We wanted to share everything awesome that’s taking place in the capital over the next three days with you, but time is of the essence, so we’ve settled for 10 of the best. From a charity film screening and art talk to a boat party, kitten adoption day and kids’ cooking class, here’s how to have a great weekend in Abu Dhabi.
Thursday 23rd May
Join Make-A-Wish Foundation UAE for a charity screening of Disney’s new Aladdin. The magical film follows a kindhearted street urchin and a power-hungry Grand Vizier as they vie for a magic lamp that has the power to make dreams come true. All proceeds from ticket sales go to help Make-A-Wish Foundation UAE grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses. AED 100 including complimentary popcorn and refreshments. Yas Mall, Yas Island. 9.30pm. Book online here.
Friday 24th May
Join the brunch bunch at Stars N Bars where you can enjoy a weekend set menu of the American restaurant and bar’s signature dishes on Fridays and Saturdays throughout Ramadan. AED 149 with soft drinks, AED 199 with house beverages. Yas Marina, Yas Island. 8pm-11pm. Contact: 02 565 0101, yasmarina.ae
The Ramadan Village at Abu Dhabi Mall features a host of cultural activities, children’s workshops and a themed souk. Enjoy traditional hospitality in the majlis, watch live performances and let the little ones flex their creative muscles with pottery painting and cookie decorating, plus Arabic storytelling sessions and puppet shows. Free. Al Zahiyah. Daily throughout Ramadan 8pm-midnight. Visit: abudhabi-mall.com
Does your little one love being in the kitchen? Then hone their skills at the Kids Masterclass at Aussie deli Jones the Grocer. This week it’s all about creating a colourful smoothie bowl and ice cream. Children aged four and above can don a chef’s hat and apron, whip up something special and even receive a certificate afterwards. Spaces are limited so booking is essential. AED 149 including all equipment and ingredients. Pearl Plaza, Al Khalidiyah. 4pm-6pm. Visit: jonesthegrocer.com
Don’t forget about the weekly organic pop-up market on Saadiyat Island. Every Friday, Ripe Organic comes to The Collection so you can stock up on fresh, organic produce from fruits and vegetables to honey, dates, eggs, superfoods and more. The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort. 10am-3pm. Visit: ripeme.com
Looking to give a furry feline a loving home? If you’re ready for the commitment then head to City Vet Clinic’s Adopt (or Foster) Day where you can find the right cat or kitten to join your family. Felines of all ages, sizes and breeds are looking for homes, so whether you want to find out more about fostering or are ready to adopt, you could find your newest family member here. Free. Villa 143-145, 12th Street, opposite Al Forsan Village, Khalifa City. 2pm-7pm. Contact: 02 448 1448, thecityvetclinic.com
Hop on board for the Rock the Boat party where you can dance to beats from DJs ALLAD and LOSO while enjoying food, drinks and the city sights. AED 150, BYOB. Boarding time 7pm at Mina Zayed, boat sails from 7.30pm to 11.30pm. Contact: 050 439 7968, eventbrite.com
Saturday 25th May
Art and poetry collide at the next Ramadan Art Talk 2019, hosted as part of the seasonal series by Abu Dhabi Art Hub. Today, Tayebeh “Saaedeh” Keshvari talks about how her love for literature and Rumi’s poems have inspired her art work. Free. The Mall at WTC, Khalifa Street. 8pm-11pm. Contact: 02 551 5005, adah.ae
The Sportsman’s Arms continues with its daily programme of free film screenings for little ones. Today, kids can catch the computer-animated film Sing, which follows five animals, including a timid elephant and punk-rock porcupine, as they compete in a talent competition and follow their dreams of singing on stage. Free. International Tennis Stadium, Zayed Sports City, Saif Ghobash Street. 4pm-6pm. Contact: 02 447 1066, sportsmanszsc.com
Public speaking is a valuable skill that could help many of us in our personal and professional lives. Learn about the Essentials of Public Speaking at this talk with Avneet Kohli, who shares tips on how to get over your fear of speaking in public and equip yourself with the tools and skills you’ll need to learn and develop. Free. The Third Place Café, Corniche Street, near Hilal Bank, Al Khalidiyah. Visit: eventbrite.co.uk
Have a great weekend and don’t forget to tag us in your photos at @adwuae on Twitter and Instagram and @abudhabiworld on Facebook – who knows, you might even be featured in the magazine!
For those who dream of making the UAE their forever home, this is a huge deal – a permanent residency scheme.
HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, announced the country’s first continuous visa scheme on Tuesday (21st May).
Sheikh Mohammed broke the news of the ‘golden card’ system on Twitter, saying: “Permanent residency will be granted to distinguished individuals, exceptional talents and anyone who contributes positively to the success story of the UAE.”
First to be enrolled are 6,800 business people whose investments exceed AED 100 billion. Those who make “exceptional competencies in the fields of medicine, engineering, science and all the arts” will also be eligible, HH added.
The news is the latest (and possibly biggest) announcement in a series of changes to the UAE’s visa system for residents.
In November 2018, the UAE Cabinet approved long-term residency visas for “investors, entrepreneurs, specialised talents and researchers in the fields of science…and outstanding students,” making it easier for foreign workers and students to build a life in the UAE.
There are stringent conditions for applications, including holding a PhD degree from one of the top 500 universities in the world, for specialised researchers to gain a 10-year residency visa.
Malls throughout the capital have joined forces to offer visitors a special experience during the holy month of Ramadan.
In partnership with The Islamic Museum, Yas Mall, The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi (WTCAD) and Al Jimi Mall in Al Ain will host pop-up exhibitions displaying over 100 priceless Islamic artefacts, including an oil painting of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Nahyan, the chair on which Sheikh Zayed used to sit, the first photo of the union with the leaders of the UAE, rare historical newspaper clippings and Quran copies that date back thousands of years.
In line with the Year of Tolerance and Fatima bint Mohamed bin Zayed Initiative, 12 handmade carpets will be displayed in Yas Mall to honour Afghani women in the handmade carpet industry.
Additionally, visitors to Yas Mall, The Mall at WTCAD and Remal Mall in Al Ain can enjoy special promotions through the Spend & Win campaign, which will run from 6th May to 4th June. Each week, the malls will reward one lucky shopper with a AED 10,000 grocery shopping spree.
To enter the draw, shoppers must spend AED 200 at any of the malls’ outlets. Visitors can double their chance to win by spending at any of Yas Mall or The Mall at WTCAD’s food and beverage outlets.
To help you celebrate Eid al Fitr in style, Cipriani Yas Island will open its doors to families and friends for an award-winning Italian menu and three nights of fireworks.
The restaurant features indoor and outdoor dining with views overlooking Yas Marina and Yas Hotel, and will be offering an Italian-themed menu inspired by Giuseppe Cipriani (owner of Harry’s Bar, Venice) and Venetian cuisine.
Fireworks will begin at 9pm daily during Eid al Fitr.
We’d hate for you to be bored this weekend, so we’ve rounded up a list of things to do over the next few days.
Here are 11 ways to make the most of it and spend more time with family and friends, from film screenings and art workshops to game nights and motorsports.
Thursday 16th May
Festember is back this Ramadan with Project Warehouse. The concept brings together a curated selection of beauty, fashion, food, art and majlis entertainment for friends to enjoy during the holy month. Until 18th May. AED 65 for adults, AED 35 for children, AED 180 for families. Du Forum, Yas Island. From 8pm til late. Get your tickets here.
The game is on at Manarat al Saadiyat where Ramadan Arcade has taken over for the weekend. Grab your friends and challenge them in a round of retro, board and video games, including Space Invaders, Pacman, Super Mario Kart, NBA 2K19, Jakaro, Jenga and Sequence. There are also storytelling sessions and live performances. Free. For 18 years and above. Until 18th May. AED 20. Saadiyat Island. 9pm-2am. Tickets available here.
Feeling artsy? Then sign up for the Design & Dine Ramadan brunch. You’ll be given all the supplies you need as well as step-by-step guidance to create a beautiful piece of Arabic calligraphy to hang on your walls. In between strokes you can enjoy unlimited food and drinks while catching up with friends. Booking required. AED 260 with soft drinks, AED 290 premium package. Aloft Al Ain, Hamdan bin Mohammed Street. 7pm-11pm. Book your spot online at allevents.in/alain or contact 056 612 7064.
Friday 17th May
Enjoy your Friday night with a pre-party offer of unlimited sushi at Relax@12 soundtracked by hip-hop, RnB and Afrobeats from DJs Shox, Slim and Kays. AED 155. Aloft Abu Dhabi, next to Adnec. 8pm-10pm. Contact: 02 654 5193, facebook.com/aloftabudhabi
Get your drift on at Yas Marina Circuit’s Drift Night. Test out your handling skills on track and see if you can smoke out the competition. AED 504. Yas Island. Registration 6.30pm, track time 8pm-midnight. Book online for 20 percent discount.
Get a glimpse of never-before-seen photographs of Sheikh Zayed and the UAE at The Galleria’s Ramadan exhibition in celebration of the Year of Tolerance. The photos, presented courtesy of National Archive, celebrate the UAE’s founding father with a curated selection of shots from key moments during the development of the country between 1965 and 1990, and Sheikh Zayed’s efforts to establish tolerance in the community. Free. Al Maryah Island. Sat-Wed noon-midnight, Thu-Fri noon-1am. Contact: 02 616 6999, thegalleria.ae
As part of its weekend film series, Louvre Abu Dhabi welcomes families every Friday and Saturday throughout Ramadan for short, looped screenings of animations and documentaries. Family-friendly films include One Two Tree, Mr Night Has a Day Off and Sloth Animanimals, portraying heartwarming tales from around the world with themes of multiculturalism, courage and exploration. Free with admission ticket to the museum (AED 60 for adults, AED 30 for youth aged 13 to 22, free for children under 13). Saadiyat Island. From 10am. Get tickets online.
Saturday 18th May
Flex your creative muscles this weekend and learn doll sculpting with artist Aisha Al Blooshi. Hosted in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Art, the adult workshop will teach you how to sculpt a doll face on a spoon, attach glass eyes, create eyelids and decorate your doll into different styles. Free. Manarat al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island. 9.30pm. Contact: 02 657 5929, email@example.com
Looking for a truly unique iftar? The Cultural Foundation is hosting a Cultural Majlis led by cultural expert Ali Al Saloom. He’ll be answering your questions about Emirati traditions and clarifying dos and don’ts to challenge social stereotypes and encourage tolerance. AED 100. Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed al Maktoum Street, next to Qasr al Hosn. 6.30pm-8.30pm. Contact: culturalfoundation.ae
Emirates Bio Farm is also hosting a unique iftar experience where you can break your fast in a functioning greenhouse where the vegetables on your plate are grown! The Field to Plate menu includes organic produce as well as a locally sourced Bedouin style lamb dish that’s been slow cooked for over five hours. The experience also includes a one-hour farm tour through the fields and greenhouses to learn more about organic farming. Every Friday and Saturday throughout Ramadan. Spots are limited, booking required. AED 180 for adults, AED 80 for children aged six to 12, free for children under six. 5.30pm-8.30pm. Book your tickets here.
Warehouse421 and CinemaAkil have teamed up for a Ramadan film and suhoor special. Go behind the scenes of the beloved Studio Ghibli with a screening of documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness before continuing the conversation with Al Rabi’a, an experimental space featuring walls lined with static and moving paintings from artist Shaikha El Ketbi’s dreams. Popcorn, snacks and refreshments will be provided. Free. Mina Zayed. 9pm-11pm. Registration required here.
Have a great weekend and don’t forget to tag us in your photos at @adwuae on Twitter and Instagram and @abudhabiworld on Facebook – who knows, you might even be featured in the magazine!
As Eid al Fitr approaches, it’s all about spending more time with loved ones. Whether that means you plan to get away or stick around, we’re here to help you decide where to spend your holiday.
For Muslims around the world, a month of intense prayer and fasting from dusk to dawn culminates with yet another religious holiday, this year expected to fall on 3rd June.
Eid al Fitr, which translates to ‘festival of breaking the fast’, marks the end of Ramadan and the first day of Shawwal. To commemorate the occasion, the UAE government declares start and end dates for Eid that usually includes days off for public and private sector employees and we’ve rounded up a list of nearby getaways to make the most of your time off.
Explore the UAE
You don’t have to fly away to enjoy your Eid break as the UAE is home to some great places to relax and have fun. Pack light, load up the car and take a family road trip to these nearby locales.
Ajman may be the smallest of the seven emirates but it packs big fun for families. The city is clean, safe and offers everything from pristine beaches to camel racing. You can explore the treasures and stories of the emirate at Ajman Museum, which has annotated displays of weaponry, jewellery, pottery and clothing along with models of dhows and barasti huts.
If you’d like a more mainstream day out, stop by Ajman City Centre Mall where kids can enjoy games and rides at Magic Planet or take in a movie at VOX Cinema.
After play time, grab a table at Qdemk Ndemk Café, and enjoy a kid-friendly lunch surrounded by bright murals and brass teapots that hang from the ceiling.
Before leaving, visit Saleh Souq, a picturesque Arabian market with a palm-frond roof and coral stone floor, to shop for souvenirs and gifts – and in the event you don’t find what you’re looking for, the Gold Souq is just next door. Visit: ajman.travel
Ras Al Khaimah
With mountains, beaches, ancient cultural sites and a beautiful desert oasis, Ras Al Khaimah – better known as RAK – is truly an unforgettable Arabian experience.
Located just a car ride away from Abu Dhabi, RAK is the UAE’s most northern emirate, which also borders Oman, making it easily accessible. While there’s a variety of things to do and see in RAK, there’s also a hidden gem that’s worth exploring.
Al Marjan Island is a destination within a destination that includes four manmade islands, three resorts and a host of entertainment.
You can take your pick and check into Rixos Bab Al Bahr, an all-inclusive resort located on Breeze Island, DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island or Marjan Island Resort & Spa for the ultimate staycation experience. Each property offers a unique combination of luxury spa, watersports, nightlife and dining options. Visit: rasalkhaimah.ae
If you’re down to branch out a little more, these regional destinations make great options for a short stay.
This Eid visit Georgia’s ancient and vibrant capital city for a memorable holiday.
Archaeological studies of the region indicate human settlement in the area as early as the fourth millennium BC, and you can tour the charming castles and monuments that are still around today.
Visit structures like Anchiskhati Church, the Church of Metekhi and Narikala fortress for a glimpse of the past. Or, if you crave something a bit different, try rafting or tour at the cellar in old Tbilisi where you can also shop for. Visit: georgia.travel
Getting there: Air Arabia and Etihad Airways offer direct flights from Abu Dhabi.
The capital of Jordan is a unique blend of old and new, ideally situated on a hilly area between the desert and the Jordan Valley.
Modern buildings, hotels, restaurants, art galleries and boutiques form the heart of the city with traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans’ workshops sprinkled among them.
When it comes to leisure, Amman offers an eclectic mix of experiences, including Waves Water Park for children, horseback riding and indoor rock climbing.
If you’re looking for a more adrenaline packed excursion, get off the ground with Royal Aero Sports Club by skydiving, micro-light flying, hot air ballooning or parachuting. You can also opt for a more calming experience with the popular Dead Sea tour and spa session. Visit: visitjordan.com
Getting there: Etihad and Royal Jordanian Airways offer direct flights from Abu Dhabi.
Beirut is a modern, cosmopolitan city where economy and culture meet. Known for its vibrant energy and storied past as a connector of east and west, the capital city is home to universities, hotels, hospitals, shops and a variety of leisure and entertainment destinations, too.
While families can create an enjoyable experience that appeals to everyone, this city is better suited for those who want to enjoy a faster pace.
From the bustling Gemmayzeh neighborhood, which houses the St Nicolas stairway where artists and painters exhibit their work, to the designer shops along Hamra Street, there’s always something to get into.
There are activities on offer for culture buffs, too. Bathe in the last Turkish bath in the district of Zuqaq that originally opened in 1920, or visit the fully restored National Museum to marvel ancient Lebanese treasures.
Round things out with a stroll down the Corniche, lined with seaside resorts, hotels and restaurants serving up a variety of cuisines. Visit: destinationlebanon.gov.lb
Getting there: Etihad and Gulf Air offer direct flights from Abu Dhabi.
Holidays are great but booking them can sometimes add a little stress to your life. Whether you’re lining up a solo trip or coordinating itineraries for friends and family, these sites can help take the edge off.
Holiday Factory bills itself as “the largest, most successful, most affordable” tour operating business in the UAE.
The site offers packages that are inclusive of flights and hotels to streamline your booking process. In addition, the company offers tour guides in select destinations such as Georgia, Armenia and Thailand. Visit: holiday-factory.com
Musafir.com is the UAE’s first premium-experience travel site, offering flights to over 3,000 destinations, hotel stays in over 85,000 properties around the world, and holiday experiences. Visit: musafir.com
Stay and Play
If traveling is not on the agenda, you can still celebrate Eid al Fitr in style right here in Abu Dhabi.
Leading up to Eid, The Galleria will be hosting a variety of family-friendly activities during the final five days of Ramadan. Henna artists, face painting for kids and lantern-making workshops are just some of the treats to look forward to.
Then, during Eid al Fitr, The Galleria will host traditional Ayyalah performers and daily arts and crafts workshops for kids. Even better, the first 100 visitors each day will take home souvenirs such as personalised Arabic calligraphy and bespoke sand bottle creations. Free. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island. 3pm-10pm. Contact: 02 616 69999, thegalleria.ae
Plenty more Eid al Fitr events and promotions are expected to be announced at attractions and malls closer to the time so stay tuned for updates at adwonline.ae
From concerns about fire safety to issues with neighbours, Alan Kaye, director of business development at District Real Estate, is here to help
Our neighbour has four cars and although he has a double garage and room to park them on his drive they are often parked across our drive. Is there anything that we can do?
Disputes with neighbours should be avoided at all costs. I sympathise with your problem and suggest that you invite him into your house and have a quiet word with him. Explain the problem and hopefully an amicable solution will be found.
Try to avoid complaining to the management company and, as a last resort, the police, as this can only lead to a more difficult situation.
We live in an apartment block with a balcony on the eighth floor. I have just noticed two cigarette butts on my balcony, which I find both disgusting and dangerous. What do you suggest that I should do?
This is illegal and a serious matter, particularly as some of the recent fires in tower blocks have been caused by cigarettes.
Speak immediately with your property management company and follow up with an email so that your complaint is logged.
If it occurs again then I would speak with the police to take whatever action they feel is required.
We have recently arrived in Abu Dhabi and have just started to look for an apartment. We are used to paying monthly for accommodation so are really surprised to find that we are expected to pay up front with only one or two payments. Is there anywhere in Abu Dhabi that will accept more payments?
There is currently a big change happening in the rental market in Abu Dhabi. Traditionally, one or two payments were the norm but with supply being greater than the demand, many landlords are now becoming much more flexible and realistic.
The government is also encouraging this trend by no longer paying housing allowances.
Saadiyat Beach Residence and Amwaj at Raha Beach are two developments where they accept 12 payments.
Check with your real estate broker for other places where this is now accepted.
Nine months ago, we moved into a new villa compound. We were told that the communal facilities would be completed within three months but they have still not been finished and no one can give me a clear answer as to when they will be. Can we ask for a refund on rent?
In Abu Dhabi, this is unfortunately something that happens all too often. We always advise clients not to rely on promises and, if you cannot actually see something, to assume it is not there. You are unlikely to receive a refund on rent, but you should negotiate for a reduction in rent next year if you choose to renew your contract.
I have just received a renewal notice for my apartment and I am shocked to find that the rent has been increased and the maximum number of cheques that will be accepted is two. What should I do?
I have been told by property management companies that over half of renewal notices are never queried and just paid, hence your notice with an increase.
The amount of rent requested on the renewal notice should always be negotiated but do it from a position of strength. Check the current rents of similar apartments in your building and also in the vicinity.
Also find out the number of cheques that new tenants are now paying and send back a reply using this information with a realistic proposal.
When Artem Login founded L’ETO in Soho in 2009, he never imagined he’d be bringing the concept to the UAE just a few years later. But with Artem’s formula of quality ingredients, clean presentation and devilishly good-looking cakes, that’s exactly what’s happened. As the young entrepreneur prepares to open even more outlets, he takes time out to speak with editor Rachael Perrett about developing the original concept and the navigating the UAE’s food and beverage industry.
Where did the L’ETO concept come from?
I grew up in a family of food lovers, and my father is quite experienced in restaurants. The idea came in London in 2009. At that time it was a fairly free market and a lot of places were empty. I found a small space in a prime location in Soho, London and without thinking much, the best thing I could do was a café because of [my family’s background].
The space was quite awkward; it was basically just a square space but with a
long window so we decided to create a display with cakes.
A cake is something that’s really easy to sell to people, especially if it’s well presented. At the time of opening, we tried to play with the presentation in the window and this is what really helped us progress with our brand without much marketing.
L’ETO now has 12 branches across London and the UAE. How has this original concept of a café developed over the years?
The café is where we started. We proceeded to open a few more branches around London; these were also small takeaway coffee shops until we got to location number four in Belgravia, London, and we had a kitchen there. Having a kitchen gives you possibilities to expand your offering; we upgraded our design and this was the next step where we really proceeded into being an upmarket café-restaurant.
After we opened five branches in London, in the UAE we had a fantastic opportunity to get an amazing place where you aren’t restricted with planning or the size of the premises – as long as you can afford the rent, you can come and do it. So this is where we started to be a real restaurant.
When you opened your first outlet in Soho, did you expect this success that would lead to international expansion?
No, to be honest. I tried to do my best in terms of quality and to make sure that I’m giving a great experience to customers. There are a lot of regulars and people thank us every day for that coffee or cake, and you really start learning their taste – this is what gives you that sense of satisfaction.
Even if you had asked me three years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined myself being in the UAE, but that’s what’s happened.
Were you familiar with the UAE dining scene before you set up here?
I wasn’t familiar with it until I came here myself. [A lot of people] recommended that I come and try out Dubai, especially as in London we have a lot of customers from Gulf countries. I was amazed by how open and business friendly the country is. I calculated a few numbers to see how it would work and it seemed to be promising so I decided to invest here.
When planning the UAE outlets, how much did you have to adapt the concept to fit the local market?
We didn’t have to adapt too much in terms of the food offering. In fact, we were striving for it to be the same as London. We brought the same team and the same equipment because of the following we had among the GCC crowd in London. When they see London brands opening in the UAE they want to experience the same thing.
As we’ve progressed, we’ve developed the menu more. We have bigger restaurants, bigger teams, bigger kitchens, bigger everything – because as you can imagine, in the UAE everything is bigger, better, stronger, higher…
As a restaurateur, what do you think of Abu Dhabi’s dining scene?
I definitely think Abu Dhabi’s dining scene has grown, and I have had a number of requests to open L’ETO in a few developments. I definitely think Abu Dhabi is trying to develop as a global tourist destination in its own unique way as the capital of the UAE, with the heritage, the culture, the sea, and it’s populated by more locals than Dubai. So you can feel that authenticity. In terms of our cafes, Abu Dhabi is more family oriented. People in Abu Dhabi are also a lot kinder in terms of feedback!
As the founder of L’ETO, tell us what your favourite menu item is…
My absolute favourite is violet açaí latte. In terms of cakes, I adore the caramel layer cake. It’s one of our oldest items but the way it’s presented and tastes is amazing.
Guests looking to achieve sound mind and body recently gathered in Jumeirah at Etihad Towers for community group Lightworkers Abu Dhabi’s open house. The afternoon of wellness activities saw participants engage in group and one-on-one meditation and energy healing sessions to learn more about