Joining an incredible lineup of architecturally stunning buildings in the UAE Capital of Abu Dhabi is Qasr Al Watan – the Presidential Place – which opened its doors to the public in 2019.
It is extraordinarily beautiful and a must on an Abu Dhabi itinerary, but how do you appropriately dress for such a beautiful building? We explain exactly what you need to take into consideration.
What is Qasr Al Watan?
This auspicious building houses the offices of the UAE President (His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan), Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai (His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum) and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi (Khaled bin Mohamed Al Nahyan).
It is also the meeting place of the Federal Supreme Council of the UAE, where cabinet meetings are held, and the meeting place for state dignitaries.
Its function is entirely as a Government building rather than a religious building like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This means that the strict dress code that applies for entry to the Mosque does NOT apply at Qasr Al Watan.
Parts of the building are open for public tours throughout the year (unless there is a State visitor). You can visit the Grand Hall, the library, Spirit of Collaboration (the official meeting rooms), and several display rooms.
What Should I Wear to Qasr Al Watan?
Now, just because it’s not a religious building and full head covering and body covering for ladies is not required, Government buildings in the UAE are still what would be considered public places so there’s a degree of modesty required when visiting Qasr al Watan, in line with the general dress code for Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
The official line from Qasr Al Watan is:
“Guests should wear respectful clothing when in the palace.”
It is not all that helpful if you are unfamiliar with how to dress respectfully when in a Muslim country. To help break this down further for you, here’s what we’d suggest.
Dress Code For Ladies Visiting Qasr Al Watan
- Covered shoulders and knees
- No tight, clingy or over-revealing clothing
- No transparent clothing showing underwear layers
- No beachwear
- A shawl/pashmina or head covering is not required for ladies, but you may like one if you have thin shoulder straps – or generally, like most UAE buildings, to protect from the air conditioning.
Dress Code For Men Visiting Qasr Al Watan
- Trousers are preferable to shorts, though not compulsory
- If you do wish to wear shorts, aim for knee-length
- Wear shirts or t-shirts that cover the shoulders; no tank tops or beachwear
Dress Code For Children Visiting Qasr Al Watan
- Before around 12 years of age, children can dress as they please
- From puberty onwards, they are expected to dress for modesty as per the adult dress code
Whilst ‘breaking’ any of these rules may not see you denied access, it is the polite and respectful thing to do. Security could still deny you access if they feel you are inappropriately dressed for the building tour.
You may even want to wear something a little more dressed up if you’re keen on taking some beautiful photos in the most beautiful building in Abu Dhabi (don’t tell the Grand Mosque we said that!)
Don’t forget to head over here to read our detailed visitors guide to Qasr Al Watan. We share exactly how to get there, ticket pricing for general entry and tours and how to make the most out of your visit.
If you’ve not got your own transportation, or if you are visiting from Dubai, we suggest you try one of these tours, which includes a stop at Qar al Watan:
Before you go… Important things to consider when planning a trip to Abu Dhabi
- Pop into our essential planning information page; it includes everything you need to know about getting around Abu Dhabi, a handy guide on what to pack and top tips for first-timers on the dos and don’ts, laws, and customs in the UAE.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!
- Discover the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our hotel or tour recommendation links.Abu Dhabi Travel Planner