My best friend Natascha flew all the way from Switzerland to spend a girly weekend with me, marking 10 years of our friendship (and 2 years since our last rendez-vous!), it also happened to be the last weekend before Ramadan, and what an absolute delight it was!
We started the weekend on Thursday evening in casual style with giggles and catch ups at Belgian Beer Cafe, InterContinental Abu Dhabi – indoor seating as it was too humid outside. While I opted for my usual chicken escalope, Natascha tried the meat balls with traditional thick cut Belgian fries … yum! For those who have never been, BBC (as its known locally) is situated ideally on the 1st floor and has a large outdoor terrace which overlooks the marina. This is one of my favourite restaurants to enjoy in the winter when the weather is perfect, as the terrace comes to life bursting with energy and great Jazz music on Tuesdays!
The Abu Dhabi thing to do on Fridays is brunch… and most residents go for the biggest, liveliest, and most exquisite offers, however as neither of us are “regular” brunchers, we selected a more personalized and easy going option at Cho Gao, Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi. The restaurant launched its “Taste of Asia” brunch in April … ok I’ll stop with the PR pitch — without sounding biased, personally I adore the offering that comes with this brunch as it has truly authentic Asian varieties, which are not normally served on the a la carte menu. And not to mention, there wasn’t an overflow of guests jumping on top of each other in ques, it was quiet and we were able to enjoy a great laugh. Our only criticism was that the portion is simply too large, we could easily have been 4 adults.
With our tummies full, the next best thing was to fully relax while getting our mani’s & pedi’s done at Invogue Ladies Salon. The salon is located in Khalidiya Tower, opposite of the Corniche and features Arabic style decor with hints of turquoise accents to balance the golden tones. We both opted for summery coral colours, although I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t have a lemon yellow polish (my friends know that I’m currently addicted to everything yellow). I love the salon because the ladies really take very good care of their customers and I love the way they make you feel relaxed from the moment you sit down. I have tried some of their massages before which are fantastic and great value, as well as get my hair trimmed regularly – ask for Nishadi if you go next time, she is a star!
Following our relaxing treatments, we headed to Art House Cafe to enjoy refreshments as it was a particularly hot day. The cafe is one of my favourite places in the city, from the moment you step on its grounds, creativity surrounds you — I always find a way to recharge when I’m there. The cafe is located right next to the Etihad Modern & Antique Art Galleries and while they are closed on Fridays, trust me these gems are definitely worth a visit! You can read all about my previous visit by clicking here.
We then headed to World Trade Centre Mall, beautifully decorated with Ramadan colours, elements, and hints of traditional bukhoor, which is a fragrance made from oil infused oud tree bark. We browsed around the shops until it was time for our date with Johnny Depp … ladies, I’m referring to the newly released Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge. I have never really booked a cinema ticket online, however as it was a new release and the weekend, I was fearful that we would miss it — honestly booking online was very easy and Novo Cinemas give you a great overview of the seats you book, unlike other cinemas which trick you into purchasing cheaper seats but then you spend the entire movie with neck pain because the screen is too close! Back to the movie – it was amazing, in fact its one of my favourites from the film series– not to mention ALL the characters are there, even some older ones which we thought we would never see again!
The following day (and Natascha’s last day), we spent at The Bayshore Beach Club, InterContinental Abu Dhabi. I’m very proud to say that I worked with the team who successfully launched this beach club 3 years ago and it was just the perfect day to chill by the pool and soak up the sun’s rays. The hotel also has a private beach (300m of white sand to be precise), yet we both focused more on the cool poolside with a mission to pinch a unicorn floaty … however our mission failed, sadly. Despite it being Ramadan, we were able to enjoy fruity drinks and a yummy lunch, and as the day slowly turned to evening, our girly weekend eventually ended with double scoops of Baskin Robbins ice cream before Natascha left for the airport — we are best friends for a reason after all! 🙂
- InterContinental Abu Dhabi
- Cho Gao Abu Dhabi
- InVogue Ladies Salon
- World Trade Centre Mall
- Art House Cafe