10 dreamy things to do in Abu Dhabi this weekend: Feb 24 to 26
As we March towards the start of March…
What’s that coming over the hill? Is it the weekend? Yes it most certainly is and we’ve got a monstrous quantity of ways you can celebrate it with gusto.
Friday, February 24
Padel out to sea
The WPT Modon Abu Dhabi Padel Master 2023 championships are currently taking place on Hudayriyat Island. The matches are taking place at the stunning Bab Al Nojoum glamping facility with one centre court and two side courts right there on the sands of the island beach. Tickets to see world class players of what’s undoubtedly the most ferociously on trend sport in the capital, are priced affordably (from Dhs50) and there’s a fan village (entry is Dhs35).
Bab Al Nojoum, Hudayriyat Island, Feb 21 to 26, from Dhs50. Book tickets on abu-dhabi.platinumlist.net
The huge 1.2 billion US Dollar mega project, Reem Mall seems to be in something of a soft opening phase, with the feeds of its combined social channels acting like a conveyor belt of ‘shutters up’ announcements over the past few days. Once fully finished, it’ll hit slopes with a cool 85 different dining options, and more than 450 stores, across two million square feet of retail space. It does seem that the mall is now in a soft opening phase with a collection of stores (and the cinema) now open and serving the public. We’ve listed some of the shops here, but all the best adventures start with a mystery.
With stunning waterfront views of Al Maryah Island, this Lebanese cafe welcomes guests to enjoy a brand-new business lunch. Rooted in Lebanese culture, the business lunch is inclusive of one mezze or salad, a main course and a soft serve for Dhs160. If you’d like a mezze and salad it will cost an extra Dhs30.
Em Sherif Sea Cafe, West Bay Abu Dhabi Corniche, Al Bateen, Mon to Fri from 12.30pm to 2.30pm, Dhs160 per person. Tel: (0)56 880 5333 @emsherifcafeabudhabi
This Aussie-born cult fitness brand has a reputation for fierce but fair workouts, with dramatic conditioning results. The classes combine a mixture of HIIT sessions, functional training (which is where the ‘F’ comes from in the name), circuit training and a cool-down period where you lock your trainer in the eyes and mouth obscenities at them. Though that last part is entirely optional. Each 45 minute class is designed to burn fat, build muscle, improve functional form, torch up to 1,000 calories, make you sweat through your eyeballs and dry wretch over a bin, at least the first time. There’s no doubt that this outfit changes lives, it physically vibrates with positivity and community, it gets results fast and comes with a three-day free trial.
Active Sports Pavillion, Al Maryah Island, Dhs120 drop in session, unlimited month pass for Dhs1,119, discounts for multi-month purchases. Tel: (056) 332 3113, @f45_training_almaryahisland
Saturday, February 25
Making a difference
The artistry house formally known as Makespace, has a new name — Make, a new face, but their crafty collection of activities all go down in the same funky space. At Make Kids and adults can get involved in a dazzling range of arts, design, technology and craft workshops — with hands-on teaching sessions available in jewllery making, wordworking, cermaics and metalshopping. For a full list of their upcoming courses, keep your eyes on their social channels.
Block C1, Al Zeina, Al Raha Beach, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)2 558 8624. @makeabudhabi
You can still get your fix of sky theatrics and engaging carnival fun at Abu Dhabi’s ongoing Zayed Festival. The family-fun filled extravaganza is located at Al Wathba, and once again broke (four) Guinness World Records with a 60-minute done and firework display at its New Year’s Eve celebrations this (and also technically last) year. The weekly firework fiesta will continue at the festival every Saturday taking place at 10pm, all the way up to the festival’s close on March 18, 2023. Of course, it won’t quite be at the same magnitude as the NYE extravaganza, and the event’s magnificent drone show is reserved for special events (stay tuned), but entrance will remain just Dhs5. That’s not all that’s going on with a “oooh” and a “bang” at the Zayed Festival of a weekend. We can now look forward to the return of Extreme Weekends. From now until Feb 25, every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (at 6.30pm and 8.30pm on each of the days) visitors to the festival will be able to watch a stunning, death defying motocross stunt show as well as an extreme car drifting performance.
Al Wathba, until April 1, 4pm to midnight (1am on weekends), tickets Dhs5. zayedfestival.com
This brand-new Saturday brunch is inspired by the flare, fare and finesse of southern Spain’s gastronomy culture. Your meal begins with a variety of chorizo, salads, and a fully-loaded cheese board. A click of the castanets and it’s on to mains. The star of the show is the Iberian seafood staple — paella. Delicate blends of rice, meat, stock, seafood and vegetables — prepared theatrically at the live cooking stations. There’s also meat, seafood and skewers (grilled to order), the Spanish meatball delicacy — albondigas, prawns in a tomato and garlic sauce, fresh fruit, and a dessert spread built around churros and a chocolate fountain. Enjoy your meal against the backdrop of a live DJ and with the choice of either a soft beverage or house beverage accompaniment. Those opting for the latter can even take advantage of the house-prepared sangria. Hasta la fiesta. Opt for the house package for Dhs285 and get free pool and beach access.
Sunday, February 26
Located in Al Qana, Pixoul is the largest gaming hub of its type in Abu Dhabi and includes the latest evolution of Location-Based Entertainment (LBE). In addition to futuristic VR tech, the venue will also operate the first certified eSports (that’s competitive gaming for any noobs out there) academy in the region. Strap on the headset and you can free roam individually or with teams a selection of strategy, racing and *finger guns* shoot-em-ups.
Al Qana, Sun to Thu midday to midnight, Fri to Sat midday to 2am, priced from Dhs35. pixoulgaming.com
You’ve been surfed
Fresh from a little pandemic hibernation, Al Ain Adventure has now reopened and is serving up gnarley swells and white water rodeos to the nation’s thrill seekers. You’ll find it in the Jebel Hafeet area of Al Ain and even though it’s not returned to full operational capacity just yet — the park is offering rafting experiences, kayaking, surfing and access to the on-site wave pool. You can purchase a package which includes access to Wadi Adventure, the wave pool and rafting for Dhs125. There are intermediate surfing packages available for Dhs290 (which includes board rental). Expert surf packages start at Dhs325.
Jebel Hafeet, Al Ain, open daily 11am to 7pm, priced from Dhs125. Tel: (03) 781 8422, @alainadventure