It’s that time of year again: Ramadan is inching closer, decent weather is inching further, and your favorite venues are winding down for summer – not to mention, there’s exactly one weekend left until our everyday routines are altered. So how do you plan to spend it?
Sure, there’s always a semi-decent brunch in town, watching a movie is a fail-safe option, and a trip to the mall never hurt anyone. But you could do so much better. Enter: Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, where an upscale spa, four outdoor pools, a nearly six-mile stretch of environmentally protected beach, and countless dining options await amidst the kind of understated luxury that Dubai residents crave.
Need to Know
Nestled along the pristine, white-sand beach of Saadiyat Island (which translates to ‘the island of happiness’) that is located 500 meters off the coast of Abu Dhabi, the award-winning beach resort hosts 306 guestrooms, 39 of which are suites and villas. Besides private balconies or terraces, they all offer views of the pool, the Arabian Sea, or the hotel’s impeccably landscaped gardens. If you’re willing to splurge, opt for the ‘Presidential’ or ‘Garden View’ suite as they both boast a private plunge pool.
Also noteworthy is the fact that Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi is sensitive to the property’s unique location – the natural island accommodates 76,000 square meters of landscape, nine kilometers of beach protected for its indigenous wildlife, and the resident population of critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles. Through design elements such as native plants, pebble-infused lagoon pools, stone boulders from Hatta, and boardwalks built over the turtle nesting sites to lead guests to the beach, they manage to co-exist in perfect harmony with its surroundings.
Interspersed throughout the property are dim lighting, artistic structures, and decorative water features that add an air of tranquility. Lending a touch of romance are the flame torches that light the pathway out to the beach at night, while expansive lawns mean that no matter how high the occupancy rate is, the resort never feels overcrowded.
What You'll Like
The sleek simplicity of the guestrooms – the color palette is dominated by soothing shades of white, cream, and brown – coupled with the fact that you don’t have to go all out to enjoy the kind of creature comforts you’d want from a staycation. I spent a weekend in the contemporary ‘Park King’ room, where 50 square meters are furnished with a plush bed, a chaise lounge, oak flooring, a Nespresso ‘Essenza’ coffee maker, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a private balcony featuring a daybed and garden views.
Even better? The lavish open-plan marble bathroom complete with dual vanity sinks, a Hans Grohe rain shower, and a deep standalone tub accented by green tea and cucumber bath products from the June Jacobs ‘Spa Collection’ translate to utter relaxation.
What You'll Love
Living out the dolce far niente way of life in the hotel’s many public spaces. Sure, you can burn a few calories in the 24-hour gym or 25-meter lap pool located in the wellness center, but why would you? There’s R&R to be found in spades amongst the Park Hyatt’s pièce de résistance: the two infinity pools that seem to extend to the hypnotically blue seascape beyond. Here, vast gardens, loungers aplenty, cabanas shaded by swaying palm trees, and hidden rock pools make it impossible to drag yourself back to your room.
Another one of the hotel’s crown jewels is Atarmia Spa that is spread over two levels and features nine treatment rooms (three of which have private outdoor terraces). The extensive range of healing rituals and spa experiences here is inspired by the region’s rich history, complemented by products from the likes of HydroPeptide and Natura Bissé. While everything from hydrafacials and microdermabrasion to hot-stone massages are on offer, opting for the Neom Organics ‘Happiness Body Treatment’ felt like a no-brainer – particularly considering the name of the island.
Interestingly enough, this 60-minute “mood lifting” treatment began with five minutes of guided meditation and a light spritz of mist onto my pillow and pulse points – a wonderful first for me as far as spa treatments are concerned. Admittedly, it did exactly what was promised, what with everything from the uplifting ‘Happiness Scented Candle’ to the softening ‘Great Day Body Scrub’ sourced from the Make You Happy range by Neom Organics. Enveloped in a blend of neroli, mimosa, lemon, and essential oils, courtesy of the full-body massage that wrapped up my treatment, I walked out blissfully rested and vowed to try the 90-minute version next time.
Three dining outlets and 24-hour room service mean you’ll be well-fed at all hours, especially if you decide to order the decadent truffle mac ‘n’ cheese past midnight just for the thrill of it – or maybe that’s just me. Breakfast and brunch at The Café is a truly elaborate affair (think: regional specialties served alongside international dishes), while lunch is best enjoyed at the laid-back Beach House, courtesy of Mediterranean favorites and beachy vibes. A word of advice about this one: leave room for the chocolate olive-oil cake.
Carnivores and pescetarians alike will find culinary nirvana at signature eatery The Park Bar & Grill, with belon oysters, beef tartare, and the delicious goats’ cheese salad with hazelnuts and pickled grapes making for a wonderful start to dinner. Prime cuts such as Wagyu tenderloin and rib eye steak reside on the mains menu, as do seafood options like king prawns from Oman, halibut from Scotland, and grilled octopus served with black-ink fried rice and saffron aioli. What stood out, however, was dessert: a deconstructed lemon tart plated tableside to my delight.
Trendy nightspots, thriving cultural venues, and great restaurants are all in close proximity to the resort. Start with something that Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi does particularly well: wildlife experiences. Resident marine biologist Arabella Willing guides boat tours through the local mangroves as well as coastal habitats to spot bottlenose dolphins.
If a fix of art and culture is what you’re after, Louvre Abu Dhabi is easily accessible – under 15 minutes away, to be precise – and hosts an evolving roster of temporary and permanent exhibitions, so you’re bound to catch something new each time. Cuisines spanning the globe have taken up residence at The Collection, so take your pick from contemporary Japanese restaurant KOI, elegant Indian eatery Avasa, or American resto-lounge Caramel.
You’ll want to end your staycation on a high note, and a night packed to the brim with Asian flavors, music, and mixology supreme is virtually guaranteed at the recently opened hotspot Buddha-Bar Beach. It also happens to be the only branch in the world that is open all year round – island of happiness indeed.