Wishing you a mega weekend in Abu Dhabi…

Having a chilled one? Going large? Topping up the tan or embracing the AC? Something active or layered with culture? Fast food or a more refined sort of dining? Whatever your intentions, we have ways of making them work.

Friday, May 12

Talent pool

Fairmont bab al bahr

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr is an enduring capital favourite for a reason. It has a sparkling array of restaurants, luxe rooms and a pool/beach complex that screams ‘wait, lemme take a selfie’. It’s the latter part of this triumphant triumvirate that’s stealing headline space here — their Monday to Friday pool pass deal is Dhs149 but you get a decent chunk of Dhs100 in change to spend as F&B credit. On Saturday and Sundays it’s Dhs199 with Dhs100 back as F&B credit. But if you are planning a Saturday trip, you may as well make use of their… The Ultimate Brunchcation. It’s, as you may have guessed from the name — a hybrid of brunch and a daycation. The brunch element arrives on your plate with that premium Fairmont pedigree, more than eighteen live stations, and 145 different dishes across a culinary ensemble of Asian, Indian, Mediterranean, Japanese, Italian, and British cuisine. After brunch you get a day pass to kick your feet up at the hotel’s gorgeous pool complex or pull up a lounger on the beach for a post feast R&R fest. 

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Khor Al Makta, very Sat in May and June 1pm to 4pm, soft Dhs295, house Dhs420, bubbles Dhs595. @fairmontbabalbahr

The palace jester

jason manford

One of British stand-up comedy’s most treasured alumni, Jason Manford is returning to the UAE — with former collaborators, The Laughter Factory — as part of their ongoing Selfdrive tour. The date and venue have been set, he’ll be jetting into Abu Dhabi for a gig at the grand, Emirates Palace on May 12, 2023. Speaking of sets, you can expect Manford to be firing off wicked one-liners during his, of the sort “I’m getting my wife a wooden leg for Christmas. It’s not her main present, just a stocking filler”.  In addition to the back catalogue of sold-out arena stand-up shows, he’s won a huge following from his TV work. Appearing as team captain on 8 Out of 10 Cats; he was a presenter on BBC’s The One Show; Show Me the Funny; A Question of Sport: Super Saturday; Bigheads; Ripper Street; Ordinary Lies; The Masked Singer; Royal Variety shows; and is a current judge on Starstruck, a British talent show that “tonight Matthew” is a reboot of ‘Stars in Their Eyes’ with contestants impersonating their favourite stars.

Emirates Palace, May 12, 2023, tickets from Dhs195 via thelaughterfactory.com website.

Still going strong

Stills puts ladies first with its Friday ladies’ night, when groups of gal pals are treated to unlimited beverages from 8pm to 11pm plus tapas and light bites for Dhs99. If the guys are coming along too, prices start at Dhs149 for the same package.

Crowne Plaza Yas Island, Yas Island, 8pm to 11pm Fri. Tel: (02) 656 3000. @stillsyasisland


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

Saturday, May 13

Narrative hook

peter pan

Get ready to go on a magical adventure this May as Peter Pan on Ice is skating its way to the UAE. Join Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy, John, Michael and the Lost Boys on their adventures fighting off Captain Hook. The show will be arriving in Abu Dhabi at the Cultural Foundation for two days on Friday, May 12 and 13 with tickets starting from Dhs175.

Peter Pan on Ice, Abu Dhabi: Cultural Foundation, May 12 and 13, Fri 6pm, Sat 11am and 5pm. culturalfoundation.ae

On strike

Getting the ball rolling on this bowling round up is this cheeky little 12-lane ten-pin funtropolis found in Al Ain Mall. Don’t fancy staying in your lane? You can also sink balls on the on-site billiards tables, get your ping-pong on with table tennis facilities or press X to continue with the resident Playstation.

Al Ain Mal, Dhs15 per player per game on weekdays, Dhs21 per player per game on weekends. Tel: (03) 751 0006, @bowlingcity.uae

Thank you, Annex

Annex the edition Abu Dhabi

Annex Saturday afternoons are wild. The three-storey social space’s alluring lounge transforms into an animal kingdom, where tasty bites are complemented by exclusive mixed drinks inspired by some of the most colourful characters of the jungle and deep, commercial house beats provide the perfect soundtrack to help begin Saturday celebrations.

The Abu Dhabi Edition, Al Bateen Marina, Sat 3pm to 6pm, Dhs225 with soft drinks, Dhs295 with house drinks, Dhs395 with bubbly. Tel: (0)2 208 0000. @annexabudhabi

Isle of you

This nautical tour operating outfit is extending an invitation for you to live your very best Disney pirate life. Jump aboard one of their modern vessels for a six hour tour of Abu Dhabi’s islandscape, with barbecue (though you’ll need to bring your own food). It’s land ahoy with scenic stops at such enchanting sea-hemmed spots as Salt Island and Bahrani Island. Their boats come with music systems for stereophonic shanty support and soft drinks are included in the Dhs450 per person package price (private charters of up to eight are available for Dhs2,500, or Dhs3,000 for 15). seasafari.ae

Sunday, May 14

Grand designs

One of the world’s largest mosques, this inspirational building was commissioned by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and was completed in just over a decade. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has space for 40,000 worshipers each day and pulls design features from Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan and Egypt, and other Islamic countries. There are 1,096 amethyst-and-jasper-embedded columns, 82 white marble domes — one of which features beautiful gold lead calligraphy of Quranic text on the interior, reflective pools, Swarovski chandeliers, the world’s largest hand-woven carpet, a breathtaking prayer hall, and a courtyard with one of the world’s largest marble mosaics.

Al Maqta’a, daily 11am to 11pm, free. Book your visit at visit.szgmc.gov.ae

We’re soarin’, flyin’

Say bonjour to the second Abu Dhabi location of AirManiax right in the heart of the capital’s excitement hub, at Yas Mall (the first is in Marina Mall). It’s a gigantic indoor kids’ entertainment megaplex arriving, mercifully, just in time for the return of summer heat. Located on the ground floor of the mall, next to the Grand Prix entrance, this intelligently designed adventure complex is now open and offers multiple themed zones and attractions for all age groups of kiddlywinks. .

Air Maniax Abu Dhabi is open now at Yas Mall, daily 10 am to midnight, prices from Dhs85 for 60 minutes. Tel: (02) 635 2544, airmaniax.booknow

Monster Mash

One of motorsport’s most exhilarating, preposterously-sized, gargantuanly visceral, petrol driven extravaganzas is locked in and scheduled to spin rubber in Abu Dhabi in 2023. The stunning-stunts and fantastical automobile mayhem of Monster Jam will be heading to Yas Island’s Etihad Arena for a May 13 and 14 double date tour next year as part of the event’s global 30th anniversary victory lap. Fans of all ages will be able to catch the gravity-defying, 110kph, six-ton, big-wheel escapades of legendary circuit veterans — Grave Digger, El Toro Loco and Max-D (though the full and fina line-up is still TBC). Tickets are available via the etihadarena.ae and prices start at just Dhs135, with pit party access available for an additional Dhs50 and VIP packages from Dhs645.

Etihad Arena, Yas Island, May 13 and 14, 2023. Ticket prices from Dhs135, etihadarena.ae 

The yummest cha

Dai Pai DongBrunch Guide Abu Dhabi -

In our opinion, dim sum is one of the most delicious ways to brunch, and Dai Pai Dong is one of the best in town. Past the enormous dragon sculpture in Rosewood Abu Dhabi, you’ll find elite-tier prawn with truffle dumplings, beef short ribs, barbecue chicken puffs and killer crispy shrimp wontons, as well as Cantonese roasted duck rolls, non-halal sui mai, and a barbecue live station. Show up on a Sunday with an entourage and go slow – yum cha brunches are a marathon not a sprint.

Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Sun noon to 6pm (three-hour slots), Dhs298 with soft drinks, Dhs428 with house drinks. Tel: (0)2 813 5588. @daipaidongad

Images: Provided