Get the deal done in the Aloft Abu Dhabi’s sleek spaces. (Photo: Marriott International)
If you think the business scene in Abu Dhabi is all about oil, think again. True, the city owes a lot of its financial success to natural resources. But it has made significant strides in developing other segments of the economy, becoming one of the Middle East’s major business travel destinations. Plus, as Abu Dhabi emerges as a regional hub for culture and sports, a business trip to the city is even more enticing.
Manufacturing, tourism, retail, hospitality and real estate are major industries here, as is renewable energy. The meetings, incentives, conference and exhibitions (MICE) sector is also enormous, contributing roughly $1 billion a year to the UAE capital’s GDP.
If your work takes you to Abu Dhabi, or you’re meeting clients and colleagues there for the first time, you’ll find ample ways to impress them outside the boardroom. You can even squeeze in some “me time” once all your deals are done and dusted.
1. Best business hotels
You can’t get any more convenient than Aloft Abu Dhabi, located within the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) complex. Designed for business travelers, the hotel offers a 24-hour business center, free Wi-Fi and a rooftop terrace and lounge where you can unwind after a day of meetings. Around 20 minutes from ADNEC is also the Marriott Hotel Downtown, Abu Dhabi and Courtyard by Marriott World Trade Center, Abu Dhabi.
2. Best meeting spaces
Get down to business in style at one of meeting areas at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal. This hotel can host any group, from 14 people to 1,400 people. As a bonus, some of its business rooms also have a scenic view of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
3. Best business lunches
Let’s face it, lunches with clients are never just about lunch. They are about putting your best foot forward and convincing clients that you are a credible and trustworthy partner. Emirati businessmen (and women) in particular value face-to-face interaction over emails and phone calls. So use a business lunch as an opportunity to build rapport. For the best ambience and menu, take clients to Villa Toscana or Kuzbara. Alternatively, why not try the impressive Brunch in the Clouds at The St. Regis Abu Dhabi? This exclusive brunch — offered to only 50 diners on the last Friday of every month — is hosted in the hotel’s Abu Dhabi Suite, the world’s highest suspended suite at 722 feet above sea level.
4. Best dinner with a view
No time for lunch? No problem! You can still enjoy mouth-watering cuisine washed down with your favorite drinks at Abu Dhabi’s finest eateries. If you want to sample Middle Eastern dishes, head to Mijana, where you can also relax and enjoy shisha (also known as hookah or water pipe). For an unrivaled view and international recipes, Azura and Sontaya are your best bet.
5. Best golf courses
Want to take your business meeting to the fairway? Abu Dhabi has a plethora of golf courses where you can improve your handicap while sealing that highly coveted deal with your business partners. The 27-hole golf course at the Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa has hosted the PGA European Tour Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. You can also book your tee time at the nine-hole course at Abu Dhabi City Golf Club or the 18-hole courses of Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and Yas Links Abu Dhabi.