Airbnb is officially licensed in Abu Dhabi, meaning there’s plenty of new options for getaways in the UAE capital.
Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism signed a deal with the accommodation provider platform in February on collaboration to help grow and develop the holiday home sector for visitors looking for alternatives to traditional hotels.
Since then, several properties have been listed on the short-term accommodation booking service, with hosted stays, unique properties and luxury lodgings all open for reservations.
Here are six listings in Abu Dhabi that caught our attention.
1. A luxury villa stay on Zaya Nurai Island
If you’re craving sea air and luxury living, then this luxury villa on Zaya Nurai Island might be one to consider. With six bedrooms, a private pool and its own stretch of pristine shoreline, Paradise Nurai Villa has everything you need for a getaway with family or friends.
There’s 18,000 square feet of living space that includes a lounge, dining room, al fresco showers and sun terraces. A shuttle service runs to and from the island every hour, so it's easy to get there. There’s also an on-call butler available throughout your stay.
Dh35,500 per night; www.airbnb.com
2. A desert-farm escape in Al Khatim
Farm 118 is located in Al Khatim desert, about 50 minutes from Abu Dhabi and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The low-level traditional villa has a huge walled-in garden where you’ll find your own private swimming pool, outdoor seating area and BBQ set-up.
Inside, the decor is bright and homely, with comfortable couches, wooden flooring and lots of neutral tones. There are four spacious bedrooms, each furnished with two queen beds, and a small kitchen with a fridge, cooker and microwave to prepare meals. Surrounded by rolling sand dunes and a star-filled night sky, it's the perfect place for a remote desert staycation.
Dh7,000 per night; www.airbnb.com
3. A loft-style apartment with Soul Beach access
Located on Saadiyat Island, this stylish waterfront beach loft apartment is located right on Soul Beach, making it perfect for those who want to be close to the water. Inside, the first-floor apartment is entirely modern, with floor-to-ceiling double-height windows allowing in plenty of natural light, as well as retro-style armchairs and lots of polished marble.
The duplex layout has stairs leading to the bedroom, where there’s a king-size bed and two foldable beds that can be used if you have children or extra guests staying with you. A large infinity pool is located only a few steps from the apartment and there’s direct access on to the Mamsha Al Saadiyat Boardwalk with all its cafes, bars and restaurants.
4. A traditional Emirati farm stay
Escape to a traditional Emirati farm house for a rustic staycation in the desert. The Al Khateem Art Hub is a stone and timber house with a huge traditional-style majlis living room, three main bedrooms, several bathrooms and five single bedrooms located in wooden huts outside the main house. Perfect for groups or big family gatherings, don't go expecting marble and luxury at this dune-surrounded stay, but instead be ready to embrace the adventure of the desert.
Take a walk in the desert and enjoy Arabic coffee, dates and fresh camel's milk. You can also opt for breakfast and dinner prepared and served to you by local hosts for an even more authentic experience. You can enjoy it seated on the floor in the majlis, just as the locals do.
5. A family-friendly city villa stay
Villa Blue is a luxury stay in Rawdhat that is ideal for a family escape. A spacious living room, dining room and large kitchen make up the ground floor, and upstairs there are three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The decor is sleek and contemporary — think industrial-style shelving, geometric artwork and plenty of texture with complimentary toiletries by The White Company.
Outside, there’s a patio and walled garden as well as your own private pool for cooling off. It’s managed by Nasma Luxury Stays, which means you’ll get a contact number and 24-hour concierge service in case you need anything during your stay.
Dh1,328 per night; www.airbnb.com
6. A coastal chic villa on Saadiyat Island
Saadiyat Island is known for its beautiful beaches and unrivalled nature and a stay at Villa Lazuli gives you access to all of that, alongside some seriously stylish lodgings. Make the most of the beautiful outdoors with a private swimming pool complete with a swim-up bar, a Jacuzzi, fire pit and BBQ dining area with an outdoor pizza oven and teppanyaki grill plate, ideal for entertaining.
Insider, there are four spacious en suite bedrooms, each with either a private balcony or patio. An open plan living area, fully equipped kitchen and 10-person dining table are presented alongside gorgeous coastal-chic interiors. There's even a private office if you need to get a bit of work done during your visit.
A live-in housekeeper is on hand to help with cleaning and cooking and there's also a driver who will be happy to chauffeur you around in your private golf cart, or you can opt to take the wheel yourself and explore the island. Guests also have access to an electric scooter and two bicycles during their stay.
Dh5,000 per night; www.airbnb.com