Etihad Airways is a flag carrier and the second-largest airline of the UAE (after Emirates). Its hub is Abu Dhabi International Airport. Emirates Airlines is the largest airline in the Middle East, currently operating over 3,600 flights per week from its hub at Dubai International Airport.
Wherever you decide to fly, book your stay via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels, including Four Seasons, Aman, Belmond, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, and more. You also get your usual Marriott Bonvoy, Hyatt, Hilton, and other loyalty points and status benefits when you book with our concierge.
Both these airlines are excellent and a great choice when flying to Asia and Australia and parts of the world like the stunning Maldives. If you choose between these airlines, their respective hubs may influence your decision on which to fly. We have already reviewed whether Emirates or Etihad is the best airline in the Middle East.
Regarding your choice of stopover, these two cities are vastly different. Abu Dhabi has culture and also has some truly unique hotels, such as Banana Island, which are simply stunning (this is the only hotel in the Middle East that has overwater villas), although be aware this is a no-alcohol hotel. It also offers culture in the form of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, with hundreds of artworks displayed across stunning galleries designed by Jean Nouvel.
Dubai is the Vegas of the Middle East with incredible hotels. Dubai has a more family and glitzy reputation. Dubai has just opened the world’s largest theme park, the Marvel affiliated IMG Works of Adventure.
A great place to stay for an unusual experience is the Atlantis with its watery world and massive aquariums. We love the fact that you can sleep in an underwater room in the Atlantis. The hotel’s underwater suites have breathtaking underwater views, including a version of the ruins of the mythical lost city of Atlantis along with 65,000 marine inhabitants. These Suites also come with a private butler and a swim-with-dolphins experience.
The choice of stopover between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is a personal preference and both destinations can be amazing if you choose a special luxury hotel.
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