Dubai is undoubtedly the tourist gem of the United Arab Emirates, but when we spied obscenely low fares from New York to Abu Dhabi late last year, our sudden curiosity for UAE’s capital city piqued.
Even in September, average Abu Dhabi temperatures soared to 105F, but that didn’t stop us from visiting the largest mosque in the Emirates – The Grand Mosque – and admiring its clean, pristine lines and vast glory.
Dusk is the best time to visit the Grand Mosque – not merely to beat the heat, but also to catch evening prayers and the mosque backlit by beautiful twilight.
Where to stay:
We loved the newly built Southern Sun hotel located in the heart of Abu Dhabi. With spacious rooms, rooftop pool and bar offering up stunning views of the city, luxurious 24 hour gym & sauna, and the most comfortable bed you’ll ever sleep in (we averaged about 10 hours/night), this 4-star hotel felt like a steal at $80/night.
But where the hotel exceled in amenities, it lacked in customer service, making this 4-star feel more like a 3-star. Still, we enjoyed our stay and would return at these bargain prices.
Make sure to check out their delicious breakfast buffet, and swanky champagne brunch on Fridays, where $100/per person gets you free-flowing Möet, prime rib and Wagyu steak, foie gras, and carefully handcrafted desserts (try the mud pie!).