Eid al-Fitr, the festival of the breaking of the fast, is a colourful time with feasts, fireworks and most importantly the chance to spend time with family and friends.
Muslims share meals and sweets to mark the end of the fasting period and they will greet each other by saying ‘Eid Mubarak’, which roughly translates as ‘happy Eid’ or ‘blessed Eid’.
With the celebrations expected to go on for up to four days, and while some choose to stay and take advantage of the events and dining options in Abu Dhabi, others take the opportunity to grab a quick break or a short hop to a nearby holiday destination
Therefore, for those who haven’t tied down their Eid break itinerary, here is what’s going on during the holiday, both at home here in Abu Dhabi and further afield with a few last-minute Eid getaway deals that you can still book.
Sharing a meal together with the people who are closest to you is a key part of the Eid celebrations. These locations are offering special Eid feasts, menus and brunches this holiday.
Todd English’s Olives
This Venetian Village located modern Mediterranean hotspot is encouraging you to enjoy a long and relaxing afternoon this holiday with Todd’s Lazy Eid al-Fitr Brunch. Starters include lobster bisque and beef carpaccio, while the slow-braised short rib has to be a highlight of the three-course menu. AED 190+++ with soft drinks, AED 290+++ with grape. 12.30pm-4pm. Khor Al Maqtaa. Contact: 02 404 1941, email@example.com.
For those with little ones in tow, Safina at the Saadiyat Beach Club’s special Eid brunch is a great option. As well as a fun-packed schedule of activities including face painting, games, arts and crafts and much more, kids can also choose from the dedicated buffet. From AED 275 to AED 475 per person, AED 99 for seven- to 12-year-olds, free for children under six. Saadiyat Beach Club, Saadiyat Island. 12.30pm-4pm. Contact: 02 656 3500, firstname.lastname@example.org
Byblos Sur Mer
To retain that real Arabian flavour this Eid the live music from singer Refka and accompaniment on the keyboard from Hassan Maen will really set the mood, and so will the food at regional favourite Byblos Sur Mer. Expect authentic Lebanese treats and much more at the Eid brunch, plus every AED 100 spent at the InterContinental Hotel’s restaurants will be rewarded with a AED 25 voucher redeemable on restaurants, the Bayshore Beach Club and even stays. AED 279+++ including soft drinks and juices. InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen. Timing to be confirmed. Contact: 800 423 463
Brunch is back at Latest Recipe at Le Méridien Abu Dhabi. The beach-adjacent location will be serving a delectable buffet featuring Arabic and international dishes plus mouth-watering desserts for the pretty reasonable price tag of AED 150 net per person. That even includes all-day pool and beach access, so don’t forget your swimmers. Fatima Bint Mubarak Street. 12.30pm-4pm. Contact: 02 644 6666, lemeridienabudhabi.com
The Galleria will of course be doing Eid al-Fitr in style. For those looking to enjoy authentic traditional performances, an Ayyalah band will play daily in The Galleria throughout Eid, creating an exciting display of local culture. You can also add a beautiful keepsake to your shopping bag as a local calligrapher will be on hand to create Arabic scripts. To top it all off, 3D muralist and UAE-based artist Jose Luis Quiceno will be wowing the crowd as he speed paints another amazing artwork inspired by Arabian heritage. Al Maryah Island. Contact: 02 6166 999, thegalleria.ae
If you really want to celebrate Eid al-Fitr with a bang, then head to Yas Marina for the first day of Eid and make sure you are in place by 9pm for what is promised to be a spectacular fireworks display. Not enough wow factor for you? Capt Tony’s will also be offering two-hour boat cruises to view the fireworks from an amazing and exclusive angle out on the water. Various boat options are available, but if you want to really go all out, chuck a party for 24 of your nearest and dearest and it will only cost AED 100 per head for a two hour trip. Yas Marina. Visit: captaintonys.ae
The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi
If you have not yet had a chance to catch the delightful live action show ‘Sinbad And The Sea Monster’ this Ramadan, then make sure you head along on the first day of Eid between 8pm and 11pm to see the legendary sailor as he takes on a fearsome foe. Khalifa Street. Visit: wtcad.ae
Yas Marina Circuit
Ramadan has been a time for quiet reflection and a slower pace of life. So now, maybe it’s time to speed things up! Get really fired up with a visit to Yas Marina Circuit where you can get behind the wheel of an Aston Martin GT4, Mercedes-AMG GTS, Jaguar F-type S Coupe or Formula Yas 3000 and thrash them around the grand prix circuit with the DriveYAS Driver and Passenger Experiences. Bonus: There’s currently a 25 percent discount off all DriveYAS Experiences, apart from the Ferrari GT Experience but hey, we’d settle for the Aston Martin anyway. Yas Island. Visit: yasmarinacircuit.com
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
On 25th June, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi will be hosting the UAE’s first ever 24-hour rollercoaster rally. Thrill seekers can expect non-stop rollercoaster action, DJs and a host of live performances. Visit ferrariworldabudhabi.com for more info. What’s more if you want to make a staycation out of it, Southern Sun Abu Dhabi hotel is offering complimentary tickets for two adults and two children to Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi when you book two rooms for two nights between 24th and 27th June. AED 2,399+++. Visit: tsogosun.com
Are you totally lastminute.com when it comes to booking much-needed breaks? Here are five suggestions for the Eid holiday that can still be booked (well they could, when we sent this magazine to the printers).
If you really need an escape from UAE living then it doesn’t get much more removed than a stay in a tree house. Just a four-hour flight from Abu Dhabi is Sri Lanka and then just another two hours and 45 minute’s drive is the total green seclusion of The Ark, a luxury treehouse which is a converted watch-hut originally used as an elevated refuge for farmers to protect crops overnight. The views and the idyllic pool in this one-of-a-kind canopy-level retreat beggars belief. Bliss. Visit: thearksrilanka.com
‘I, Sea, You’
As if the Seychelles wasn’t enough of a draw for relaxation and revitalisation, The Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort and Spa is thinking about you. Well specifically travellers from the Middle East this Eid, with the ‘I, Sea, You’ package. Aimed at families flying in from the Middle East, the package includes free bookings for children under six (six to 12 are 50 percent), spa treatments, a sunset cruise, Arabic pastries and more. Also, so that parents can really enjoy some R&R, the professionally supervised Kids’ Club at Hilton Seychelles Labriz is open for kids aged four to 12 years. Enjoy a plethora of activities including scuba diving, kayaking, fishing and a nature walk through the island’s jungle… or just put your feet up. Visit: hiltonseychelleslabriz.com
If you need a break to revitalise the soul then you know what they say about music. Feed your soul at the JazzAscona Festival, which will be setting up its groovy shop in Ticino, Switzerland between 22nd June and 1st July. With performances from Grammy-winner Jon Cleary, Swiss jazz legend Bruno Spoerri and young prodigy Nina Atta, it will be a music lover’s paradise. Stay in the luxury of the Giardino Ascona with its laid-back ambience and Mediterranean savoir-vivre. Visit: jazzascona.ch, giardino-ascona.ch/en
Romantic city retreat
Nothing says romance like Paris, so if you really want to surprise your better half, sweep them off their feet with Etihad Holidays’ three nights stay and hotel deal at the Radisson Blu Hotel Champs Elysees. Staying in one of France’s finest districts you will be mere metres away from the Arc de Triomphe and if you really want to up the ante you can take a boat trip to the Temple of Love (that’s its real name), go for a drive in a vintage Citroën or tango next to Seine. Visit: holidays.etihad.com
Escape closer to home
If you want to stick around in the UAE for Eid but need to feel like you have escaped the city, then the Qasr Al Sarab, Desert Resort by Anantara is the perfect option. This fortress-like palace is hidden away among the epic sand dunes of the fabled Empty Quarter, the world’s largest uninterrupted sand desert. While you can of course spend your days relaxing at the beautiful pool, early mornings and late afternoons can be spent trying some of the many recreational activities, which includes camel trekking, archery, dune bashing, desert safari and sand boarding. Contact: 02 895 2088, email@example.com