during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 4, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Saim Ali, fashion designer and television personality, recounts the story of his exciting trip to Abu Dhabi for the Formula One race to Fatima Sheikh

Why Abu Dhabi?

The main purpose of my trip was Formula One, which I’ve always wanted to see live. The thrill in the air, the Ferraris and the energy there are absolutely amazing! Being there was definitely the best experience of my life. This trip was also a birthday gift to me from my brother who is as crazy about Ferraris as I am.


What is the best time to visit?

I would say winter because summer there can get pretty hot. Winter is perfect in Abu Dhabi with so much happening, such as shopping festivals and of course Formula One. This is one time one can actually go around exploring the place without being irritated by the heat and dust.

Where did you stay?

I stayed at the St. Regis Hotel, one of the many five star hotels in Abu Dhabi. It’s located on the beach and is next to the absolutely amazing Emirates Palace Hotel. I woke up to a breathtaking view of the beach every day.


Favourite restaurant?

My favourites are Nobu, P.F. Chang and Al-Nakhal for mouthwatering Lebanese food at the Emirates Palace Hotel.

How to get around?

I used to get a private taxi from the hotel most of the time. Abu Dhabi isn’t as busy as Dubai; it’s pretty laid back, a lot like Islamabad I would say.  You’ll find taxis and buses at every corner and they’re excellent to commute around.

What did you get up to during the day?

My days were quite eventful. I had something to do every day and of course there was the Formula One race going on, which was a major part of my trip.

My typical day consisted of waking up to an amazing view from the 41st floor of St. Regis Hotel and hitting the pool. Then I’d go to the beach for breakfast, so relaxing.  The view and the ambience were really soothing. I would then visit Ferrari World. The rest of my day I’d spend exploring different malls and feasting at some fantastic restaurants in other hotels.

Where to stay?

There are so many beautiful hotels in Abu Dhabi that it’s really hard to pick one. You’ll find seven star as well as five star international hotels. But, I definitely recommend the St. Regis Hotel to everyone. My stay there was perfect.

What to eat?

Abu Dhabi has a variety of different cuisine from all over the world. I had the best of Thai and Lebanese. My absolute favourite is Hummus. I also like Dynamite Prawns and Wasabi Salt Beef Wholegrain sandwich.

What to see?

Oh, Abu Dhabi has so much! I’d say everyone should definitely visit Marina Mall, the Cornish and Yass Island. If you love cars and racing then Ferrari World should be on the top of your list like mine. Also, if you love roller coasters, the world’s fastest and biggest rollercoaster is found in the Ferrari World theme park.


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