Jenny Fletcher, Business Travel Consultant based in the Belfast Office shares her FAM trip with Etihad Airways to Abu Dhabi
My recent trip to Abu Dhabi can only be summed up as Fantastic!!
I had previously been to Dubai, so was keen to see a different city so close and they are certainly very very different.
My favourite being Abu Dhabi due to its relaxed atmosphere and way of life. The perfect trip for me would be a combination of both.
Prior to our departure, we had a tour and breakfast in the Etihad Premium Lounge at Dublin T2 which was very stylish and modern with all facilities and Etihad business passenger would want to avail off. They have a kids area as well for anyone travelling with young children and is supervised by staff so parents can relax and have a meal or drinks. The group got split into two for the departure, half in Business class and Half in Economy. I found the economy very spacious, comfortable, service was excellent with a great entertainment selection on-board. Business class was as you would expect with an airline of that calibre to be – Champagne or Orange juice prior to take off, you order your evening meal or Breakfast (flight time dependent) and they ask if you wish to be awoken or just request when you’re ready to eat. The seat was a fully lie flat bed and very comfortable for a full night’s sleep.
Upon arrival into Abu Dhabi we transferred to Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri (10mins from Airport) and then hosted for a beach BBQ. The hotel had a very contemporary design and plenty of quirks such as marshmallow’s at reception, reason behind it was and I quote “ It worked in Traders Singapore and Hong Kong, so why not here”. Our first full day featured a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – an unbelievable place, so tranquil and full of grandeur. It can accommodate up to 10,000 worshipers in 3 different prayer halls, also has the most beautiful décor of chandeliers and features symbolising Mecca.
On most Fam Trips hosted by airlines it focuses on hotel site visits, however this one featured a visit to the Etihad Innovation Centre. This is where airline staff come for the uniform fittings, makeup and hair lessons for cabin crew and wine pouring training for the Butlers (yes wine pouring!) . They have a mock aircraft of the A380 with the Residence, First, Business and Economy which was great to experience. No visit to the Middle East would be complete without a desert sunset safari and BBQ….4×4 dune bashing is a brilliant experience and definitely something to try when your there.
Big highlight of the trip was our visit to Yas Marine Circuit , where we got to drive Camaro’s on the drag strip…such an adrenaline rush, after our Hamilton wannabe experience we headed to Ferrari World!! World’s fastest rollercoaster #done .
Our last night in this magnificent place was centred around a stay in the Shangri La Hotel – ultimate luxury. The hotel overlooked the mosque which when lit up at night was a beautiful sight beyond the hotels infinity pool. We sampled all of the restaurants in the Shangri-La for our evening meal, Chinese, French and Vietnamese. For clients where money is no object, this is most certainly one of the top hotels I have stayed in.
In a nutshell, for people who want luxury and relaxation with things to do during the day with the opportunity to visit Museums ie the pending Guggenheim or the Louvre (to be completed 2018) this is a fantastic destination. Combine this with a few nights in Dubai and it’s a perfect trip.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if I can help a client, I am happy to do so.