A cultural yet cosmopolitan destination, Abu Dhabi packs a punch as an incentive destination with experiences to suit all tastes, from adrenaline-fuelled adventures to eco-activities and pampering opportunities. We round up some of the best…
Just outside Abu Dhabi city centre, the sprawling swathes of the Mangrove National Park continue to be one of the emirate’s most important ecological assets. Protected by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD), the Mangrove National Park constitutes about 75 percent of the total mangrove forest area in the UAE and is a biodiversity hotspot that includes mangrove forests, salt marshes, mudflats, and algal communities. A real haven for nature lovers, the mangroves are also home to a wide variety of different aquatic inhabitants, including crabs, herons, flamingos and fish, and incentive groups can take a half-day guided Eco Tour by kayak.
Touch +971 can arrange for groups to support the Give a Ghaf Tree Planting Program as part of their incentive. The national tree of the UAE, the Ghaf tree consumes just five litres of water compared to 100 litres for a palm tree on average. On a recent fam trip, guests participated in seeding 22 trees, which are being kept in a nursery until they can be planted, and also assisted in planting a tree at Jumeirah Al Whatba Dessert Resort during their stay.
Speed demons should head straight for Yas Marina Circuit, the home of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where you can get behind the wheel and experience the thrill of the latest cars. There are experiences suitable for all driving levels in a controlled and safe environment under the supervision of track professionals.
Or head to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and ride the Flying Aces, featuring the highest roller coaster loop in the world, or Formula Rossa, which is the world’s fastest roller coaster with a top speed of 250kmph in 4.9 seconds. The theme park also features state-of-the-art simulators, electric-powered go-karts and live shows. If you’ve not yet experienced the thrill of dune bashing – head out of town in a 4×4 and explore the high dunes and long sand valleys in the desert.
Abu Dhabi has invested heavily in positioning itself as the cultural capital of the UAE. Art lovers should head to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, located in the heart of the Saadiyat Cultural District. Designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel, it encompasses 9,200 sqm of galleries including the Permanent Gallery and a Temporary Gallery that is enriched by loans from many notable French museums including Musee du Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, and Centre Pompidou.
A trip to Abu Dhabi would not be complete without a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – an architectural work of art and one the world’s largest mosques. Ovation Arabia also recommends the Abu Dhabi Pearl Journey experience – a unique experience to enrich people with knowledge on the history of the pearling industry in the Arabian Gulf region, and how the Emirati forefathers dedicated their lives to collect thousands of seashells in hope to find a pearl.
After all that adrenalin and culture, be sure to build some downtime into your programme for well-deserved rest and relaxation. Book a half day at Saadiyat Island Beach Club, which describes itself as a lifestyle venue for those seeking luxury, exclusivity, quality and natural surroundings.
There’s no shortage of luxury spas in the emirate and Remède Spa at the St. Regis Abu Dhabi is among the most revered. Stretching over 3,200 square metres, this serene sanctuary overlooks the Corniche and sparkling Arabian Gulf and offers a range of Remède and Elemis treatments in its 11 treatment rooms. Or indulge in Turkish hammam rituals at Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa, which boasts a hammam for up to eight guests plus two private hammam rooms, 15 treatment rooms, steam room and sauna. The property itself edges Abu Dhabi’s skyscrapers on one side and an expanse of mangroves on the other.
Even the most discerning of palates will be delighted in Abu Dhabi with an array of fine dining restaurants dishing up everything from local Arabian flavours to cuisine from all four corners of the globe. Ovation Arabia recommends dinner with a view at Ray’s Grill located on the 63rd floor at the Jumeirah Etihad Towers, a contemporary steakhouse where you can sample the finest prime cuts. Famed chef Vineet Bhatia will also open a branch of his renowned Rasoi eatery at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers this year. The fine-dining restaurant is known for its fusion of traditional Indian cuisine and modern techniques.
Over at Louvre Abu Dhabi, the world-renowned Fouquet’s restaurant has opened its doors bringing the epitome of fine French brasserie dining to the UAE. If cooking is more your thing, check out Spice Spoons culinary master classes at Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa, where you can travel to the local market and choose fresh ingredients to create Arabian and Thai dishes before trying them out for lunch.
Click on the links within this article to contact or view the micebook profiles on any of the venues, hotels or suppliers mentioned. Alternatively, search all our Destinations for ideas on where to take your next event and create your own inspiration board…
Here are some more micebook profiles worth checking out for this destination:
- Pure Arabia DMC
- Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau
- Etihad Airways
- Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa
- Rosewood Abu Dhabi