10 brilliant things to do in Abu Dhabi this weekend: April 22 to 24

Make the weekend, a strong end, to the week…

More often than not, it’s those last minute, spontaneous plans that end up being the best sort. So if your weekend schedule is looking a little dull, fret not, we’ve got some great ideas to make sure it ends up lit.

Friday, April 22

New at the cinema this week

Despite some huge stars, and household name directors, up until recently the release of big-screen videogame adaptations almost invariably resulted in rotten critic scores, transparent cash grabs and sullied legacies. There have been glimmers of pixel-to-projector gold though, the first Sonic The Hedgehog movie — starring Matthew Marsden, Tika Sumpter, Jim Carrey and Ben Schwartz (brilliant as the voice of Sonic) had heart, humour and considering the subject matter, a pretty solid script. The warm audience reception paved the way for the studio to green light the sequel (heavily teased in the original), which features a new sidekick for Sonic, in Tails the two-tailed flying fox (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), and a new villain — Knuckles (voiced by Idris Elba) who gives zero fox about the integrity of Sonic’s quest story. So this is a videogame adaption, and a family movie sequel, meaning on paper the odds for it being a masterpiece aren’t great. That being said, the opening weekend box office receipts in the US ran rings around the competition. Maybe blue lightning can strike twice.

Grills’ night

Award winning steak-maker, The Grill is serving up a regal four-course iftar set menu this Ramadan. It starts with a traditional soup, followed by a selection of mezze (including Syrian lamb and sour cherry kofta and crunchy soft crab saj-tilla), then some deeply meaty mains such as slow cooked lamb shoulder and Greek sea bass tarator, and a choice of traditional desserts.

The Grill, Marriott Al Forsan, daily (except Monday) sunset to 11.30am, Dhs250. Tel: (0)2 201 4131. @marriottalforsan

A rose by any other Namm

Namm spa dusit thani abu dhabi

Your pick for Favourite Spa at the 2022 What’s On Awards Abu Dhabi makes perfect sense. Using a blend of ancient Asian methods and modern beauty science, their great value treatments such as the Thai Heritage Therapy (Dhs850 for 120 minutes) are hugely popular amongst the paid up members of Abu Dhabi’s serene scene. Massage packages start at Dhs350 (for the 45 minute stress anti-stress back massage) and there’s a very Cleopatran sounding Arabian Honey and Milk bath for just Dhs300.

Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, Al Muroor Road. Tel: (02) 698 8300, @dusitthaniabudhabi

Reality check

They say you can’t run away from your problems, but you can put on a headset and blast them into oblivion. Groundbreaking Virtual Reality (VR) experience, Zero Latency, is now available at The Galleria Al Maryah Island. And it represents a true levelling up in gaming tech. The free-roam multiplayer experience allows teams of up to eight mates to fight off waves of brain-nibbling zombies. Gone are the cumbersome cables and wires of the old school VR world, now you can explore the open gamespace with absolute freedom. If you’re not down for duelling the undead, you can also take on a special virtual version of Ubisoft tropical Island caper, Far Cry 3. And for more cerebral fun, there’s the engaging puzzle conundrums of Engineerium.

The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi. Opens July 27. Tel:(0)2 493 7400, from Dhs150. @zerolatencyvrae 

Saturday, April 23

Pooling resources

Saadiyat Beach Club’s private pool complex is without doubt in the top tier of beach clubs for looks and facilities. The weekday passes are Dhs199 per adult (or Dhs249 for a couple), kids seven and over are Dhs100. For weekends it’s Dhs299 each or Dhs399 for a couple, kids are Dhs150.

Saadiyat Beach Club, Saadiyat Island, 8am to 8pm. Book on the saadiyatbeachclub.ae website, Tel: (02) 656 3500

Iconic iftar experiences

The World’s First Warner Bros. Hotel on Yas Island is a strong choice for families breaking their fast this year. They’re proposing an opportunity to meet with a cast of colourful characters from the extensive back catalog of Warner Bros. entertainment history. Experience a stunning suhoor in the starlit shadow of Abu Dhabi’s highest peak at the Hafit Foothills Lounge by Pura. Stays in one of their glamourous bubble or dome tents with iftar and suhour included start at Dhs1,095. Embrace your wild side through Al Ain Safari’s iftar with the lions (Dhs840). A little too wild? Emirates Park Zoo is inviting guests to enjoy iftars with elephants (Dhs250) and giraffes (Dhs1,785 for five). There are two opportunities to break fast under the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s charismatic dome, throughout the Holy Month. There’s a three-course Emirati-French at Fouquet’s (Dhs390) and a specially curated Ramadan a la carte menu available at Art Lounge.

For more ideas on what to do in Abu Dhabi this Ramadan, check out our guide.

smArt move

Art on the walls, art on the plates, art in their heart. Abu Dhabi’s Art House Cafe is all about providing a passionate experience, and the dining element is at the core of that. They’ve got a massive menu but their famous shakshoka is probably our pick of the brunch. Every inch feels, and smells like a truly inspirational, creative space, surrounded by botanical greens and abstract scenes. And because its a place that celebrates the creative spark, you can go full Picasso on a plate for Dhs20, there’s the option to paint masks (Dhs30) or a miniature brick painting (Dhs10).

Al Huwelat St, Bateen Area, Opp Al Bateen Villa No 15, 10am to midnight. Tel: (02) 666 0175. @arthousecafead

Sunday, April 24

Try these Fez-tive offerings at the Novotel

If you’re looking for something slightly different this festive season, something traditional but with fresh perspectives, new and nuanced flavours, we might have just the thing for you. This year, especially for the Holy Month, Novotel Abu Dhabi Al Bustan has flown in a Moroccan guest chef to lead their Ramadan culinary offerings. Taking place at Peppers, chef Mostapha’s grand Moroccan iftar experience is adding an unmistakable layer of authenticity to proceedings. And it’s available for just Dhs149.

Pepper Restaurant, Novotel Al Bustan mezzanine floor, Shk. Rashid Bin Saeed St, from sunset to 10.30pm, Dhs149 for iftar (includes Ramadan juices), Dhs60 for sisha at on at Waves. Book now by calling or dropping a WhatsApp to: (056) 413 3787, novotel-abudhabi-albustan.com/offers/iftar-buffet/

Arcade fire

Manarat Al Saadiyat’s Ramadan Arcade has to be one of our favourite Holy Month activations in the capital. It offers nightly schedule of entertainment between 9pm and 2am. Tickets cost Dhs40, which you can purchase in advance from the virginmegastore.me website. Inside you’ll find a blend of cultural and entertainment activities including arcade games, video games, board games, food trucks, art expositions, and workshops live Arabian music, and karom and hokm tournaments.

Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, 9pm to 2am Wednesday April 21 to Sunday April 24. Tickets Dhs40, buy now on virginmegastore.me.

Nicely putt

The final day of the Yas Acres Golf & Country Club launch celebrations is Sunday, April 24 — and it’s the turn of a family-focused Community Day. Teeing off at 8am there’s a ‘complimentary introduction to golf’ session for junior golfing enthusiasts. From 9am you’re invited to enjoy a family picnic complete with gourmet hampers (Dhs50), music and fun activities. Highlights of the day’s interactive festivities include a par 3 driving range competition, food and beverage stations, and what we’re sure will be a fiercely contested family miniature putting contest. Additional fun for the adults comes from a select beverage happy hour between 4pm and 7pm.

To book please call: (050) 757 5808 or email: fnb.yagcc@aldarleisure.com

Images: Provided