When it comes to the United Arab Emirates, Dubai seems to hog all the headlines at the expense of other emirates. However, it’s worth noting that Abu Dhabi, which is the capital of the UAE is just as inviting with a breathtaking skyline, world-class tourist attractions and unforgettable high-profile sporting events. That last part is where Abu Dhabi has Dubai on the ropes, as the better-known emirate has no answer — at least in the realm of motorsport.
Every year in recent Formula One history, Abu Dhabi plays host to the season finale at what is arguably the most alluring venue on the Formula One calendar. A lot could be said about Yas Island where this event takes place but you won’t get very far in your narrative without mentioning one of a kind landmark – The W Abu Dhabi. A five-star hotel on Yas Island.
Whenever Formula One heads to Abu Dhabi for its curtain-closing event each year, one structure that will have newcomers asking questions is the architectural masterpiece that houses the W Abu Dhabi. Unlike anything else in the region, the instantly-recognizable exoskeleton-like design sits like a veil over the hotel itself and has become synonymous with both Abu Dhabi and F1 over the years.
It’s often said that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is similar to the Monaco Grand Prix in terms of drawing in an A-list audience including royalty and celebrities from different parts of the world. In addition, there’s no shortage of race parties hosted on yachts of various sizes on the marina where invitees get a close-up view of the cars racing by as they sip on their cocktails.
There’s little doubt that the W Abu Dhabi plays a key role in building this party atmosphere. You can think of the hotel as the contemporary equivalent of the Hotel de Paris in Monaco.
Even on an F1 calendar that spans across two dozen prominent global cities, the hotel’s curvilinear glass and steel covering, known as the Grid Shell, is peerless in its aesthetic, and that's just during the day. At night, the glass panels between the web of metal become an award-winning spectacle of light as an LED lighting system takes over and illuminates the surrounding marina and beyond.
But you probably already had an idea of what the hotel looked like after its starring role in 14 Abu Dhabi Grands Prix and counting. It is, after all, essentially part of the Formula One circuit, with the final sector running underneath a glass bridge that connects the hotel's two buildings. Yet there's a whole lot more on the W Abu Dhabi's inside that dazzles just as much as its exterior.
If you're one for the finer things in life, there's no better place to stay in Abu Dhabi than the W; in the hotel's own words, "it is a luxury playground." Conveniently located just 15 minutes away from the airport, there is a yacht-filled marina encompassing the eastern block and a Formula One circuit snaking around its western building; not many places in the world can say exquisite more than here.
When you step inside, you'll be forgiven for thinking you're in an art gallery; such is the decor of all W Hotel's communal areas. The hotel's five stars are on full display in every single facility available to its patrons.
The open-roofed SUN deck is suitable for a relaxing time with the family, while the adult-only WET deck is the perfect spot for sipping cocktails and soaking up the sun next to the pool. Don't worry too much about the Middle Eastern heat being too intense, the weather in the fall is temperate. There’s also an in-house DJ to keep you entertained while you’re enjoying your drinks.
Once your cocktails whet your appetite, five international cuisines are on offer at Garage, one of W's dining experiences. Here you’ll find a menu with an impressive variety of meals carefully curated into different categories. 'Meat connoisseurs’ should look out for the Meat Vault which promises ‘only the finest cuts’.
To complete any VIP experience, the Abu Dhabi Soul treatment in the on-site spa will make any visitor feel reborn. Even if this signature experience isn't what you opt for, every single massage, manicure, facial, or detoxifying body wrap service on the menu means you'll leave W's spa healthier and fresher than when you entered.
Convenience & Comforts
If you wish to venture outside the hotel's grounds, perhaps to the nearby Ferrari World or other attractions within the Emirate, the 'Whatever/Whenever' concierge service will always help. As their name suggests, the team will cater to your every whim or desire, no matter when you want it.
But what about the rooms? Well, we saved the best for last. The rooms themselves match the indulgence found elsewhere in the hotel. There are 499 pet-friendly guest rooms, suites, and bi-level suites to choose from, with names like Wonderful, Fabulous, WOW and E-WOW aptly describing the level of opulence in each.
If you really want to splurge during your visit, perhaps, the Extreme WOW suite is the one for you. With 409 square meters of luxurious space offering plenty of room in the living area, along with a bedroom and bathroom fit for royalty, you'll definitely feel spoilt. You also get your very own mix-bar and you can enjoy your drinks under the chandelier of Swarovski lights.
Whether you prefer naval or four-wheeled speed, the W has you covered with track and marina-facing rooms. No matter your choice, like your trip to Abu Dhabi, your room's view isn't one you'll forget soon.