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15 Best Hotels in Abu Dhabi

Written by Freddy Sherman
May 23, 2019

The Middle Eastern emirate of Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates, is rapidly becoming a true world-class luxury travel destination, like its neighboring emirate, Dubai. Hotels inn Abu Dhabi offer rates are low, so when seeking cheap hotels, you may be surprised to find 5-star luxury options at prices under $150 per night. Hotel deals are also plentiful, as there's a lot of competition for your tourist dollars.

Abu Dhabi (the city) is made up of over 200 (almost all) man-made islands. This provides a lot of waterfront and beachfront area, and most hotels offer some kind of water view. The city is known for the spectacular, shining-white Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, along with its ultra-modern skyline of towering skyscrapers. Many Abu Dhabi hotels are located along the Corniche, a long waterfront promenade.

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Best Luxury Hotels in Abu Dhabi

1. Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri

Photo Source: Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri

If you're looking for beachfront luxury in Abu Dhabi, the Shangri-La delivers, with a beautiful palace-like resort hotel, directly across a canal from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This luxury hotel's rooms and suites (and its private beach) all have amazing views of the mosque and the city's domes and minarets. All of the hotel's rooms and suites have balconies or terraces. The resort is part of the Qaryat Al Beri luxury development, which is connected with waterways. They have traditional Arabic boats (abras) that take guests from one area to another.

Like many resorts in Abu Dhabi, the Shangri-La has an overall Arabic style and design, made more accessible with warm tones and natural textures. There's a luxurious spa, CHI, which offers a range of treatments. The Shangri-La can even be considered one of Abu Dhabi's airport hotels, as it's only a 10-minute drive away.

Dining options include a contemporary French restaurant called Bord Eau; a modern Vietnamese restaurant called Hoi An; and Sofra bld, which has buffets and an Arabic menu. Of course there's also a Shang Palace Chinese restaurant, something found at each of the Shangri-La's locations around the world.

Address: Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri

2. Emirates Palace

Photo Source: Emirates Palace

This aptly named hotel is the emirate's premier 7-star luxury resort. It's more than a luxury resort, it's the core of an entire entertainment zone, with an amusement park, shopping malls, golf courses, beaches, and even the city's largest music performance venue. Foodies will be in heaven, as there are 14 different dining options in all prices and styles. Be sure to try a camel milk-infused "camelccino," or the camel burger, sprinkled with real 24-karat gold, both available at dining venues in the Emirates Palace.

The Emirate Palace Spa is one of the largest in the Middle East and continues the palatial design and experience. There are multiple treatments available, and the spa includes a Moroccan hammam, with two Jacuzzis, a steam room, a huge heated marble platform for massage, Turkish baths, and even an ice cave. You can enjoy the Beach Club, which also offers luxury beach cabanas. There are two large, temperature-controlled swimming pools and even two full fitness centers, one in each wing of the hotel.

Address: West Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: Emirates Palace

3. Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

Photo Source: Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

This luxury beachfront resort is also right across the canal from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Rooms and suites have direct views of the mosque and the downtown skyline. Even the guest room bathrooms have been designed to feature views of the water. These accommodations have what the hotel calls an "organic theme," natural materials like marble, walnut, and bamboo are heavily used.

There are multiple dining options (don't miss the poolside burger bar), the highlight being the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill, from the Michelin-starred British chef. For outdoor fun, there's an Olympic-sized, heated lap pool with an adjacent Jacuzzi, and a private beach on the Abu Dhabi Creek.

The hotel also features the Fairmont Gold program, lounge, and accommodations. This is the company's "hotel within a hotel," with upgraded accommodations and amenities along with access to an enormous club lounge. The Fairmont is great for shoppers, as it's only a few steps from the massive Yas Mall.

Address: Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

4. Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island

Photo Source: Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island

The city's Four Seasons is a 34-story building located on one of Abu Dhabi's newest development areas, Al Maryah Island. The accommodations are luxurious, with muted colors and light natural tones. One of the city's newest luxury shopping malls, The Galleria, is also part of the Al Maryah Island development, which houses the Four Seasons. The hotel's Cafe Milano is a popular spot in Abu Dhabi for authentic Italian food and for great al fresco dining with views of the city skyline. The hotel's steakhouse, Butcher & Still, also provides city views.

Despite its island name, the Four Seasons does not have a beach, but there is one a few minutes' drive from the hotel. For relaxation, the Four Seasons has the Dahlia Spa, with a range of wellness-focused treatments and spa experiences. This luxury hotel has a full fitness center, a beauty salon, and a rooftop pool and terrace on the third floor. The pool hosts a DJ at night and transforms into an aquatic lounge.

Address: Shk Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Highway, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island

5. The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal

Photo Source: The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal

This beachfront luxury resort is a huge, 57-acre development of 10 buildings surrounding what's considered to be Abu Dhabi's largest swimming pool. It presents a combination of Italian-inspired design and style with traditional Arabic luxury and hospitality. The hotel's idyllic canal-side location allows water views on both sides. You can watch the sunrise over Al Maqta Creek on one side, and then watch the sunset over the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on the other.

There's a large, private beach with a range of water sports. All the activities, child-friendly amenities, the beautiful beach, plus the brand's Ritz Kids program make it one of Abu Dhabi's best family hotels. There are eight restaurants to choose from with a range of cuisines and levels of formality. When it's time to heal the body and soul, the Ritz-Carlton's Bedouin-inspired holistic spa has all kinds of experiences and beauty treatments, including a full hammam.

Address: Al Maqta Area, Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal

6. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

Photo Source: Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

This 382-room luxury Corniche hotel is part of the five-tower Etihad Towers development. The rooms and suites either have sea views or skyline city views, depending on their location in the building. If you're not afraid of heights, head up to the 74th-floor observation deck for unbeatable 360-degree views of the ever-growing Abu Dhabi skyline. There's a small cafe on the same level, where they serve a daily afternoon tea service and snacks throughout the day.

After observing the city, you can get a massage or facial at the hotel's Talise Spa or work out with a trainer at the Six P Gym. When you get hungry, restaurant choices include Lebanese, Japanese, Latin, or Italian, along with a steakhouse, a chic cafe with an outdoor terrace, and a sea-view seafood place. The hotel is part of the Jumeirah Group, the same hotel company that has the iconic Burj Al Arab in Dubai, the world's only 7-star hotel.

Address: West Corniche, Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

7. Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi

Photo Source: Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi

If you love Formula One racing, there's an Abu Dhabi hotel where some of the rooms have views of the Abu Dhabi circuit. Yas Island is a giant entertainment zone, which includes the Ferrari World amusement park and the Yas Marina F1 circuit (along with golf courses, shopping malls, and a beach). The Yas Hotel (a Marriott property) is connected to the racetrack, and some of the rooms and suites have direct track views (the others face the marina).

There are 499 rooms and suites, and they all have floor-to-ceiling windows and the full array of luxe goodies. You get Egyptian cotton sheets, free Wi-Fi, built-in speakers, and a media hub for your devices. Outside, there are two big outdoor pools, a separate kids' zone play area, and a family pool. There's a full spa and a very well-equipped fitness center, also with marina views. This Yas Island hotel has 11 different dining options over a wide range of cuisines and price points.

Address: Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi

Best Resorts in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi's many islands and canals create a lot of beaches. The city has some seriously luxurious beach resorts, providing a range of accommodations, dining options, and experiences, all without leaving the property. The emirate also has some incredible desert resorts, luxury accommodations that invite guests to sample the desert lifestyle and explore its intense natural beauty.

1. Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara

Photo Source: Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara

Deep in Abu Dhabi's vast "Empty Quarter" desert, the Qasr Al Sarab luxury resort rises like a mirage from the sand dunes. This desert resort provides a luxurious getaway experience on the edge of the Rub' al Khali, the world's largest desert. It's about a 90-minute drive from Abu Dhabi's airport.

There are 140 rooms, 14 suites, and 52 pool villas, some grouped together in a special ultra-luxury, adults-only section called the Royal Pavilion. All the rooms and suites are very large, with outdoor living areas and either a balcony or a terrace. They all share spectacular desert vistas.

It's all about the desert experience. The resort offers camel treks and can even set up a luxurious (and romantic) private desert meal on the dunes. Desert activities like archery and falconry are offered, as are fat tire bike treks. The resort's Anantara Spa is one of the area's most unique. It combines a Moroccan hammam (with ritual baths and experiences) and a range of desert-inspired treatments. These treatments make use of indigenous materials, like desert sand and plants.

Your palate will be treated to a range of dining options, all with spectacular vistas. You can dine poolside at the cafe or in the desert in the Bedouin-inspired Al Fahaj restaurant. There's also a rooftop contemporary restaurant; a Mediterranean cafe; and a range of in-room dining options, including a private barbecue.

Address: 1 Qasr Al Sarab Road, Hamim

Accommodation: Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara

2. Zaya Nurai Island

Photo Source: Zaya Nurai Island

This exclusive, 32-villa beach resort is a 5-star luxury hotel with a refreshing, casual vibe that can be hard to find in Abu Dhabi. Each modern, oceanfront villa has its own private pool and is a fully-stocked little house. There are villas, homes, and even six-bedroom beachfront estates.

You also get privacy, as getting to Nurai Island requires a 15-minute boat transfer from Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island (downtown Abu Dhabi). It's also a popular getaway spot for people from Dubai, which is only a 60-minute drive away.

The Zaya is great for families, with many of the larger villas specifically designed to accommodate them. They also have an extensive kids' activity program and available babysitters. Everyone can get into the fun with the resort's daily organized outdoor games. There's also board games and a library.

The resort offers a true island experience, with a range of water sports and a full PADI dive center. The Zaya has multiple dining options (all kid-friendly). They include a poolside pizzeria, a fine-dining French restaurant, a seafood spot, and a burger bar. A range of in-villa dining options are available, from private chef experiences to full barbecues.

Address: Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: Zaya Nurai Island

3. Al Raha Beach Hotel

Photo Source: Al Raha Beach Hotel

If you're seeking a low-priced, family-friendly beach resort, the Al Raha Beach Hotel is a great option. It has a range of luxury hotel amenities but is priced more like one of Abu Dhabi's budget hotels. There are 254 rooms and suites, and 24 home-like villas. The style inside the rooms is modern, with a lot of brown and tan and other desert colors.

The hotel has a full spa and a fitness center with saunas, steam rooms, and both indoor and outdoor temperature-controlled pools. There are also five different dining venues and a poolside café. For shopping, the Al Raha Mall is right next to the hotel. This is a beachfront airport hotel, as it's only 10 minutes from AUH.

Address: Al Raha Corniche, Channel Street, Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: Al Raha Beach Hotel

4. InterContinental Abu Dhabi

Photo Source: InterContinental Abu Dhabi

As with their hotels in other cities, the InterContinental Abu Dhabi offers guests five-star luxury and amenities at three- to four-star prices. It's a beach resort, with a private beach on one side and a marina filled with boats on the other. Guests can enjoy the hotel's large swimming pool and a range of water sports, both in the marina and on the beach. There's a family pool and a large kids' playground and play area.

Rooms are luxurious with a simple, modern design using a lot of browns and tans. When you get hungry, there's a Brazilian churrascaria, a Belgian cafe (with a beautiful outdoor dining area overlooking the marina), and a fresh seafood place. When you want to get out and explore the area, the InterContinental is only a 15-minute walk from the Corniche promenade, filled with shops and restaurants.

Address: King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud Street, Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: InterContinental Abu Dhabi

Best Boutique Hotels in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi has a lot of mega resorts and mega hotels. Sometimes a boutique hotel, with a more intimate vibe and fewer crowds, can create a better guest experience. Many boutique hotels also strive to create a more personal, individual stay, tailored to each guest's wants and needs.

1. The Abu Dhabi EDITION

Photo Source: The Abu Dhabi EDITION

EDITION hotels are a wonderful partnership between hotelier Ian Schrager and Marriott. Schrager, known as the creator of the luxury boutique hotel (and as a founder of Studio 54), handles all the design and creative, Marriott handles the back-end functions. The Abu Dhabi EDITON is the city's downtown area, right on the waterfront of the Al Bateen Marina.

All the 198 guest rooms offer water views, and all have balconies. The style inside the rooms is sumptuous luxury with wood floors, white drapery, marble bathrooms, and wood paneled walls. There are three different restaurants at the EDITION, (a steakhouse, a healthy lifestyle café, and an upscale coffee shop) to feed your palate, and two pools and a large fitness center to feed your body. There's also a small spa offering a variety of beauty and body treatments.

Address: Al Bateen Marina, Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: The Abu Dhabi EDITION

2. Aloft Abu Dhabi

Photo Source: Aloft Abu Dhabi

This budget boutique hotel is part of the city's giant convention center, the Abu Dhabi Exhibition Centre. It's close to the US Embassy and the diplomatic district.

Rooms are modern loft-style, with cool touches like a rain shower, signature bed, and Bliss Spa amenities in the bathroom. Some overlook the outdoor pool. There's also a central media hub in each guest room that charges devices and connects them to the 42-inch flat-screen TV for viewing.

Aloft Hotels (part of Marriott) have a lobby pantry and a 24-hour tiny convenience store with snacks and to-go meals. The hotel also has a casual social area with a big TV, couches, and work areas. For outdoor fun, there's a large, heated pool and a terrace. The hotel also has a large fitness center.

Address: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, (30th Street), Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: Aloft Abu Dhabi

3. Rosewood Abu Dhabi

Photo Source: Rosewood Abu Dhabi

The Rosewood is a luxury boutique hotel with only 148 spacious rooms and 41 luxurious suites. It occupies a 34-story, architecturally striking tower in the Al Maryah Island development, near the Four Seasons. The tower shimmers in the daytime and glows at night due to its reflective coating.

Rooms have a modern style, with dark woods and contrasting colors. Even the basic, Classic-level rooms have sumptuous marble bathrooms with huge, free-standing, modern soaking tubs and rain showers. The hotel also has a large outdoor swimming pool, which is heated in the winter and cooled during the summer (something necessary in Abu Dhabi's heat). There's a big fitness center and a full-service spa and salon.

Rosewood is a luxury boutique hotel company created to offer a more personal, residential-style hotel experience. Now based in Hong Kong, the hotel brand started in the US. Its first property was the Mansion at Turtle Creek in Dallas. They strive to reflect the culture, history, and geography of the locations where they have hotels.

Address: Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: Rosewood Abu Dhabi

4. The Eclipse Boutique Suites

Photo Source: The Eclipse Boutique Suites

This is a luxury, boutique hotel whose price point makes it one of Abu Dhabi's affordable hotels. It's residential in that you get more than a hotel room; you get a small apartment with a full kitchen, a living room with a dining area, and a washer/dryer unit. The size of the unit and the kitchen also make the Eclipse Boutique Suites one of the city's best cheap family hotels.

The property has a small spa and a Korean restaurant. Other practical amenities include a business center and a fitness center with available personal trainers. It's within walking distance of the Mall World Trade Center (a shopping mall and exhibition center), a nice park, and the Corniche bike and jogging path.

Address: Liwa Street, Abu Dhabi

Accommodation: The Eclipse Boutique Suites

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