Quick Guide to Dubai & Abu Dhabi

Quick Guide to Dubai & Abu Dhabi

Where to stay, eat & shop - a modern City Guide.

Where to stay, eat & shop - a modern City Guide.


In my research for modern, minimalistic Boutique Hotels in Dubai I came across the La Ville Hotel Dubai, which turned out to be a wonderful choice. We enjoyed the most epic view onto the Burj Khalifa and the impressive Dubai`skyline (go to the Rooftop Poolbar!) and could even reach the Dubai Mall / Burj Khalifa via 30min walk. Plus: I had the best Acai Bowl of my life for breakfast.

The Staff was also super helpful and booked us a Desert Tour and a driver to Abu Dhabi. The beach was also reachable within walking distance (ca. 30min, or 5min by Taxi). All in all I can wholeheartedly recommend this hotel. 


This is the tallest building in the world. It makes other towers look like doll houses. On a clear day it is visible from a 100km distance. 828m height, over 6 years of construction. A masterpiece of human engineering.

We booked tickets for the 124th floor (you could go higher, but it's much more expensive and the view pretty much stays the same) and it was the most SPECTACULAR view I've enjoyed. Even beats New York views.The Burj Khalifa is without a doubt the Dubai highlight - a skyscraping lighthouse that you can't miss. Wherever you are. 


Yes, Dubai is not only about modernism. The old part of Dubai has also a lot to offer:

  • Visit the Souks (traditional markets) in Deira

  • The Heritage House
  • The Wind Towers (ancient AC's, if you will)
  • Enjoy traditional Arabian food & tea 
  • An Abra cruise (traditional wooden boat) across the Dubai Creek
  • Old Mosques
  • Walk along the busy streets of Deira

The mix between old & new always fascinated me, it makes a city very much alive. And in return, wandering through unknown streets, discovering weird things and stunning places makes ME feel very much alive. 


If you like shopping Dubai is your city. I've never seen bigger malls in my entire life. They've even build a XXXL Aquarium and a ski slope (you've heard that right) which is beyond crazy. I'm convinced that you could easily spend days in these shopping malls without getting bored. There are lots of shops we don't have in Vienna (Muji!! my organization heaven) and gladly picked up a thing. Or two. Shopping superlative. 

  • DUBAI MALL / a must-see, even for a non-shopper. 
  • GOLD SOUKS / everything you'll see there is pure gold. great basic necklaces and stuff. If you like gold, this is your place
  • BASTAQUIA QUARTER / a historical district with lots of art galleries and concept shops
  • COMPTOIR 102 / my absolute favorite. a mix between the Line New York and Volta Vienna. Great pottery, organic beauty, souvenirs, accessories. 

Abra Cruise
on Dubai


  • COMPTOIR 102 / This healthy restaurant was found by "Wild and the Moon" head Emmanuelle Sawko, so you can be sure that the food is yum! It's at the back of the amazing concept store and I loved it so much.

  • AL DAWAAR / A revolving restaurant on top of the Hyatt Regency Dubai. We went there for Dinner and let's be honest, the buffet isn't something special. But the 360° view over Dubai is!
  • FARZI CAFE / Delicious restaurant focussing on a modern interpretation of the Indian cuisine. It's right at the Dubai City Walk (across your hotel) and very enjoyable
  • XVA CAFE / A nice cafe in the courtyard of the XVA Hotel, at the Bastaquia Quarter. Great for a cool-off lemonade and some snacks.
  • BRUNCH AND CAKE / Near Comptoir 102. To be honest we just walked past it but the interior and especially the food looked absolutely delicious. 


I only took this picture at the beach - that's how much we've enjoyed our beach days. We've only been to the LA MER Public Beach, which was recommended by the hotel, and we've liked it a lot. Such a modern, clean, relaxing space. I've honestly never seen a more beautiful Public Beach. There are lots of urban cafés, shops and restaurants around the boardwalk (also lots of entertainment for kids) and the beach itself is lovely too.


Grande Mosque
Abu Dhabi

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - absolutely stunning. It's a monument for the Islamic culture and an impressive architectural masterpiece. I've read that it took 12 years to complete at the reported cost of around $545 million. 

The inside is  A LOT OF JAZZ - so be prepared, if you're a minimalist. And women need to be completely covered, you'll receive a sad looking Abaya at the entrance, which is something I had to get used to as an independent woman from Europe. But it was worth it and broadened my horizon even more. 


I'm so so happy we've made the 1hour trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. This city appears to be greener and more culture-loving. If you are a museum passionate like I am you have to visit the LOUVRE in Abu Dhabi. 

The open, minimalistic architecture just blew me away. You could spend hours there, wandering through the main paths and hidden alleys. And there is art everywhere! I loved the 10,000 year of Luxury exhibition - which was incredibly inspiring. Seeing the Louvre was one of my Top 3 things in Dubai/Abu Dhabi.

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