Find out where love is in the air in the capital

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, some of us want to go all out, others just want dinner by candlelight and some just want to gather with friends – we have you covered for every type of celebration.

As The Beatles once said, “All you need is love”, and with that sentiment in mind it’s the perfect time of year to let the people dear to your heart know exactly what they mean to you.

You don’t need to buy a dozen red roses or recite a sonnet to show your affection, but making a small gesture or taking the effort to arrange a nice meal can go a long way to making your significant other feel special.

Feeling the love? Here’s where you can embrace a little romance in the capital.

L is for Lavish 

Go all out and take a trip to Emirates Palace where you can take your pick from a variety of restaurants serving up a Valentine’s menu for two. Italian restaurant Mezzaluna serves up dishes with scallops, sea bass, wagyu beef and more, all with bubbly. Or soak up the views from a beachside gazebo at BBQ Al Qasr where couples can enjoy freshly cooked cuts of meat and bubbly. If seafood is your thing then Sayad is the place to be with a four-course menu of fresh fish and shellfish with bubbly. AED 990+ per couple. Corniche West. Times vary. Contact: 02 690 9000, kempinski.com/abudhabi/emirates-palace

Spoil your special someone with a nine-course dinner at 99 Sushi Bar and Restaurant where you can feast on a range of Japanese delicacies including fresh seafood, handmade sushi and bubbly. AED 999 per couple. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island. 8pm-midnight. Contact: 02 672 3333, 99sushibar.com

Take your pick from three restaurants for your Valentine’s meal at Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal. Southeast Asian restaurant Li Jiang is offering a five-course menu complemented by unrivalled views of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque for AED 550 per couple. Feast on contemporary Arabian dishes at Mijana with a special menu for the occasion and music from an oud player for AED 450 per couple. Or raise the steaks at The Forge and dine on a five-course menu featuring oysters, bubbly, sweet treats and more for AED 650 per couple. Just want to relax? Then visit ESPA and pamper yourself with a 60-minute inner calm massage, roses and chocolates throughout the month. AED 940. Khor Al Maqtaa. Times vary. Contact: 02 818 8282, abudhabi.restaurants@ritzcarlton.com

Take your Valentine’s experience to new heights, literally, with a sunset supper on the helipad of The St Regis Abu Dhabi. Couples can take in a spectacular view of the capital while enjoying canapés, live saxophone music and bubbly. AED 2,000 per couple. Corniche West. 5pm-7pm. Contact: 02 694 4553, villatoscana-abudhabi.com

Make the most of the cooler weather and settle down for a meal under the stars at
The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort where you can dine on a four-course meal in a private cabana by the pool, while a violinist and saxophonist serenade you. AED 1,500
per couple. Saadiyat Island. 8pm. Contact: 02 498 8888, bit.ly/2xbTyNE

O is for Overnight Stay 

Go for a getaway at Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche where you can unwind and enjoy a short city staycation. As part of the offer you’ll enjoy a Valentine’s room set-up, Valentine’s platter, breakfast for two in bed and personalised bathrobes. Want to go a step further? Then take advantage of the special offer for a 60-minute couples massage and 30-minute Jacuzzi package. From AED 550+ for luxury room, AED 800 for couples massage. Available 7th-16th Feb. Corniche East. Contact: 02 813 7777, sofitelabudhabicorniche.com

Enjoy a great escape at Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort, set among savannah grasses. Couples can unwind in the picturesque surroundings of Sir Bani Yas Island and get some much-need rest and relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Looking for a special meal during your stay? Dine by candlelight on the beach, where you can enjoy your choice of dishes designed by your personal chef for AED 815 per couple. AED 1,950 for overnight package. Sir Bani Yas Island. Contact: 02 895 8700, sir-baniyasis.anantara.com

Nothing says romance like the beautiful beaches of Saadiyat Island. Head to Saadiyat Rotana Resort and Villas where you can enjoy a stress-free stay with beautiful views of the open ocean as well as in-room or buffet breakfast at Sim Sim, late check-out, chocolate-covered strawberries and dinner at Turtle Bay Bar and Grill. From AED 780. Contact: 02 697 0000, bit.ly/2I6Wqi8

V is for Valentine’s Special

You’ll be spoilt for choice at Intercontinental Abu Dhabi. At Byblos Sur Mer, you can tuck into a banquet style Lebanese menu while enjoying live entertainment in the form of a belly dancer and singers for AED 599 per couple. Chamas will feature a live Brazilian band to accompany your churrascaria meat cuts, salads and dessert. AED 699 per couple. If you prefer Asian cuisine, head to Cho Gao Marina Walk for a sharing menu that includes dishes such as truffle chicken siew mai and honey glazed duck for AED 599 per couple. Al Bateen. Times vary. Contact: 800 423 463, icad.ae

Couples can enjoy a romantic dinner for two at Roberto’s with the specially-designed Poetry and Love menu by chef Andrea Falcone. Dishes include langoustine carpaccio, wagyu beef tartare, lobster spaghetti, grilled tuna fillet, pigeon with truffle and more. AED 800 per couple, AED 1,000 with bubbly. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island. 7pm. Contact: 02 627 9009, reservationsauh@robertos.ae

At steakhouse The Foundry, the Valentine’s-themed meal features a baked brie starter, shared seafood platter or pepper crusted Chateaubriand for the main course and a dessert of chocolate miniatures. AED 649 per couple. Southern Sun Abu Dhabi, Mina Street. 7pm. Contact: 02 818 4888, abudhabi.dine@tsogosun.com

At Marriott Hotel Downtown, Abu Dhabi you can take your pick from a variety of dining options. At JW Steakhouse, couples can settle in for a three-course dinner and a glass of bubbly for AED 299 per person. Looking for a panoramic view of the city? Take your seat at AT 25 where you can take in the scenery of the city while enjoying a sharing platter and house beverages for AED 280 per couple. Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street. Times vary. Contact: 02 304 7779, marriottdowntownabudhablife.com

Tuck into an Italian meal at Dino’s Bistro Italiano where guests will be served a
three-course menu packed with Italian delicacies, treats and beverages for an intimate, romantic meal for two. AED 300 per couple. Pearl Rotana Capital Centre, near Adnec. 6pm-11pm. Contact: 02 307 5591, fb.pearl@rotana.com

A romantic meal out doesn’t have the break the bank. Feast on a selection of international dishes including dim sum, sushi, pasta and grilled meat at c.taste from AED 199. Centro Capital Centre, near Adnec. 6pm-11pm. Contact: 02 409 6512, rotanatimes.com

Enjoy a romantic evening at Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi with a varied choice of cuisines on offer. Sample contemporary Indian food at Namak by Kunal Kapur with a seven-course menu featuring dishes including pumpkin shorba, malvani cod and chocolate and shrikhand cannoli. AED 320 per couple. Enjoy some classic cooking at D’ Capital Steakhouse with the four-course Valentine’s menu that features green pea soup with parmesan custard, and king prawns and cheese crémeux. AED 380 per couple. Sultan Bin Zayed the First Street. Times vary. Contact: 02 698 8137, reservation.table@dusit.com

Take your partner for a relaxed Valentine’s Day at Café 302 where you can enjoy a three-course menu with your choice of starter, main course and dessert. AED 175 per couple.
Al Maha Arjaan by Rotana, Hamdan Street. 7pm-10.30pm. Contact: 02 610 6666,
almaha.arjaan@rotana.com

Couples have several options at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr. At Frankie’s Italian Restaurant and Bar, a four-course set menu is served alongside live music from the house band. AED 249 per person. Love your meat? Then book in to Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill for a four-course set menu featuring choice cuts of meat for AED 349 per person. Between the bridges. Times vary. Contact: 02 654 3238, fairmont.com/abu-dhabi

E is for Easy Does It 

Take a load off at Bab Al Qasr Hotel and Residences where you can enjoy a relaxing couples spa experience at Ayana Spa. The package includes a Balinese massage, refreshing beverages and a heart-shaped strawberry mousse to be enjoyed in the waiting area or following your treatment. AED 615 per couple. Corniche West. Times vary. Contact: 02 205 3090, ayanaspa@babalqasr.com

Embrace your inner Audrey Hepburn and settle in for the Breakfast at Tiffany’s afternoon tea at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. The 60s-style offer includes a host of treats including macaroons and pastries for an afternoon of pure indulgence. From
AED 220. Corniche West. 2pm-6pm. Contact: 02 811 5666, jadrestaurants@jumeirah.com

Tick all the boxes at Khalidiyah Palace Rayhaan by Rotana: Enjoy a 60-minute couples massage and then follow up the relaxing experience with a set menu dinner at Kamoon where you can enjoy Middle Eastern dishes in a relaxed atmosphere. AED 699 per couple. Corniche West. Times vary. Contact: 02 657 0188,
wellness.khalidiya@rotana.com

Take a load off at Heavenly Spa with a massage for two in a couple’s treatment room, including a welcome beverage, a private afternoon tea on the spa terrace and all-day pool access. AED 735 per couple. The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa, Sas Al Nakhl. Times vary. Contact: 02 616 9999, heavenlyspa.auh@westin.com

Love sick? 

If Valentine’s Day is not for you or you just want to do something different this year, then not to worry: Here are some alternative ways to spend your Valentine’s Day.

The annual Anti Valentine’s Day Party at Heroes is back. Also known as the Traffic Light Party, the night will be all about dancing with live music from The International Playboys. 15th Feb. AED 130 for men with three house beverages, free for ladies. Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Street. From 8pm. Contact: 02 616 6132, facebook.com/heroesabudhabi

Take a trip to Yas Island and see the Grammy Award-nominated musician Yanni as he performs an intimate show in the capital for music fans. From AED 495. du Forum, Yas Island. 7pm. Visit: ticketmaster.ae

Get a dose of culture and check out Louvre Abu Dhabi’s newest exhibition,
Rembrandt, Vermeer and the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces from the Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre, opening on 14th February.
AED 60, AED 30 for teachers and children aged between 13 and 22. Cultural District, Saadiyat Island. Sat-Sun and Tue-Wed 10am-8pm, Thu-Fri 10am-10pm. Contact:
600 56 55 66, louvreabudhabi.ae

Enjoy live comedy as Yalla Laughs hosts its anti-Valentine’s Day gig with comedians based in the Middle East. Free. Up and Below, Courtyard by Marriott, Hamdan Street. 8pm. Visit: facebook.com/yallalaughs

It’s all about big beats and plenty of dancing as four-time Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra take to the stage for Mambo. Join the pre-show dance workshop to learn the moves before enjoying the live performance and taking to the dance floor. AED 105, AED 52.50 for youth under 22 years old. NYUAD, Saadiyat Island. 8pm. Visit: nyuad-artscenter.org

WORDS Colin Armstrong

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