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Abu Dhabi is home to many luxurious hotels that offer rooms at great prices. If you’re in the city for business or leisure, lodging in the Tourist Club or Electra Street areas—considered as Abu Dhabi’s business districts—is the perfect choice.
Starting from $70 a night, the Cristal Hotel Salam in the Tourist Club area offers elegant rooms with traditional amenities. The hotel is within easy reach of the city’s major landmarks, including Abu Dhabi Mall and Capital Garden. Another affordable hotel is Al Diar Capital Hotel, a three-star budget hotel that offers rooms with magnificent views of Abu Dhabi Corniche. Apart from being centrally located, the hotel is also close to the fish market and just a five-minute walk to the local beach. City Seasons Al Hamra, on Electra Street, also offers cheap rooms with perks like free parking.
The upside of staying in the city center is that most hotels are in close proximity to groceries, restaurants, pubs, and bus stands, allowing easy travel within the Abu Dhabi city.
One of the major tourist landmarks in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It's the largest mosque in United Arab Emirates and the eighth largest in the world, so it’s no surprise that a flock of tourists visit this architectural gem on a daily basis. Inside the mosque, you’ll get to see designs crafted with precious stones like marble, crystal, and gold, as well as the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. Entry to the mosque is free of charge, and there is also ample parking space if you’re arriving by car.
Guests can score a great deal on hotels close to the Mosque. Park Rotana offers rooms for less than $80 a night and is also close to other landmarks that tourists love. For example, families with kids will love the Khalifa Park. It features the Maritime Museum, which traces the history of Abu Dhabi from prehistoric times to present day.
Another affordable hotel in the area is the Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri by Shangri-La, that offers rooms starting from $100 a night. While you’re here, be sure to choose the club room for access to the Traders Club Lounge, where you’ll enjoy special perks like complimentary breakfast and coffee, and free unlimited cocktails. Guests can unwind at the hotel’s private beach. You’ll also love the free shuttle service to the city center.
Apart from the Grand Mosque, there are plenty of things to see for free. The Heritage Village in the Corniche Breakwater is free. You could also head to the Central Market to admire authentic Arabic architecture while you buy traditional souvenirs or even lounge at the Rooftop Shisha Café–Rawaq. Spend your day visiting the spice markets in Al Mina and the fish market in Mina Zayed Port. Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to experience the opulent ambiance of Emirates Palace Hotel, even if you’re not staying there.
Taxis are a very common and a cheap form of transportation when traveling through Abu Dhabi City. The most common taxis are the silver taxis, run by authorized taxi companies, while the pink taxis, driven by female drivers, are exclusively to female passengers. The taxi fares run on meters starting from AED 4 (or $1 in U.S. currency). Since the city is compact in size, you can expect the total fare to be less than $10 one way. Keep in mind that the taxi meters start from a base fare of $3 after 10 p.m.
Another cheap way to travel in Abu Dhabi is by bus. Air-conditioned buses, run by the Department of Transport (DOT), make it convenient for budget travelers to commute to the city and suburbs for as little as $0.27 per trip. Buy the Ojra Bus Pass for the duration of your stay to get access to unlimited travel.
Since there is a bus stand every 3-4 km, you’re free to find accommodations anywhere in the city and still enjoy the benefits of quick access to the city center.
The Abu Dhabi International Airport is about 40 minutes from the city center. Al Ghazal taxis offer rides from the airport to other destinations, but the cheapest strategy is to take the A1 bus from outside Terminal 3 to the city. If you'd rather drive, consider renting a car from the airport or even from the city. Keep in mind that the traffic is heavy in the business districts, making parking more difficult than in other neighborhoods. There are very few free parking spaces, as most are governed by the Mawaqif and charge hourly rates.
Visitors looking for cheap hotels in close proximity to the airport have one great option. The Premiere Inn Hotel offers rooms for as little as $70 a night with perks like free coffee and bottled water. You’ll enjoy the free shuttle service to two important landmarks: Yas Island and Marina Mall. If you book in advance you can even score a surprising bargain for $50 a night.
Abu Dhabi has plenty of lodging options to suit the tastes of every traveler. Visitors on a tighter budget should check out Airbnb listings that offer unique properties ranging from spacious penthouses to room shares at reasonable rates. On Airbnb, you’ll find studio apartments for less than $70 a night in the Muroor Street or Al Nahyan areas, which are only 10 minutes away from the city center.
If you prefer to stay in the downtown area, Airbnb offers many private rooms in the Tourist Club area for less than $60 a night. Your local host may even offer to drive you in his or her private vehicle for an extra charge. In addition, you’ll enjoy perks like free Wi-Fi, complimentary tea, and home-cooked meals at a minimal rate. If you’re heading here from the airport, the A1 bus stops at most bus stations within the Tourist Club neighborhood.
Visitors who are comfortable with room shares can score great lodging options for as little as $45 a night. Airbnb offers many luxurious room share options near Sheikh Zayed Mosque and even the airport.
While many apartments cost the same as hotel rooms, visitors will love the company of local family hosts, who can give some excellent pointers on how to get around. Plus, many apartments are as luxurious as hotels, providing access to the gym, spa and swimming pool in the building.
In the summer, Abu Dhabi temperatures reach 40°C, and the humidity often soars close to 100 percent. However, the upside to visiting the city during these months is that you could score great summer deals on hotels. The city’s indoor destinations, from taxis to shopping malls, are well-equipped with air-conditioning, so if you’re visiting the city and don’t mind staying indoors, you’ll still enjoy your vacation.
Avoid visiting the city during the month of Ramadan (July or August), as the restaurants and pubs will be closed until 6 p.m. Plus, you’ll also be prohibited to eat and drink outside your hotel room or Airbnb home base. The tourist season is from November to April, while the temperatures hover around 25°C. During this time, you can make the best of outdoor activities with leisurely strolls through the city, as well as other adventures like dune bashing, beach-combing, and kayaking.
Although you’ll find the best hotel deals during summer, there are many hotels that offer discounts in winter, particularly during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit. As part of this event, you’ll also experience open-air performances by renowned artists. If you book a month in advance, Centro Yas Island offers rooms for as little as $85 a night. Another affordable hotel is the Park Inn by Radisson, where you’ll enjoy splendid sea views from the balcony and free perks like Wi-Fi and parking.
Abu Dhabi hosts many business exhibitions and events throughout the year, irrespective of the weather. Plan your visit at any time of the year, and the city still welcomes you with great last-minute prices and discounts on hotels.
The Visit Abu Dhabi website (http://visitabudhabi.ae/) is an important resource for visitors planning a trip to Abu Dhabi. The website features comprehensive tips on enjoying the city.
© 2016 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.
© 2016 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.