. Abu Dhabi | Northstar Meetings Group

Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Abu Dhabi

Learn why should host your next meeting, event, conference or incentive in Abu Dhabi.

Why Abu Dhabi for Your Next Meeting or Event?

Abu Dhabi, the capital and the largest of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), offers the best of the modern and the traditional. Here are cutting-edge meeting facilities, soaring spires of commerce, stunning white beaches and shimmering turquoise waters. Attendees can explore the rich cultural bounty of Qasr al Hosn, Abu Dhabi city’s oldest stone building, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first universal museum in the Arab World. Your group also will enjoy authentic local culture, expanses of awesome desert and unforgettable experiences replete with menageries of horses, camels, falcons and salukis (gracefully swift, silky-coated dogs), artisan crafts and charming legends. 

Only in Abu Dhabi

Most destinations would be thrilled to have just one designated UNESCO World Heritage Site; the emirate of Abu Dhabi is studded with six of them in its Al Ain region, all within a 90-minute drive. For example:

  •  Al Ain "The Spring" Oases features cool, shady walkways and a 3,000-year-old falaj irrigation system The archaeological site of Hafeet includes Jebel Hafit, more than 4,068 feet high and the emirate's highest peak. The mountain has been weathered over millions of years, while more than 500 burial tombs dating back 5,000 years or more are dotted throughout the surrounding foothills; attendees can enjoy stunning views as they ascend by car, hike or cycle to the top.
  • The Hili Grand Tomb dates to about 2000 BC and was used to bury residents from the surrounding settlements. The ornate, circular tomb is adorned with engraved reliefs showing human and animal figures. Head here for an immersive 3-D view of the site via Google Street View.

Travel Essentials

  • Taxes: Abu Dhabi city tax, 6%; municipality tax, 4%, plus US$4 per night; total tax on hotel rooms,10% plus US$4 per night
  • Convention Centers: 

    • Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center; number of meeting rooms, 24; total exhibit space, 785,765 square feet indoors, 601,702 square feet outdoors. The venue includes the 86,111-square-foot International Convention Center, the emirate’s largest indoor auditorium, which can accommodate 6,000 guests seated and 8,000 standing.

    • Al Ain Convention Center; number of meeting rooms, 7; total exhibit space, 992,518 square feet
  • CVB: Visit Abu Dhabi
  • Local Currency: UAE dirham (AED or Dhs); US$1 equals about AED 3.67
  • Power: Standard voltage, 220 V; standard frequency, 50 Hz
  • Time Zone: Four hours ahead of UTC (Coordinated Universal Time, formerly known as GMT). There is no daylight saving.
  • Transportation: Abu Dhabi International Airport, about 20 miles from the city center. Transfer cost by taxi, about US$22

Meeting and Event Venues

New & Coming Soon to Abu Dhabi

  • The 499-room W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island has opened in the heart of the city’s entertainment district,The property is an instantly iconic landmark that sits alongside the Yas Marina and is in close proximity to attractions such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi and the mammoth Yas Mall shopping center. Set atop of  the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix racetrack, the hotel features 45,466 square feet of event space spread among 17 meeting rooms, the largest of which spans 26,576 square feet. Among dining options are the Garage, an a la carte food hub; the Steam Table, serving noodles and dumplings; the Nikkei House, offering Peruvian/Japanese cuisine, and the Lebanese-flavored Meat Vault. A splashy W Wet pool is a favored locus for socializing.

  • Even in a city known for using superlatives, the more than $US231,450 million Al Qana development promises to set new records for jaw-dropping design. This massive project, which broke ground in 2016, stretches about 1.5 miles along the Khor Al Maqta river that separates Abu Dhabi from the mainland. Set to debut later this year, Al Qana will comprise a string of waterfront attractions, restaurants and more. Among the highlights will be a 53,819-square-foot aquarium; a yacht marina; an expansive area for indoor and outdoor sports; a “wellness hub”; a winding walkway connected by four bridges; and Cinemacity, a complex of 15 theaters (with one screen measuring 85 feet wide) seating a total of up to 2,000 people, including three VIP theaters with private lounges and in-seat dining.. 
  • The burgeoning Khalifa City residential/entertainment district recently welcomed the Al Forsan International Sports Resort, a more than 17 million-square-foot playground featuring all manner of water sports, go-karting, horseback riding, wake boarding and more. The property’s largest meeting space is a ballroom that can hold up to 350 people; add the attached outdoor terrace for a total of 500 seated guests. Attendees can stay at the adjacent 400-room Marriott Hotel Ali Forsan, with its own meeting space for up to 350 attendees.

More Hotels & Venues

  • Just five minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport, the 18-hole, par-71 Abu Dhabi Golf Club offers a variety of spaces for meetings, including a boardroom seating 14, a banquet hall for up to 100 and the Falcon Terrace, able to accommodate up to 200. Most spaces have stunning views of the greens and/or the city’s skyline, and attendees can make use of a two-tiered driving range as well as an on-site pool and tennis courts.
  • Also near the city’s main airport, the sleekly modern Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital offers its Shaheen Conference Center for events. This handsomely appointed (and tech-loaded) facility has a large conference hall for up to 200 people plus two meeting rooms for up to 60 attendees. For gala dinners, there’s a garden area complete with falcon statues and fountains, not to mention an on-site museum of Arab falconry.
  • Set on Sri Bani Yas Island, a private wildlife reserve, the Desert Islands Conference Center includes beautiful beachfront space for an outdoor banquet or cocktail party for up to 1,000 people. Indoors, up to 360 can gather among six meeting rooms, the largest of which spans 5,381 square feet. Also on-site is exhibit space totaling 6,458 square feet.
  • If your attendee list is unusually long, the du Arena, billed as the largest open-air venue in the Middle East, can holds up to 50,000 people. Myriad grandstands, VIP platforms and a 75,347-square-foot “Village” area are ripe with possibilities, and the venue offers full F&B operations. Entertainment (recent performances have included the likes of Bruno Mars and Middle East superstar Majida El Roumi) can be viewed from several opulent “tree house suites” for VIPS.
  • The 64-room Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara, adjacent to the Desert Islands Conference Center on private Sri Bani Yas Island, has its own 9,633 square feet of meeting space for up to 590 attendees spread among 11 rooms.
  • Etihad Arena is the region’s largest multi-purpose indoor venue and is set on a stunning waterfront offering world-class event space and hospitality. Proudly positioned on Yas Island, the Middle East’s premiere leisure and entertainment destination, the arena has 18,000 seats designed with sustainability at its core. Here is a dynamic event space that can be easily transformed to host a variety of gatherings, including large-scale international concerts, sports games, corporate events, private functions and local community celebrations.

Abu Dhabi Meeting Hotels

Things to Do in Abu Dhabi

Extending Your Trip in Abu Dhabi

  • Attendees will enjoy a visit to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, an offshoot of the famous French repository of art. The facility, which recently celebrated its second anniversary, is on Saadiyat Island, rapidly becoming a major cultural center with numerous other museums and more in the works. The building takes the shape of a filigreed half-sphere resting on a low base intersected by channels of water. Inside, find some 600 stellar works from around the world spread among 23 galleries, with the museum’s stated aim being to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western art.

  • Also on Saadiyat Island, the Manarat Al Saadiyat is an arts complex with three galleries, an arts studio, a 250-seat auditorium and a roster of offerings ranging from comedy nights to theater workshops, yoga classes and film screenings.

Getting Active & Outdoors

  • For golfers, the city has six beautifully maintained courses to satisfy duffers and experts alike. For example, Yas Links, nestled on the western shores of Yas Island, offers a challenging 18-hole, par-72, 7,450-yard championship course as well as a nine-hole, par-3 academy course, all complemented by a fine-dining restaurant, views of Abu Dhabi’s striking skyline and a private lawn for events and croquet. 

  • Release your group’s inner speed demons at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, a theme park on Yas Island that celebrates all things vroom with more than 37 high-octane rides and attractions. Have fun on the Formula Rosa, said to be the world’s fasted roller coaster, soaring to over 170 feet high (and dropping just as much); the Bell’ Italia, where you ride in a small-scale 1958 Ferrari 250 California through a mini-Italian landscape; and the Fiorano GT Challenge, which lets teams compete on twisting parallel tracks riding Ferrari F430 Spiders.

Abu Dhabi Excursions

Abu Dhabi Classic 1 Day Hop-On Hope-Off Tour. This at-your-own-pace tour visits the major landmarks in the city, including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest such edifice in the country; Heritage Village, a meticulously reconstructed traditional oasis encampment; and the colorful theme parks of Yas Island

Abu Dhabi Desert Morning Safari. This three-hour morning activity (so planned to avoid the midday heat) lets participants ply the dunes via three modes of travel: 4x4 (a four-wheel-drive vehicle), camel and sandboard (think snowboard on the sand).

Top Restaurants in Abu Dhabi

Among top spots to grab a bite in Abu Dhabi are: