Oh, this old thing? *Swings Emirate around neck*…

In news that is only really surprising in that it doesn’t involve the gold medal position, Abu Dhabi has been placed second in a recent ranking of the “most luxurious holiday destinations”.

Abu Dhabi is home to Palaces; hotels that in name and grandeur are themselves palaces; an airline that gives free seating to falcons; gold souks; gold food; supercars and super stars; skyscrapers; desert oases; private islands; audacious engineering projects; man-made islands; and castaway spas.

The placement on the luxe list comes from a study conducted by slingo.com (a gaming site based in the UK), and has attributed rankings according to what percentage of the region’s hotels are five-star. Abu Dhabi’s 22 per cent (more than one in every five hotels enjoys the top star rating) enjoys a seven point lead over the next position.

If you’re looking for a stay in one of the UAE’s many leisure gems, check out our guide to some of the country’s best summer staycations.

The top spot belongs to Bequia (42 per cent) — the second-largest island in the Grenadines, and at just seven square miles in size it doesn’t have the biggest data set to base an analysis on. But look, we’re not bitter, they’re winners fair and square. We’d still love to know how many of their five-star hotels offer afternoon tea on a helipad.

Other top 10 initiates include Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas, Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh, and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

The survey also uncovered the fact that Paris has the most spas (with Spain’s Barcelona and Phapos in Cyprus picking up the second and third place titles respectively).

Beyond the glitz

But as residents and citizens will testify with gusto — there are far more to the treasures Abu Dhabi, than just the range and quality of its fancy hotels.

There’s the vision of its leaders; the safety its population enjoys daily; the commitment to tolerance, development and betterment; there’s the collection of museums, monuments, heritage sites, archaeological excavations, galleries, religious centres, craft communes, sculpture, art installations and culture districts; there’s the beaches, the restaurants, golf courses, malls, theme parks and park-parks; the diverse landscape — the ocean of dunes, the islands, the highlands, beaches, lakes, wetlands, wildlife reserves and mangrove forests.

Abu Dhabi may be the perfect choice for a luxurious holiday, but it’s value as travel experience is more than just skin deep.

Images: Getty