peruse the Nation Galleria Mall (which is connected to the hotel) or visit the Al Bateen district. Those visiting for business purposes will be pleasantly surprised to learn that the hotel is also within close proximity to a number of embassies and oil and gas companies.
A bragging right of the hotel is its Abu Dhabi Suite, a two-story room located on the 48th and 49th floors. The suite offers dramatic 360-degree views of the city, has a private entrance, three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two powder rooms, a lounge bar, and a maid’s room. The culinary scene is wide and diverse at the hotel. With eight dining experiences to choose from, guests can have plenty of options, including fresh seafood at Catch and Italian fine dining at Villa Toscana. Don’t forget to make use of the hotel’s helipad, perfect for watching the sunset.
Best Spa Hotel In Abu Dhabi: Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi At Al Maryah Island
Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi At Al Maryah Island
Who Will Love It: Modern design lovers; couples; honeymooners; spa goers; families
All-Star Amenities: Barbershop; in-house florist; children’s video library
What Not To Miss: Asking for a bathing suit and sneakers if you forgot yours; upgrading to a deluxe room; low touch therapies
Location: Al Maryah Island
This 34-story building is situated in an ideal waterfront location, just a few minutes from the heart of the city and the finest shopping and dining in Abu Dhabi. The hotel prides itself in its 2,000-piece art collection from local and international artists; the property’s rich interiors of emerald and sapphire hues are reminiscent of the waterfront, while the carpets and walls all flaunt Arabian illustrations. From the room keys to the silk scarves sold at the spa, every piece of art is a story steeped in the local culture.
The real showstopper of any stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island, however, is a visit to the Pearl Spa. We encourage you to try a unique experience, such as an Arabian oud tension relief massage, which combines massage techniques with benefits that come from the Arabian oud scent. After, indulge in a two-and-a-half hour pearl spa experience that pays homage to the country’s pearl diving culture.
Hotel With The Best Pool In Abu Dhabi: Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi
Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi
Who Will Love It: Couples; business travelers
All-Star Amenities: The large infinity pool
What Not To Miss: Breathtaking sunset views
Location: Qaryat Al Beri
Every room within the Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi celebrates Arabian architecture in subtle ways. From mosaic bathrooms to arched entryways, the hotel exudes an authentic Arab atmosphere. It also offers some of the best views you can find in the city, easily making it one of the best hotels in Abu Dhabi. Most of the rooms offers glimpses of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Khor Al Maqta Creek or the canal via private balconies and terraces.
Some of the best views can be found at the property’s large infinity pool, a centerpiece of the hotel and the perfect spot to take in the breathtaking scenery of Khor Al Maqta creek and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque just across the water. The hotel also offers several fine dining options, such as Shang Palace, a Chinese restaurant, Bord Eau, which serves French cuisine, and Sofra bld, which specializes in international fare.
Hotel With The Best Amenities In Abu Dhabi: Telal Resort Al Ain
Telal Resort Al Ain
Who Will Love It: Families; adventure seekers; desert wanderers; couples; honeymooners; those seeking to learn more about traditional Arab culture
All-Star Amenities: Heritage village; falconry
What Not To Miss: The gazelles grazing around; the Domani villas with a private pool
Location: Al Ain
Picture this: Luxurious relaxation in a pool in an Arabian oasis, once home to nomadic Bedouin tribes. At Telal Resort Al Ain, a boutique desert resort in the Remah Desert, this vision becomes a reality. For the adventurer, the resort offers endless activities, such as falconry, wildlife safaris, camel riding, sandboarding and ATV tours. For guests who prefer to stay at the resort, volleyball, ping pong, and badminton are all available. Aside from the typical outdoor pool, spa, and gym amenities, the resort features a sunken pool, a library, a swan-filled pond, and “The Twilight”—the highest spot at the resort and the best place to watch the sunset.
The most unique part of Telal Resort Al Ain is its Zaman Lawal Heritage Village. Zaman Lawal, translating to “old times” in Arabic, takes guests back in history to the traditions of the Emirati people. The village is home to a traditional souk, or Arab marketplace, where visitors can shop local Emirati products, visit a pearl diving boat that was used in the past, dine in a traditional Arab restaurant, observe an Islamic place of worship, and visit an establishment that teaches the importance that date palms play in the region.
Best Private Island Hotel In Abu Dhabi: Nurai Island
Who Will Love It: Honeymooners; couples; those who enjoy privacy; families; groups celebrating an occasion
All-Star Amenities: Kid’s waterpark; personalized butler service
What Not To Miss: Playing board games at the Book Cellar; a pizza at Smokin Pineapple Beach Club; complimentary weekend yoga
Location: Nurai Island
Nurai Island, a 15-minute boat ride from Abu Dhabi, is a boutique private island resort with all the bells and whistles you’ll want from an intimate private island experience. For starters, every villa comes with a butler that caters to every need and want during your stay. Each villa also comes with a set of bicycles to explore the lush island at your own pace. Choose to spend your time in a beach villa, beach house, two-bedroom pool house, water villa, or estate villa. Activities found on the island range from water skiing to fly-fishing to wakeboarding to simply playing sports on the white sand beaches.
Aside from complimentary yoga sessions, the on-site spa is the perfect place to indulge in a little self-care. All treatment rooms offer a stunning view of the ocean that will undoubtedly aid in your relaxation. For families looking to bring the little ones along, Nurai is extremely kid-friendly—the island has a kids club that offers a daily program of activities, from arts and crafts to book reading and recreational experiences. New to the resort is the kid’s waterpark, which features four slides and a splash pool.
Best Design Hotel In Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Edition
The Abu Dhabi Edition
Who Will Love It: Trendsetters; couples; honeymooners; friend groups; social media stars
All-Star Amenities: A three-story space for nightlife; Le Labo toiletries
What Not To Miss: The vibrant on-site dining scene; drinks at the pool bar
Location: Al Bateen Marina
If there’s one property that does a perfect job of blending modernity with old world Arab charm in Abu Dhabi, it’s The Abu Dhabi Edition. Guest rooms feature herringbone floor patterns, inspired by the art of basket weaving, while walls are adorned in black and white images of sand dunes. The hotel stays true to the signature Edition aesthetic with its off-white marble bathrooms, khaki-colored rugs and off-white drapery. Located right on the Al Bateen Marina, the hotel’s many dining and entertainment options offer endlessly exciting possibilities for lively evenings with friends.
The Oak Room offers a British menu with traditional English Oak paneling, velvet sofas and drapes and leather stools. The Market recalls a modern spice souk, with shelves adorned with herb pots and copper cans. The Alba Terrace transports you to the Mediterranean, with terrazzo flooring and light marble tables. An intimate tipple can be found at The Lobby Bar, with a gin inspired cocktail menu. The highlight of the hotel, however, lies within Annex, a three-story social space offering Peruvian fare and stunning sunset views from its rooftop garden bar. Enjoy the DJs and late-night merriment from the second floor or the ground floor cocktail bar.
Hotel With The Best Views In Abu Dhabi: Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers
Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers
Who Will Love It: Couples; business travelers; luxury lovers
All-Star Amenities: Level 45 club; rasul mud chamber; observation deck
What Not To Miss: 360 views of the city at Ray’s Grill
Location: West Corniche
The views at the Conrad Abu Dhabi are unbeatable. Whether it’s from your room or the 74th floor observation deck, you’ll be mesmerized by Abu Dhabi from every angle. Located in the Etihad Towers, you’ll be steps away from shopping opportunities at some of the world’s most luxurious brands. The property features three outdoor pools, a private beach, a fitness center, and the Conrad Spa. Enjoy a signature spa treatment, such as a Hammam treatment or the traditional Middle Eastern Rasul Mud Chamber that combines mud, herb-scented steam, and an oil-infused warm shower to cleanse and detoxify the body.
With 12 restaurants and bars, there is no shortage of on-site dining experiences to enjoy. Try Ray’s Grill on the 63rd floor, with 360 views of the city, or Ray’s Bar on the 62nd floor for a cocktail. Other fan favorites include the Lebanese cuisine at Li Beirut and Latin American cuisine at Vakava. Guests staying on Level 45 executive rooms or suites have access to the Level 45 Club, which offers exclusive breakfast bites, afternoon tea and sundowners.
Hotel With The Best Location In Abu Dhabi: Bab Al Qasr Hotel
Bab Al Qasr Hotel
Who Will Love It: Those wanting to immerse in Arab culture; families
All-Star Amenities: Two bars; virtual reality entertainment
What Not To Miss: Afternoon Arabian tea and coffee; the Arabesque interiors
Located in a prime location along the Abu Dhabi Corniche, overlooking the Presidential Palace, Abu Dhabi islands, and the Arabian Gulf, the Arabesque architecture and interiors at Bab Al Qasr Hotel pay homage to the heritage of the Emirates. Bab Al Qasr means “the gateway to the palace” in Arabic, and the hotel’s striking doorway exemplifies this very well. Throughout the hotel, guests will notice items evocative of Islamic art, Bedouin tents, date palm trees and a falaj.
Aside from admiring the exquisite Arab décor, guests can lounge by the infinity swimming pool or private beach, enjoy a spa treatment, or even dabble in virtual reality entertainment. Bab Al Qasr has five on-site restaurants, including Morjana, offering classic Arabian hospitality via afternoon tea, coffee, and Arab pastries, and Fresh Basil, a dining in the dark experience. Other restaurants serve international delicacies and Mediterranean delights.
Best Beachfront Hotel: The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi
Who Will Love It: Families, couples; those seeking a natural tan; boho partygoers
All-Star Amenities: Buddha-Bar; Saadiyat Beach Golf Club
What Not To Miss: Balmain toiletries; chocolate from the chocolatier in the lobby
Location: Saadiyat Island
Located on an immaculate beach on the Arabian Gulf, it’s no surprise that The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort is the best beachfront hotel in Abu Dhabi. While guests can bask in the sun on the beach, they can also enjoy the infamous Saadiyat Beach Golf Club that features an 18-hole golf course, swim in one of the three outdoor pools, reenergize in the indoor lap pool, or get competitive at the tennis and squash courts. All rooms and suites offer guests the luxury of a private balcony and butler service.
Spread across the sprawling resort are six restaurants: Mazi, serving Greek cuisine; the world-renowned Buddha-Bar Beach, offering Asian-fusion and DJ beats; Sontaya, an Asian restaurant at heart set amongst a series of floating pavilions; Olea, which serves Mediterranean dishes from a selection of live cooking stations; The Drawing Room, where guests can indulge in handmade desserts; and the Manhattan Lounge pub, perfect for a late night cocktail.
Best Hotel For Families In Abu Dhabi: The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection By Hilton
The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection By Hilton
Who Will Love It: Families; adults that are children at heart
All-Star Amenities: Access to Yas Island theme park
What Not To Miss: The property’s outdoor cinema
Location: Yas Island
The WB Abu Dhabi is the best hotel in Abu Dhabi to take your children to or to live out your childhood dreams. If there’s a movie character that you love, you’re sure to stumble upon it at The WB. While guest rooms feature fan favorite characters, The Matinee “dive in” theater pool screens your favorite cartoons. Just about every inch of the property features something from a Warner Brothers film.
One of five on-site dining options, the hotel’s signature restaurant, Director’s Club, focuses on dining inspired by various movie scenes. In addition to the gym and full-service spa, the biggest perk of staying at The WB is daily access and shuttle service to Yas Island theme parks. Guests can choose from Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros. World, and SeaWorld Yas Island theme parks.
About Latifah Al-Hazza, Your Abu Dhabi Guide
I am an Emmy Award-winning travel journalist and documentary filmmaker who graduated with journalism degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (BS) and the University of Southern California (MS). Growing up in Kuwait, about an hour flight from Abu Dhabi, my family and I would often travel to the UAE’s capital for a weekend getaway. Over the course of 30 years, I have watched Abu Dhabi evolve from a desert land, to a metropolis full of luxury hotels, appetizing restaurants, and endless entertainment.
When I’m not writing, you can find me (still) traveling solo, with my parents, or with my 4 pound Pomeranian. In addition to Forbes Vetted, my work can be found in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Travel + Leisure, Fodor’s, INSIDER, CNN Travel, The New York Times, TimeOut, and more. I am also the co-founder (along with my mother) of Femscape Sojourns, a boutique women’s travel company. I currently reside between Virginia, Chicago, and Kuwait. Follow my adventures on Instagram @tifahtravels.