Places Rated: Abu Dhabi
The November/December issue of Traveler features our annual “Places Rated” survey of destination stewardship, and this year 340 expert panelists rated 99 coastal destinations around the world. Here on the blog, we’re going to highlight some of these coastal destinations and are interested in adding your feedback to the mix. What do you think?
UAE: Abu Dhabi
Rating: 61 — “In the Balance” category
Though often overshadowed by Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates perhaps offers a better overall travel experience than the federation’s largest city. Traditional architectural styles and sustainability principles have informed new development in Abu Dhabi. The city has thus retained a stronger sense of place than its more over-the-top neighbor (which received a dismal score of 37), and the surrounding desert has sustained less ecological damage in the wake of the country’s recent building boom. A lower carbon footprint would have resulted in an even higher score.
Why did the place earn this score? Read representative panelist comments after the jump.
“A fantastic city with a different and powerful development approach, from the sustainable Masdar City to the island of Saadiyat. Lots of museums designed by world-famous architects.”
“Abu Dhabi is a real place, in contrast to Dubai. Visiting it provides insight into contemporary UAE culture.”
“Fairly low-key tourism developments, well planned and generally exclusive, based on large hotel chains. Appeals to the wealthy. Well-designed, expensive resorts that sometimes reflect Bedouin traditions (but these are often a pastiche). They cater mostly to Western tastes and rarely employ local residents.”
“In comparison to Dubai, Abu Dhabi is taking a conservative and measured approach to development.”
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Survey scoring system:
74-84 Top Rated
65-73 Doing Well
55-64 In the Balance
48-54 Facing Trouble
34-47 In Trouble
22-34 Near Catastrophic
See all 99 ratings and representative panelist comments online and share your thoughts below.
Photo: T.J. Bardwell