The capital of the United Arab Emirates is made up of towering steal high rises and gleaming shopping malls that are set against a backdrop of quaint backstreets and a traditional culture. The city caters to a large volume of business travellers who stay at the more convenient city hotels while leisure travellers opt for Abu Dhabi resort properties. Part of Abu Dhabi is also covered by the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world. The Empty Quarter or Rub’ al Khali, as it is known locally, is spread across four countries located in the lower portion of the Arabian Peninsula. It is home to Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, which promises a luxury experience that is the quintessence of Abu Dhabi.

The Women’s Handicraft Center was founded by the Abu Dhabi Women’s Association in 1975. It is a government-run center that showcases traditional arts and crafts. The work of over forty women is displayed and sold. Handmade clothing embellished with beads and embroidery are sold at the onsite shop along with souvenirs, incense, Arabian oils, woven carpets, floor mats and baskets made from the tree branches of date palms. You can even get a henna design painted on your hand that will last a few weeks.

The Center has a museum where finished products are on display and several workshops housed in huts on the premises. Visitors can observe the women applying their skills in the traditional regional crafts like textile weaving, embroidery, basket-making, silver-thread needlework. Guests are asked to remove their shoes before entering and refrain from taking photographs without permission. Women’s Handicraft Center is located inside The Women’s Union on Karama Street. It is open from Sunday to Thursday between 7am and 3pm.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.