Dan and I paid a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque last November on a weekend layover in Abu Dhabi en route to the Seychelles. We had a lot of questions, including what to wear(!), before our visit, so here is what we learned to help you on your visit!
Mosque views. The entire Mosque campus is gorgeous.
THE SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE
First off, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is absolutely gorgeous. Honestly, one of the most beautiful and interesting things we have seen in a good while. Any visit to Abu Dhabi should not miss this important site.
En route to the Seychelles last November, Dan and I spent the weekend in Abu Dhabi! This was mostly due to the fact that we needed to connect in the Middle East and had already visited Dubai(en route to the Maldives). In any case, I had been wanting to visit Abu Dhabi and the flights worked out. There is plenty to do in Abu Dhabi to fill a weekend and even longer, but we only had the weekend. Here’s what we managed to do during that weekend, which we highly suggest to other visitors, whether in transit or on vacation in Abu Dhabi.
FIRST DAY IN DUBAI – 12.5 HOUR FLIGHT & ARRIVAL IN ABU DHABI!
We flew direct from JFK (New York) to Abu Dhabi on Etihad’s 10:00 PM flight, which arrived the following evening in Abu Dhabi (losing almost a whole day). We arrived a few minutes early and made it to our hotel, the Marriott Hotel Downtown Abu Dhabi, without much fuss. Abu Dhabi lifted all Covid restrictions just before our trip, so we didn’t have to deal with anything relating thereto. Due to our Marriott Platinum status, we received access to the Marriott’s Executive Club Lounge, which was open for complimentary drinks for almost an hour after we arrived (a fun surprise in Abu Dhabi where alcohol is $$$). As such, we quickly checked into our room and immediately proceeded to the Executive Club Lounge.
F1 chocolates waiting in our room. This was particularly fun, as we didn’t even know it was F1!
While visiting the Seychelles last November (2022), Dan & I took a day trip to Moyenne Island from Mahé to “snorkel.” We didn’t really know what to expect besides a boat ride and snorkeling, so here is a review of our day if you are considering something similar. First up, Moyenne Island is a small island in the Seychelles’ Sainte Anne Marine National Park. Hundreds of years ago Moyenne Island was a pirate island, but in the recent past, it was abandoned from 1915 until the 1960s when a sole English newspaper editor purchased the island and lived on Moyenne Island alone until he died 2012. Wild, and kind of scary… Moyenne Island is now a national park and a flora and fauna reserve, and its very popular with tourists.
Our boat waiting for departure for Moyenne Island!
The easiest way to reach Moyenne Island for many tourists is by way of a group day tour, which is exactly what we did. Due to the relationship our hotel, the Mango House, had with Creole Travel Services, we took our trip to Moyenne with Creole Travel Services. We were happy with the company, but a number of other companies seem to do a very similar tour and I wouldn’t necessarily pick Creole over another company. In any case, our morning started with a pick up at the Mango House and a 25 minute drive to an old, seemingly abandoned, port near the airport. We were a little iffy on entering the abandoned port…
Dan and I had a little over an hour to kill in the Mahé airport when flying back from the Seychelles to Abu Dhabi (and eventually to New York). The Salon Vallee De Mai Lounge in the Mahé airport offers complimentary entrance to Priority Pass members, so we went in for an adult beverage. This is my review of the Salon Vallee De Mai lounge (as of November 2022).
The Seychelles just before we left to fly home = (
The Salon Vallee De Mai lounge is located on the second floor of the Mahé airport, up a short flight of stairs across from the Takamaka Rum bar. The entrance is quite pretty and keeps with the “tropical island” theme, which follows throughout the lounge. As you will read below, while some areas were lacking in the lounge, the decor was not one of them. From the ceiling to the tables and chairs, I was definitely getting “tropical vacay” vibes – too bad we were leaving! The check-in lady was lovely and answered all of our questions. Once inside, the lounge opens up into a large room scattered with tables and chairs spread throughout. The ones on the right side have great plane views!
If you read my first blog post this year, you know that Dan and I spent US Thanksgiving in the Seychelles, an island nation off the coast of East Africa! During our trip, we stayed at Hilton’s new LXR property, the Mango House (its featured on some Hilton IG ads). Our stay was great and we could have stayed longer. This article reviews the hotel and its amenities.
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