Abu Dhabi Offers Luxury, Adventure, And, Soon, 3 Major Cultural Institutions
Elnur | Dreamstime.com
The capital of the United Arab Emirates offers luxury, adventure, and, soon, three major cultural institutions.
This opulent city on the Persian Gulf is on the cusp of becoming the Middle East's fine-arts darling, with the Louvre Abu Dhabi opening in late 2016, in a striking building designed by Jean Nouvel, and the new Guggenheim, the largest in the world, set to open in early 2017. The Louvre will exhibit work from several French museums (including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée d'Orsay, and the Palace of Versailles); the Guggenheim, housed in one of architect Frank Gehry's futuristic masterpieces, will show modern and contemporary art from its parent foundation’s extensive collection, with temporary exhibitions that will focus heavily on contemporary Middle Eastern works. Joining these two juggernauts in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District is the Norman Foster–designedZayed National Museum, also scheduled to be completed in 2016. And then there’s Abu Dhabi’s natural beauty, which has long enticed travelers: It’s only a stone’s throw from the epic Empty Quarter, the largest contiguous sand desert in the world, where adventurous types can try sports like dune bashing and sand boarding.
Where to Stay: The new 34-story Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi will open for business in spring 2016. With 190 guestrooms, a rooftop pool, and a huge garden overlooking Al Maryah Island's waterfront promenade, travelers seeking unlimited indulgence, as well as culture and adventure, will have one more reason to visit. Staying in the desert in a Bedouin-inspired encampment is an iconic experience, and Qasr Al Sarab by Anantara offers one of the best. Every luxurious room, suite, and tented villa boasts vast views of the towering sand dunes.
Insider Tip: Always dress demurely, and during the summer, be prepared for extreme heat outside and extreme cold inside: The A/C in Abu Dhabi is set proportionately opposite to the temperature outside.
When to Go: Hotels are busy year-round thanks to business travelers. For tourists, fall and winter are best, when temperatures hover pleasantly in the 60s and 70s. Be aware that summer heat curtails most outdoor activities.