My friend Shruti is always seeking out luxury, family friendly locations for her family of 5. Over Easter, she went to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Most people ignore Abu Dhabi and head for Dubai. Yet Abu Dhabi has many attractions of its own (and Dubai is still accessible should you want to visit). Shruti stayed at the beautiful beachfront St Regis Saadiyat Island and shares her tips below…
When did you travel?
We went in April for 9 nights. The weather was perfect, a warm 27 degrees.
How did you book your trip to Abu Dhabi?
We booked flights our flights with British Airways and hotel, the St. Regis Saadiyat Island directly. We paid only for the room and added on breakfast separately.
How did you get there?
It takes 7 hours to fly from London to Abu Dhabi. A sidenote, British Airways lost our luggage. We were two days without anything and had to buy new clothes etc from YasMall which was very inconvenient!
The St Regis is about 40 mins from the airport, located on Saadiyat Island, 500 metres off the coast of Abu Dhabi. We booked a private transfer through the hotel.
How was the St. Regis Saadiyat Island?
We had 2 interconnecting rooms. Ensure that you request in advance that you really are getting interconnecting rooms. I saw one family who arrived with a 3yo and they weren’t given this!
The rooms were huge. Even with the two double beds and baby cot, there was still plenty of space to run around. The bathroom is enormous!
What are the facilities like?
There are 3 pools; a lap pool, an adult pool and a kids pool.
There is a Kids Club called Sandcastle but we didn’t use it.
The hotel is located right on the beach which is beautiful.
Every day the girls had a tennis lesson in the hotel.
How’s the food at the St Regis?
There are a few options and Kids under 5 eat free at all meals. We visited the buffet restaurant and also ate a delicious Thai meal at Sontaya.
We also ate at the Four Seasons for dinner which was delicious and the service was insane.
What attractions did you visit?
There’s so much to do in Abu Dhabi and it’s very easy to take taxis everywhere. If you purchase tickets for Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World together, you can receive a discount. Here’s an in-depth overview of all theme parks in the UAE so you can assess age suitability
- Ferrari World, which is an indoor theme park. There are lots of rides for all ages. Get a Fast Pass so you don’t have to queue. Exploring Kiwis has a more in depth review of the park
- Yas Waterworld is a public water park. It’s really nice and clean and great fun with tonnes of rides, slides and other attractions
- Motiongate is a Hollywood inspired theme park in Dubai including characters from Shrek and Kung Fu Panda. It took about an hour to get there and is similar to Disney. Again, purchase a Fast Pass!
- We loved the Louvre. There’s an entire dedicated kids area which is a gorgeous room with nice activities.
- YasMall is great for shopping, make sure you cover your shoulders
Where did you recommend your trip?
We loved Abu Dhabi. It’s a really nice easy flight and it’s not as ‘in your face’ as Dubai. However I wouldn’t stay at the St Regis again. I would stay at the Saadiyat Rotana which has just opened.