Food & Drinks

9 of the oldest hotels and restaurants in the UAE

Here is a look at some iconic locations that have stood the test of time with our fantastic magazine as we commemorate 45 years of What’s On. These iconic UAE enterprises, which range from retro coastal cabins to heritage hotels, continue to make an enduring impression on the nation.

Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort, Abu Dhabi Corniche (Formerly Hilton Abu Dhabi)

Opened in: 1973

As the first international chain in Abu Dhabi, this hotel, which was inaugurated in 1973 by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, symbolised a new era. The menus were mainly composed of French food, and everything had to be shipped in from London. The hotel contributed to the city’s internationalism by organising parties, DJ sets, and appearances by celebrities like Tina Turner starting in the late 1970s.

Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Creek (Formerly InterContinental Hotel Dubai)

Opened in: 1975

This iconic hotel, which debuted in 1975 and set the bar for opulent hospitality in the emirate, offers unmatched views of Dubai Creek. It was also the first five-star establishment in Dubai. Even if the name has changed, this beloved hotel is still recognised for its classic architecture and renowned eateries like The Fish Market.

Carlton Tower Hotel Dubai

Opened in: 1977

The Carlton Tower has a 40-year history of elegant hospitality by the Dubai Creek, dating back to its 1977 opening by Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the first Vice President and Prime Minister of Dubai. Similar to the Creek, which has been the lifeblood of Dubai, the Carlton Tower has given thousands of visitors who have benefited from the friendly hospitality of the hotel many incredible experiences.

Dubai Sheraton Hotel

Opened in: 1978

For as long as What’s On has been in print, this famous hotel has been a constant feature of Dubai Creek’s skyline. Being one of the first five-star hotels in the city, it is still a popular destination today. Despite being overshadowed by many of the more recent architectural marvels in the area, the hotel manages to keep its unique silhouette and looks just as modern as it did in 1978.

Sandy Beach Hotel & Resort, Fujairah

Opened in: 1978

This seaside resort, which is tucked away along Al Aqah’s pristine coastline, has been an oasis since 1978. Sandy Beach was originally a refuge for divers who rented one of the ten private chalets. Despite the modernization that has taken place around it, Sandy Beach has managed to hold onto its original charm and continues to offer tourists with a unique vacation that is characterised by the beauty of nature and a dedication to minimalism. It is still a local choice for a quaint and vintage staycation because of its relaxed vibe and breathtaking natural surrounds.

Dubai World Trade Centre

Opened in: 1979

The Dubai World Trade Centre opened its doors the same year that What’s On was introduced, and for more than 40 years, it has served as a centre for trade and culture. International conferences and top-notch exhibitions are only two examples of how important they are in creating the UAE’s reputation around the world.

Le Meridien Abu Dhabi

Opened in: 1979

This seaside hotel has been welcoming guests since 1979 and is a well-liked hangout for locals and tourists looking for sun, sand, and leisure. Le Meridien Abu Dhabi has an old world elegance that longtime residents cherish, despite its slight wear and tear.

Hyatt Regency Deira Dubai

Opened in: 1980

Hyatt Regency Deira, which opened just a few months after What’s On, signalled the arrival of the Hyatt brand to the United Arab Emirates and established a new benchmark for luxurious accommodations in Deira. Notable for its 360-degree views of the city skyline and its revolving restaurant, this hotel is still a popular choice among people who want to be close to the harbour.

JA Beach Hotel, Jebel Ali

Opened in: 1981

Granted that we predate the JA Beach Hotel by a few years, but we still had to feature this treasure. The vast resort, which used to be known as The Jebel Ali Hotel, debuted in 1981 and has since grown to become a mainstay of Dubai’s tourism industry. Its wide grounds, secluded beach, and first-rate amenities never fail to enthral guests searching for a family-friendly getaway.

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