Abu Dhabi Festive Guide 2016

As the Starbucks red cups materialize, Christmas trees shoot up in malls and supermarkets are swamped by advent calendars and decorative lights. It can only mean one thing – the festive season is in full swing.

We here at Out and About UAE are HUGE fans of the festive season. If we were still in the UK it would mean dark evenings, crisp walks to work and the excitement of Christmas party season. The festive season in the UAE doesn’t quite have the same feeling as it does back home and we try hard to recapture as much of the seasonal essence as possible.

So deck the halls because it’s beginning to look like Christmas, with our handy guide to the festive season right here in the capital. This post has easily clickable links for further details and will be continually updated throughout the festive period:


Tree Lighting Ceremonies:

The illumination of the Christmas tree is a strong signifyer that Christmas is fast approaching. Hotels around the capital will be holding their annual Christmas lights switch on’s, which are free to attend and are likely to involve mince pipes, mulled wine, egg nog, carol singing and perhaps… a visit from Santa himself.

McGettigans: Monday 28th November at 6pm
Khalidiya Palace: Sunday 4th December at 6pm
Beach Rotana: Tuesday 6th December at 6pm
Sofitel Abu Dhabi: Tuesday 6th December at 6pm
Holiday Inn Downtown: Wednesday 7th December at 5:30pm
Sheraton Abu Dhabi: Wednesday 7th December at 6pm
Bab Al Qasr: Thursday 8th December at 5:30pm
Anantara Eastern Mangroves: Thursday 8th December at 6pm
Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi: Thursday 8th December at 6pm
Le Meridien: Thursday 8th December at 6pm
Grand Millennium Al Wahda: Thursday 8th December at 6pm
Le Meridien: Thursday 8th December at 6pm
St. Regis Abu Dhabi: Thursday 8th December at 6pm
WestIn Abu Dhabi: Thursday 8th December at 6pm
Yas Viceroy: Thursday 8th December at 6pm.
St. Regis Saadiyat: Thursday 8th December at 6:30pm
Danat Jebel Dhanna: Thursday 8th December at 7pm
Emirates Palace: Thursday 8th December at 7pm
Shangri La Abu Dhabi: Thursday 8th December at 7:30pm
Yas Marina: Friday 9th December at 3pm
Dusit Thani: Friday 9th December at 6pm
Le Royal Meridien: Friday 9th December at 4pm
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr: Monday 12th December at 6pm
Jannah Burj Al Sarab: Wednesday 14th December at 6pm
Al Raha Beach Hotel: Wednesday 14th December at 6pm
Abu Dhabi Golf Club: Thursday 15th December at 7pm
World Trade Centre Mall: Friday 16th December at 5pm
Souq Qaryat Al Beri: Friday 16th December at 7pm

festive


Gingerbread Houses:

Kids and adults alike, love to decorate a gingerbread house as part of the seasons festivities. Wether it’s nibbling on gingerbread or decorating it with intricate iced patterns and sweets. Who can resist this spiced festive treat?

Freedom Pizza: Gingerbreads houses available to take away for building and decorating at home (65 AED per gingerbread house).
Leopold’s Of London: Gingerbread decorating class. Friday 9th December at Boutik Mall branch, Reem Island. 39 AED for two adults and one child.
Saadiyat Beach Club: Available for purchase from 3rd – 26th December (200 AED per gingerbread house).
Sheraton Abu Dhabi: Wednesday 7th December at 4pm (139 AED per child)
St. Regis Abu Dhabi: Thursday 8th December at 4pm (100 AED per child)
Emirates Palace:  Saturday 10th December at 4pm (210 AED per child)
Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi: 10th – 15th, 17th – 22nd and the 26th – 29th December at Dolce Cafe. Two sessions per day, 4pm and 6pm (175 AED per child)
St. Regis Saadiyat: Saturday 10th / 17th / 24th December at 2pm (320 AED per child)

the-lounge-do-it-yourself-gingerbread-house


Something Different:

Here at Out & About UAE we love to think outside the box and have gathered together some ‘alternative’ ways to celebrate the festive season. There may not be snow but that isn’t going to stop us!

Carols In The Desert: Get festive with carol singing in the desert. Friday 9th December from 4pm – 7pm
Giraffe Yas Mall: Special festive menu available throughout December. Turkey Schnitzel Burger (69AED) and non-alcoholic drink ‘Festive Spice’ (24AED)
Four Seasons Abu Dhabi: Winter wonderland Afternoon Tea. 4th December – 26th December from  2pm – 6pm. 150 AED
Park Hyatt Saadiyat Island: Magical festive afternoon with stories and sweet treats in The Library. Saturday 17th December from 2pm – 5pm. 150 AED for adults and 50 AED for children
Rosewood Abu Dhabi: Festive Afternoon Tea. 14th – 26th December. 135 AED per person or 195 AED with a glass of bubbly.
Sheraton Abu Dhabi: Christmas Cooking Classes. 10th. 16th and 17th December at 4pm in La Mama Restaurant. 149 AED per person
Sheraton Abu Dhabi: Festive Movies. Friday & Saturday night’s throughout December. Movies start at 7pm (the first one will be Frozen) and there is a minimum spend of 10 AED per person which can be redeemed against food and drinks.
St Regis Abu Dhabi: Festive Brunch In The Clouds. Friday 23rd December from 12pm – 5pm (500 AED per person with soft beverages)
St. Regis Saadiyat: Festive Afternoon Tea in The Drawing Room. 4th December – 7th January from  2pm – 6pm. 160 AED  per person or 200 AED with a glass of bubbly.
The Sportsman’s Arms: Festive Fun Day featuring Christmas carols, face painting and  Santa’s grotto. Saturday 10th December, 12pm onwards, free entry.
WestIn Abu Dhabi: Christmas In The Park. Thursday 8th December from 6pm
Yas Marina: Let it snow. Snowball fights, photos with Santa and a festive market. 17th December from 1pm onwards

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Christmas Day Brunch:

The UAE loves brunch, so why should Christmas be any different? Expect a veritable feast of festive goodies – turkey with all the trimmings, Christmas pudding, minced pies and candy canes. Plus all the usual brunch staples. Christmas is all about enjoying good times with family and friends and there’s no better way to do that, than with an extravagant feast:

Cafe 302: Christmas Day three course dinner. Sunday 25th December from 12pm – 11pm at 155 AED per person
Courtyard By Marriott: Christmas Brunch at Bistro. Sunday 25th December from 12:30pm – 3:30pm. 149 AED (soft) / 249 AED (house beverages)
Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi: Christmas Day Brunch at The Garden. Sunday 25th December from 12:30pm – 4pm. 155 AED (soft) / 215 AED (house beverages)
Danat Jebel Dhanna: Cheerful Brunch at Tides. Sunday 25th December from 12:30pm – 4pm. 250 AED (house beverages)
Dusit Thani: Christmas Day Brunch at Urban Kitchen. Sunday 25th December from 12:30pm – 4pm. 199 AED (soft) / 299 AED (house beverages)
Emirates Palace: Christmas Brunch At Veldome. Sunday 25th December from 12:30pm – 3:30pm. 450 AED (soft) / 600 AED (house beverages) / 700 AED (bubbly)
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr: The Monumental Festive Brunch at Cuisine. Sunday 25th December from 12:30pm – 4pm. 399 AED (soft) / 599 AED (house beverages) / 649 AED (bubbly)
Four Seasons Abu Dhabi: Christmas Day Brunch at Crust. Sunday 25th December from 1pm – 5pm. 300 AED (soft) / 400 AED (house beverages) / 650 AED (bubbly)
Hilton Abu Dhabi: Three course Christmas Lunch at Vasco’s. Sunday 25th December. 220 AED.
Hyatt Capital Gate: Christmas Lunch at 18 Degrees. Sunday 25th December from 12pm – 3pm. 180 AED (soft)
Intercontinental: Fabulous Festive Brunch. Sunday 25th December from 12pm – 4pm. 335 AED (soft) / 385 AED (house beverages) / 495 AED (bubbly)
Jazz@Pizza Express: Festive Brunch. Sunday 25th December from 12pm – 4pm. 129 AED (soft) / 229 AED (house beverages)
Jumeirah At Etihad Towers: Rosewater Christmas Brunch. Sunday 25th December from 12:30pm – 3:30pm. 375 AED (soft) / 550 AED (house beverages)
Le Meridien: Christmas Village Brunch. Sunday 25th December from 1pm – 4pm. 285 AED (soft) / 455 AED (house beverages) / 595 AED (bubbly)
Le Royal Meridien: Christmas  Day Family Brunch at Cafe Palmier. Sunday 25th December from 1pm – 4pm. 299 AED (soft) / 399 AED (house beverages) / 499 AED (bubbly)
Park Hyatt Saadiyat Island: Chistmas BBQ Buffet at The Park Bat & Grill. Sunday 25th December from 1pm – 4pm. 350 AED
Rosewood Abu Dhabi: Christmas Family Brunch at Aqua. Sunday 25th December from 12:30pm – 4pm. 275 AED (soft) / 375 AED (house beverages) / 475 AED (bubbly)
Saadiyat Beach Club: Christmas Brunch. Sunday 25th December from 1pm – 4pm. 275 AED (soft) / 375 AED (house beverages) / 475 AED (bubbly)
Sheraton Abu Dhabi: Christmas Day Brunch at Flavours. Sunday 25th December from 12:30pm – 3:30pm. 285 AED (soft) / 365 AED (house beverages) / 550 AED (bubbly)
Southern Sun Abu Dhabi: A Very Merry Brunch at The Foundry. Sunday 25th December from 12:30pm – 4pm. 249 AED (soft) / 319 AED (house beverages) / 389 AED (bubbly)
St Regis Abu Dhabi: Terrace On The Corniche Christmas Brunch. Sunday 25th December from 1pm – 4pm. 350 AED (soft) / 450 AED (house beverages) / 550 AED (bubbly)
St. Regis Saadiyat: Christmas Brunch at Olea. Sunday 25th December from 1pm – 4pm. 500 AED (soft) / 600 AED (house beverages) / 700 AED (bubbly)
WestIn Abu Dhabi: Christmas Day Brunch at Fairways. Sunday 25th December from 12:30pm – 4pm. Packages start at 430 AED ++
Yas Viceroy: Festive Friday Brunch at Origins. Sunday 25th December from 12:30pm – 4pm. 225 AED (soft) / 375 AED (house beverages) / 480 AED (bubbly)

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Takeaway Turkeys:

Wether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at home. Why not take the stress out of the festivities and order your turkey (with all the trimmings) readily prepared. Giving you more time to relax and enjoy the day, rather than slaving over a hot stove – go on, you deserve it.

Cafe 302: Must be ordered at least 72 hours in advance for collection between the 24th November and 7th January. Medium turkey 395 AED / large turkey 595 AED
Danat Jebel Dhanna: Must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance for collection between the 8th December and 2nd January. Prices available upon request.
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr: Must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance. Prices available upon request.
Jones The Grocer: Must be ordered at least 48 hours in advance for collection between the 14th and 26th December. Prices start at 775 AED
Le Royal Meridien: Must be ordered at least 48 hours in advance. Small turkey 450 AED (feeds up to 7 people) / medium turkey 500 AED (up to 9 people) / large turkey 550 AED (feeds up to 12 people)
Rosewood Abu Dhabi: Must be ordered at least 48 hours in advance. Medium turkey 595 AED (feeds 4 – 5 people) / large turkey 695 AED (feeds 6 – 8 people)
Saadiyat Beach Club: Must be ordered at least 72 hours in advance for collection at 5pm on either the 24th or 25th December. Prices available upon request.
Southern Sun Abu Dhabi: Must be ordered at least 48 hours in advance. Prices available upon request.
St Regis Abu Dhabi: Must be ordered at least 48 hours in advance. Medium turkey 650 AED (feeds 6 – 10 people) / large turkey 850 AED (feeds 10 – 14 people)
St. Regis Saadiyat: Must be ordered at least 72 hours in advance for collection between the 1st and 25th December. Prices available upon request.
WestIn Abu Dhabi: Must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance. Hampers cost 550 AED
Yas Viceroy: Must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance. Large turkey 550 AED (feeds 6 – 8 people)

festive-take-away-menu


Christmas Markets:

Festive markets are a great way to shop for themed gifts for friends and loved ones. From specially crafted trinkets, to a range of food and beverage stalls. It may not be winter weather but it’s certainly fun.

WestIn Abu Dhabi: Christmas Market & Santa Chase. Saturday 3rd December from 10am – 6pm
Khalidiya Palace: Christmas Market. Sunday 4th December and Monday 5th December from 12pm – 8pm
Beach Rotana: Swiss Christmas Market. Wednesday 7th December – Saturday 10th December 2016 from 4pm – 10pm.
Eastern Mangroves Promenade: Winterland. Saturday 1oth December. 11am – 6pm

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Santa’s Grottos:

For those with children, there is nothing quite like seeing their faces light up when they visit Santa. Details of most of Abu Dhabi’s grottos and winter wonderlands have yet to be revealed for the 2016 season but expect to find them in all the big malls (Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall, Galleria Mall, Marina Mall, Al Wanda Mall, Mushriff Mall, Dalma Mall, Deerfield Malls, Khalidiya Mall). We will keep you posted…

Abu Dhabi Mall: Santa will be available for meet and greets with the little ones daily from the 14tth – 25th December between the hours of 11am and 8pm. Similar to last year, there will also be festive workshops, art and crafts and a festive market.

The Galleria: Al Maryah Island’s Galleria Mall go all out for Christmas each year. With a Santa’s grotto, festive movies, musical performances and plenty of fun activities to keep the little one entertained. All against a waterfront backdrop and the twinkling lights of downtown Abu Dhabi. Santa’s grotto will be open from the 8th – 25th December, from 4pm – 9pm.

santa


All details correct at time of going to press but maybe subject to change, so please call ahead. Images used courtesy of The National, Sheraton Abu Dhabi, Seven Media, The Westin and The Drawing Room.

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