What a wonderful world…

We’ve got the recipe for a tasty weekend in the capital, and it really is deliciously simple. We’re starting off with a big vat of wholesome fun time, add to that a healthy dollop of ways to stay active, a sprinkling of culinary discovery and we recommend seasoning it well with sun and entertainment. Voila, weekend is served.

Friday, February 17

New at the cinema this weekend

Landing in UAE cinemas on Thursday, February 16 —Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania kicks off Phase Five of Kevin Feige’s grand Marvel Cinematic Universal (MCU) plan. And despite delivering some spectacular high points, jaw-dropping episodical streaming content, and the glorious chaos of an unraveling multiverse, it’s a plan that took a few critical thwacks in Phase Four. Can Ant-Man steady the Rudd-er? You can read our full review here, but our conclusion was this “the pros, outweigh the cons. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is funny, often magnetically beautiful, and sets up a villain arc that will no doubt conquer audiences everywhere. Quantum realm included.”

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is available to watch in cinemas across the UAE from February 17. Book tickets: here.

Going all-in

One of Abu Dhabi’s longest-serving staycation destinations, the five-star Le Méridien Abu Dhabi was inaugurated by two iconic monarchs — Father of the Nation, Sheikh Zayed and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. And it’s recently undergone extensive cosmetic renovations, restoring it to regal glory and adding some stunning new bars and restaurants (including Mykonos, and a rejigged, revamped and refreshed look Captain’s Arms, Latest Recipe, Al Finjan, Oasis Poolside Bar). You’ll find Le Méridien in the “Tourist Club” area, with its own picturesque stretch of beach, and in convenient shopping distance for the Abu Dhabi Mall. And excitingly, they’ve just launched a new all inclusive deal with prices from just Dhs559 per room per night.

Dates Valid: Now until December 31, 2023. Book your Le Meridien Abu Dhabi, all-inclusive from Dhs559 per night at LeMeridienAllInclusive

Dive-in theatre

Crooning crustacean, Sebastian the crab once famously sang,”darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter” and given the range of submarinal adventure offered by Abu Dhabi Marine, we might actually be on board with that assessment. You can take the plunge on trips fit for all ability levels, from snorkelling escapades (from Dhs150) and beginner scuba diving (Dhs350, for ages 10 and up) to more challenging dives and advanced PADI certificate diving courses (from Dhs1,500). Proof if any were needed, that watersports are “hotter under the water”. But if you prefer your thrills on the frills waves, there’s plenty of that sort of action too — SUPping, jet skiing, water skiing, flyboarding, E-Foil and donut riding, zorb ball and sea ray sessions, see-through kayaking, wake-surfing and nautical lot more.

Abu Dhabi Marina, next to Emirates Palace, Break Water, Tel: (800) 4386, abudhabimarine.ae

Saturday, February 18

3 RE: Fils

Forget Addidas x Gucci, Tiffany x Nike, or Chips Oman x my sandwich — we’re calling it, the most exciting collaboration to land in Abu Dhabi in 2023 so far is the (MENA 50 Best’s No. 1 restaurant, and the now Michelin Guide-recognised) 3Fils x BRIX x Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, ‘Around the World’ 12-course degustation menu. This genuinely iconic culinary partnership, operating amongst a dreamscape of deep desert dunes is available to enjoy every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from now until the end of March 2023, is served alongside “free-spirited beverages”

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, Liwa Desert. Thursday, Friday and Saturday until March 31, 2023, Dhs900. Book at anantara.com

Watan awesome show

qasr al watan

The grand ‘Palace of the Nation’, Qasr Al Watan lies at one end of the city’s main Corniche, caught between the unyielding blues of the Arabian Gulf and the chasm of skyscrapers that define the city’s skyline. It is by all measures a newcomer on the UAE’s heritage scene, having opened its ornate doors to the public in 2019, but it already commands a place amonst its most precious cultural gems. Entry to the attractions is just Dhs6o and contained within its white granite walls, you’ll find a blend of educational and inspirational experiences — architectural masterwork; a library with storey-high book shelves; the great hall; the seat of the UAE’s cabinet; a ‘house of knowledge’ learning hub; exhbits telling the story of the nation’s rich and nuanced history. There’s also a Palace in Motion Sound and Light show (adults Dhs25, kids Dhs12), which now takes place daily. An entertainment extravaganza that illuminates tales from the nation’s past, present and future.

Al Ras Al Akhdar, now open daily between 10am and 6.45pm Dhs60, kids Dhs30. Book on qasralwatan.ae

Supper loving had me a blast

Welcoming all gastronomes of the city to delve into an intricate and enticing menu. With drinks expertly mixed tableside, begin your three-hour dining experience with signature nibbles and canapes. Share your love for incredible dishes with sharing plates that feature seafood, beef and veggies to graze on. With the evening in full swing, tuck into scrumptious mains. From wagyu flank steak, to duck confit, pan-seared black cod and vegetarian delights. Round out the evening with an artisanal cheese board or crème brûlée.

Supper Club, Saturday February 18, from 7pm onwards, Dhs345 soft, Dhs465 house Dhs585 premium. 


Al Maryah Island’s massive sports hub, ACTIVE has just opened a brand new 3,500 sqm indoor sports pavillion that will offer fitness enthusiasts an environment capable of providing a full 365-days-a-year of getting gains in glorious air conditioned equilibrium. Open now and ready to get involved with right away are facilities for padel, tennis, basketball, volleyball, badminton and fitness. There’s also a café, and free water refill stations, because hydration, and snacking healthily are important too folks. Outside there’s even more space to flex. 83,000 sqm of it in fact. Acres more space for tennis, netball, padel, basketball, football and more.

Al Maryah Island,  Tel: (02) 403 4488, @activealmaryah

Sunday, February 19

Bobby DAZzler

Daz, the festival formally known as Dar Al Zain Festival, will draw to a close this Sunday. Visitors have to the site at Al Jahili Park in Al Ain have enjoyed a mix of entertainment, culture, dining and general beDAZzlement. This year, the theme has been ‘nature’ — an appropriate ethereal archetype, given the setting in the UAE’s Garden City. The activities have been curated by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), and take place under a collection of distinct experiential zones. There’s a vibrant artisanal market, carnival rides, live music, a giant oasis art park and more.

Al Jahili Park, Al Ain, February 10 to 19, entrance Dhs25 via ticketmaster.ae (or Dhs30 on the door). Visitors can purchase the Festival Pass for Dhs110, with access to all free zones. Some activities are paid. 

Love(ly) island

This James Bond-style island is the seat of one the most luxurious resorts in Abu Dhabi, but you can score a license to chill there (a day pass) for Dhs750. This includes pool and beach access, your return ferry crossing, and Dhs550 back to spend on dining, drink, watersports and spa activities. There are some great restaurant options available too — there’s the seafood restaurant Hooked, Smokin’ Pineapple (which has its own surf pool) and Frangipani — the home of the hotel’s Saturday brunch. Nurai’s spa offers premium pamper opportunities, the latest trending treatments and relaxation as standard. Need to occupy the little ones too? There’s a nautical tonne of activities for kids including waterpark and flume adventures, shell painting and a packed fun-tineray at the dedicated Petit Z club.

Nurai Island, is a 15 minute boat ride from the Welcome Centre on the east side of Saadiyat Island, near exit 14 of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Highway, guests should arrive at least one hour before session start time. Book your space now, by calling (02) 506 6229, nuraiisland.com

Battle plans

Abu Dhabi Marina Mall’s  ‘digital paintball’ experience, Battle Park, is a solid bullseye for the Call of Duty generation. And there are a few different ways you can get your 360-no-scope on  — gather the squad for iBattle, a team deathmatch spawned in an abandoned prison-themed layout, from Dhs75 for a 20 minute game. There’s also a virtual shooting simulator with sessions priced from Dhs40, and target shooting from Dhs50.

Marina Mall Floor 2. Tel: (800) 228853, @battlepark.official

Images: Provided