Back in August 2017, Emma and I stayed at the Yas Viceroy on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. It’s a very unique hotel in a very special location and it offers a top notch design anywhere you look. The fantastic thing about this hotel is the value for money that you can get out of it, if you know when to go. When we went, we paid just under US$100 a night including all taxes! And that’s for a Viceroy hotel, a brand with luxurious hotels dotted around the world, which can often cost in excess of US$1,000 per night.
Season is key. Abu Dhabi is obviously extremely hot during the summer months from mid May until the end of September. Sometimes the humidity is so high that it can get quite unbearable outside. In fact, when our plane landed in Abu Dhabi at 8:30 in the morning, the felt temperature was 48ºC (118ºF), due to the high humidity. Luckily it’s not always like that and we were blessed with fairly dry air and temperatures just over 40ºC (104ºF) for the rest of our summer stay in Abu Dhabi.
Check out our 10 things to know before travelling to the UAE!
If you do come in summer, hotel prices will be an absolute blessing though. As mentioned, we stayed at the Viceroy for under US$100 and even got upgraded to an amazing suite with a wraparound balcony, thanks to our GHA Platinum Status! In winter, it can be quite a bit more expensive, but with more and more luxurious hotels opening in Abu Dhabi, you should still be able to get a room for under US$250 for most of the year.
Location of the Yas Viceroy
The location of the Yas Viceroy is absolutely unique. It’s not only located next to a Formula 1 race track, it has literally been built above one! The Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi is home to the last and final Formula 1 race of every season – of the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. The Yas Viceroy hotel sits on both sides of the race track, with an interconnecting walkway located right above the track.
Getting there is not hard at all. You just take a flight from anywhere in the world to Abu Dhabi and a taxi will take you to Yas Island within 10 to 15 minutes. You can also fly into Dubai if that’s better for you, the drive from there to Yas Island should only take about 90 minutes. There is public transport between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but it’s quite a hassle to get on it, so unless you’re travelling on a budget, you’ll be better off taking one of the many limousine companies which offer their services between the two cities. You could even just hop into a normal taxi, if you can find a driver willing to go to Abu Dhabi. Rental cars are another very popular option in the UAE because they are cheap, driving is easy and fuel costs almost nothing compared to most other countries. In addition, parking is free almost everywhere (including at the Yas Viceroy), you just tip the valet parking staff.
It’s also very close to Ferrari World and Yas Water World, the two main theme parks in Abu Dhabi. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the main attraction in Abu Dhabi, is a 25 minute drive away.
Hotel, Restaurants, Pools and Beach
The first thing you see when arriving at the Yas Viceroy is the impressive steel framework around the hotel. The driveway, leading up to a colourful fountain, actually takes you right across the race track. The lobby and the entire inside of the hotel is not less impressive. There are beautiful, modern and minimalistic design features to be found in every detail.
The five Yas Viceroy restaurants offer a great variety of food. It is quite pricey to be fair, but nothing unheard of for a five star hotel. These are the five restaurants you can choose from:
- Origins: International Buffet
- Amici: Italian
- Kazu: Japanese
- Atayeb: Arabic-Mediterranean
- Angar: Indian
We tried the Origins Buffet and thought it was delicious despite the high price. It offers a great selection paired with high quality and a huge dessert selection, which we always love! Unfortunately we were too busy eating all the good stuff so we didn’t take any photos.
Another positive aspect about the hotel are the many pools. There is one rooftop pool on each of the two buildings, with one being a family pool and the other being adults only. The adults only pool also has the rooftop bar located next to it, which is a great spot. The colourful illumination of the hotels steel frame make for a nice atmosphere up there after dark.
Finally, let’s talk about the beach, which is the only little downside of the hotel. Naturally, being located between a race track and a marina, there is no beach. Yas Island does have a fairly nice beach however, and there’s a free shuttle you can take. The nicest beach in Abu Dhabi can be found on Saadiyat Island by the way. It does have an access fee though.
Rooms and Suites
All of their rooms and suites are great. Super modern, clean, lots of features, and great views. We had booked a Marina Deluxe Room and were upgraded to a Yas Grand Suite! That was really quite unusual and lucky we figured, as it’s worth double what we had paid. But that’s the benefit of travelling in low season!
When you’re deciding on a room, be aware that there are two buildings. The Main Building is surrounded by the race track, the Marina Building is on the other side of the track, adjacent to the marina. All rooms in the Main Building have race track views to some extent. The Marina Building faces the track with one half and the marina with its other half. Keep that in mind when choosing a room. If you’re after a certain view, make sure to contact the hotel with you request.
We’d recommend a Superior Room or Marina Deluxe Room if you’re travelling on a budget. If you’d like something larger, go for the Yas Grand Suite. Everything in-between isn’t too different, only Yas Grand Suites and upwards have the wraparound balconies and panoramic views. If track views aren’t that important to you, an Island Suite usually only costs a tiny bit extra and offers an even more amazing interior.
If you’re searching for a luxurious, modern place to stay but without the hefty price tag, this is for you. The location of the Yas Viceroy is out of this world. Bear in mind that it might get noisy when there is some sort of racing on… But we love cars anyways, so we were rather annoyed that there was no racing going on during our stay 😉 There’s a much higher chance of races on weekends.
Come in summer for an absolute bargain. If you’re after the ultimate experience, book your stay over the Formula 1 weekend. A balcony facing the track is a must though! At least you won’t have to buy tickets for the race, but nevertheless, it’ll be extremely expensive.
The hotel accommodates adults and families alike with their two separate pools. If you are travelling with children, an actual beach resort will most likely be the better choice for Abu Dhabi though. On Yas Island itself however, it’s for sure the best option.
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Have you stayed at the Yas Viceroy or want to when travelling to Abu Dhabi?
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