Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It’s a spot full of vacation fun, whether you’re in search of a relaxing beachside retreat or an adrenaline-filled theme park adventure. The city itself is made out of several connected islands, each with their own unique characteristics and attractions.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Abu Dhabi, then you’ve come to the right place. With so many incredible experiences to be had, it can be hard knowing exactly what to go for. In this guide, we’ll break down Abu Dhabi’s coolest areas so you can find the best one for your travel style and budget.

Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi 

Best Boutique Hotel on the Corniche – Bab Al Qasr Residence

The Best Boutique Hotel on the Corniche Bab Al Qasr Residence

Staying on the Corniche of Abu Dhabi puts you at the heart of the action and just steps away from the city’s most glamorous white-sand shores. The Bab Al Qasr takes comfort and convenience a step further thanks to the private beachfront, swimming pool, and spa on site. 

Plus, you can count on a great view of either the coastline or the majestic skyline of Abu Dhabi from your bedroom window. 

Best Apartment on Yas Island – Yas West Golf-Course View Apartment

Best Apartment on Yas Island Yas West Golf Course View Apartment

Yas Island is one of the most popular tourist spots in Abu Dhabi, and it’s no secret why. Home to the world’s fastest roller coaster, a huge water park, and an award-winning golf course (to name just a few of the island’s attractions) – it’s guaranteed to bring a fun-filled vacation. 

This cozy apartment puts you right next to the action while still offering peace, privacy, and a lovely view of the famous Yas Links golf course. 

Best Hotel on Al Maryah – Rosewood Abu Dhabi 

Best Hotel on Al Maryah Rosewood Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is well-known for its luxury hotels and resorts. The Rosewood is located on Al Maryah Island and is connected to the Galleria, one of the city’s best-known stylish shopping centers.

The beaches of Al Reem and Saadiyat Islands are just a short way off, so you can still enjoy plenty of time on Abu Dhabi’s dreamy shoreline. 

Abu Dhabi Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN ABU DHABI
The Corniche Best Place to Stay in Abu Dhabi for your First Time
FIRST TIME IN ABU DHABI

The Corniche

If you’ve never been to Abu Dhabi before, then finding central accommodation along the Corniche is a must. The eight-kilometer waterfront is lined with pedestrian pathways where you can walk or bike to enjoy the scenery, and with year-round sunshine, it’s always a great day to spend at the beach.

ON A BUDGET
Al Zahiyah Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi on a Budget
ON A BUDGET

Al Zahiyah

During the 1970s this neighborhood earned the nickname of “The Tourist Club Area” thanks to the entertainment options found here. Its name was switched to Zahiyah, which means “colorful,” which certainly embodies the diversity and excitement of this area.

FOR FAMILIES
Yas Island The Best Area in Abu Dhabi for Families
FOR FAMILIES

Yas Island

Yas Island takes the prize for Abu Dhabi’s best area for families, and it’s no secret why. With a huge water park, multiple theme parks, and sunny beaches, this is any family’s dream vacation come true.

FOR LUXURY VACATION
Saadiyat Island Best Place for a Luxury Vacation in Abu Dhabi
FOR LUXURY VACATION

Saadiyat Island

Dreaming of a relaxing luxury vacation at a private beach resort? Well, you’re in luck, because this is exactly what Saadiyat Island is known for. The jaw-dropping coastal scenery and endless expanses of white sand make it a picture-perfect beach paradise.

FOR SHOPPING AND DINING
Al Maryah and Al Reem Islands The Best Area in Abu Dhabi for Shopping and Dining
FOR SHOPPING AND DINING

Al Maryah and Al Reem Islands

The small island of Al Maryah sits between Al Reem and the main island of Abu Dhabi. It’s become a business and lifestyle destination and has a sophisticated atmosphere which sets it apart from the high-energy tourist vibe much of the city has.

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Top 5 Areas in Abu Dhabi 

In a city as diverse as Abu Dhabi, deciding which area to stay in can have a big impact on how much you enjoy your vacation. Of course, it’s difficult not to enjoy a vacation in Abu Dhabi, but picking the right neighborhood makes it easy to take advantage of the attractions you’re most interested in seeing! 

The eight-kilometer stretch of the Corniche is considered the heart of Abu Dhabi. You’ll have plenty of options for accommodation here, as well as loads of places to explore. It’s the ideal place to stay if you’re visiting Abu Dhabi for the first time.

The neighborhood of Al Zahiyah on the northern end of the Corniche is still sometimes referred to as the “Tourist Club Area.” This is a convenient neighborhood to stay in if you’re hoping to do any partying or be close to the high-end attractions of Al Maryah Island while still staying at reasonably priced, budget-friendly accommodation. 

If you’re hoping for a more laid-back spot, then the mostly residential island of Al Reem is a good option. It’s full of parks and has easy access to Reem Beach, and is popular for travelers deciding where to stay in Abu Dhabi with family.

Other popular areas include Saadiyat Island, which is known for its luxury vacation resorts and Yas Island which is packed with theme parks, water parks, and more. Accommodation tends to be a bit pricier in these locations, but it’s still possible to find budget-friendly options. 

Although these are the most visited areas of Abu Dhabi, there’s much more to explore. Closer to the airport, Khalifa City is an up-and-coming area with some great restaurants and interesting architecture. Al Raha is another beach area that also features some traditional villa-style Emirati buildings. 

1. The Corniche – Best Place to Stay in Abu Dhabi for your First Time 

Best Place to Stay in Abu Dhabi for your First Time

If you haven’t been to Abu Dhabi before, then finding central accommodation along the Corniche is a must. The eight-kilometer waterfront is lined with pedestrian pathways where you can enjoy the scenery. Plus, with year-round sunshine, it’s always a great day to spend at the beach. 

Finding accommodation in the Corniche means you’ll be able to walk to many of the top attractions, shops, and restaurants. Plus, the view of the sunsets is pretty killer and definitely something you’ll want to include in your vacation photos! 

The Best Apartment on the Corniche – Private Apartment next to World Trade Center Mall 

The Best Apartment on the Corniche Private Apartment next to World Trade Center Mall

You couldn’t ask for a better downtown location than this comfortable two-bedroom apartment. You’ll be right next to some of Abu Dhabi’s most famous shopping centers, the World Trade Center Mall, and the Heritage Souq Market. 

The apartment comes with a kitchen, wifi, and access to a gym and hot tub.

The Best Boutique Hotel on the Corniche – Bab Al Qasr Residence 

The Best Boutique Hotel on the Corniche Bab Al Qasr Residence

With 140 meters of private beach and a spa, fitness center, and swimming pool all on site, the Bab Al Qasr is the spot to be if you’re looking for artistic style at a reasonable price. 

Rooms offer views of the Corniche or landmarks like the Presidential Palace, and many of the top downtown attractions are within walking distance. Nearby, there are plenty of options for great local dining, or stay in and order something from the all-day Artisan Kitchen restaurant onsite. 

The Best Hotel on the Corniche – The St. Regis Abu Dhabi 

The Best Hotel on the Corniche The St Regis Abu Dhabi

The St. Regis sits right on the shores of the Corniche and combines authentic Arabian hospitality with modern luxury and style. The signature elegance along with the stunning views of the city skyline and Corniche make it one of the most desirable downtown locations. 

Top attractions like the Marina Mall and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque are within a short drive, and back at the hotel, there’s a private beach area with cabanas and an infinity pool for ultimate relaxation. 

Things to See and Do in The Corniche 

Things to See and Do in the Corniche
The Emirates Palace is a must-see!
  • Relax on the sand! The Corniche is one of Abu Dhabi’s best beaches.
  • Get a bird’s eye view of the city from The Observation Deck at 300.
  • Rent a bike to enjoy the sea breeze along the Corniche walk path.
  • Learn about the history of Abu Dhabi at the Heritage Village.
  • Visit the impressive and elegant Founder’s Memorial.
  • Check out the Emirates Palace, one of the most beautiful landmarks in the city.
  • Hop on a Yellow Boat ride to get a view of the Abu Dhabi skyline from the water.
  • Watch the sunset from the beach.

2. Al Zahiyah – Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi on a Budget 

Al Zahiyah Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi on a Budget

During the 1970s this neighborhood earned the nickname of “The Tourist Club Area” thanks to the entertainment options found here. Its name was switched to Zahiyah, meaning “colorful,” which certainly embodies the diversity and excitement of this area. 

It’s centrally located so it’s easy to get to the Corniche or check out the attractions on nearby Al Maryah or Al Reem. If you look carefully, it’s possible to find some great budget accommodation without needing to stay on the outskirts of the city.  

Al Zahiyah is also a food lover’s paradise. The colorful diversity of the area encompasses a wide variety of high-quality restaurants serving everything from authentic Arabic to Japanese cuisine. 

Best Condominium in Al Zahiyah – Elegant Downtown Condo with a View 

Best Condominium in Al Zahiyah Elegant Downtown Condo with a View

You’d never guess this condo was a budget-friendly option just by looking at the incredible view and classy style of the place. If you need to watch your spending but are still hoping for a private downtown place to stay, this is the spot for you. 

There’s a full kitchen, private hot tub, free wifi, laundry facilities, and space for up to eight guests!

Best Apartment in Al Zahiyah – Eclipse Suites Apartment 

Best Apartment in Al Zahiyah Eclipse Suites Apartment

This apartment is within walking distance from the Corniche and in one of the main business and shopping districts of the city. It’s a great option for solo travelers, couples, or families in search of private and cheap accommodation in Abu Dhabi. 

There’s a complimentary shuttle service that can take you to the Marina Mall or public beaches, saving you the cost of taking a taxi around the city! 

Best Hotel in Al Zahiyah – Southern Sun Abu Dhabi 

Best Hotel in Al Zahiyah Southern Sun Abu Dhabi

Modern elegance meets budget travel at the Southern Sun. If you need to watch your spending while on vacation, you can still experience high-end luxury at this hotel in Abu Dhabi’s business district. 

Walk to Corniche beach, shopping centers, or check out one of the nearby restaurants. On hot afternoons, you can cool off in the large swimming pool and on-site water park. 

Things to See and Do in Al Zahiyah

Things to See and Do in Al Zahiyah
  • Check out new developments at the Abu Dhabi Global Market Square. 
  • Enjoy a walk or bike ride along the waterfront promenade.
  • Try foods from around the world at one of the great restaurants.
  • Check out the nightlife scene at one of the best clubs in Abu Dhabi.
  • Admire the architecture of the five bridges connecting Al Zahiyah to Al Maryah Island.
  • Take a stroll through Heritage Park with a view of the harbor.
  • Shop at the World Trade Center Mall.

3. Yas Island – The Best Area in Abu Dhabi for Families 

Yas Island where to stay in Abu Dhabi with family
The best place to stay in Abu Dhabi with family

Yas Island takes the prize for Abu Dhabi’s best area for families, and it’s no secret why. With a huge water park, multiple theme parks, and sunny beaches, this is any family’s dream vacation come true. If you want to venture off of Yas Island to explore other attractions of Abu Dhabi, taxi services are always easy to find.

Thanks to the practically endless fun to be had riding on the world’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World or playing a round of golf at the world-famous Yas Links Golf Course, you might end up needing to plan another vacation to Yas Island if you can’t fit in everything during your first trip! 

Best Apartment on Yas Island – Yas West Golf-Course View Apartment 

Best Apartment on Yas Island Yas West Golf Course View Apartment

Accommodation that gives you privacy and home-style comforts is ideal for a family vacation. Not only does this apartment check off those boxes, but it also gives you a view of the Yas Island golf courses and puts you right next to the famous Ferrari World! 

After a day of adventure at the Warner Bros. studios theme park or relaxing on Yas Beach, you can come back to enjoy a BBQ dinner and cool off in the swimming pool. 

Best Guesthouse near Yas Island – Luxury Relaxation Villa 

Best Guesthouse near Yas Island Luxury Relaxation Villa

If you’re looking for luxury and privacy for your family trip to Abu Dhabi, then an elegant and relaxing vacation villa is worth the price. 

The attractions of Yas Island are just a short drive away, but you can escape the tourist scene back at the villa and enjoy a family cook-out on the BBQ grill while kids splash around and play in the large outdoor swimming pool. 

Best Hotel on Yas Island – Yas Island Rotana Abu Dhabi 

Best Hotel on Yas Island Yas Island Rotana Abu Dhabi

It’s hard to beat all the family-fun excitement on Yas Island, and at this stellar hotel, you’ll be just minutes from the top attractions like Ferrari World and the Yas Links Golf Course. 

There are multiple on-site restaurants, and a huge outdoor swimming pool where you can cool off after a thrilling day of adventures. 

Things to See and Do on Yas Island 

Things to See and Do on Yas Island
  • Get an adrenaline rush at the Ferrari World theme park. 
  • Make a splash at the Yas Waterworld with over 45 rides and water park activities.
  • Take a sightseeing flight from Seawings at Yas Marina.
  • Check out the rides and games at the superhero-themed Warner Bros. theme park.
  • Race around the track at the Yas Marina Circuit.
  • Try the fine dining and excellent bars at the Yas Marina (plus great views).
  • Pack your beach bag and spend a day on the sand at Yas Beach. 
  • See if you’re brave enough to skydive at CLYMB indoor skydiving and climbing adventure.
  • Play a game of golf at Yas Links award-winning course.
  • Go on a shopping adventure at Yas Mall. 

4. Saadiyat Island – Best Place for a Luxury Vacation in Abu Dhabi 

Saadiyat Island

Dreaming of a relaxing luxury vacation at a private beach resort? Well, you’re in luck, because this is exactly what Saadiyat Island is known for. The jaw-dropping coastal scenery and endless expanses of white sand make it a picture-perfect beach paradise. 

Chilling on the sand isn’t the only thing the island is known for! Saadiyat also has some incredible museums like the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a great golf course, and fascinating wildlife. With world-class restaurants and spas, it’s easy to see why this is the best area to stay in Abu Dhabi for an ultra-indulgent vacation. 

Best Apartment on Saadiyat Island – Private West Beach Studio 

Best Apartment on Saadiyat Island Private West Beach Studio

Want to stay on Saadiyat Island without the tourist crowds? Then you’ll love this private studio. 

Staying here, you’ll be close to the island’s top attractions and even have a view of the beach. It comes with a garden and pool, perfect for relaxing. 

Best Resort on Saadiyat Island– The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort 

Best Resort on Saadiyat Island The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort

Saadiyat Island is known for its resorts, and the St. Regis might just win the prize for all-around best luxury. With direct access to a private beach, you’ll have the white sands right on your doorstep! 

The resort boasts six restaurants and bars, a golf course, spa, and five swimming pools. If you do find yourself leaving the resort, more of Abu Dhabi’s attractions are close by.

Best All-Inclusive Hotel on Saadiyat Island – Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island 

Best All Inclusive Hotel on Saadiyat Island Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island

Cover all your bases with the all-inclusive service at the Rixos Premium. All meals are provided, and you’ll also have private beach access to the beautiful sands of Saadiyat Island. 

Take your pick from a private room or villa for extra luxury and privacy. On-site, you can book yourself a spa treatment or head to the water park.

Things to See and do on Saadiyat Island 

Things to See and do on Saadiyat Island
  • Splash around or chill on the sand at Saadiyat Beach. 
  • Explore the art collections at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
  • Sample flavors from around the world at one of the many restaurants. 
  • Go on a shopping spree at The Collection mall, which features 26 high-end stores.
  • Check out the incredible architecture of the up-and-coming Guggenheim Museum. 
  • Get a photo of the impressive five glass pillars of the planned Zayed National Museum. 
  • Play a round of golf at the Saadiyat Beach Club. 
  • Learn about the Hawksbill Turtles which nest on Saadiyat Island. 

5. Al Maryah and Al Reem Islands – The Best Area in Abu Dhabi for Shopping and Dining 

Al Maryah and Al Reem Islands The Best Area in Abu Dhabi for Shopping and Dining

The small island of Al Maryah sits between Al Reem and the main island of Abu Dhabi. This business and lifestyle destination has a more sophisticated atmosphere than the high-energy tourist vibe of other areas. 

Accommodation on Al Maryah can be a pricey, so you may want to consider finding a spot on Al Reem. It’s largely residential, where visitors can benefit from being close to some of the city’s best parks and the popular Reem Beach. The high-end shopping malls of Al Maryah are just over one of the bridges connecting the islands. 

Best Apartment on Al Reem Island – Luxury High Rise Apartment with Balcony

Best Apartment on Al Reem Island Luxury High Rise Apartment with Balcony

This apartment is light, spacious, and has all the comforts of home you could hope for. It sits in the heart of Al Reem Island and enjoys sea views from the private balcony. 

The beautiful natural parks of Al Reem are just a short distance away. Thanks to the swimming pools and supermarket within the apartment complex, you’ll have your bases covered for sightseeing, relaxation, and essentials! 

Best Studio on Al Reem Island – City of Lights Studio 

Best Studio on Al Reem Island City of Lights Studio

This studio sits within the incredible towers and huge skyscrapers of Abu Dhabi’s City of Lights.  

With Saadiyat Beach just a few minutes away, you’ll also be close to one of the city’s prime relaxation spots. Check out the nearby Galleria Mall to browse big-name stores, or cool off in the on-site swimming pool.

Best Hotel on Al Maryah – Rosewood Abu Dhabi 

Best Hotel on Al Maryah Rosewood Abu Dhabi

The Rosewood hotel is ideal for travelers who want to check out the upscale shopping scene of the city. If you get tired of visiting the luxury brand stores, Saadiyat Beach is just a few minutes away. 

Satisfy any flavor craving at one of the eight restaurants on-site. You can also enjoy views of the Arabian Gulf or the skyline from your room. 

Things to See and Do on Al Reem and Al Maryah 

Things to See and Do on Al Reem and Al Maryah
  • Treat yourself to traditional Chinese street food at the Dai Pai Dong market on Al Maryah. 
  • Visit the beautiful Sorbonne University campus on Al Reem. 
  • Stroll around the walking paths and gardens of Reem Central Park.
  • Shop ‘til you drop at The Galleria shopping mall. 
  • Find restaurants serving every flavor such as the Butcher & Sill Chicago eatery or fresh Italian cuisine at Café Milano.
  • Take in the views of iconic skyscrapers like the Gate Towers on Al Reem. 
  • Check out the incredible architecture of the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi on Al Maryah. 
  • Relax on one of the beaches like Reem Beach. 

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi 

Abu Dhabi is a great place to spend a layover, but you’ll need more than a couple of days to really make the most of it. From white-sand beachesrelaxing on the beach to energetic roller coasters, Abu Dhabi is the perfect vacation destination.

Hopefully you’ve been able to get a clearer idea of where to stay in Abu Dhabi. There’s so much to choose from, so it’s understandable that it can be a little overwhelming!

If you’re still unsure where to stay, we recommend The Corniche. It’s got a bit of everything, and is well-connected to the other areas of Abu Dhabi.

And don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.

Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

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