Al Maryah Island Area Guide 2024

Dictricts Al Maryah Island Area Guide 2024
~13 min


Al Maryah Island,formerly known as Sowwah Island, situated in the heart of Abu Dhabi, is a prominent and dynamic destination that holds significant importance within the context of both the city and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Renowned for its strategic location in the Arabian Gulf, Al Maryah Island has evolved into a thriving urban center, encompassing key landmarks such as the Abu Dhabi Global Market, Galleria Al Maryah Island, and the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi. As one of the largest construction sites in the region, the island stands as a testament to Abu Dhabi's commitment to progress and innovation.

History of Al Maryah Island

Al Maryah Island traces its history back to its early days of founding, marked by the ambitious vision of Abu Dhabi's leaders. The island's development, initiated in 2007 by the Mubadala Development Company, unfolded on a grand scale, covering approximately 114 hectares of land. This venture swiftly became one of the largest construction sites in Abu Dhabi.

Over the years, Al Maryah Island underwent a transformative journey, evolving through various phases of construction. The landscape saw the rise of residential buildings, offices, and essential facilities like hospitals. At the heart of the island lies the Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, formerly known as Sowwah Square, which emerged as the central hub accommodating over 40 companies alongside other prominent business towers.

The construction of Abu Dhabi Global Market Square commenced in 2007, with the first buildings opening their doors in 2011. This pivotal area on the island houses an array of towers and buildings, including notable structures such as Al Sila Tower, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, and the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. The island's development signifies not only a testament to architectural prowess but also positions it as a vital economic and commercial center in the region.

Geography and Architecture

Spanning around 114 hectares, Al Maryah Island stands as a symbol of urban planning and architectural innovation. The island's physical layout is designed, reflecting a harmonious blend of functionality and aesthetic appeal. Notably, it serves as a city center, emerging from the visionary development efforts spearheaded by Mubadala.

Al Maryah Island boasts unique architectural elements that contribute to its distinct identity. As one of the largest construction sites in Abu Dhabi, the island has witnessed the creation of a diverse landscape, featuring residential buildings, offices, and essential facilities. The Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, positioned at the heart of the island, serves as a focal point with its impressive structures, including Al Sila Tower, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, and the renowned Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. This confluence of architectural excellence positions Al Maryah Island as a symbol of modernity and progress in the region.

Key Attractions

  1. The Galleria. A premier shopping and lifestyle destination on Al Maryah Island. Home to a diverse range of luxury brands, dining options, and entertainment venues.

  2. ACTIVE. Positioned on the north side of Al Maryah Island, ACTIVE is a world-class recreational and sports destination. Offers a dynamic range of activities catering to fitness enthusiasts and sports aficionados.

  3. Waterside Promenade. Explore the scenic beauty of Al Maryah Island through its extensive 5.4 km waterside promenade. Ideal for leisurely strolls, jogging, or simply enjoying the picturesque views of the surrounding area.

  4. ADGM Square. Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, centrally located on the island. A bustling hub accommodating over 40 companies and featuring prominent business towers.

Here are some tips for an optimal experience when visiting Al Maryah Island

  • Best Time to Visit. Consider visiting during the cooler months from November to March to enjoy outdoor activities comfortably.

  • Ticket Information. Admission to public areas is generally free, but specific attractions may have individual ticketing.

Culture and Lifestyle

Al Maryah Island, situated in the vibrant city of Abu Dhabi, is infused with a rich tapestry of local culture and traditions. The island's cosmopolitan atmosphere reflects the diverse influences that contribute to the dynamic lifestyle of its residents and visitors. As a modern urban center, Al Maryah Island embraces a blend of traditional Emirati culture and the cosmopolitan outlook synonymous with the UAE.

While modernity is prevalent, certain local customs and practices add a unique flavor to life on Al Maryah Island. The island's residents often engage in traditional practices, exemplifying the Emirati spirit. Visitors may witness the warm hospitality of the locals, providing a glimpse into the authentic cultural experiences that coexist harmoniously with the contemporary lifestyle. As a hub of global influence, Al Maryah Island serves as a microcosm of the UAE's commitment to preserving its heritage while embracing progress.

Culinary Scene

Al Maryah Island offers a delectable journey into the local cuisine, combining traditional Emirati flavors with international influences. The culinary scene caters to diverse palates, featuring a fusion of Middle Eastern and global culinary delights. Visitors can savor popular local dishes such as shawarma, falafel, and aromatic kebabs, reflecting the rich gastronomic heritage of the region.

Explore the culinary diversity of Al Maryah Island through its array of restaurants, cafes, and food markets. Some noteworthy establishments include:

  1. Texas Roadhouse. A haven for steak enthusiasts, Texas Roadhouse offers a taste of American flavors with its renowned cuts and hearty dishes.

  2. Flamingo Room by tashas Abu Dhabi. A chic and upscale dining experience, Flamingo Room by tashas Abu Dhabi presents a fusion of international cuisines with a contemporary twist.

  3. Dai Pai Dong Restaurant. Embrace the vibrant flavors of Asian cuisine at Dai Pai Dong Restaurant, where traditional dishes and modern interpretations create a delightful culinary journey.

  4. Loca Restaurant & Bar Abu Dhabi. Known for its lively ambiance, Loca Restaurant & Bar Abu Dhabi serves Mexican cuisine with a flair, offering an extensive menu of tacos, guacamole, and flavorful cocktails.

Shopping Experience

While Al Maryah Island does not feature traditional souks, the shopping experience on the island is elevated through its world-class malls and boutiques. Visitors can indulge in retail therapy at renowned destinations, each offering a unique selection of products and experiences.

  1. The Galleria. A premier shopping centre, The Galleria on Al Maryah Island boasts a collection of luxury brands, upscale boutiques, and diverse dining options.

  2. Abu Dhabi Mall. A longstanding favorite among shoppers, located near Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi Mall presents a comprehensive shopping experience with a mix of international and local brands.

  3. Shams Boutik adds a touch of sophistication to the shopping scene, featuring chic boutiques, trendy fashion outlets, and vibrant cafes.

Haggling is not commonly practiced in the established malls of Al Maryah Island; however, visitors can enhance their shopping experience by exploring various stores to compare prices and find the best deals. Taking advantage of sale periods for potential discounts and planning visits during the malls' opening hours contribute to a relaxed and enjoyable shopping spree. Al Maryah Island offers a modern and diverse shopping experience, meeting a wide range of preferences and providing an enjoyable journey for avid shoppers.

Accommodation Options

  • Apartments. Studios, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom units are available, ranging from 990 sq. ft. to 1,250 sq. ft. for 1-bedroom flats and 1,400 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq. ft. for 2 and 3-bedroom apartments. Prices vary, with studios starting at AED 506k and 1-bedroom apartments averaging AED 674k. Larger 2-bedroom apartments can be purchased for up to AED 2M, while 3-bedroom units have an average cost of AED 1.54M.

  • Penthouses. Al Maryah Vista offers 4 to 5-bed penthouses, covering 3,200 sq. ft. of living space. This residential development, known for its unique waterfront lifestyle, is a popular choice for those seeking off-plan luxury apartments.


  1. Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi. A renowned luxury hotel on Al Maryah Island, offering exquisite accommodations, fine dining, and world-class amenities.

  2. Rosewood Abu Dhabi. Another upscale choice, Rosewood Abu Dhabi provides a blend of elegance and comfort, contributing to a sophisticated stay experience.

  3. Le Méridien Abu Dhabi. A conveniently located hotel near Al Maryah Island, offering convenient access to the island's attractions.

  4. Beach Rotana. Another nearby option, Beach Rotana provides a mix of comfort and accessibility for visitors exploring Al Maryah Island.

Getting Around

Al Maryah Island offers convenient public transportation options to navigate the area seamlessly. The well-connected public transport system ensures easy access to neighboring attractions and the wider city of Abu Dhabi. Visitors can utilize taxis, buses, and other modes of transportation for efficient travel:

  1. Taxis are readily available and provide a comfortable and quick way to get around. Familiarize yourself with taxi stands or use ride-hailing apps for convenience.

  2. Buses. Explore the city and its surroundings using the extensive bus network. Check schedules and routes in advance to plan your journey effectively.

  3. Walking and Cycling. Al Maryah Island is designed for pedestrian-friendly exploration, with walkways and cycling paths. Consider walking or cycling to enjoy the scenic views and vibrant atmosphere.

  4. Water Transport. Given the island's waterfront location, water taxis and ferries may offer a unique and picturesque means of transportation.

  5. Planning Ahead. Familiarize yourself with the layout of the island and key landmarks. Planning your routes in advance can enhance your experience and save time.

Special Events

Al Maryah Island is not only a bustling hub for commerce and leisure but also a vibrant venue for various local events, festivals, and celebrations. The island hosts annual community events that bring residents and visitors together in a joyous atmosphere. Notable events include Winter Wonderland, Chinese New Year, UAE's National Day, and New Year's Eve.

  1. Winter Wonderland. Typically held during the winter season, Winter Wonderland transforms Al Maryah Island into a festive wonderland. Residents and visitors can enjoy the magical ambiance and participate in various activities.

  2. Chinese New Year. Celebrated according to the Chinese lunar calendar, Chinese New Year on Al Maryah Island is a vibrant event marked by cultural performances, decorations, and festivities.

  3. UAE's National Day, a significant occasion, is celebrated on December 2nd. Al Maryah Island joins the nation in commemorating this event with patriotic fervor, featuring events that highlight the country's rich heritage.

  4. New Year's Eve. Al Maryah Island bids farewell to the year with a spectacular New Year's Eve celebration. The festivities include mesmerizing firework shows, outdoor entertainment, and indoor performances, creating a memorable experience for all.

Practical Information

  1. Currency. The official currency in Al Maryah Island is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED). Make sure to familiarize yourself with the current exchange rates for convenience during your stay.

  2. Language. Arabic is the official language of the United Arab Emirates. English is widely spoken, especially in commercial and tourist areas. Most signage and information are available in both languages.

  3. Time Zone. Al Maryah Island operates in the Gulf Standard Time (GST), which is UTC+4.

  4. Local Customs. Respecting local customs and traditions is important. Dress modestly, particularly in public spaces and religious sites, to show cultural sensitivity.

Safety Considerations and Emergency Contact Information

  1. Emergency Numbers. For emergencies, dial 999 for police, ambulance, or fire services.

  2. Health and Medical Services. Al Maryah Island has access to modern medical facilities. In case of medical emergencies, contact local hospitals or clinics. Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers healthcare.

  3. Personal Safety. Al Maryah Island is generally safe, with low crime rates. Exercise standard precautions such as safeguarding valuables and being aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas.

  4. Weather Considerations. The climate in Abu Dhabi, including Al Maryah Island, is hot and arid. Stay hydrated, use sunscreen, and dress appropriately for the weather, especially during the summer months.


Al Maryah Island stands as a testament to the city of Abu Dhabi's dynamic development, offering a harmonious blend of business, leisure, and lifestyle experiences. From the world-class shopping at The Galleria to the developed parks and waterfront dining, the island caters to diverse interests, emphasizing a family-friendly environment. The abundance of dining options, including renowned establishments like Zuma or Paul Café, contributes to the area's reputation as a culinary hub.

For those seeking a balanced lifestyle, Al Maryah Island offers an edge in terms of wellness and relaxation, evident in the developed wellness facilities and opportunities to learn. Whether you're looking to shop at luxury brands like Cartier, dine at world-renowned restaurants, or simply enjoy a drink with friends, the island provides a comprehensive and inviting experience.


  • 1.

    How to get to Al Maryah Island from Abu Dhabi Airport?

    To reach Al Maryah Island from Abu Dhabi Airport, your best options are taking a taxi or using ride-sharing apps like Uber. The island is approximately a 30-minute drive from the airport, offering a convenient and direct transportation solution. Public buses are available but may involve transfers, making taxis or ride-sharing services a more efficient choice for travelers.

  • 2.

    Is Al Maryah Island family-friendly?

    Al Maryah Island is designed to be family-friendly, featuring parks, waterfront dining, and a range of activities suitable for families. The area emphasizes a safe and enjoyable environment for residents and visitors alike.

  • 3.

    What are the notable dining options on Al Maryah Island?

    Al Maryah Island boasts a diverse culinary scene, including renowned restaurants like Zuma or Cheesecake Factory, offering a variety of cuisines. Whether you're looking for a casual dining experience or upscale international cuisine, the island caters to different tastes.

  • 4.

    How is security managed on Al Maryah Island?

    Security on Al Maryah Island is well-managed to ensure the safety of residents and visitors. The island prioritizes user experience and employs measures to create a secure environment, making it a comfortable place to live, work, and explore.

  • 5.

    Are there recreational activities on Al Maryah Island?

    Al Maryah Island offers a range of recreational activities, including developed parks, seafront promenades, and wellness facilities. The island provides opportunities for relaxation and outdoor enjoyment amidst its urban setting.

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Update date: 05/26/2024