Abu Dhabi... for the business conference

While mostly considered for its incentive pedigree, Abu Dhabi more than holds up as a destination for large-scale conferences. C&IT spotlights the best venues on offer in the Emirate.

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre
Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre

Recent years have witnessed Abu Dhabi make significant inroads as a conference destination. The latest ICCA rankings saw the emirate named in 73rd place, a jump of more than 160 places since 2011. The destination is due to welcome a number of high-profile events this year, including the world's first global cultural leadership summit and the International Diabetes Federation Congress.

In terms of business venues, there are several prominent options. The Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre is the go-to for mega-events, with a dozen dedicated exhibition halls, but also has good conference facilities, with four spaces accommodating between 180 and 250 theatre-style. There are also 21 meeting rooms on site.

High-quality conference hotels are numerous. Options to consider include the waterfront Rosewood Abu Dhabi on Al Maryah Island, where the Yasmine Ballroom takes up to 190 delegates theatre-style, and the award-winning meeting facilities at the Hilton Abu Dhabi, which has the added benefit of 11,000m2 of private beach.

The newly opened Four Seasons Abu Dhabi has the usual array of high-end attributes associated with the brand and offers meeting space for up to 190. A rooftop pool and a large garden overlooking the Gulf are further selling points.

For a venue with a difference, meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi Golf Club has four different meeting and conference rooms and picked up multiple accolades at the Middle East Golf Awards 2016, including Best Overall Club Experience. The course itself is championship standard, with 27 holes.

And if the priority is a venue with a uniquely Emirati feel, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital has its own conference centre for up to 200, complete with a falconry museum and garden for outdoor events.

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