A five-star resort offering understated luxury and strong eco-friendly principles brings a new wave of luxury to the shores of Saadiyat Island.
While development along the Saadiyat Island’s natural coastline has been rife in recent years, Jumeirah Saadiyat is found on a lesser developed stretch of sand. Overlooking the pristine shores of the Arabian Gulf and offering views of Abu Dhabi’s glittering skyline, Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort is pure magic.
Set on a gorgeous stretch of powder white sand, the hotel boasts stunning exterior design, breezy, nautical interiors and unmatched levels of service. Conveying signature Jumeirah touches, the property boasts a distinctive design and a strong sense of place, with contemporary and traditional Arabic elements converging to create a unique resort that encourages guests to adopt a more relaxed pace of life from the moment they step into the Insta-worthy lobby.
Entering into the lobby, we’re met with the most breath-taking space! Majestic figurine glass sculptures, shaped like ethereal jellyfish, hang from the ceiling in shades of blue. Hand made in the Czech Republic from over two hundred individual pieces; seven colours can be found upon this sculpted light fitting that takes on motifs of jellyfish, shells, and tentacles perfectly in keeping with the beachfront location. Elsewhere, floor-to-ceiling windows provide a glimpse of what awaits – a sprawling pool and sandy beach. While throughout the resort, the stylish contemporary architecture is decorated with marine themed touches looking to bring the aquatic world to life.
One of the most pleasant surprises, and a core value that makes the hotel stand apart from its competitors, is its dedication to the island location. The 293-room Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island values sustainable tourism with a plastic-free approach. When checking in, you’ll be given a neon-coloured single-use plastics bottle or reusable metal water bottle, which you can re-fill with still or sparkling water at different points around the hotel to stay hydrated.
The property’s 293 rooms include eight villas with private pools, 64 suites and six panoramic suites offering floor-to-ceiling glass walls, which open up to take advantage of the far-reaching sea views. Guests can enjoy relaxing on their extended patios or huge balconies (depending on which floor your room is on), overlooking the pristine beach and serene waters.
A Two Bedroom Ocean Family Suite is our abode for two nights, and we couldn’t be more in awe. The room is generously sized at 134sqm and designed with a meticulous beach-vibes approach where space has been used practically and stylishly. Neutral creams and beiges reflect the dunes at the beach and are punctuated with bold cushions and elevated with thoughtful artwork.
The lovely suite features a large bedroom with a huge king bed piled high with plump pillows and a thick duvet that results in a comfortable nights sleep. Sliding doors lead out onto a balcony that offers fabulous views out to sea, where we spend a considerable amount of time lounging with a cup of coffee in hand. Featuring sweeping views of the Arabian Gulf, the suite offers a sense of comfort and understated luxury. The storage is plentiful and designed in a way that is accessible but not intrusive to your space. The suite also features a writing desk and plush seating area, while a rotating flatscreen television allows for comfortable viewing. Everything throughout the space flows naturally and we could have easily spent an entire week hiding out here.
The en-suite bathroom is one of those that you would dream of having in your own home and could well be the definition of #BathroomGoals. The bathroom is spacious and elegantly kitted out with a deep-soaking bathtub, a separate rainfall shower and great luxury amenities. The double vanity is ideal for couples and friends who need their own space for makeup or grooming.
With Saadiyat Island offering 9km of coastline in addition to mangroves, wetland areas and the Saadiyat Beach dune ecosystem, the beach is always going to be the primary draw. An untouched swathe of golden sand and turquoise waters that could easily be mistaken for the Caribbean is pleasantly unmarred by construction, meaning you have the opportunity to stroll along this natural stretch of coastline unhindered. If you’re lucky (as we were), you may even see pods of dolphins frolicking close to the shore. Sun loungers, umbrellas and spacious curtained cabanas are spaced appropriately along the beachfront enabling guests to find their own slice of island paradise.
Between the beach and the main hotel building, there are three swimming pools. An adults-only lap pool, a family lagoon pool and a children’s splash pool, complete with fountains and playground equipment housed within the shallow waters. The hotel is also home to a state-of-the-art Fitness & Wellness Centre aptly named Bodyism and onsite tennis courts.
We also try out the SPA, and we’re mesmerised from the moment we walk through the doors. This wellness haven is an entire building on its own. The SPA embodies a strong passion for organic rituals and innovative therapies, placing your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing at the centre of everything they do. The team are so accommodating and enthusiastic about making sure that you have the best escape. Before we head into the apartment-sized – maybe even bigger – treatment room, we check out the facilities and are genuinely blown away. The hydro facilities area includes a hydro pool, cold plunge pool, sauna, steam, rhassoul, salt room, experience showers and ice fountain. It is a whole mini sanctuary on its own. There’s also a grand Moroccan Bath and Hammam for those who want extra indulgence. We opt for a 60-minute Saadiyat Revitalising Massage which sends us into a deep slumber almost instantly…
If food is your forte, then Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort has it all. If you’re a fan of Italian fare and seafood, then Mare Mare will be sure to please. Overseen by charismatic chef de cuisine Simone Federici, the restaurant is tucked away at the right-hand side of the hotel, and the views here are something to behold. To start, we opt to share the gamberi obsiblue; delicate obsiblue prawns with orange and paprika. The rest of the menu comprises antipasti dishes, salads, pasta and pizza. The gourmet burrata pizza with yellow tomato sauce and basil pesto has long been a Fact favourite.
Then there’s Tean, an Arabic cuisine restaurant that, again, exceeded our expectations. Must order dishes include the manti dumplings and the tender grills. Dessert was a lovely Signature TEAN Tart, comprising of house-made fig marmalade, rose cream and mastika ice cream that was not only delicious but made for the perfect shot for the Gram.
The newest addition to the culinary repertoire of the resort is The Lobster Lounge. A rooftop venue decked out in hues of lobster red and serving a concise menu of premium dishes. We relish both the lobster and prawn cocktail and the classic lobster roll, not to mention the loop churros and lobster cheesecake which comes decorated with a cloud of cotton candy. For fans of the gourmet crustacean, this venue is a must!
To top that off, the hotel also houses contemporary all-day dining White, an all-day dining restaurant with a difference! The design is beautifully conceptualised via archways and screens that break up the large space and provide pockets of privacy. We were impressed by the smoothie bar, gluten-free section, and the breakfast buffet’s global nature, including gravlax salmon, ample salads, and an enormous selection of fresh fruits. The hotel is also home to the lively Offside Sports Lounge and the elegant Majlis Saadiyat, where afternoon tea seems to be a hit with diners.
The hotel’s prime location on the island results in an experience where world-class art and culture seamlessly cohabit with mangroves, dolphins, and turtles – Saadiyat Island’s original ‘guests’. What surprised us most about our stay was how well children are catered to at the property. From the children’s personalised check-in to the colouring books in the restaurants and the extensive kids club with its playground, soft play area and video games room.
Located close to both the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the leisure attractions of Yas Island and just ten minutes from the city centre, Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort offers an island escape close to home and is exactly what the city needed to shake up the hospitality scene.