Women's Handicrafts Centre

Women's Handicrafts Centre, Abu Dhabi: Address, Phone Number, Women's Handicrafts Centre Reviews: 3/5

Women's Handicrafts Centre
3
Speciality & Gift Shops
About
If you're curious about how local craft-makers weave and create the wares you see in souks, then this center is an essential stop. Visit the shop while there to treat yourself to some local crafts.
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3.0
24 reviews
Excellent
8
Very good
4
Average
3
Poor
2
Terrible
7

Pam K
1 contribution
Extremely uncomfortable experience!!!!
Mar 2019 • Friends
This was part of our tour that we booked to see Abu Dhabi. We were told that these women come here to keep their craft alive. When we got off the bus and walked to where we were directed, everyone on the tour was confused or unimpressed with their experience. There were women working or not working sitting on the floor. Their clothing they wore was tattered and we felt so uncomfortable walking/opening each door as we were directed too.
When we came back to the bus, I asked the tour guide if this was a place for women who were shun from their society or displaced women? The tour guide said "No, these were very wealthy women, who come each day to for a couple of hours doing their craft. Very expensive cars take them here and drive them home.
I would NOT recommend this place. There were no crafts to purchase, no interactions, JUST TOTALLY A WEIRD EXPERIENCE! If I could give a zero star I would. Don't waste your time or money here!!
Written April 1, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

justjo008
Northeastern Ontario, Canada576 contributions
It could have been so much more
Jan 2019 • Couples
I was surprised to read all the negative reviews of the Women's Handicrafts Centre. Like others who reviewed the Centre, I too was really looking forward to visiting but I can't say that we felt "unwelcome" ... actually it was the exact opposite for us. We received a friendly greeting at reception. As we approached each of the different buildings, we were welcomed and invited in. In some of the buildings they were sharing "snacks" and they always came over and offered us some as well. We welcomed the opportunity to watch some of the women as they worked on their crafts. Their skills were amazing. The title of my review "it could have been so much more" refers to the missed opportunities in the Centre. I was hoping to be able to purchase handicrafts to take home to friends and family but there were very few opportunities to purchase items. Maybe we visited on a day that wasn't as active as usual, I don't know, but it's a beautiful location and the idea of visiting a Women's Handicraft Centre in the UAE is very appealing to me as a Canadian. I hope they will make some improvements and then I will be happy to return.
Written March 11, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

ClaireFolly
Reading, UK67 contributions
Don’t bother!
Nov 2018 • Couples
We especially trekked to try and find this place and were highly disappointed. Lady at reception was fine as we had ID and it all seemed quite promising. A gentleman directed us to the ‘huts’ there the ladies are making things - he also seemed nice. That’s where it stopped. Ladies are extremely unwelcoming, one completely hid away from us. We didn’t even bother going in the other huts, probably did 2/7? A complete waste of time. If you want handicrafts, go to the world trade mall old souk. A much nicer experience. If I could give the 0/5 I would.
Written November 10, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Mak
16 contributions
Unwelcome
Oct 2018 • Family
Greeted by rather rude and conflicted women at the reception - one who refused us entry without “ID” whilst the other deemed this unnecessary! Arguing among themselves!!
Having spent money to get here refused entry, and turned away without any advise/suggestions on how one gets a taxi back (from a place that no taxi driver seems to familiar with!)... We were instructed to walk on the road and look for one, in 37 degrees with a toddler!!
Written October 22, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Edokko29
Brea, CA79 contributions
Disappointed
Nov 2017 • Solo
I was disappointed, because I was looking forward to visiting this place more than any other place in Abu Dhabi. First it was extremely difficult to find this place. My taxi driver didn't know where it was and wasted time and my money getting information and then dropped me in the wrong place. After walking around for a while in a residential area I finally found this place. I was the only visitor when I was there and most of the women were not friendly. I knew I couldn't take photos of the women, but politely asked them if I could take a photo of their handicrafts and they said no. One of them pointed at a framed photo of a woman, so I took a picture of the photo. The exhibit wasn't worth the money, either. It was hard to find a taxi to go back to my hotel and I had to walk for half an hour before i finally found one. Not recommended if you travel alone.
Written March 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Susan Y
Bristol, UK18 contributions
A genuine experience -
Dec 2017 • Solo
It depends what you are expecting - if you go wanting to see some real, local women working at real traditional crafts - then you will not be disappointed. If you are expecting something that is tourist polished - then don't go. I was careful to always ask before entering the rooms, to be very discreet, to just watch and look - and it probably helped that I'm an older woman on my own. The women are all dressed traditionally (take a look at the brightly coloured undergarments, richly decorated at cuffs and ankles, that contrast amazingly with the black abayas. Many are wearing traditional face masks. They chatter and chatter - and drink coffee, eat dates, lots of food seems to be there. There are completed weavings and clothes to see. The pottery isn't much - but the weaving is authentic and very skilful. The women demonstrate. There is a little museum/display - of traditional bedouin life, and this is nice too. A little tired, but it's all genuine items. I didn't bother to go to the heritage centre in Abu Dhabi, having seen that. I bought a piece of weaving - small pieces are on sale in the shop. It's expensive, but the real thing. I agree, the shop isn't up to much - they are missing out on what could be a much more commercial enterprise. I didn't get charged to go in, nor had to relinquish any identity - unlike the comments of other people who have visited. I really enjoyed it, but as I said - it depends entirely what you are expecting.
Written December 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Highexpects
London, UK37 contributions
Great to see craft work but shop disappointing
Apr 2017
Been there to see local women's craft skills and buy some of theirs products. Went there on a Thursday morning with a friend, the ladies were very welcoming, offered us Emirati coffee and dates and water, very authentic place. The crafts of telli, weaving, embroidery were great to see. I was expecting henna painting though, as this is advertised on their website but there was none offered to buy, and regarding the perfumes also advertised on the website none was available to buy, just on display. The museum/shop was a disappointment because the dresses with traditional thread work on them for sale were very few and not that great. Bit expensive as well and little choice unfortunately, shame as this is a great idea and could be so much better and profitable.
Written April 29, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

DMCXXX
London, UK6 contributions
Real Experience in Abu Dhabi
Apr 2017 • Couples
This was indeed hard to find but worth persevering if you want to meet some real Abu Dhabi women and see some local crafts in action. We found it more insightful than the Heritage Centre. You have to leave ID at the entrance which felt a little strange but no problem getting it back after. It helped us to have a driver with us who could interpret as most of the people there don't speak good English. We arrived just as prayers were calling and were told to leave one of the rooms until finished - fair enough. After that we sampled different rooms sharing different crafts in action. We were offered coffee and dates & shown the techniques and wears in a friendly & welcoming way. Beautiful coloured fabrics, basket weaving, etc. It felt like you were in a bit of an undiscovered environment as it was so free of the tourist hordes. We bought a bag & a covered notebook for 50d each and a small fabric jewellery box for 30d. On the way out we were charged 5d each retrospectively for entrance tickets. We both left having enjoyed the time and feeling like we had been let into a different world for a short space of time.....
Written April 21, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Toni Ugueto
Houston, TX294 contributions
Not worth the effort to find
Nov 2016 • Friends
First off, the women's handicraft center is located inside of the Women's Union complex. Our taxi driver suspected it was inside based on the location we showed him on google maps; thankfully he was right. There isn't any visible indication from the outside of the complex.

Be prepared to leave a ID at the reception in exchange for a badge. They only need one ID per group. The lady at reception informed us that the handicraft center "was straight" once we entered the grounds. My sister and I wandered in a straight direction until she recognized the tent shaped roofs for photos she had seen earlier.

Each type of handicraft is marked by a sign outside of each building, but most of the doors are closed. There were women walking around but no one made eye contact or offered to help. Eventually a man walked by and we asked him if the shops were open and he said to just go inside any door expect the embroidery studio, which was closed. We first stopped at the "sewing" crafts, taking off our shoes before entering. Women were sitting around but not really doing anything. There were some items on a table which we presumed were for sale, but no one knew the prices. A lady took the item I was interested in and left to determine the price. She returned shortly telling me it was 50 AED, which was more than I wanted to spend but then felt obligated since she made the effort.

We then walked across the courtyard to the "textile" studio, which turned out to me weaving on small brass looms. A lady there told us we could walk around and take pictures of the their work but not any of them. The work was very impressive but there was no explanation of how it was done or anything. We asked if the finished pieces on the wall were for sale and she told us yes but didn't know the prices.

We then decided to leave since it felt like we were interrupting the lunch and prayer time. On the way out we passed the exhibition hall and decided to walk in to see what was being exhibited. There were various scenes depicting cultural activities, i.e., henna handing painting, pearl harvesting, jewelry making etc. At the end of the "exhibit" there were items to buy, but only half of them were marked with prices. So once again I had to ask for the price and the man at the counter had to leave to find out. The small basket was 30 AED, which was reasonable so I decided to buy it. At that point I was informed there was an entrance fee of 5 AED per person. While that isn't an unreasonable cost, it would have been nice to know in advance especially when the women's handicraft center is considered a free activity.

I have traveled to handicraft centers in various countries and this one isn't worth the effort to visit. No one seemed interested in talking about their work or even having visitors. It was uncomfortable and it felt like we were interrupting them. Perhaps it would have been a different experience with an Arabic speaker or at a different time; we were there at noon and wandered around until 12:40. It should also be noted that it's not in an area frequented by taxis so we had to walk to the main road and wait to hail one down.

I'm posting pictures that are representative of our trip. If you want something more, don't bother to go. You will be disappointed.
Written November 17, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

AlesiaSoroka
Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine18 contributions
Reception person ruins it ALL
Feb 2016 • Family
I got there around 12 pm and was surprised to know I needed passport to get in. Where else in the world do people have to leave their most important document in order to enter a museum? The woman at the reception didn't want to take my hotel card instead, which is fine, but she didn't inform me that the Handicraft centre is open till 1pm(it said 3 pm on google), so I travelled to the hotel and back for nothing. That reception woman looked so upset that she had to see me again. So this time she just offered me to see craftworks in another building on the first floor but there was just an map installation of what Abu Dhabi looked like before oil era, which was just a bunch of similar buildings. To enter that valuable exhibition was 5 dirham. What a waste of time and such poor service...
Written February 22, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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