One Night In Abu Dhabi – Where to stay and what to do

Abu Dhabi

So you’ve only got one night in Abu Dhabi. Where do you stay, what do you do and where do you go? Here’s our complete guide.

So where should you stay?

The best place to stay in Abu Dhabi for one night is on Yas Island. If you’ve only got a short time, Yas Island is just a 15 minute taxi ride from Abu Dhabi Airport. That means it’s easy to get to if you’re arriving late at night and has a number of budget friendly hotels which are perfect for a short stay in the city. There’s also plenty to do on the island too.


Popular Hotels For One Night

There are seven hotels on Yas Island to choose from whether you’re on a budget or are splashing out. The best hotels to choose for one night are:

Centro Hotel

Usually the cheapest hotel on Yas Island but still an excellent stay. The hotel offers a range of convenient facilities like an outdoor swimming pool, interconnecting rooms and a free airport shuttle bus.

Why we love it: Budget friendly, outdoor pool, 15 minutes from the airport

Crowne Plaza

Offering sunset views and a relaxed atmosphere, the Crowne Plaza on Yas Island is a mid-range hotel with outdoor pool (plus children’s pool), private beach and a free children’s club.

Why we love it: Mid-range, private beach, family friendly


Yas Hotel

Abu Dhabi’s iconic Yas Hotel is located in the center of the famous Yas Marina Circuit racing track. This 5-star hotel features a luxurious spa, rooftop pool and drinks overlooking the race track.

Why we love it: A luxury stay just a short drive from the airport


Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Hotel

Located halfway between Abu Dhabi airport and the main city centre, Fairmont’s Bab Al Bahr hotel is a design hotel with a difference. Offering a beach-side stay with beautifully views of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, you’re midway between it all. So a trip to Yas Island or a wander along the Corniche are equidistant.

Why we love it: Luxury, beachfront hotel with incredible views


What should you do with one day in Abu Dhabi?

With just 24 hours in Abu Dhabi, you’ll definitely struggle to fit everything in. Staying on Yas Island is convenient with easy access to a number of the city’s attractions, however, there is plenty else to do on a short stay.


Yas Beach

If you do decide that Yas Island is the place for you, Yas Beach is an ideal way to relax in the sunshine. Costing AED60 for a day pass, you can enjoy the calm waters of Al Raha Creek. Perfect if you just want a bit of calm and sunshine between flights. 


Corniche Beach

The family beach on the Corniche is also a great alternative if you’re staying more central in Abu Dhabi. Soft sand and clear waters make this a family favourite if you decide to venture away from the pool side lounger. 


Yas Waterworld

Back on Yas Island and a short taxi ride or 30 minute walk from the island hotels, Yas Waterworld features over 40 rides and attractions to keep you cool in the sun. Try out the wave pool or crazy river for families, or if you’re daring enough, the Liwa Loop where the floor drops from below you.


Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

A 20 minute taxi ride from Yas Island will take you to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, arguably the most impressive building in Abu Dhabi. Costing over US$500+ million the mosque plays host for up to 41,000 worshippers.


Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is one of the city’s newest attractions and a wonderful way to spend the day if in the summer months when it’s a little too hot outside. Take in the art on a leisurely stroll through the special exhibitions on show throughout the year.


City Tour

A city tour is a great way to see Abu Dhabi in a short space of time. A number of companies run scheduled bus services around the cities, which highlight some of Abu Dhabi’s top attractions. Alternatively, you can book a private tour in advance to ensure you don’t have to wait for buses and can maximise your 24 hours in Abu Dhabi. This will also also you to see what you want, not what the tour itinerary dictates.

Where should you eat?

As Abu Dhabi has grown and developed, it’s dining options have expanded with some of the world’s top chefs coming to town. Most top restaurants are part of hotels so drinking alcohol with dinner is permitted. Here are our top restaurant picks if you only have a one night stopover in Abu Dhabi.


Bord Eau

Located in the Shangri-La Hotel, Bord Eau’s exquisite restaurant serves up delicious French cuisine. With the slightly higher price tag, you’ll enjoy contemporary, fresh, French dishes created by Chef Jimmy de Almeida. If you’re splashing out, why not book a seat at the Chef’s Table, to learn more about the cuisine and techniques used to create these amazing dishes.


Azura Panoramic Lounge

For dishes with a view, head to the St Regis for some impressive outdoor dining. Close to the Emirates Palace and the Corniche, the Azura Panoramic Lounge serves a menu of mixed cuisines and is a perfect way to spend the evening. You’ll certainly feel like you’re on holiday as you take in the surrounding views while outside.


How do you book?

It’s easy to book a one night stopover in Abu Dhabi and there are two ways to do it. You can either book through a travel agent like Etihad Holidays who can book your flight and hotel stay together, or you can book it yourself, making sure to book your two flights as a multistop, and then book your hotel separately.


Do I need a visa to leave the airport for one day?

You may need a visa if you are planning to leave Abu Dhabi airport for a day. This will depend on the type of passport you hold. For many, a free visa on arrival may be sufficient and will be valid for 30 days, but you will need to check with your local foreign travel advice or embassy to check what is required.