Saturday, 22 July 2017

Travel: A Weekend In Abu Dhabi At The Hyatt Capital Gate

hyatt capital gate abu dhabi

Abu Dhabi is Dubai's sister city - just a ninety minute drive down the Sheikh Zayed Road (on a good day). Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE but it's smaller and on the surface less lavish, the Washington D.C. to Dubai's NYC. It's also the purported setting to the train wreck that was Sex And The City 2. If you can go to Abu Dhabi and not have a particular Samantha Jones quote in your head at all times then we can't be friends.

Abu Dhabi city is a network of interconnected islands, strips of sandy beaches with blue water between them, green mangroves and the feeling of a slightly slower pace of life. Summer in the UAE is pretty hot. There are few tourists braving the 40+ degree heat, the beaches are empty, sun-loungers packed away waiting for cooler climes and cafes are quiet. Total bliss if you're an indoor girl at heart.

I stayed at the Hyatt Capital Gate, a building which curves at an 18 degree angle meaning that on the upper floors you feel like you're suspended thirty stories above the city. The hotel's reception is on the 18th floor, the pool deck on the 19th giving it impressive views. There were some good deals on for the summer season, I visited during Ramadan but the hotel was pretty much offering its usual service, aside from no alcohol being served by the pool (I think even I would pass on a G&T when its 40 degrees).

This weekend trip was mostly for chilling out, I've visited Abu Dhabi before for a day in 2011and did a whistle-stop tour of all the main sites. This time, I just wanted to read books, listen to podcasts and have long bubblebaths in the free standing bath. I find it hard to rest and relax but being in a hotel definitely helps (#firstworldproblems). I didn't turn on the TV and actually did read two of the five books I downloaded for the trip (Gillian "Gone Girl" Flynn's Dark Places and Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman). The room was spacious, the bed super comfortable and the light switches were labeled so I didn't accidentally turn on every single light right before drifting off to sleep.

The Hyatt Capital Gate is near the Abu Dhabi Exhibition Centre but unless you're attending an event there it's not really near anything else. Not that that was a problem. I'm slowly learning that no one walks anywhere here anyway (hence my hot date with the cross-trainer above) and taxis are cheap and air-conditioned. The hotel staff were really friendly and helpful, although service in the UAE is, I find, pretty good all round. Breakfast wasn't included in my room rate but I skipped it in favour of lie-ins, coffee and a later brunch reservation in the city.

On the way to the hotel, my taxi drove past the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - this photo really doesn't do it justice but - Instagram v reality moment - I asked my taxi driver to pull over so I could dash out of the car in the 2pm heat to take a few snaps. As it was Friday, the mosque didn't open for tours until 4.30pm - one of the few in this region that opens its doors to non-Muslims. I visited with my family in 2011 and can confirm it's well worth a visit. It's a beautiful building but don't forget to look at the carpet under your feet.

Hotel-hopping is a worthwhile past time in this part of the world. The Emirates Palace is the most famous hotel in Abu Dhabi - the most expensive hotel construction at the time it was built. It's pretty special, quite understated for this region and has a peaceful vibe despite being a vast hotel. Again, I ran down the steps to take this picture, it came out better than expected given that I couldn't see my phone screen and was trying not to break a sweat before my brunch reservation.

I also visited the Marina Mall for some shopping (I left with a yellow Forever 21 sack and no regrets) and Yas Island because I wouldn't be doing twelve year-old me justice if I didn't catch a glimpse of the Yas Marina Circuit. If you're feeling more adventurous in Abu Dhabi there are theme parks, souks, beaches and a heritage village too (Time Out can sort you out).

Back next time for all things food, including the famous 24 carat gold cappuccino...

Have you visited Abu Dhabi?



  1. Do you know, I used to think Abu Dhabi was actually part pf Dubai...the idiot that I am!
    Sounds lovely and those views and buildings look amazing.

  2. My geography for that part of the world is terrible- some places I am not sure if they are a country or a city.... so no, I've not visited there!
    That mosque is an amazing building.


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