13 hours overnight in Abu Dhabi

Old Feb 19, 15, 9:59 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2012
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13 hours overnight in Abu Dhabi


I will have a 13 hour stopover at night (weekday) on my upcoming trip. Will arrive at around 8pm, depart at 9am.

Is it worth to get a Hotel or not?

My initial plan was to get a taxi at the airport and do a bit sightseeing. And eat/drink something.

- Grand Mosque
- Emirates Palace (Is that worth going?)
- Yas Island

Any good pub/bars (i prefer more dive bars to fancy bars)? Any restaurant recommendation? Something that opens late, maybe a Lebanese place (Found Lebanese Flower Restaurant opens until 2am)?

I think I would be out until 1-2am. The time for a Hotel then is pretty short, the time at the airport still long.

Can I check in for my flight at any time? As far as I know I can use the Al Reem Lounge. Is it possible to take a nap there?

sostengo is offline  
Old Feb 20, 15, 3:22 am
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Welcome to FT!

Would definitely recommend a hotel - it will be an uncomfortable night in the airport otherwise, and even if you have lounge the new facilities don't have any quiet rooms / daybeds to sleep on. Depends though on how spoilt / old you are

Best hotels options within a short distance are on Yas Island (7 hotels), or Al Raha Beach Hotel. I usually go to Yas but we were put up in Al Raha Beach by EY a couple of weeks ago as a result of a DNB and it was surprisingly good.

Given the short stay I'd say going all the way into Abu Dhabi city may not be worth it. It's a 40 minute drive, whereas Yas Island is only 10 minutes away.

You won't find any dive bars in AUH - all bars are basically in 4 or 5* hotels. Sufficient options for the night at Yas - Stills at the Crowne Plaza and Y Bar at the Rotana are my favourites - you can also try the Belgian Beer Cafe at the Radisson although it's pretty new and they weren't really up to scratch yet last I visited a month or so ago.

On Yas there's now the Yas Mall, which may be worth a visit. Better dining options there than at the Hotels - Asha's for decent indian (miles better than at Rotana or Viceroy), there's also a pretty good Thai.

If you are on a single ticket they should check you in for both flights at your origin point. Once you have a boarding pass you'll be allowed back into the airport whenever you want. If you haven't been through-checked, simply visit the transfer desk upon arrival and before clearing immigration - they will issue you with a boarding pass which can get you back in.

Note that if you do not have a boarding pass when you leave, you *may* need to wait for checkin to open for your flight, i.e. 4 hours or so before.

The Mosque would be my recommended sightseeing stop - it's about half way from the airport to Abu Dhabi proper, so relatively close. Check timings though, make sure it is open as you have a late arrival.
EFATO is offline  
Old Feb 20, 15, 6:42 am
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Hi EFATO and thank you very much for your answer.

I am not that spoilt and not yet old But I guess its not a bad idea to get some rest in a comfortable bed, as the following night (Birthday + Bangkok) might not offer that much chance to sleep as well. Though its only for a max of 6 hours I don't need something fancy.

So I will do the Grand Mosque and hope I will be there in time. Then had to the hotel, check in and explore Yas Island. The Belgian Beer Cafe sounds not too bad.
sostengo is offline  
Old Feb 20, 15, 10:23 am
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I agree that a hotel is a good idea - there is a programme that Etihad runs called Essential Abu Dhabi, which is highly discounted hotel for people stopping over, has anyone tried it and knows what the eligibility is? Its seems on the surface really good value, presumably Abu Dhabi Govt heavily subsidising tourism
H99 is offline  
Old Feb 20, 15, 12:06 pm
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There are a few sleazy hotel bars in Abu Dhabi. Two are at the Dana hotel, namely 49ers on the top floor, and the Trap Bar on the mezzanine floor. There is also The Cellar at the Howard Johnson. The problem with these bars is the smoke. It's unbearable. All bars in Abu Dhabi, except Chao Gao at the Crowne Plaza on Hamdan Street, permit and encourage smoking. I stopped going to all bars years ago on health grounds. Even five star hotel bars are unbearable, especially when you get chain smokers and/or cigar smokers.
sabdhabi is offline  
Old Feb 20, 15, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by sabdhabi View Post
Even five star hotel bars are unbearable, especially when you get chain smokers and/or cigar smokers.
I'll agree on that one! Didn't realize how smoky some of these bars can get, it takes a little to get used to it. Worst thing is your clothes and hair reek the next morning, so I try to avoid hanging out long.
yabadoo is offline  
Old Feb 20, 15, 2:01 pm
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agreed on the smoke - at this time of year (and actually any time of year after dark), outside is probably the best. On Yas, Stills is my favourite. Proper Belgian beer and a much better ambience to the carpark-esque Belgian Beer Cafe at the Rad.
EFATO is offline  
Old Feb 20, 15, 6:56 pm
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I used to live a stone's throw from the Lebanese Flower - one of my favourite restaurants in Abu Dhabi!!
im.daniel is offline  
Old Feb 26, 15, 6:07 pm
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Not being a pub-crawler ... on the hotel side of things, may I suggest the Jumeirah at the Etihad Towers? It's across the road from the Emirates Palace. Both have simply over the top restaurants and lounges, and the Palace is right on the water. Either property is about 35 minutes from AUH.

As OP have mentioned, the room rates are often subsidized; the (slightly) upgraded king room category at the Jumeirah seems like a $700 a night room in Boston or New York, but it's $200 ++. And the food is fabulous, along with dramatic views of the waterfront. It's a terrific experience, IMO.

During the hottest weather, the rooms are usually completely free for F (3 nights) and J (2 nights).

As you may know, EY usually provides free car service to the hotels. The Grand Mosque tours are only in the daytimes AFAIK.
Nicholas Bedworth is offline  
Old Feb 27, 15, 9:29 am
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A cheaper stay is Yas Centro hotel. I think it was 50-60 for a similar overnight MAN-AUH-SEZ last month. Own bar, and other Yas bars in very close walking distance. Not sure when Yas Beach closes at night, but you get free entry with a hotel stay. That's another drinking option.
RowH is offline  

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