Christmas 2018 in Abu Dhabi: The biggest and best tree-lighting events

20 big festive bashes at the capital's top venues

Christmas 2018 in Abu Dhabi: The biggest and best tree-lighting events

For many people, the festive season only truly begins when the Christmas tree lights have been lit and the decorations are up.

Families gather from far and wide to enjoy the colourful celebrations and begin the countdown to the big day.

And Abu Dhabi is going above and beyond this year, with many of its most luxurious venues set to unveil beautiful decorations with grand launches.

Of course, there’s always a mince pie or a yule log thrown in for good measure too.

Here’s our guide to the capital’s big Christmas tree switch-on events this year.

Abu Dhabi Golf Club

Abu Dhabi Golf Club is getting its festive season into full swing with a mega line-up of festive fun planned to a tee.

The venue’s festive décor will be lit up on December 1 with an evening of fun from 6pm to 10pm.

The event features live performance, Christmas carol, kids' activities, and the chance to meet Santa Claus.

Dhs155 (guest), Dhs130 (members), Dhs85 (kids aged 4-12). December 1 6pm-10pm. Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Sas Al Nakhl (02 885 3555).

Bab Al Qasr

We’re expecting big things from this glamorous Corniche venue for the festive season.

It kicks off with the tree-lighting ceremony on December 5, with festive food and beverages on the menu.

A children’s choir will be on hand to treat guests to some joyous Christmas carolling and take the festivities up a notch.

Free. December 5 from 5.30pm. Bab Al Qasr, Corniche Road West (02 205 3000).

Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi

Welcome the arrival of the festive season with your loved ones with an elegant Christmas tree lights switch-on ceremony at Beach Rotana.

Bask in the glow of the lights to the tunes of carols and a jolly visitor from the North Pole with his bag of special surprises.

Free. December 4 from 6pm. Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi, Al Zahiya (02 697 9011).

Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi

Gather your family and friends and pay a visit to this capital hotel for its mega Christmas lights switch-on event.

The venue’s own choir will sing for their supper with a range of Christmas favourites – and they want you to join in too.

The big event takes place on December 11 from 6pm.

Free. December 12 from 6pm. Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, Sultan Bin Zayed The First Street (02 698 8137).

Emirates Palace

The lighting of Emirates Palace’s Christmas tree is often one of the most spectacular displays during the festival season in Abu Dhabi.

The Grand Dome will be filled with guests, candlelight, songs, festive spirit and a number of special surprises too.

The hotel has a string of cool things going on this Christmas, with everything from festive hampers at Le Café to a luxurious Christmas Day brunch at Le Vendome.

Free. December 9 from 7pm. Emirates Palace, Corniche Road West (02 690 9000).

Grand Millennium Al Wahda Hotel

Embrace the festive season with your family and friends at Grand Millennium Al Wahda Hotel on December 7.

Enjoy the eagerly anticipated lighting of the Christmas tree, with live entertainment and a visit from Santa Claus also on the cards.

There’s also an array of sweet and savoury treats such as homemade cookies, milk and surprise giveaways for the kids.

Free. December 7 from 6pm. Grand Millennium Al Wahda Hotel, Al Wahda (02 443 3890).

Hilton Abu Dhabi

Join in the fun at this iconic Corniche hotel with the eagerly anticipated Christmas tree lights switch-on ceremony on December 7.

The lobby will be full to the rafters with festive cheer, with a choir on hand to fill the air with seasonal classics. 

There's even a Christmas market to get some of your gift shopping done early.

Free. December 7 6pm-7.30pm. Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche Road (02 692 4247).

Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi

Christmas 2018 officially gets underway at this capital hotel at 6.30pm on December 4.

The venue is flying Santa Claus in for the occasion, when he will meet and greet the capital’s youngsters.

Guests can also enjoy traditional treats, from mulled drinks and hot chocolate to homemade cookies.

Free. December 4 6.30pm to 10.30pm. Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi, Dhafeer Street (02 657 4888).

Le Royal Méridien

Christmas is always the most wonderful time of the year at this popular Abu Dhabi venue.

The festive season gets underway with a special lights switch-on ceremony on December 4 from 6pm.

Free. December 4 from 6pm. Le Royal Méridien, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed St (02 674 2020).

Park Rotana

This Khalifa Park favourite has got a whole host of exciting plans to celebrate Christmas this year.

And the tree lighting ceremony is just one of them, with guests invited to witness the special occasion in the lobby on December 11.

Feel the Christmas spirit as the resident choir fills the air with carols while you enjoy the treats prepared by the chefs. The little ones will surely enjoy a surprise visit by Santa Claus, too.

Free. December 11 5.30pm-8pm. Park Rotana, Khalifa Park Area (02 657 3333).

Royal Rose

Head down to this charming 17th-century French-inspired hotel to witness an elegant tree lighting ceremony on December 11.

A choir will serenade guests with joyful tunes as hot chocolate and canapes are served.

Free. December 11 7pm-8pm. Royal Rose, Electra Street (02 672 4000).

Saadiyat Beach Golf Club

This exclusive venue is welcoming the start of a busy festive season with a Christmas lights switch-on to remember.

There’ll be plenty of activities and treats to enjoy throughout the evening.

Packages cost Dhs155 for non-members and Dhs130 for members.

Dhs155 (guests), Dhs130 (members). December 8 6pm-10pm. Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Saadiyat Island (02 499 8100).

Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri

This glamorous hotel is pulling out all the stops to get the capital into the Christmas spirit this year.

The venue’s own festive choir will provide the music for the tree-lighting ceremony at 7.30pm on December 6.

Guests are invited to enjoy festive drinks and snacks while the big event takes place.

Free. December 6 7.30pm. Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri (02 509 8888).

Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort

This Corniche hotel is getting into the spirit with a wonderful evening of festive treats for the eyes, ears and the tastebuds this year.

The tree lighting ceremony will take place accompanied by joyful carols and all your favourite seasonal songs.

While complimentary festive bites will delight guests throughout the evening, including a giant Christmas yule log that needs to be seen to be believed.

Free. December 12 6pm-7pm. Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, Corniche Road (02 677 3333).

Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche

Savour the sights, smells and snacks of Christmas with a fun evening at the Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche.

Guests can enjoy a range of foodie treats and seasonal drinks as the lights are switched on at 6pm on December 9.

Free. December 9 from 6pm. Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche, Corniche Road (02 813 7777).

St. Regis Abu Dhabi

You just know Christmas 2018 is going to be a special time of year at this wonderfully elegant Nation Towers hotel.

And it gets underway with an unmissable tree-lighting ceremony from 6pm on December 5.

Highlights of the evening include performances by a pianist, a special festive treat pass-around and a visit from the jolly man in the red suit.

Free. December 5 from 6pm. St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Towers, Corniche Road (02 694 4444).

The Village, Le Meridien

This popular outdoor spot will be transformed into a winter wonderland just in time for the big Christmas tree lights switch-on.

Surround yourself with snowmen and reindeers as you sip on festive beverages, with complimentary hot chocolate, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts until 7pm.

And festive songs will fill the air while the little ones celebrate with various activities.

Free. December 5 6pm-7pm. Le Meridien, Al Zahiyah (02 644 6666).

Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri

Soak up the festive atmosphere at Traders Hotel with a range of treats.

The lights will be switched on at 6pm on December 6, with plenty of activities to make you feel extra Christmassy.

Guests can enjoy eggnog, cookies and juices during the ceremony, while a string of themed goodies and hampers will be available to buy.

Free. December 6 6pm-7pm. Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri (02 509 8555).

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort

Head over to this beautiful Saadiyat Island hotel for what is sure to be an amazing Christmas lights switch-on.

On December 6 from 6.30pm, there will be a range of treats to enjoy, including cookies, mince pies and juices.

A festive choir will sing Christmas carols while well-placed sources tell us to expect a special visit from Santa Claus.

Free. December 6 from 6.30pm. The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Island (02 498 8888).

Yas Hotel

There’s no time for this Yas Island favourite to relax after an epic Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the festive season races into view.

Guests are invited to join the annual tree lighting ceremony on December 6 and enjoy the stunning surroundings of the newly rebranded hotel.

It’s always a special time of year at the iconic hotel, which is being taken over by the swanky W group.

Free. December 6 from 6pm. Yas Hotel, Yas Island (02 656 0600).

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