Turkey, markets, carol singers and more: where to celebrate Christmas and NYE in Abu Dhabi

The capital’s hotels are marking the season with special menus on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, plus tree lighting ceremonies, gingerbread house making sessions, NYE gala balls and a whole lot more. Here’s where to go if you’re celebrating

Al Raha Beach Hotel


Carol singers and Santa will be in attendance on December 12, when the hotel lights its Christmas tree. There’s also be a Yuletide Christmas log cake cutting ceremony on the same day. Christmas Eve dinner is served from 6.30pm in Sevilla, with live music from Colombian Band. Christmas Day brunch is served in Sevilla from 1pm to 4pm – there’ll be carol singers, live music from Colombian Band and a visit from Santa as well. The hotel’s grand ballroom is the place to head for Al Raha’s New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner, which starts at 7pm. Colombian Band will be in attendance, along with belly and dabke dancers.
Al Raha Beach Hotel, Al Raha, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 5080555. Taxi: Al Raha Beach Hotel. alrahabeach.danathotels.com

Aloft Abu Dhabi


The hotel next to Adnec is serving a Christmas Eve buffet at Dine from 6pm to 10pm, brunch on Christmas Day between noon and 3pm and is hosting a white party at Twelve on New Year’s Eve from 8pm to 3am, with an Asian buffet included in the price.
Aloft Abu Dhabi, Adnec, Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6545193. Taxi: Adnec. aloftabudhabi.com

Aloft Al Ain


Head to the Garden City for Christmas dinner at all-day dining restaurant Olive Tree (1pm to 4pm). You can also order turkeys and desserts that you can take home to eat between December 20 and 26 (you must place your order 48 hours in advance). The hotel is celebrating New Year’s Eve at its poolside bar The Rooftop from 9pm to 3am and in Olive Tree from 7pm to 11.30pm.
Aloft Al Ain, Al Towwaya, Al Ain. Tel: (03) 7138888. Taxi: Al Ain football stadium. aloftalain.com

Beach Rotana


Head here on December 5 at 5pm for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Kids can make gingerbread houses in Café Columbia from December 5 to 26. The Swiss Christmas Market will be held in the hotel’s courtyard from December 6 to 9. The hotel’s restaurants all have Christmas Eve menus, while all-day dining restaurant Essence is serving brunch on Christmas Day. A-la carte menus are available on the day at the hotel’s other restaurants. For New Year’s Eve, Finz has a special six-course menu on offer while Trader Vic’s is hosting a Pirates Of the Caribbean-themed party.
Beach Rotana, Al Zahiyah, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6979302. Taxi: Beach Rotana. rotana.com

Centro Capital Centre By Rotana


The tree will be lit here at 6pm on December 12, and Santa and some carol singers will also be in attendance. All-day dining outlet c.Taste is hosting Christmas Eve and Christmas Day brunches. The hotel also has a raffle on over the festive period – eat at c.Taste and you’ll automatically be entered into a draw to win prizes including hotel stays, dinner vouchers and the grand prize of a weekend stay in Lebanon.
Centro Capital Centre, Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 4096666. Taxi: Centro Capital Centre. rotana.com

Courtyard By Marriott World Trade Centre


Christmas Eve brunch will be served at Bistro, and so will Christmas Day lunch – there will be traditional festive dishes along with international grub including pastas, pizzas, grills stations and more. Their bar Up & Below has a Christmas party on December 21, with prizes up for grabs if you come dressed as Santa. Up & Below is also where the hotel is celebrating New Year’s Eve, with live music, DJs and a light show using SpectraDOT nanotechnology.
Courtyard By Marriott World Trade Centre, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6982222. Taxi: Courtyard By Marriott. marriott.com

Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi


There are four-course menus available in Cho Gao and Spaccanapoli on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and five-course options available at both on New Year’s Eve. The hotel’s pub, Heroes, has a party with music from the International Playboys, from 8pm to 4am, on New Year’s Eve.
Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6166261. Taxi: Crowne Plaza. ichotelsgroup.com

Crowne Plaza Yas Island


Head to Yas for a Christmas tree lighting, a choir and gingerbread house making on December 9. The hotel’s pub, Stills, is serving a roast dinner buffet on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and is hosting a party until 2.30am on New Year’s Eve. All-day dining outlet Jing Asia also has buffets available over the festive period.
Crowne Plaza Yas Island, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6563000. Taxi: Yas Island. ichotelsgroup.com

Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort


There’ll be carol singers and a tree lighting ceremony on December 7, and rates for a family of four (kids must be under 12) start at Dhs699 for a night’s stay during the festive period. Pay Dhs899 and you’ll get dinner on Christmas Eve.
Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort, Western Region, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 8012222 Taxi: Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort. jebeldhanna.danathotels.com

Dusit Thani


Sunday December 9 is when the hotel lights its Christmas tree – the Dusit Thani’s very own choir will be in attendance. All-day dining restaurant Urban Kitchen will be serving a Christmas Eve dinner from 7pm, and a Christmas Day brunch from 12.30pm to 4pm.
Dusit Thani, Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6988137. Taxi: Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi. dusit.com

Eastern Mangroves Hotel And Spa By Anantara


The tree lights will be switched on here on December 7 at 6pm, while Thai restaurant Pachaylen and all-day dining eatery Ingredients are serving on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. The Pool Deck bar has a New Year’s Eve party, running from 10.30pm until 3am.
Eastern Mangroves Hotel And Spa By Anantara, Salam Street, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6561000 Taxi: Eastern Mangroves. abu-dhabi.anantara.com

Emirates Palace


The Palace is known for having one of the biggest and most spectacular trees in the emirate over the festive period and you can see its lights turned on December 7 at 7pm. There’ll be carols sung by Brighton College’s childrens’ choir and kids can build gingerbread houses on December 9. The hotel has a five-course dinner available at Seafood outlet Sayad on Christmas Eve, and a traditional Italian menu at Mezzaluna on the same day. Christmas Day lunch is available in Le Vendome from 12.30pm to 3.30pm. Finally, they have a New Year’s Gala at the Palace Terrace, running from 7pm to 3am, with a buffet and live music from UK band The Talent. You’ll need to dig deep into your wallets for this one – a ticket for an adult is Dhs2,750, kids aged six to 12 Dhs1,375 a ticket.
Emirates Palace, Al Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6907999. Taxi: Emirates Palace. emiratespalace.ae

Four Seasons


The Al Meylas lounge is serving a festive-themed afternoon tea from December 8 onwards, while all-day dining restaurant Crust is offering a Christmas brunch, also from the weekend of the 8th onwards. Café Milano will serve an Italian Christmas Eve dinner, as will What’s On Awards-winning steakhouse Butcher & Still. Crust, Butcher & Still and Café Milano are all serving brunch on Christmas Day. Cocktail bar Zsa Zsa has a 1970s-themed NYE party.
Four Seasons Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 3332222. Taxi: Four Seasons. fourseasons.com

Grand Millennium Al Wahda


All-day dining restaurant Al Wahda is offering a Christmas Eve dinner package, a Christmas Day brunch buffet menu and a New Year’s Eve dinner. Porters pub (above) has a Christmas Eve three-course set menu and live music and also has packages for New Year’s Eve, starting at Dhs150. You can celebrate NYE at Sky Lounge 31, which has a three-course menu for Dhs450 and views of the Abu Dhabi skyline.
Grand Millennium Al Wahda, Al Wahda, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 4953936. Taxi: Grand Millennium. millenniumhotels.ae

Holiday Inn


Head to Airport Road for Christmas Eve Dinner at either Japanese restaurant Sushi San or all-day dining outlet Silk Route Café. Both are also offering Christmas Day brunch packages. New Year’s Eve will be celebrated in Sushi San, Silk Route Café and Thirty 1st Bar & Lounge.
Holiday Inn, Al Sarafat, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6574856. Taxi: Holiday Inn, Airport Road. holidayinn.com

InterContinental


Byblos Sur Mer, Belgian Café, Circo (above), Cho Gao Marina Walk and Chamas are all serving special menus on Christmas Eve. The hotel’s Marina Brunch, featuring dishes from Cho Gao Marina Walk, Chamas and Circo, will also be available over the festive period. Head to Chamas on New Year’s Eve for live samba music and a Brazilian-themed carnival.
InterContinental, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (800) 423463. Taxi: InterContinental. dining-intercontinental-ad.ae

Le Méridien


Head here for a Christmas tree lighting ceremony on December 6 at The Village, a Christmas Market from December 16 to 23, and food at Latest Recipe on Christmas Eve from 7pm, Christmas Day from 12.30pm and 7pm on New Year’s Eve. There’s also a Black And Gold NYE party from 10.30pm, in the hotel’s garden with live music from Once Duo.
Le Méridien, Al Zahiyah, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6446666. Taxi: Le Méridien. lemeridienabudhabi.com

Le Royal Meridien


The hotel’s tree lighting is at 6pm on December 11. On Christmas Eve, you can head to all-day restaurant Café Palmier or revolving restaurant Stratos (bites and bottomless drinks for Dhs250 at the latter). Market Kitchen has a sharing menu available on December 24, starting at Dhs239. Café Palmier and Market Kitchen are serving on Christmas Day, while PJ O’Reilly’s has a pyjama party on New Year’s Eve, running from 8pm to 3am. Stratos also has a party on for NYE, with prices starting at Dhs325.
Le Royal Méridien, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6950300. Taxi: Le Royal Méridien. leroyalmeridienabudhabi.com

Marriott Hotel Al Forsan


There’s a cake-mixing ceremony here on December 8 at 11am. Christmas Eve, you can eat a festive buffet dinner in Khayal or a set menu in steakhouse The Grill (above). Christmas Day, you can eat at Khayal from 12.30pm while on NYE, they’re hosting a party at Appaloosa, and another on their outdoor terrace. Both end at 3am.
Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 2014131. Taxi: Al Forsan Sports Resort. marriott.com

Marriott Hotel Downtown


If you wear a festive jumper in Velocity bar from December 4 to 24, it’ll only cost you Dhs10 to buy a pint of beer. Kids can make gingerbread houses in café Central Grounds from December 6 to 31. All-day dining outlet Kuzbara and JW Steakhouse (above) are both serving Christmas Eve menus, Kuzbara is also serving on Christmas Day. The hotel’s Eat.Play.Laugh brunch moves to 7pm on December 31 for a NYE edition. JW is also serving a NYE menu.
Marriott Hotel Downtown, Al Wahda, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 3047777. Taxi: Marriott Downtown, near Al Wahda Mall. marriott.com

Park Hyatt


You can try a festive afternoon tea at The Library from December 6 to January 6, and there’s a special menu planned at The Café for Christmas Eve. The Park Bar And Grill is the place to go for your Christmas Lunch – it’s a barbecue-themed package kicking off at 1pm with prices starting at Dhs420.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 4071234. Taxi: Park Hyatt Saadiyat. abudhabi.park.hyatt.com

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort By Anantara


Fancy spending Christmas in the desert? Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort is hosting Parisian jazz band Swing Deluxe from December 24 to 31. They’ll be performing nightly in the dunes of the Liwa desert. You can also eat here and listen to the band on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and on New Year’s Eve. They’re offering a Bedouin-style dining experience on December 28, 29 and 30.
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort By Anantara, Liwa, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 8862088. Taxi: Qasr Al Sarab, Liwa. qasralsarab.anantara.com

Rosewood


The Majlis Lobby Lounge is serving festive afternoon teas and Santa Shakes from December 4 onwards, while Christmas Day lunch will be served in Aqua. There’s also a festive menu at Middle Eastern outlet Sambusek on December 24 and 25, while Chinese What’s On Awards-winner Dai Pai Dong will serve a special Winter Solstice menu on December 23 to 30. For the first time ever, the hotel will hold a New Year’s Eve gala, with tickets priced at Dhs950 – it’s limited to 100 guests and will take place at a secret waterfront location. There’ll be fireworks, too.
Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 8135550. Taxi: Rosewood. rosewoodhotels.com

Ritz-Carlton Grand Canal


Dolce Café will be hosting two gingerbread making classes per day from December 9 to 30, a Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day brunch will be available at Giornotte from 7pm, and you can also try special menus at Li Jiang and The Forge on Christmas Eve and Day. Ring in the New Year with a gala dinner at Giornotte, with prices starting at Dhs695.
Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 8188282. Taxi: Ritz-Carlton. ritzcarlton.com

Shangri-La


The hotel’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony takes place on December 6 at 5.30pm, and it has a Jingle Bell buffet dinner available in all-day dining restaurant Sofra BLD on December 24 and 25 from 6.30pm. French fine-dining outlet Bord Eau has five-course menus available on both days, as does Vietnamese restaurant Hoi An.
Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri, Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 5098900. Taxi: Shangri-La Hotel. shangri-la.com/abudhabi

Sheraton


The hotel’s hosting a family-friendly Gingerbread Factory event on December 13 from 4pm to 6pm, where you can also meet animals at a petting zoo. They’re also hosting Christmas cookery classes on December 16 and 23. On Christmas Eve, you can try special menus at La Mamma, Flavours, El Sombrero and Bravo restaurants. Flavours is the venue for Christmas Day brunch and the Sheraton’s NYE celebrations. Its outdoor bar The Beachcomber has an NYE party starting at 10pm.
Sheraton Abu Dhabi, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6773333. Taxi: Sheraton Corniche. sheratonabudhabihotel.com

Sofitel


The Christmas tree will be lit at 6pm on December 6 – expect Santa and carol singers. Italian restaurant Parmigiana will be serving a festive menu from December 18 to 23. It’s also serving dinner on Christmas Day. You can also eat lunch at all-day dining restaurant Corniche on Christmas Eve at on Christmas Day. NYE celebrations are at Jazz & Fizz.
Sofitel Corniche, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 8137777. Taxi: Sofitel. sofitel.com

Southern Sun


The GEMS school carol singers will be at the tree lighting on December 7 at 7pm, while you can eat Christmas lunch on December 25 at The Foundry. The same outlet is hosting a gala dinner until 3am on NYE.
Southern Sun Hotel, Al Zahiyah, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 8184888. Taxi: Southern Sun, Al Mina Street, Tourist Club. tsogosunhotels.com

St Regis Abu Dhabi


It’s hosting a festive edition of Brunch In The Clouds, on the 48th and 49th floors, and there’s a festive brunch on December 22 at The Terrace On The Corniche and a Tuscan Christmas brunch in Villa Toscana on December 23. The Italian also has Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus. There’s a NYE beach party at Nation Riviera Beach Club.
St Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6944444. Taxi: St Regis, Corniche. stregisabudhabi.com

St Regis Saadiyat Island


Olea has a Christmas Eve buffet from 6.30pm, while Thai Sontaya has a three-course menu on the same day, at 1pm.  Christmas Day brunch is at Olea, from 1pm. There’s a ballroom gala dinner for NYE, called Moon And The Stars, with tickets costing Dhs1,600.
St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 4988888. Taxi: St Regis Saadiyat. stregis.com

The Westin


Fancy chasing Santa? You can through the grounds of The Westin on December 9. Their annual Christmas market takes place the same day and there are Christmas Eve buffets at Fairways and Italian Sacci, and both will also be serving special menus on Christmas Day.
The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6169999. Taxi: Westin. westinabudhabigolfresort.com

Yas Viceroy


Tree lighting and carol singers on December 7, and Origins has brunch on December 22 and on Christmas Day.
Yas Viceroy, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (050) 5015052. Taxi: Yas Island. viceroyhotelsandresorts.com

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