Breathtaking! The first few seconds were surreal, the entire experience was phenomenal! From the moment when the doors were opened, and the interiors of the palace appeared before my eyes, right until I stepped out to its gardens, I was completely in awe! From my frequent trips around the world, I thought I have seen opulence, sophistication, grandeur however, everything was redefined to me by Qasr Al Watan.
It is above and beyond any tourist attraction. As mentioned on its brochures, “Qasr Al Watan is more than a palace, it’s a structural milestone.” It is an actual palace that houses the Supreme Council of United Arab Emirates and its Federal Cabinet. The Presidential palace is a relevant landmark that hosts state visits; it’s an important architectural masterpiece where the past was written, and where the future is being shaped.
Visiting Qasr Al Watan took me to a journey through various timeless zones which are all a reflection of rich and interesting Emirati history, heritage and culture. I marvelled at the massively stunning and ornate rooms of the palace that feature and highlights the following :
- The Great Hall
- Presidential Gifts
- Spirit of Collaboration
- The Presidential Banquet
- Al Bazra (Al Majlis; not in photos)
- House of Knowledge
- Qasr Al Watan Library (not in photos; accessible from outside the palace).
- Palace in Motion (a light and sound show at night).
Behold. Qasr Al Watan in a humble photoessay :
My personal favourite part of Qasr Al Watan is the impressive gold sculpture installed in The House of Knowledge called, “The Power of Words,” by local artist, Mattar Bin Lahej. What looks like a beautiful golden cage features interlaced inscription from an Arabic quote by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayan that says :
“Wealth is not money or oil, wealth lies in people
and it is worthless if not dedicated to serve the people.”
Apart from the meaningful message it conveys, it’s an Instagram-worthy piece of art!
Zone for The Presidential Gifts.
Presidential gifts from The Philippines, sculpture of our national animal, carabaos.
I dig this! Traditional Samurai from Japan.
The Spirit of Collaboration Room.
The Presidential Banquet.
Even the WCs look regal in gold, and actually spotless.
Shuttle buses from the Palace to the Visitors’ Centre come every 2-3 minutes.
Even the Garden is inviting.
Every corner’s picturesque.
Colossal. Majestic. Opulent.
If you will wait until dusk, you may witness “The Palace In Motion,” a 14-minute-light and sound show that happens at 7:30 pm (subject to sunset timings) featuring a three-act story of the UAE’s past, present and future using a dazzling array of sound and visual spectacle.
- Opening Hours : Open 7 days a week from 10AM-8PM (except for notified events).
- Palace & Gardens : 10AM-7PM (last entry into the Palace is 6:45PM).
- Ticketing Counter : 10AM-7PM. Book your tickets online.
- General Admission for Palace & Garden ticket :
- Adults : AED 60
- Children : AED 30
- Admission to Garden & Visitor Centre only
- Adults : AED 25
- Children : AED 12
- Group Bookings : Contact (+971) 600 544 442 or email them at email@example.com
- Standard and Private Guided Tours are available. Inquire from their website, or call.
- Address : Al Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi, PO Box 128717, United Arab Emirates.
- Ramadan Timings :
- Palace : 11AM-6PM
- Ticket Counter : 11AM-5PM
- Palace In Motion Light & Sound Show will not be available during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
- Qasr Al Watan Library : 11AM-6PM
- Shopping (souvenir shops) : 11AM-6PM
The UAE Presidential Palace finally opens its doors to the world. Would you miss it for the world?