A trip to the United Arab Emirates is not complete without a stop in the capital city of Abu Dhabi. Of course, many travelers prefer the glitz and glamour of Dubai, but for a better cultural experience, Abu Dhabi is the best choice.
As the capital city, Abu Dhabi is quite large and spread out, so deciding which area to stay in Abu Dhabi is a daunting task. Fortunately, we’ve rounded up the best neighborhoods, as well as the best Abu Dhabi accommodation in each area, to help you decide where to stay in Abu Dhabi.
Wondering where is the best area to stay in Abu Dhabi? Below are 8 of the best neighbourhoods in Abu Dhabi to help you make the right decision when trying to work out the best accommodation in Abu Dhabi for you.
|❤️ Best Area first timers||Al Khalidiyah|
|💸 Best Luxury Hotel||Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort|
|👪 Best Hotel for For Families||Park Inn by Radisson, Abu Dhabi Yas Island|
|🏨 Best Mid-Range Hotel||Al Diar Dana Hotel|
|🛏️ Best Budget Hotel||Strand Hotel|
|✨ Best Hotel near the Airport||Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Abu Dhabi|
We have tried to make the guide as easy to follow as possible. We have also included some things to do or places to visit as well as some eatery suggestions of either our favourite places or some funky places to eat at within the areas in Abu Dhabi so you can use this as a go to guide.
Wonder where is the best place to stay in Abu Dhabi? We will cover off all types of Abu Dhabi accommodation options from Hostels to luxury Abu Dhabi hotels as well as how to decide where to stay in Abu Dhabi 2024.
This guide shows the best Abu Dhabi hotels, best places in Abu Dhabi to visit, the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, hotels near Abu Dhabi attractions, Abu Dhabi neighborhood guide and many more.
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The Corniche – Where to stay in Abu Dhabi for one night
Abu Dhabi’s Corniche district stretches along the waterfront of the Persian Gulf for about eight kilometers from the Emirates Palace to the Abu Dhabi markets.
If you’re on a stopover (the UAE is a super convenient place for a layover between east and west) and want to know where to stay in Abu Dhabi for one night, The Corniche is the best area for tourists.
Why stay in The Corniche:
The Corniche is not only ideal for those planning a short trip to Abu Dhabi, but it’s also ideal for those wanting to spend most of their Abu Dhabi vacation at the beach and for families. There are many beaches with play areas and parks and there are even beaches designated just for families.
As you can expect in a beachside neighborhood in the UAE, there are dozens upon dozens of brand-name skyscraper hotels to choose from in this area with wonderful coastal views.
Yes, they’re some of the most expensive hotels to stay in, but there are some affordable options. Plus, if you’re only spending one or two nights in Abu Dhabi then you can splash out!
In addition to many hotels, The Corniche also has dozens of restaurants and food stalls so you won’t even have to leave the area.
If you do, there are lots of public transport options from The Corniche so you can see as much as possible of the city in a short amount of time.
Things to do in The Corniche:
- Relax at The Corniche beach.
Corniche Beach, designed with the comfort of its visitors in mind, has dedicated sections for singles, couples, and families to enjoy. Sun loungers, umbrellas, and beach towels are available for hire, and water sports such as jet skiing and boat rental are popular here.
You can take advantage of the cycling path along the beach promenade and the popular Yellow Boat ride. This scenic boat tour offers breathtaking views of Abu Dhabi’s skyline and iconic landmarks.
- Stroll Through Heritage Village
Visiting the Heritage Village on the peninsula off the coast of The Corniche is a fantastic way to learn more about the local history and culture of Abu Dhabi away from the glitz and glam of the strip. It’s a reconstruction, but a faithful one
Walking through the alleys of the Heritage Village is like stepping back in time to experience the fascinating traditions of Emirati life in years gone by. It gives a glimpse into the local culture through exhibits and displays, including a bustling souk, traditional houses, and hands-on crafts demonstrations.
- Witness the Panoramic Views from Observation Deck at 300
Perched on the 74th floor of the iconic Etihad Towers, the Observation Deck at 300 is a cafe serving high tea to visitors. It also serves absolutely phenomenal views! This is a must-do attraction for keen photographers and first-time visitors in Abu Dhabi.
The view is truly awe-inspiring with iconic landmarks like the Emirates Palace Hotel and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque visible in the distance.
Where to Stay in The Corniche
Saadiyat Island – Where to stay in Abu Dhabi for couples
Just five minutes from downtown and only 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport lies Abu Dhabi’s newest, and most luxurious, neighborhood.
This is the best area to stay in Abu Dhabi for couples who are celebrating their honeymoon and looking to splurge on a luxurious experience.
Why stay in Saadiyat Island:
Saadiyat Island is a marvel of modern eco-friendly development that combines luxury, sustainability, and culture.
Thanks to its unwavering commitment to sustainability, the Island safeguards its natural splendor, ensuring that it remains unspoiled for generations to come.
The shimmering waters and powdery white sand provide the perfect backdrop for relaxation. It’s also a cultural powerhouse, boasting some of Abu Dhabi’s most famous landmarks.
Development here is relatively new and it is planned to be the cultural center of Abu Dhabi, with up to eight museums planned. Saadiyat Island is also the best place to stay in Abu Dhabi for nightlife as there are plenty of bars in this area.
If you are looking for a five-star Abu Dhabi hotel, then Saadiyat Island is a good place to find one! With a public beach, amazing views, and top-notch restaurants, you couldn’t ask for more on a couples’ break.
Things to do in Saadiyat Island:
- Explore Art and Culture at Louvre Abu Dhabi
Move over Mona Lisa, because the Louvre in Paris is old news. Opening at the end of 2017, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is one of the best, most innovative art museums in the world.
You will find works by all the top European artists throughout several artistic eras like Vincent Van Gogh, René Magritte, Monet, Da Vinci, and so many others.
The building itself is absolutely stunning with a huge dome covering the entire structure boasting 7,000 stars that shine brightly when night falls.
It’s right on the waterfront so it’s surrounded by coastline offering beautiful views of the Arabian Gulf. Ask yourself this: at what other art museum in the world do they offer kayaking tours?! Only the Louvre Abu Dhabi!
- Wildlife Spot Gazelles and Turtles
It might surprise you that a metropolis like Abu Dhabi would still have neighborhoods where animals roam free, but it does! Saadiyat Island boasts a highly protected ecosystem with free-roaming gazelles and Hawksbill turtles nesting on its shores.
You can observe these critically endangered creatures at their hatching sites. To ensure that you don’t disrupt the turtles’ natural habitat, use the elevated boardwalk to observe these magnificent creatures.
Who knows, you might even be lucky enough to spot humpback dolphins playing in the nearby bay! Book a guided tour to help you locate the best wildlife-spotting locations.
- Unwind at Saadiyat Beach
Saadiyat Beach is the ideal destination for taking in stunning sunrises and sunsets over the Arabian Gulf, whether through a morning walk, evening stroll, or lounging on the beach.
For those seeking an upscale experience, the beach club offers top-notch facilities and dining options for an indulgent and memorable time.
Where to Stay in Saadiyat Island
Al Maryah Island – Where to stay in Abu Dhabi for tourists
Another up-and-coming area of Abu Dhabi is Al Maryah Island, a hub for finance and technology, as well as upscale dining and shopping.
Why stay in Al Maryah Island:
Positioned to become the new city center of Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island is sandwiched between the main area of Abu Dhabi to the west and Al Reem Island to the east.
Two of this districts most-visited places are the The Galleria Al Maryah Island shopping centre and Abu Dhabi’s Stock Exchange and Global Market so it’s perfect for business travelers and keen shoppers.
It’s definitely not the cheapest part of the city, but it’s glamorous and flashy! It offers luxury accommodation as well as easy access to other popular attractions in the city, such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Ferrari World, and Yas Island.
Things to do in Al Maryah Island:
- Shop at The Galleria Al Maryah Island
Discover a world of luxury shopping at The Galleria, counted among the top shopping destinations in Abu Dhabi. With over 80 exclusive brands, including high-end boutiques like Dior and Chanel, this shopping center is a must-visit for fashion and tech enthusiasts alike.
It’s a one-stop-shop (no pun intended) for other self-care activities too. There are nail salons, hair salons, cafes, and restaurants. This is the heart of the district and you can’t stay here without stopping by.
- Rent Jetskis at the Boat Yard
There are lots of small harbors lining the coast of the Al Maryah neighborhood which males it the perfect place to enjoy watersports.
You can rent boats or jetskis and explore the coastline of the city. You’ll be able to appreciate the scale of the city from a completely new vantage point!
Where to Stay in Al Maryah Island
Yas Island – Where to stay in Abu Dhabi with family
Yas Island is considered the best area to stay in Abu Dhabi for families because of the endless entertainment opportunities found here.
Wondering which are the best hotels in Abu Dhabi for families, check out our below suggestions:
Why stay in Yas Island:
Located about 25 kilometers inland from the main area of Abu Dhabi, Yas Island includes such tourist attractions as Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, and Warner Brothers World, three theme parks that have fun for the whole family.
Yas Mall is Abu Dhabi’s largest luxury mall with over 400 international brands. There are dancing fountains, dozens of great restaurants, and several hotels to choose from in the area.
Yas Island’s great location is also a significant advantage for families. Not only are there so many entertainment options and amenities in the neighborhood, but Downtown Abu Dhabi is only a 30-minute drive away. Less time commuting means more time having adventures and less fussy kids!
Things to do in Yas Island:
- Feel the Need for Speed at Ferrari World
Experience the thrill of speed and adrenaline at Ferrari World, the world’s first Ferrari-branded theme park on Yas Island.
Home to the fastest roller coaster on the planet, Formula Rossa, with a speed of up to 240 km/h, Ferrari World offers a range of rides and attractions catering to adults and children.
If you want a real-life car racing experience, head straight to the Formula 1 track at Yas Marina Circuit.
- Meet Your Favorite Characters at Warner Brothers World
From Batman and Superman to Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo, the Warner Brothers World indoor theme park will transport into the animated world of your favorite on-screen characters.
If you’re a thrill-seeker, check out the park’s signature ride which is the Fast and Furry-ous coaster. It will send you soaring through the streets of a cartoon city on a high-speed chase.
- Relax and Dine at Yas Island Marina
Whether you’re arriving by boat or just looking for a fun part of the neighborhood to grab dinner and take a walk, Yas Marina is the perfect place to spend time with your family.
Its bustling dining and nightlife spots, premier fitness facility, and playground with watersports and boat charters are suitable for all ages throughout the day.
Where to Stay in Yas Island
Al Reem Island – where to stay in Abu Dhabi for 2 nights
The original financial center of Abu Dhabi is Al Reem Island. It’s one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in terms of real estate, with many locals and expats snatching up high-rise condominiums in the area.
Why stay in Al Reem Island:
The Island, located in the heart of Abu Dhabi, makes gaining access to the city’s other attractions easy.
It’s within close distance to tons of other neighborhoods and their attractions including the iconic Abu Dhabi Corniche, the luxurious Emirates Palace, and the renowned Abu Dhabi Mall.
Boutik Mall is a great place to start your exploration of Al Reem Island. It has lots of global brands, independent retailers, cafes, restaurants, and a supermarket.
While there are fewer hotels here, you will likely be able to find apartment rentals for your visit, and the hotels of Al Maryah Island are just minutes away.
Calling all pet owners! Get ready for an unforgettable adventure with your furry companion, as Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi has everything you need for a pet-friendly vacation.
Things to do in Al Reem Island:
- Visit the Reem Central Park
Nestled in the heart of Al Reem Island lies Reem Central Park with lush greenery, beautifully landscaped gardens, and a tranquil lake.
One of the park’s biggest attractions is its 2.4-kilometer jogging track, which winds through the lush greenery and scenic lake.
It’s an ideal spot for fitness enthusiasts looking to stay active while enjoying the natural surroundings. Kids will also love the several play areas designed with safety in mind, providing hours of entertainment.
- Dine Out at Najmat Abu Dhabi
Whether you’re in the mood for authentic Emirati or international flavors, there are lots of great restaurants in the Najmar Abu Dhabi area of Al Reem Island.
There is everything from high-end restaurants to quick fast food options. You probably can’t dine at upmarket eateries every night if you’re living in Abu Dhabi for a while!
Where to Stay in Al Reem Island
Al Raha – Where to stay in Abu Dhabi close to the airport
Occupying a small strip of land between the islands and the mainland, Al Raha is an older residential area that is split into Al Raha Beach and Al Raha Gardens.
This is also the best neighborhood to stay if you want to be close to Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Why stay in Al Raha:
Located just off the main Abu Dhabi highway, Al Raha is 5 km from the Abu Dhabi International Airport, making it a convenient destination for travelers who want to fly.
Al Raha Beach is also a popular spot for watersports and relaxation, with waterfront villas and condo buildings lining the beach.
Being a popular area with expats and locals, there are many features you would expect in a residential setting, such as grocery stores, entertainment, and shopping. The marina is also a hub for entertainment and activities.
Al Raha Beach also offers a range of activities and entertainment options that make it an ideal location for travelers.
Things to do in Al Raha:
- Try Watersports at Al Raha Beach
One of the main attractions of the beach is Al Bandar Marina, where visitors can indulge in a range of exciting watersports like water-skiing, wakeboarding, and fishing.
Halla Walla, an adventure watersports provider, is conveniently located on the marina, offering both children and adults the opportunity to experience these thrilling activities.
Approach Al Raha Beach Hotel if you want to try kayaking and windsurfing. The hotel offers these water sports, allowing guests to explore the pristine waters of the Arabian Gulf while getting a great workout.
- Have Fun at Al Raha Mall
If you’re searching for the latest fashion and accessories trends, look no further than Al Raha Mall. You can snag some incredible bargains on your favorite brands and is a more affordable option than some of the other shopping malls in Abu Dhabi.
The little ones can play arcade games while you shop and you can spend quality time together playing a bowling game. When you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the food court for a bite to eat.
Where to Stay in Al Raha
Budget Hotels in Al Raha
Phoenix Plaza Hotel Apartments
Affordable Luxury Hotels in Al Raha
The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa
Al Khalidiya – Where to stay in Abu Dhabi for first timers
Just inland from The Corniche lies the neighborhood of Al Khalidiya, a residential area popular with expats and locals alike.
Why stay in Al Khalidiya:
Nestled in the heart of Abu Dhabi, Al Khalidiyah is one of the city’s largest districts, bordered by Al Bateen to the west, Al Rowdah to the south, and Al Zaab and Al Manhal to the east.
This small square of land offers the best of both worlds, with traditional culture alongside the modern side of Abu Dhabi.
Wondering where to stay in Abu Dhabi for 3 nights? Al Khalidiya is a great spot to base yourself so that you can enjoy Abu Dhabi’s sights but also be able to relax and escape the crowds.
The central location makes Al Khalidya popular with expats and travelers, so there is no shortage of shopping and dining in the area.
Some of the best tourist attractions, such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Mangrove National Park, are just minutes away by car.
Though public transport is a little challenging from this area, Al Khalidiyah is easily accessible from Zayed Sports City, Al Reem Island, Mussafah, and Mohammed Bin Zayed City.
It is located in the suburbs of Abu Dhabi and offers the advantage of being close to key areas without the noise and traffic congestion of the city center.
Things to do in Al Khalidiya:
- Experience the Old-World Charm of Qasr Al Hosn
Stepping into the Al Hosn fort is like taking a journey through time, thanks to a decade’s worth of detailed conservation and restoration work that transformed it into a museum in 2018.
Check out the palace’s many exhibits, which showcase everything from traditional Emirati handicrafts to antique weapons and tools. Admire the original watchtower, which is a testament to the fort’s rich history.
- Visit Etihad Modern Art Gallery
The Etihad Modern Art Gallery in Abu Dhabi is an excellent destination for art enthusiasts and those who appreciate contemporary artwork.
The gallery primarily focuses on the thriving Emirati art scene, featuring the works of emerging painters and photographers from all over the UAE while also showcasing some exhibitions by international artists.
Where to Stay in Al Khalidiya
Budget Hotels in Al Khalidiya
Ibis Abu Dhabi Gate
Khalifa City – Where to stay in Abu Dhabi on a budget
For a more suburban experience, with some budget-friendly options, Khalifa City is becoming more popular with travelers and residents of Abu Dhabi.
Why stay in Khalifa City:
Khalifa City is the most suited for those looking for a calm environment away from the city’s hustle and bustle. It has a central location that provides convenient access to landmarks such as the airport and Yas Island.
Many residents commute into central Abu Dhabi from Khalifa City, so the options here are of a residential nature.
You’ll find many parks, schools, grocery shops, and parks, as well as a golf course. The airport is adjacent to one end of the district, while Al Raha Beach and Saadiyat Island are just minutes away.
However, if you don’t have a car, you may face challenges due to the limited availability of public transportation, including buses and taxis. But it is a great place to stay if your next destination is Dubai, as it has easy access to Dubai.
Things to do in Khalifa City:
- Get an Adrenaline Rush at Al Forsan
Al Forsan International Sports Resort is a free-to-enter facility that offers a wide range of sports and Olympic-standard activities for people of all ages and skill levels.
From shooting and equestrian pursuits to motorsports, paintball, wakeboarding, and water-skiing, the resort is a one-stop destination for fun and entertainment.
- Stroll through Khalifa City A Market
For shopaholics, the market boasts a wide range of shops and stores selling absolutely everything you could possibly need from the latest fashion trends to state-of-the-art electronics and chic homeware.
Whether your appetite is for a quick bite on the go or a leisurely meal with friends and family, the market has restaurants like La Brioche, Fresh & Light Restaurant Khalifa City A, and Khayal Restaurant.
Khalifa City A Market has lots of entertainment options too, from live music performances that get your feet tapping to mesmerizing art exhibitions that will inspire you.
Where to Stay in Khalifa City
Budget Hotels in Khalifa City
Ibis Abu Dhabi Gate
FAQ on where to stay in Abu Dhabi
Which zone is best to stay in Abu Dhabi?
Which part or zone of Abu Dhabi is the best for staying overnight? Most people would claim that it is the downtown area close to the beach is the best area to stay.
As a lot of the major tourist attractions and things to do are concentrated in this area.
How many days are enough for Abu Dhabi?
You can stay in the UAE for three days or three months, but generally I’d recommend a three-day visit, which will give you enough time to experience the major tourist attractions.
However, a two-week trip will allow you to see more of the UAE than just the tourist sites.
Is it better to stay in dubai or Abu Dhabi?
Dubai is substantially bigger and offers more family-friendly activities, nightlife, luxury hotels, and affordable lodging options.
Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, is a little more pricey. Abu Dhabi is a lot more peaceful than other cities despite being more expensive.
Abu Dhabi cannot compare to Dubai in many ways as Dubai is significantly bigger and offers more things to do for families, nightlife, entertainment, and luxury hotels in addition to a wide range of affordable accomodation.
Abu Dhabi is a somewhat more expensive, significantly more laid-back choice than Dubai, with fewer (but better) beaches.