So you have an overnight layover in Abu Dhabi and need a hotel? With the highest honors, I recommend Premier Inn Abu Dhabi Airport. Here are 6 reasons why:
After going through customs in Abu Dhabi, I walked about 7-minutes through the airport and was at the Premier Inn. I didn’t have to step foot outside, and the location was so convenient. I would actually stay in this hotel if I didn’t have a layover.
A night at the Premier Inn will range in price for the obvious reasons, but will rarely go over $88, which is a steal in a lavish city like Abu Dhabi.
The Rooms are Cozy
My room was so cute. It was purple, super small but so cozy. My favorite part was the chaise lounge by the window.
The Pool and Hot Tub
Not only does this hotel have a pool but a hot tub too.
The Shuttle Bus to Attractions
If you get in earlier enough, before 6:30PM local time, the hotel has a free shuttle bus that will take you to some of the popular attractions in Abu Dhabi including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
I found the staff to be very efficient and helpful. My check-in process was a breeze.
I stayed up for about 23-hours without going to sleep on the day of departure. I had to go to work, then braid my hair, then pack and leave for the airport at 3am. My flight departed at 6:30am which meant I literally had no time to even nap.
The flight attendant put me in a window seat with no windows. I was pissed, but luckily slept the whole way to Atlanta; it didn’t bother me as much as I thought. I met up with my friend Kirsha who would be staying in the room with me. She’s an airline employee so she was first classing it, honey. I sat in the emergency row during the flight to the Bahamas which was super annoying but spacious. Honestly, I was so drunk with sleep, I could care less. When we finally arrived in Freeport we headed straight to the Pelican Bay Hotel to unwind and explore.
Port Lucaya was next door to the hotel so we explored the marketplace a little before taking a nap. Kirsha went straight to bed, but I decided to lay out by the pool and take in some sun before the beach party.
The Welcome Beach Party was the first event for wedding guests. Great music, great people and the food, oh my, I can’t emphasize the food enough, it was delicious. After crash dieting for a week, this was the first time I had actual food and I was just in heaven.
The beach party was eventually shut down by cops, so we made our way to the bars at Port Lucaya which comes alive at night time. As the night progressed we jumped into our hotel’s Jacuzzi and talked until the sun came out. The things that happened while in the hot tub were insane. Just when we started to talk about scary movies like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” a weird Eastern European man that we nicknamed, Ivan, appeared in the midst of the night and sat in front of the hot tub. He decided to smoke a cigarette as we watched him silently and he watched us silently. It was one of the most bizarre occurrences of my whole existence. Day One in the Bahamas was definitely one for the books.
Honestly, when we landed in Barcelona El Prat Airport the vibes were a bit off for me. I wasn’t excited. At this point, I was sleepy, cranky and had very little energy. My emotions were quite odd because every country we visited up until this point made me giddy like a little girl.
Now, the hard task of finding the hotel had begun. Once in Barcelona, we discovered that our hotel was located at the end of town in a neighborhood called Diagonal. Learning this made me even madder because this was my first mistake when choosing a hotel. I didn’t spend enough time researching the neighborhoods of Barcelona and figuring out which one would be best for us.
Ky Tip: If you are ever visiting Barcelona and want to be by the action you may want to find hotels in Barceloneta or La Rambla.
We took 3 trains and 1 bus to get to our hotel. On the last train, I felt a lady try to go in my purse. She unsnapped the lock and luckily I felt it and asked aggressively “What are you doing?” She turned away with shame on her face as if she didn’t understand and got off the next stop. I couldn’t believe I was almost pickpocketed. This experience made me paranoid for the rest of the time I was in Spain.
Ky Tip: Europe doesn’t have as much lethal crime as the U.S does but they do have pickpockets all over. BEWARE! You never know who you’re around and who is watching you. Don’t be the one who ends up with a missing passport or cell phone. Always be conscious of your belongings and wear bags that are harder to get into or that you will feel if someone is trying to get into.
Once we got outside of the train station it was pouring rain. We stopped at a bakery before making our way down to the hotel. At least it was close to the metro. Once we checked in, we realized there was not much for us to do. It was raining, the pool was closed and we had no idea what Barcelona was all about. Eventually, we faced our weather blues and explored our neighborhood. There was a mall next door to our hotel so we went shopping. We then tried to find a cute restaurant to eat at but came to the realization that we were in the middle of nowhere and there were no restaurants in the area (Hard to believe right? Well it’s true). We went back to the mall and ate Chinese food (Ridiculous..where’s the authentic food?). As blessed as we were to be in Spain, this part of the trip was turning into a disaster.
The rain got worst as the night went on. Fatigued to the max, we decided to spend our first night in Spain in the hotel and have a girls’ night in the beautiful and girly Desigual common area.
WiFi was the equivalent to the air we need to survive during our trip. The second we left customs at Heathrow and realized we could get 30-mins of free WiFi, we stayed in the airport to tell everyone #WEMADEIT. When the time was up, I suggested that we take the Tube instead of the Heathrow Express because it was much cheaper. We got on the blue line tube until we reached our stop at Lambeth North (switching from the blue to the brown line). In total, it was about an hour’s ride from Heathrow. Once we got out of the train station and realized we were in London, it was the most amazing feeling ever. The high was indescribable, that is until we reached the hotel and they wouldn’t let us check-in for another 40-minutes. So with our “loads” of luggage as the brits would say we explored the neighborhood.
We discovered a cute London neighborhood with horses and cobble stone streets. We headed directly to the consignment store which seemed like it was straight out of that movie “The Sweetest Thing” with Cameron Diaz. I was in awe of London’s simplistic elegance. The people were polite and just stared at us with curiosity as to where we just traveled from. One man who resembled Grandpa from The Parent Trap movie, came up to us and carried on the most charming conversation with myself and Taurie. He talked about working in the hotel industry for years and how unprofessional our hotel was for not allowing us to check-in upon arrival. He continued to talk to us as we just marveled over his accent. He was the quintessential old British man with a hearing aid and tweed suit…It was love at first sight.
When we finally got to the hotel, we did a quick change and headed back out to explore Westminster. We followed the road to the London Eye and was captivated by its enormity, It was beautiful and everything I’d ever imagined. We waited on the line for about 15-minutes and spent 20GBP to get on the spectacle. It was awesome to see the whole city from such high peaks. I’m happy I got to do it, but it was definitely a one-time thing.
After the London Eye, we went to meet Desh’s sister for the first time. It was also Desh’s first time meeting her too. Her sister ended up being super cool and took us on an amazing tour of London. We traveled to Piccadilly Circus, the Theatre District, Soho, the Red Light District, and China Town. We ate authentic Chinese food and enjoyed bubble tea as a beverage. I had a blast. We called it a night early, as you could imagine, the jet lag was kicking in.
Once we got to the hotel we wanted to explore London some more, so we walked around the area passing the Imperial War Museum and a bunch of other attractions until we miraculously found a WiFi booth. My mom is either a psychic or has perfect timing because she happened to Facetime me at that very moment. I shared with her the key points of my day and showed her the double-decker buses that passed by. I was so excited to be in London. I wish I could’ve stayed forever.