How I ended up having high tea on top of Abu Dhabi!
As I ease into my new life here in Abu Dhabi, I’m slowly getting out and about to begin exploring. The scorching temperatures at this time of year coupled with unparalleled humidity means that life moves at a slower pace here. Honestly, it’s a real struggle to get out and about when you’re hit in the face with what is essentially a wall of wet air.
However the arrival of Expat Pug, also known as MY SISTER, means that I have no excuse to mooch around in my air conditioned apartment because I need to introduce her to life in the Middle East!
Background information: My sister, for those of you who don’t know, is 8 years younger than me (making her a wee little lass), and has just started an internship in Dubai at the Ritz Carlton Hotel- she is a pastry chef! If you want to know a little more about my family, you need to read this personal post of mine.
While there are quite a few things I could’ve taken her to see/do in Abu Dhabi, being the basic big sister that I am, I opted for something completely bourgeoisie. I thought we would go watch the sunset from the top of the highest viewpoint in the city (Etihad Towers) and enjoy some sundowners. Because well… why ever not?
The Etihad Towers are an integral part of the Abu Dhabi skyline and most famously featured in the blockbuster movie Fast & Furious 7.
Oh yes this is how we all drive here in the UAE- through hotel lobbies, into the sky, and from one skyscraper to another. (This is why I don’t watch these sort of absurd movies).
So we used Google Maps and headed off to find these iconic towers. They are apparently an integral part of the Abu Dhabi skyline but I couldn’t see from anywhere as we drove in their elusive direction and eventually parked in a confusing parking lot rife with construction. I feel like my Google Maps hates me and purposefully tried to make my life difficult so I dropped a pin when I was there. Here you go:
Etihad Towers is a five tower complex. The towers contains apartments, luxury stores and a hotel- the five-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers hotel. The hotel is where you will head to enjoy views of the Abu Dhabi skyline, the Corniche and the Arabian Gulf from 300 metres high on the 74th floor. You buy your tickets at the bottom, just adjacent to the hotel lobby, and off you whizz to the top!
The setting is gorgeous. Its everything you imagine the Middle East to be but in true Abu Dhabi style- it is classy rather then pretentious. Tear your eyes away from the elegant furniture to look out the floor to ceiling windows at the view:
I really enjoyed standing on top of the city and looking down at a soaring skyline of shiny towers that reflect the shimmering sea. A city surrounded by water (it’s an island after all) that is a crystal clear, aquamarine colour. Beaches boasting the finest grains of white sand, and most are lined with date palm trees.
Expat Pug was having the time of her life pretending to be in a movie:
Although you technically are supposed to make a reservation to have high tea, I tried my luck and with bat of my eyelashes and a sweet smile, we swindled our way into some comfy seats and awaited some 5 star service & treats! I don’t know what it is about me and afternoon tea but I guess growing up in a former British colony (and being somewhat obsessed with Alice in Wonderland) means that I can’t resist the idea of mini cakes, tiny sandwiches and drinking from a teacup with my pinky up. Considering my somewhat adventurous and outdoor-loving personality, the obsession makes no sense to me either.
We were served this decadent looking tower of treats with one layer being savouries and the top 2 tiers were sweeties. This was accompanied by a plate of scones as well as a brownie in a pot. To wash it all down was a tea and raspberry infused mocktail which blew my mind.
The variety and quality of the savouries was evident in the entire selection. From the tuna and quail egg open sandwich to the smoked Scottish salmon blini, to the chicken and mayo sandwich and prawn rolls, the flavour were outstanding in each and every bite. Every single ribbon was different in both taste and style. Brioche, focaccia, toasted, fresh, no two breads or fillings were the same. I particularly liked an Italian-inspired focaccia with basil and cheese.
The desserts definitely rocked my worlds with a moist chocolate mud pie, Oreo cheesecake, chocolate and berry cheesecake, chocolate macaron, mini cream eclair and some other yummy things that I honestly can’t recall as Pug stuffed them into her mouth. Siblings!
Lets talk about the wonderful scones which were served with real strawberry jams (there were actual bits of strawberry in it), lemon curd and thick, clotted cream: a crowning glory to the afternoon tea!
While you’re pacing yourself because these dainty looking treats are surprisingly filling, take a walk around and admire the city.
The server tried to steer me towards ordering a tea but- brace yourself because this is the best bit- I don’t even LIKE TEA- so I ordered a hot chocolate. I am an afternoon tea party rebel.
Now as delightful as afternoon tea was- and I do highly recommend it if you’d like to treat yourself- the real winner here was watching the sunset over the gulf through the windows. So if you’d like to visit simply to admire the view, then its a splendid way to spend an hour or so.
One of the reasons I love living in Abu Dhabi is that it is the crossroads between two worlds and at the same time a place full of identity and charm. You can find modern luxury with a classic elegance all mixed with an Arabian twist. Go look out over the city at Etihad Towers and you will know exactly what I mean!
-Tickets to go up to the 74th floor are 85AED each.
-From this 85AED, 50AED is redeemable towards WHATEVER food or beverages you order from the cafe on the top. So for example, if you order a drink worth 45AED, your drink is basically free. If you choose the high tea, which is 210AED for 2 people, you would only pay 110AED after the discount.
-Opening hours are 10am to 7pm. Head around 6pm for a beautiful sunset view. Also, your tickets is valid for as many trips up to the top as you would like to take on the date of purchase. This helps if you make it all the way to the top and then realise you’ve forgotten your camera and need to do another trip 😀
– For more current information and contact details visit the official Jumeirah at Etihad Towers website here.