Words by Danielle Owen-Jones
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is without a doubt one of the most glamorous dates on the F1 calendar.
Not only is it the final race of the season, but it’s also the perfect race for those wanting to experience five-star hospitality while watching 55 laps of the 5.5km opulent Yas Marina Circuit.
Set against the stunning backdrop of the sparkling blue marina water, the architectural delight that is the Yas Viceroy and world-famous venues such as Cipriani, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is a luxury experience not to be missed.
The 2019 world championship might’ve already been decided this year, with Lewis Hamilton taking his sixth win and edging one step closer to equalling (or beating, depending on his next steps) Michael Schumacher’s record of the most wins. However, if you’re a Formula 1 fan, the thrilling atmosphere and spectacular backdrop mean the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix still guarantees a memorable experience.
The race this year marks a decade of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the racing calendar since its inaugural race in 2019. It takes place on Sunday 1st December, with practice and qualifying on 29th and 30th November.
But first, how to get there? If you want to arrive in style, Ethiad Residence offers a three-room suite (private living room, separate bedroom, en-suite bathroom and personal butler at around £12,000 return). Alternatively, Ethiad first class and business class flights start from £4,000 return.
If rubbing shoulders with F1 personalities and being right in the heart of the action (literally, as the track is built into the hotel itself) ticks the boxes for you, book a room at the Yas Viceroy Hotel. Suites are high-demand for the race weekend and cost at least £1,200 a night.
Another popular accommodation option is to make the most of the picturesque marina setting and rent a luxury yacht. There are many to choose from, and prices start from around £15,000 for the weekend. Similar to the hospitality packages of the Monaco Grand Prix, the trackside yachts host the raucous parties that continue on until sunrise.
That’s accommodation sorted, but where to watch the race itself? An all-access pass at the Yas Viceroy’s Harbour Club costs £5,000 and boasts some of the best viewpoints of the track. The suite features a private balcony that offers multiple trackside views, including the corners where the circuit runs through the hotel, around the marina and back to the main paddock pit lane area. Also included is a gourmet buffet, all-day open bar, and Q&A sessions with famous F1 faces.
When it comes to food and drink, there’s only one place to go, and that’s Cipriani. Mingle with drivers and A-listers and enjoy the sensational views at the famous venue. Another 5* star haunt is Skylite, situated on the ninth floor of the Viceroy.
The post-race concerts always draw big names to Abu Dhabi. Beyoncé, Metallica, Eminem, Kylie Minogue, Post Malone, Sam Smith and Guns N’ Roses – to name just a few – have all taken to the stage to mark the end of the F1 season. If you want to splash out on stage-side seats, book The Presidential Table. This seats 15 people right in front of the stage and is £22,000 per guest, per evening. The Emperor Table can also be booked for £44,000 per guest, per evening.
If you want to skip the post-race concerts and head to the clubs, then the famous Amber Lounge is the place to be. Set aside a budget of at least £3,000 for table bookings and enjoy Amber Lounge’s notoriously raucous celebrations – just be prepared to start late and end late. This year, they’ve also introduced the Amber Saturday Yacht Party. Another option is to head to superclub MAD – the biggest indoor nightclub in the UAE.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is undoubtedly up there with the top races in the F1 calendar to experience in VIP style. Although it might not boast the old-school glamour of Monaco or the heritage of Silverstone, its spectacular setting, lively track and extravagant hospitality more than makes up for that.
Image credit at the very top of the article: solkafa/Bigstock.com