[caption id="attachment_27384" align="alignleft" width="640"] A performer at the F1 Cirque De Soleil Code 20 closing party.[/caption]
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is over for the year. The yachts are departing, the hotels are emptying and the staff are clearing up the party venues. While I couldn't physically make it to all the parties at the weekend, my collection of wristbands and neck passes indicates I put in a pretty good effort.
I kicked off race day with a chat with Elena Chatzikonstantinou, the woman behind the legendary Code 20 post-race parties with an avant-garde theme that take place at the Shanghai, Monaco, Montreal, Austin and Abu Dhabi grand prix. She told me that what sets the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix apart from the rest is that here we have a whole island dedicated to the F1. The venue for Code 20 is important, so she was delighted to take over the Viceroy hotel's Rush bar and join forces with the Dubai nightclub Cirque Le Soir.
After a pre-race lunch on the terrace at the swanky Cavali Caffe, which took over the Viceroy's Nautilus restaurant for F1 weekend, I headed to the Life of Riley yacht to watch the final race.
With its perfect trackside position, this luxury boat was the place to be to witness the action while nibbling on oysters and gourmet canapes from the caterers XO Enterprises, and when the race was over and our ears stopped ringing, DJ Yass and The SaxMan (aka Ben Barnett) and his brightly lit LED saxophone entertained the guests and drew a crowd of passersby in the marina. To reserve your spot at this top yacht party, visit www.livethelifeofriley.com. The company will be taking bookings for next year's F1 in a couple of months, and due to massive demand, they're going to need a bigger boat.
The parties were going strong on all the yachts, and one of the busiest was on the enormous 280ft Moonlight II which payed host to the likes of David Hasselhoff, Akon and Diego Maradona over the weekend. Duabi's Studio F club was hosting and its stunning models entertained the partygoers over the weekend. The Moonlight II's official sponsors, the technology and fashion brand Amodoria were on board showcasing and auctioning their collection of gold iPhones and iPads.
If you weren't lucky enough to get invited to one of the yacht parties, there were plenty of other options. I went to check out Code 20's extravaganza at the Viceroy. With popcorn and cotton candy machines, weird and wonderful performers including stilt walkers, midgets, magicians and a dancer wearing what can only be described as a giant crying baby head mask (which was a little disturbing) there was a real fairground/circus atmosphere, with DJ Erok spinning the tunes.
Vying for the title of best F1 after-party was Amber Lounge, where I headed to next, to dance to the Los-Angeles hip-hop group Far East Movement, who played a dynamic live set including their US No 1 hit Like a G6
, and catch a set from the UK DJ and drummer McNasty. Amber Lounge was packed out with partygoers and among the famous face spotted there were the F1 drivers Nico Rosberg, Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez, Daniel Ricciardo, Esteban Gutierrez, Jules Bianchi and Giedo van der Garde, plus Sir Christopher and Lady Sara Hoy.
Well and truly partied out, it was time to leave Yas Island at dawn and get some much-needed sleep. Until next year...