Bollywood star-spotting during IIFA Awards in Abu Dhabi: top places to go on Yas Island

From pop-ups by celebrity chefs to themed club nights, here are the best spots you can head to for a chance to run into some of your favourite stars this weekend

From left, The Overlook lounge at The WB Abu Dhabi; the exterior of W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island; and W Lounge. Photo: W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island; The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton
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Abu Dhabi's Yas Island is all set to play host to some of the biggest stars from Bollywood as the International Indian Film Academy Awards comes to town. Initially scheduled for May 20, the IIFA Weekend and Awards was postponed following the death of Sheikh Khalifa on May 13, and will now be held on June 3 and 4.

While Etihad Arena will be where the chunk of the action is, with both the IIFA Rocks on June 3 and the gala IIFA Awards night on June 4, Bollywood fans can indulge in a bit of star-spotting at the weekend as celebrities arrive on Yas Island.

Bollywood stars Salman Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Tiger Shroff, Sara Ali Khan, Ananya Panday and Kartik Aaryan are among the celebrities already confirmed to attend the awards night, where the best films and actors of the past year will be honoured. A full list of nominees is here.

W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island has already claimed the title of "official celebrity host hotel" and launched a number of activities throughout the weekend, including a pop-up by celebrity chef and MasterChef India judge Vineet Bhatia.

Meanwhile, restaurants and hotels around Abu Dhabi are offering IIFA ticket holders discounts on stays and dining deals.

Here are all the places you can go for all things Bollywood, and for a chance to run into some of your favourite stars:

Vineet Bhatia pop-up at Garage

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Sipa USA/REX/Shutterstock (5737702a)
Michelin-starred Chef Vineet Bhatia during an exclusive interview with ht48hours-Hindustan Times, at Ziya Restaurent in Oberoi, Nariman Point, in Mumbai
Vineet Bhatia photo shoot, Mumbai, India - 09 Jun 2016

Known for his unique take on Indian cuisine, Bhatia has curated an a la carte menu for Garage, the W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island restaurant, known for its multi-experience concept made up of six different outlets. Bhatia, who runs Indya by Vineet and Indego by Vineet, both in Dubai, was the first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin star for his London restaurant Rasoi.

Expect modern and creative twists on Indian food, and also meet the man in person.

When: May 30 to June 5

Time: 12.30pm-10.30pm

Price: A la carte

Garage will also host a special Bollywood brunch on June 4 from 1-4pm, featuring the best of Indian food and a DJ spinning the latest tunes. Packages start at Dh279.

DJ Aqeel at Wet Deck

Bollywood favourite DJ Aqeel will perform at various venues during the IIFA weekend. Photo: Shogun Global and Speed Entertainment

Any Bollywood fan worth their salt will be familiar with DJ Aqeel's hit remixes of old Hindi songs from the 2000s. He's been part of IIFA Weekend parties since the beginning of the awards, and will return once again this year at Wet Deck, the poolside venue of W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island on June 2.

The Glitz & Glam night will begin with DJ Sumit Sethi at the decks, followed by the headliner of the evening, DJ Aqeel.

When: June 2

Time: 9pm-3am

Price: Dh200 per person. VIP tables start at Dh2,000

Wet Deck will also host Starry Night with DJ Darko and DJ Clement on June 3 and an IIFA Afterbash on June 3. Entry to both events is Dh200 per person.

Runway on Wheels

The Runway on Wheels mobile store by InstaRunway. Photo: InstaRunway

For those that need some quick assistance with their red-carpet looks, shopping portal InstaRunway will be sending its Runway on Wheels bus around Yas Island at the weekend. Loaded with designer apparel, shoes and accessories from coveted brands including SJP and Furla, the mobile VIP shopping experience will ensure you get all the help you need for that perfect evening with the stars.

When: June 2 to 4

Time: Various

Bollywood nights at W Lounge

Bollywood music DJs will play at W Lounge at W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island during the IIFA Weekend. Photo: W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island

Known for its sleek interiors and great views of the glittering marina and Formula One racetrack, W Lounge at W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island is promising two nights filled with Bollywood tunes and celebrity sightings. DJ Clement with perform on the first night on June 2, while DJ Aqeel and DJ Sumit Sethi will take over on the second night on June 3.

When: June 2 and 3

Time: 9pm-3am

Price: Dh200 per person

IIFA menu at Punjab Grill

The fine-dining North Indian restaurant has launched a special menu to celebrate the arrival of the awards in Abu Dhabi. The menu features specially created dishes inspired by Bollywood films, with each item named after a star or film.

IIFA ticket holders also get a 20 per cent discount off their bills at the Abu Dhabi branch until June 4, while diners who take pictures with the life-size IIFA trophy in the restaurant will get an opportunity to win tickets to IIFA Rocks on June 3.

When: May 21 to June 4

Time: 12.30pm-midnight

Price: Various

Punjab Grill is located at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal; 050 668 3054

Taste of IIFA at Graphos Social Kitchen

Graphos Social Kitchen at Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island will have a special Taste of India menu. Photo: Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island

The chic diner at Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island has curated a special Taste of India set menu including dishes such as dal makhani, murg lababdar and karare gobi. These curated dishes will be served in the lead up to the IIFA Awards 2022.

When: May 28 to June 2

Time: Daily from 6pm-11pm

Price: Dh175 per person, including a selection of Indian soft beverages, tea and coffee

Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island; 02 208 6900 or email

Indian treats at Osmo

The lounge and bar at Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island will be decorated with an Indian theme for the weekend, and will serve desi nibbles and desserts, alongside a selection of Indian teas and traditional beverages.

IIFA ticket holders also get 20 per cent off their bill at Osmo, as well as at Graphos Social Kitchen and poolside bar Capila, where there will be daily Bollywood entertainment.

When: May 28 to June 4

Time: 11am-10pm

Price: A la carte

Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island; 022 208 6900

Bollywood cocktails at The Overlook

The Overlook rooftop lounge at The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton. Photo: The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton

The Overlook, the rooftop lounge at The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton, the world's first Warner Bros-themed hotel, will serve Bollywood-inspired cocktails at a special price for the duration of the event.

IIFA ticket holders also receive discounts at other outlets within the hotel, including the family-friendly diner Sidekicks, meatery The Director’s Club, poolside venue The Matinee, as well as at The Overlook.

When: May 28 to June 4

Time: Daily from 12pm-11pm

Price: Starting at Dh50 per person

The WB Abu Dhabi, Yas Island; 02 -8150000 or email

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Updated: May 27, 2022, 1:24 PM