19 things to do in Abu Dhabi this Eid al Fitr week and weekend

From Sunday to Saturday, a week of festivities mapped out…

This week we’re expanding our leisure and entertainment manifesto to last a full seven days. Here you’ll find all the best ways to rest, fiesta, dine, relax, revel and celebrate Eid al-Fitr in the capital.

Sunday, May 9

The last Mango in Palace

The Mango-Licious festival has returned to one of the best-loved restaurant chains repping the sub continent in the UAE, India Palace. You’ll find a special Alphonso mango-based menu across all 12 of the brand’s locations with indulgent dishes such as Mango Falooda, Fresh Mango Lassi, Mango Ka Muzzafar and Mango Rasmalai. It’s that classic romance story — man falls in love with mangoes, man goes to Indian Palace, man and mangoes live happily ever after.

Find your closest restaurant on indiapalace.ae

Seeds of Eid

Freshtohome.com has your last minute farm fresh Eid gifts locked down and ready to roll out. The bountiful fruit basket is just Dhs49, there’s a truly dizzying date collection for Dh59 and special Eid bouquets of picture perfect posies from just Dhs40. All of which can be delivered across the UAE.

Monday, May 10

Limited Edition breaks

This outrageously classy hotel is offering a cheeky little half board rate exclusively to residents and citizens for the long Eid weekend. In ‘Edition’ to your stay, you get daily breakfast at Alba Terrace, and an evening meal. The rest of your time can be spent doing whatever you fancy, although we can highly recommend lounging poolside in a breezy cabana.

The Abu Dhabi Edition, Al Bateen Marina, from Dhs775. Tel: (02) 208 0000, editionhotels.com

Island hopping in the archipelago

Join Captain Tony’s for a carbon neutral whistle-stop tour around Abu Dhabi’s island-dotted waters. Make like Leo and seek out your own secluded beach, drop anchor and frolic on an undisturbed patch of sand. The Island Beach Getaway is just Dhs400 per person, or Dhs2,800 for a private charter

Departing from Yas Marin, Dhs400. Tel: (02) 622 3529, captaintonys.ae

Tuesday, May 11

Saadiyat salutations

Louvre abu dhabi yoga

Ok, so this entry on the list does involve a roof (a beautiful Jean Nouvel-designed one), but it takes place in a space deliberately crafted to stage the interplay of sun, sea and wind. Louvre Abu Dhabi is offering a twice-weekly day of calming contemplation, ‘Yoga under the dome’ costs just Dhs90, and is a mere cobra stretch away from a culturally immersive stroll around one of the world’s finest museums. The 75-minute yoga sessions take place on Sundays and Tuesdays at 10.15am and 5pm. The classes are run by top yoga studio, BodyTree and you can even pair the experience with the ‘Contemplative Vibes’ playlist on anghami.

Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Sun and Tues at 10.15am and 5pm (but you’ll need to arrive 15 minutes in advance), Dhs90. Tel: (600) 565566, bodytreestudio.com

Wednesday, May 12

So you like pizza eh?

New Euro bistro Medi Terra is inviting you to test the structural integrity of your waistband with a delicious deal on pizzas this Eid. For the duration of the holidays adults can get involved with an unlimited pizza deal, including soft beverage for Dhs99 (or Dhs49 for kids). Choose from truffle pizzas; creamy burrata-topped pizzas; signature feta and Kalamata olive pizzas; and smoky barbecue chicken options.

Marsa Al Bateen Marina, midday to 11pm on weekdays, 10am to midnight on weekends. Tel: (02) 633 6366, mediterra_ad

Ride or die

al ain zoo

The animal register of Al Ain’s 400-hectare zoo includes gorillas, lions, cheetahs, giraffes, jaguars, lemurs, hippos, chimpanzees, wolves, and crocodiles. It also offers off-the-beaten-track experiences, Al Ain Zoo recently opened a pair of mountain biking experiences (from as little as Dhs15), allowing you to take a tour through the local landscape under your own steam.

Al Ain Zoo, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, daily 10am to 6pm, adult price of park tickets Dhs29. alainzoo.ae

Beirut by the beach

If you’ve not been to Mamsha Al Saadiyat, you need to check it out. And it just so happens we have the perfect excuse to go check it out. The stunning Levant restaurant, Beirut Sur Mer has a keenly curated Eid lunch set menu, available on day one and two of Eid. Expect a connoisseur’s tour through big Middle Eastern flavours, dreamy sea views and electric ambiance, all for just Dhs225.

Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Dhs225. Tel: (02) 546 4004, tablecheck.com

Thursday, May 13

New at the cinema this weekend

There’s a bumper crop of animation for the weekend of the Eid holidays. The artwork for Dragon Rider, looks ‘copy my homework but change it a bit’ similar to that of the How to Train Your Dragon series, which is far from a bad thing. Three adventurers head out on a quest to find the “Rim of Heaven” – a place, if it exists, firmly puts dragons on the green list. There’s save-the-rainforest environmentalism distilled into cutesy Latin caper Ainbo – Spirit of the Amazon; Peter Rabbit 2: Rabbit On The Run finally gets its UAE release this weekend, and if the follow up to the 2018 James Cordon-voiced, Beatrix Potter adaptation is in the same ballpark of quality as the original, even adults might just find it watchable. But it’s the live-action additions to the box office, we’d argue to be the most exciting with Jason Statham and Guy Ritchie teaming up for the first time since Snatch, in Wrath of Man — which has received warm reviews by the critics.

Tickets: Book now

Deserting your post

Al Wathba desert resort UAE

The Eid Retreat at this super luxe, secluded desert oasis offers an experience that feels a thousand miles away from the bustle of inner city life. With prices starting at Dhs1,750 enjoy a night’s stay in one of the resort’s magical rooms, access to the sauna, steam room and other facilities at Saray Spa, use of the infinity pool and fitness centre and a nightly BBQ dinner, held beneath the starry desert sky. You can also bolt-on dune buggy trips, camel rides, horse riding, fat bike tours, archery, desert walks and for a completely unique experience, there’s now a surfing simulator amongst the dunes.

Al Wathba, Eid package valid May 12 to 15, from Dhs1,750 for two.  Tel: (02) 204 4444, marriott.com

Short fuses

Yas Marina will host a traditional three days of dramatic chromatics, painting the sky above the capital in firework colour bursts. The shows will last for five minutes each night and begin at 9pm. Due to the Covid-19 public gathering restrictions, on-site spectating will not be permitted, but if you can’t see them from where you are, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. In addition to the many alfresco restaurant spots of Yas Island, where you’ll be able to watch the spectacle unfold above some equally spectacular dining experiences, the event will be broadcast live on the Yas Island Instagram channel.

Friday, May 14

Best of the brunch

There’s a special Eid brunch and stay package available at the stunning Corniche-based Bab Al Qasr Hotel & Residences.  From just Dhs785 for two people you get a free upgrade to a one-bedroom apartment, breakfast and two seats at the resort’s grand festive brunch. And if you’re just in it for the brunching you can pick up a separate deal for brunch only from Dhs249.

W Corniche Road, from Dhs785 for two. Tel: (02) 205 3000, babalqasr.com

Staycations that hit the target

Hit the target with the exceptionally good value Marriott Al Forsan ‘Adventurer Staycation’ package this Eid. Room rates start at just Dhs450 per night, include breakfast and the opportunity to go full Indiana Jones with two adventure activities such as Karting, wakeboarding, horse riding and archery. Other activities include paintballing, laser sim, and clay shooting. And of course there’s the standard access to the resort’s Olympic-sized swimming pool, six restaurants and bars, and fitness centre too. All for just Dhs450 per room. Read that back.

Al Forsan International Sports Resort Khalifa City A – 12th St. Tel: (04) 201 4000, marriott.com

Oh mandhi

The recently-launched DCT-backed Emirati Cuisine Programme is giving residents and visitors the opportunity to try some local flavours at a select number of hotels across the emirate. Under the programme, 32 chefs at approximately 30 hotels received training from Emirati chef Khulood Atiq to prepare and serve a range of authentic Emirati dishes. For example, Chef Rohan Kularatne at Ayla Restaurantis adding an authentic taste of Emirati culture with his take on chebab.

For more information about the Emirati Cuisine Programme, visit emiraticuisine.ae

Fort and died for

Al Jahili Fort is home to exhibitions, surrounded by lush gardens and representing an entrancing architectural aesthetic — in 2016, it even won a Terra Award for Internal Design and Layout. It was originally built at the end of the 19th century, on the orders of the ruling Al Nahyan family. There’s currently one permanent exhibition running at the fort, a celebration of the adventures of Sir Wilfred Thesiger (also known as Mubarak bin Landan, ‘Blessed One of London’), who made multiple crossings of the Empty Quarter (Rub’ al Khali), in the 1940s.

Al Ain, open daily 10am to 6pm (Fri 2pm to 6pm), free. Tel: (03) 711 8311, visitabudhabi.ae

Saturday, May 15

Croissant moons

You can celebrate the arrival of the croissant-shaped moon with croissant-shaped swoon at Adnoc. They’re offering buy-one-get-one-free combo offers across their indulgent croissant and coffee menu in Adnoc Oasis stores.

That’s a rap

The name when translated into English from Arabic means ‘a place of enlightenment’. Manarat Al Saadiyat is the hang space of choice for a cool selection of temporary and more permanent curations. The annual Abu Dhabi Art fair is held here, there’s an epic outdoor events terrace, a café and brasserie, three galleries, a photography studio, an art studio, a 250-seat auditorium and gift shop. For those that like their art up high and their beats down low — current exhibition Contact High, charts the history of hip hop through some rare photography and an illuminating sample of rap-paraphernalia.

Saadiyat Island, daily 10am to 8pm, exhibition entrance fee Dhs30 per person. Tel: (0)2 657 5800. manaratalsaadiyat.ae  

Parks and rec

This isn’t just a chill spot for a wee walk, oh no, this park flexes big free-time facilities. There’s an amphitheatre, petting zoo, alfresco cinema, botanical garden, a wisdom garden (because you’re never too zen to wise up) and a miniature train tour.

Mushrif area, entry to the park is charged at Dhs10 per person. Located at Umm Al Emarat Park, ummalemaratpark.ae

Beach, brunches and BTGOFFs

If you vamos a la playa (go to the beach), Saadiyat Beach Club specifically — you’re likely to cop more than just a tan this Eid break. From Thursday May 13 to Saturday May 15 there are some dazzling deals on the popular Mediterranean grills brunch and day passes. Brunch only packages start at Dhs299 and the brunch with the beach and pool access day pass is only Dhs499. There’s also a buy two get one free offer for both options.

Saadiyat Island, Thu May 13 to Sat May 15, from Dhs299. Tel: (02) 656 3536, saadiyatbeachclub.ae

Images: Provided