The beauty of Yas Island therein lies in its versatility to accommodate all those who visit, stay, and play. Known as one of Abu Dhabi’s top leisure destinations – and for good reason – it not only satisfies an intense craving for major R&R not too far from Dubai’s buzz, but also ensures that any hunger for adventure is more than satiated. Speaking of hunger, eats are plenty and praiseworthy.

The W Abu Dhabi 

Supplied

With its modern and innovative allure, The W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island is a luxe, lush, and lax retreat unlike any other. Guests have the option to choose from a room overlooking the Marina or the Yas Marina Circuit (which my F1-obsessed friends were reeling about). We were lucky enough to have the best of both worlds, along with a private balcony to enjoy the views at our convenience. A visit to the WET Deck is a must. With its floating lounge beds, full-service bar, and rooftop panoramic views, it offered a rejuvenating start to the weekend— but leave the young ones at the kids zone since it’s adults only. I reveled in my time spent at the stunning pool– plenty big enough for social-distancing– until we sauntered away to our next excursion.

World Abu Dhabi

Supplied

Truth be told, a part of all of us would love to relive our animated, cartoon-filled childhood days, and that’s where Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi turns that into a reality. From the moment we entered we were immersed in goofy, nostalgic-goodness. Our first stop was the Hollywood Trattoria, which donned an old cinematic feel, where we indulged in way more than our poor tummys could handle (a cruel foreshadowing for the rides to come). We began with the lightest and freshest tempura prawns I’ve admittedly ever had, along with a surprisingly delicate buffalo salad. For entrees we feasted on a rich pasta sampler, an Asian-inspired beef stir-fry, and a plethora of pizza. Obviously we would be doing ourselves a disservice to skip dessert so we settled on a delectable tiramisu and cheesecake. To my delight, the variety of cuisines did not dare sacrifice quality! With our stomach’s full and our spirits high we were ready to take on the park (silently praying our food stayed exactly where it was). We explored the brooding Gotham City, traversed Bedrock, caught up with old friends in Cartoon Junction, and honoured our heroes at Metropolis. My favourite adventure had to be Fast and Furry-ous, of course, since I’m a sucker for a good coaster, and extra covid-safety points for cleaning the seats between each rider. A trip to my care-free childhood days was much needed before heading back to the scaries of adulting.

Garage Restaurant at W Abu Dhabi

Supplied

There’s hardly a need to leave the W when great food and a chic atmosphere await downstairs mere steps away. At Garage, the multi-kitchen dining hub, we were surrounded by groovy mood lighting and swanky couches. We started with a soup of the day: a creamy tomato soup, a lovely baba ghanoush, and a chicken siu mai. For mains we dined on a delicious lomo saltado, grilled chicken anticuchos, and pan fried white fish. Lastly, the Tart Van (yes, an actual van) satisfied all our sweet tooth cravings.

Morning time at Garage had transformed the elegant restaurant into a bustling, vibrant cafe. While eggs were made to order at our table, the rest of breakfast featured a buffet style. With the variety of breakfast options, little was left to the imagination. And although I’m not the biggest brekkie gal, let’s just say today I was. We inhaled everything from fresh coconut oatmeal to shakshuka to mini waffles to manakish to even Asian and South Asian dishes. Did I mention the countless number of fresh juices? Needless to say, I wish I could start every day like this.

Yas Waterworld

Supplied

I’ve always been a huge fan of waterparks, which means I’ve been to my fair share of them. However, Yas Waterworld has definitely earned a spot on my list of faves. We were given wet masks to be worn throughout the park (not during actual rides) which helped put our covid radar at ease. In all honesty, I consider family rides the most boring and single slides the most thrilling, but boy was I proved wrong. Our first ride– spoiler: probably my favourite – Falcons Falaj: a six-seater water coaster, had us gripping our tube out of excitement and possibly slight fear. It definitely set the tone for the rest of our action-packed afternoon. We took on the great Slithers Slides and Dawwama. Then we fiercely overcame Liwa Loop: a freefall drop water slide, and Jebel’s Drop: the region’s tallest speed slide. Finally we dried off with Bandit Bomber, a rollercoaster that tours the entirety of the park from directly above (remember what I said about coasters?!). I thoroughly did not want to depart from the rides, but Chubby’s Kitchen was calling my name. We dove into a refreshing peanut chicken salad and a nasi goreng bursting with flavour. We also made sure to get butter chicken and biryani solidifying our post-lunch stuffed stomachs, and predicting a nap in our near-future.

Filini Garden

Supplied

Fillini Garden was a wonderful encapsulation of the latter half of its name. Dinner was bright and fresh and we were transported to a beautiful night in Italy. We paid homage to the classics by starting out with a traditional bruschetta and burrata. We tucked in the signature Linguine all’Aragosta [lobster linguini] and Costoletta alla Milanese [veal rack]. And obviously had to indulge in a pizza, pizza bufalina precisely. I always say that I have two stomachs, one for food and one specifically for desserts… Here’s where my dessert stomach came into play: Our choices of dolci were the classic tiramisu, filini cheesecake, and fondente. Ultimately, all my stomachs were very satisfied.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Supplied

A mere 22 km away from Yas Island lies the epochal, must-visit Louvre Abu Dhabi located on Saadiyat Island. Louvre Abu Dhabi serves as a beacon of cultural amalgamation in reflecting the stories of human creativity dating back to prehistoric times until present day. A walk through the museum’s galleries is a truly humbling yet inspiring experience due to its mesmerising collection of work that spans all of history, yet transcends time, space, cultures, and civilisations. Louvre Abu Dhabi will encourage and induce introspection and enable those who visit to appreciate its art, work, content, and foundation to its fullest extent.

Fouquet

Supplied

Fouquet’s Abu Dhabi brings fine French brasserie dining to the heart of Louvre Abu Dhabi. The restaurant maintains a classic gallic tone with some Middle Eastern flair. The bold crimson seating juxtaposes the stark white linens and walls while all is adorned by the warm illumination from the chandeliers above. To start we were recommended the sautéed squid with aubergine caviar and black olives which was slightly out of our comfort zone, yet we happily obliged– and were not disappointed. The dish had a uniquely distinct flavour unlike anything we’d ever had, and the flavours melded together flawlessly. We also chose a refreshingly light and green pea velouté. For our main we opted for the lovely grilled sea bream fillet with sauce vierge. Unsurprisingly, dessert was our favourite course of the afternoon. We were presented a glorious platter filled with cakes and tarts that was love at first bite. We chose the intense dark chocolate tart with hazelnut cream, the seasonal strawberry tart, and (my personal favourite) the famous Paris-Brest. Like clockwork we traded plates to ensure no one was left out from the rich, sweet goodness each dessert had to offer. Lunch at Fouqet’s Abu Dhabi is the embodiment of a perfect Parisian afternoon.

Yas Island is a must-visit destination that boasts not only some of the best attractions offered in the world, but an all-over experience unlike any other. The only consequence of visiting? Having to leave.

 

Written by Inaya Bhai

thoughts?