Abu Dhabi – Nice

Rosewood Deck
View from the Rosewood hotel

I knew before I left this region I wanted to see Abu Dhabi. I’m so glad I did. Let me start by saying this was a long weekend courtesy of my @Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and my Qatar Airways Privilege  Miles. Yes, a weekend at a five start hotel and I only paid for food. I’m certainly going to miss all of this when it comes to an end.

I stayed at the Rosewood Hotel downtown at the suggestion of a friend. The hotel is phenomenal. I always appreciate being addressed by name and from the moment I stepped out of the taxi, everyone knew my name (even though he looked at my luggage tag ;)). While checking in, I was greeted with a delicious welcoming drink that would have tasted great with a shot of Patron, I imagine. I was escorted to my room and shown how to work all the gadgets. Everything in the room was electronic which was great at 3 in the morning when I wanted to turn the AC on and didn’t have to get out of bed. The room was spotless and the view of the skyline and waterfront topped it off. I truly enjoyed my stay at the Rosewood.

Something I noticed right off about Abu Dhabi is that it felt very normal. From the roads to the buildings to the malls and the people, it felt authentic. I almost felt like I was in Dallas or Denver – Okay, it’s quite a bit more diverse than Denver but you know what I mean. I was digging Abu Dhabi. Then, reality struck. Not a bad reality but one that reminded me that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. The mall attached to the hotel, The Galleria Mall, is one of those high end malls that the average person not only can’t shop in but also doesn’t know anyone who can shop in those types of malls. I did incredible window shopping at Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry. It was great to wander through the mall and be reminded how much I miss my vintage shops back in Vancouver WA  & my boutique thrift shops. – Shout out to Alisa at #MostEverythingVintage.

Of course I went to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and it is as beautiful in person as it is in the photos. It draws huge crowds and I really wanted to experience the sacredness of it all but didn’t get to because of the crowds. I could only imagine what a peaceful place it is when it’s closed to the public. Grand is certainly an appropriate name for the place because it is truly stunning. I’ve seen most of the well known mosques, chapels and churches over

SZMosque5
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

the last year and this one is the best. A bit of advice: women make sure you’re covered so you don’t have to stand in the long line to borrow an abaya. You’ll be much happier with your experience. Men, wear long pants so you don’t have to stand in line to get covered.

I checked out another mall but I have no idea what the name of the mall is. It’s attached to the central market souk. It’s pretty cool and has several levels and actually had some stuff I could afford. I’m proud that I walked out with nothing. I think I’ve shaken the shopping bug which is totally weird. The souk (market) portion of it lacks culture though. The Souq in Doha is much better.

Everyone knows how much I enjoy food and I was very disappointed in my food experiences in Abu Dhabi. Even at the hotel. The highlights were Zuma – great Japanese. It was the first time I think I’ve had a California roll with real crab meat. I also have crab soup that was phenomenal. It was miso soup spiced with chili and had crab and edamame. That was delicious. Afternoon tea at the hotel was impressive too. I had the best

IMG_2541
My dessert at Zuma

desserts I’ve had at a high tea so far.

For the downside…I went to a place called Asia de Cuba. Great vibe but the food needs some help. I ordered crab and pear salad – Terrible! The crab was great but it had weird lettuce with an odd dressing and if the thinly sliced white things were pears, they needed to be much more ripe. And the Sea Bass – way over priced! I ate at Dai Pai Dong – my stomach hurt for the rest of the day. It’s a Chinese restuaruant at the hotel that was pretty disappointing. I had steamed vegetable dim sum and short rib dim sum. I also hand Kung Pao chicken and fried rice.  I had crispy lamb shank at the wine cellar. I really enjoyed the crispiness but it lacked flavor and the sides didn’t compliment the lamb. But the cellar, La Cava,  is a great place. It’s a nice hang at the hotel. As a side note, I saw El Chico at the mall! I really wanted to stop and have some but the Chinese food wasn’t settled. It smelled so good though.

I spent quite a bit of time outdoors enjoying the beautiful 70 degree weather. It was very relaxing sitting out overlooking the water. Perhaps I’ll get back there one day.

My tiny bit of advice from this weekend: stay on your Ps & Qs because you never know who you may cross paths with.

Living life…and it’s good.

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