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Officially opened in 2009, and located in close proximity to Abu Dhabi Airport, Yas Island is a natural island that has been extended and developed to become a top destination in the United Arab Emirates.  Most famously known for its racing circuit that annually hosts the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Island is a development valued at around USD 40 billion, and includes hotels, arenas, residences, themes parks and beaches. Developed by Aldar Properties, it occupies 2500 hectares of land area and 32 kilometers of sea waterfront.

A one-stop destination for entertainment, the island houses seven luxurious hotels. These include the famous chains of the Rotana, Crowne Plaza and Raddisson Blu.  Although each of these hotels has similar facilities and many top quality restaurants and cafes serving local and international cuisine, it is the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel that is definitely the one attracting the most business and attention.

The Yas Viceroy is a particularly interesting building. The unique design of the island’s signature hotel, partially built on land and partially on water, includes a bridge that links it directly to the racing circuit.  With its sleek white interiors and state of the art architecture inspired by a racing theme, Yas Viceroy offers its guests a direct view of the circuit from all angles.

The Yas Marina Circuit, designed by Herman Tilke, has a total of 21 turns with the anti-clockwise direction track measured at 5.55 km long.  With covered seating for all five grandstands, it has a capacity of holding 50,000 people. Apart from hosting international events, the venue also has a training school for aspiring racers. At the Yas Kartzone, children and adults can also enjoy safe motorsport activities.

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The Yas Yacht Club is a 5-star facility that boasts several restaurants with indoor and outdoor settings.  The Club is used to dock all types of yachts including Gigayacht’s Dilbar, one of the largest in the world.  Apart from being popular with yacht enthusiasts, the Club is also known for housing the internationally renowned fine-dining Italian restaurant Cipriani.

Thrill-seekers can enjoy a day at Ferrari World, the world’s first indoor Ferrari theme park. With its octopus-like shape, large logo and signature Ferrari inspired design, the structure is eye-catching and distinct. With approximately 20 different types of rides including the world’s fastest roller coaster, the park caters to adrenaline chasers of all ages.

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Formerly known as the Yas Arena, the du Arena is where Madonna recently held her sold out concerts.  The venue has played host to several popular international singers and bands including Elton John, Sade, Snoop Dogg and Metallica. With standing and seating options, the venue is divided into several different categories allowing the audience a chance to choose tickets priced at different levels. The venue includes organized parking and multiple entrance facilities along with food and beverage stands, and is well planned out and conveniently located for fans to drive in from around the Emirates to enjoy shows.

Yas Links is the home of the golf course and attached Club House on the island.  Built for professionals, amateurs and beginners, the link style 3 km long course was designed by Karl Phillips. Revered internationally for maintaining lush green courses in the middle of a desert, it features nine seashore greens and 18-holes.  The Andalusian inspired Club House offers top of the line service and amenities.  Tournaments and classes are held at the golf club throughout the year.

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Yas Island is developing housing including different style villas and apartments for renting and buying, for an estimated population of about 110,000 residents.  Plans for retail facilities with a 250, 000 square meters, four-story luxury mall are also underway.  The construction of a Water Park, Warner Bros Theme Park and a Polo Club are also in process.

Yas Island defines a unique lifestyle that can be enjoyed by locals, expats and tourists. While some might compare its hotels and nightlife to Miami and St Tropez, its food to London and New York, its racing circuit to Monaco and its theme parks to Florida, Yas Island has its own distinct style and look.

Overlooking the sparkling Arabian waters, the development is a groundbreaking achievement. Aldar Properties have overhauled and landscaped the dry, desert land into one of the most sought after tourist and residential destinations in the Middle East.

-Saira Malik

-Images Courtesy of Yas Island 

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