Abu Dhabi showcases the essence of Arabia, proudly. With its white domed mosques, sweeping deserts and starlit nights, to camel racing at dawn, Abu Dhabi is an exciting and extremely wealthy city, not at all afraid of displaying its luxurious and indulgent, and anything but subtle side. Combining the biggest and brashest with the flashiest and fastest, this city has so many exciting new adventures to offer.
The world’s most expensive mosque
Built in the late 1990s the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has a most grand and audacious calling card. It is the world’s most splendid and expensive mosque. Its outer perimeters are expanding each year, to house more and more worshippers, and no-one knows quite what the final tally will be! Built in honour of Sheikh Zayed, and inspired by both Moorish and Mughal architecture the mosque boasts many splendid features, including marble imported from 28 different countries. Under your feet lies the world’s largest carpet, made by a strong army of 1200 of the world’s finest Persian carpet weavers. High above your head, hang seven gold Swarovski crystal chandeliers. Outside, towering above the 100 columns is the white glistening marble dome; at 85 metres high it is the largest of its kind in the world. Tours run to the mosque regularly every morning except Fridays, and are available to non-Muslims also.
The world’s fastest roller-coaster
Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park, is home also to the world’s fastest and scariest roller-coaster. An extreme white knuckle ride for petrol heads and adrenaline junkies, the Formula Rossa ride reaches unsurpassed speeds of 240 km/h in less than five seconds, and recreates the Formula 1 cockpit experience to the full, in all its glory.
The world’s most expensive hotel
Big bold and unashamedly brash, the Emirates Palace entices, looking like a cross between a Fairy Tale Castle and an Aladdins Cave of Wonders. This, the self-awarded seven stars Emirates Palace Hotel was the world’s most expensive hotel when it was built costing 3 billion US Dollars. Abu Dhabi’s premier hotel is unashamedly grandiose, and epitomises the regal opulence that the world has come to expect from the Emirates. Wander past the water features, landscaped gardens and fountains, and along numerous gold painted corridors to a surreal world of chandelier-lit ballrooms, restaurants and bars, thankfully open to non-guests. The Emirates Palace offers, (for those with the cash!) the world’s most expensive tailor-made holiday. Price? One million US Dollars.
If the bling becomes too much, don your sunglasses and explore the kilometres of private beach with imported white sand, or partake of eating your own weight in edible gold – the Emirates Palace choice of sumptuous cakes and desserts.
Abu Dhabi is home to many more dubious wonders, including the world’s most expensive licence plate, and the world’s furthest man-made leaning tower!