Total Guide to Abu Dhabi: Where to Stay

By Julia Wheeler

This story originally appeared in the January/February 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.

Total Guide to Abu Dhabi

Winter sunshine and Arabian hospitality await you in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. More self-assured and less frenetic than neighboring Dubai, largely due to oil wealth, it has taken a more leisurely and measured approach to tourism. The result is a considered, confident city that melds traditional with state-of-the art, luxury with tranquility and full-on excitement with an evolving restaurant scene. The city is made up of dozens of islands (not man-made like Dubai’s) and this geography is being used cleverly to focus on the different aspects the city has to offer.Whichever you choose, you are assured of a warm welcome – as the locals say bayti baytak (my house is your house).


PALACE SUITE, Emirates Palace

Total Guide to Abu Dhabi

This hotel is the fairy-tale place to stay. The three-bedroom Palace Suite is decorated with 24K gold leaf, luminous silkwalls and Swarovski crystal chandeliers. It evokes a calm opulence (see above). A favorite spot for pop royalty, Sir Elton John, Bon Jovi, Shakira and Michael Jackson have all checked in. There is a majlis living area and private dining for 12 within the suite’s 7,319 sq ft, as well as an extensive private terrace with Gulf views. A private butler will fill your tub and attend to dietary and other requirements: “There is no wish that cannot be granted at Emirates Palace.” Arrive by helicopter, yacht, seaplane or limousine.

From $18,000 per night, Mohammed Alaoui, public relations manager, +971 2690 7928,,