There’s an exciting promotion on at Montecasino at the moment where you are rewarded just for spending money at the complex between 8 August – 31 October 2016. Spend R 450 or more at ANY participating Montecasino outlet and receive a scratch card with a GUARANTEED reward PLUS an entry to stand a chance of winning an amazing trip to Southern Sun Abu Dhabi & Ferrari World valued at over R 50,000! Incredible, right? I was one of the lucky media personalities who were invited by the complex to get a small taste of the prize and spent three days in Abu Dhabi experiencing all the city has to offer!

El Abu Dhabi 5

Our trip started at Montecasino where we popped open a bottle of champagne before heading out to the airport. We took an eight-hour flight on Etihad Airways direct to Abu Dhabi which was an absolute breeze. After passing passport control, we were on our way to the Southern Sun Abu Dhabi. As we stepped out of their airport into our taxi, we were hit with immense heat. Being a desert, the United Arab Emirates was extremely hot all of the time. In fact, temperatures ranged from a minimum of about 35 degrees to a maximum of close to 50 degrees!

The airport is around a half an hour journey from the hotel. This is when I took a bit of me-time. I put in my earphones, put on some music and just took in what the country has to offer. Abu Dhabi, for me, is an interesting place of oxymorons. It’s both incredibly religious yet incredibly secular. There are many mosques and Arab sights and sounds blended with sky scrapers and international brands. It’s an interesting place and it grabbed me from the moment I landed.

Southern Sun Abu Dhabi

We arrived at the Southern Sun Abu Dhabi and were met by the hotel’s Director of Sales and Marketing Mr. Paul Simmons. We quickly settled in and met again at The Foundry – the hotel’s award-winning restaurant where we had breakfast. Since we were only in Abu Dhabi for three days, we started exploring the city immediately – and what better way to do that than via ferry.

El Abu Dhabi 4

We took a cab to the Etihad Towers where we boarded the Jalboot ferry. The ferry gave us a view of some of the impressive skyline. Some of these buildings are insane. The ferry stopped at a few spots so we could take photos, had an awesome soundtrack and an epic crew. We made the decision to stop off for good on Yas Island – a $40 billion island home to Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld and Yas Mall.

El Abu Dhabi 3

Yas Mall is the best shopping destination in Abu Dhabi. It’s got an array of international brand names, local and international cuisine, a cinema and a whole lot more. At this point, we were starving so we decided to check out The Cheesecake Factory. However, if you’re visiting on a weekend, make sure you book. Since the restaurant was so full, we made our way to ROGO’s Roller Coaster Restaurant. If you’re at Yas Mall, I highly recommend eating here. It’s a restaurant with a twist. You order your food via iPads attached to your table and your food arrives on a roller coaster of sorts directly to your table. The burgers and pastas were incredible and there’s a Nutella dessert that you must try! It’s a bit tricky to describe the restaurant so watch this little video clip below.

After that, we went back to the hotel where I had a much-needed shower (don’t underestimate the heat!). Once we had some time to chill, we met at the hotel’s Hytes Bar where we indulged in some cocktails and finger foods. After a few drinks in the hotel where we got to know some of the staff, we were told we should venture out to the Aloft hotel where they were having their monthly rain party. The hotel turns their rooftop pool area into a club where the dance floor is sprayed with water while the pool is also open for clubbers to swim in. This was probably a highlight of my trip. It was such a different experience to anything in Johannesburg and it was great experiencing the night life in Abu Dhabi as well. We got home in the early hours of the morning and went straight to bed before the second day of the trip began.

Just had the sickest night at the Aloft Hotel's rain pool party! OMG!

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Want a similar experience? Make sure you head to Montecasino today, spend R450 at a participating outlet, redeem your guaranteed gift and enter the competition with your unique code. Each scratch card has a unique USSD code so the more codes you accumulate, the better your chances are of winning. The winner will win a 7-night stay at the Southern Sun Abu Dhabi including flights, breakfast and a trip to both Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld valued at over R50 000! The winner will be announced on the 9th of November 2016 at Montecasino. For more information, click this link.

Check back tomorrow for a blog post on my second day in Abu Dhabi.

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