Saadiyat Island Abu Dhabi: Reasons to Visit the Capital This Weekend

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Saadiyat Island Abu Dhabi is a carefully curated one-stop shop for those looking to be spoiled in the UAE capital. The best part is with its pristine white beach, azure water, and world-class hotels this Abu Dhabi gem is only a quick car ride away.

A mere hour by car from Dubai or 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi airport, Saadiyat Island packs a lot into a space ten times larger than Monaco or Downtown Dubai. Saadiyat Island means “Island of Happiness”, offering exactly that for gourmands, families, and those just looking to get away from it all.

To help you navigate Saadiyat Island Abu Dhabi’s myriad options, we put together this Saadiyat Island Guide of where to stay and what to do.

Saadiyat Island Abu Dhabi
SAADIYAT ISLAND

Where to Stay

Saadiyat Island presents a diverse range of hotels and resorts, catering to various preferences, from opulent suites to family-friendly beach villas.

Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas

Nestled between a stretch of immaculate white sand (similar to what you would find in the Maldives) and Saadiyat Beach Golf Course lies Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas: an exclusive, stylish resort boasting over 300 rooms, including Ocean Suites, Sea or Golf View Rooms with king-sized beds and secluded, Garden or Beach View private villas, like the Executive or Royal Villa. The carnivorous will enjoy dining at Maté, a smart-casual Argentinian steakhouse or the boho-chic Shala Beach Lounge for al fresco sundowners. This summer, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas offers a ‘Playcation’ with two-day unlimited access to Yas Island’s theme parks – something to sweeten the deal for families.

St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort

The grandeur of this five-star beach resort also sits snugly between the beaches of the Arabian Gulf and Saadiyat Beach Golf Course. The property’s smooth Calcutta marble floors rise to soaring ceilings. St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort features a 25-meter lap pool, three outdoor pools, its destination Iridium Spa and a state-of-the-art St. Regis Athletic Club for those serious about working out while getting away from it all. Half a dozen or so dining options start with MAZI, a Michelin-listed, Greek-themed restaurant (try the Dakos and Tamara), before retiring to the lively Parisian Buddha Bar Beach.

Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort

This Jumeirah property draws upon the surrounding environment with another prime beach location. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow light to flood into the property’s nearly 300 rooms, including rooms with balconies, sea views, and private terraces, like the Ocean Terrace King Room. Jumeirah at Saadiyat Resort makes strides towards sustainability with its Ocean Champion badge from the Ocean Standard and its partnerships with Trust Your Water to reduce single-use plastic consumption. The property features an on-site marine biologist offering enthusiastic educational sessions. Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort is moments away from the nearby mangrove park, where the hotel’s concierge can arrange for dolphin or sea turtle spotting. Families can avail of up to 15 percent discount offers to Jumeirah at Saadiyat Resort’s dining, spa treatments, and access to the Kids Club.

Saadiyat Island Abu Dhabi
SAADIYAT ISLAND

Nurai Island Resort

You could call this “Saadiyat-adjacent” as Nurai Island, a contemporary world-class luxury private island resort, is a mere 15-minute boat ride from Saadiyat Island. An island off the Island, if you will, a place to slip away and treat yourself. Guests ride bicycles meandering through the resort’s powder-white sand. From the beach villas to the palatial estate villas, Nurai Island ensures front-row seats to its surrounding natural beauty. The pale, white ocean-side spa offers treatments from body scrubs to wraps, massages, and more. Nurai Island’s dining options are chic but relaxed: from the curiously-titled Smokin’ Pineapple to the al fresco Levantine seafood restaurant Hooked. The tiny island packs a lot to do for overnight stays or long weekends, including kayaking and fishing, complimentary Yoga sessions, and even a Kids Club (allowing grown-ups that much wanted alone time).

Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island

This enormous, blush-tinted family resort sports oriental court gardens and multiple water features, and blends a bit of Mediterranean with Arabic design.  The Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island resort perches on the doorstep of the cerulean sea. An “All Inclusive All Exclusive” experience at the resort frees you to hop between its multiple dining choices like casual Italian L’Olivo, enjoy live teppanyaki at Aja Asian & Teppanyaki, or watch the sun go down at Mermaid, its Greek seafood restaurant. For the family looking for things to do this summer, Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island offers complimentary stays for two children below 12 years, discounted tickets to Yas Theme Parks, access to Qasr al Watan and the Louvre Abu Dhabi (see more about the Louvre Abu Dhabi below). Children can spend a day at the Rixy Kids Club, Teen Club or the Exclusive Sports Club.

Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas

With over 300 rooms and suites plus over a dozen beach villas, Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas is situated on the nine-kilometer shoreline within an easy 10-minute drive from Saadiyat’s Cultural District (which you can read more about below). After a dayexploring Saadiyat Island, tuck into Italian cuisine at Saadiyat Rotana’s Italian restaurant, Si Ristorante Italiano & Bar, or British-American sports bar, Hamilton’s Gastropub. The hotel’s Zen the Spa offers Moroccan hammams, Himalayan treatments, and more. If you’re searching for relaxation, book a private beach cabana at the resort’s suites and villas while the little ones seek adventures at Aladdin’s Cave Kids Club.

Where to Go

Saadiyat Island is not just a place for resorts and saunas. The island boasts an array of cultural and natural excursions for out-of-towners, starting with the Cultural District in the heart of Saadiyat Island.

Manarat Al Saadiyat

Manarat Al Saadiyat, which translates as “a place of enlightenment”, opened as an arts hub in 2009. It features multiple exhibitions and talent development programs like the Mawhibaty, which encourages young artists to “develop and discover their style of self-expression through art” (ends 20 August 2023).

Louvre Abu Dhabi

The iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi opened in 2017 with impressive architecture, including the standout cupola-inspired roof, a distinctive feature in Arabic architecture. The museum offers regular art history walks and a constantly evolving exhibitions program. We recommend buying tickets in advance, especially on weekends.

Saadiyat Beach Club

For those just looking for a day trip to Saadiyat Island , check out the elegant Saadiyat Beach Club with its long outdoor pool flanked by generously-sized cabanas perfect for luxuriating in the morning sun. The evening gets lively with an in-house DJ and sundowners available. Saadiyat Beach Club also regularly features Ladies’ Specials.

Saadiyat Island Abu Dhabi
SAADIYAT ISLAND

Saadiyat Beach Golf Club

The Saadiyat Beach Golf Club straddles many of the resorts mentioned above. This 18-hole, 72-par golf course stretches for over seven kilometers. New players can practice at the Par 3 Academy. Just watch out for the native Arabian Gazelles who often roam the course. The “19th hole” includes the Hawksbill Restaurant with indoor dining and a sweeping terrace.

Mamsha Al Saadiyat

Discerning diners should head over to the beachfront Mamsha Al Saadiyat, which is gaining a following for its rising food scene and promenade overlooking Soul Beach. NIRI Restaurant and Bar stands out: a Michelin-listed, contemporary, Japanese restaurant, its chefs prepare your dishes over a robata grill as you dine under a Sakura tree.

What’s Coming Soon

We look forward to new concepts coming to Saadiyat Island very soon, such as the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum, and the Natural History Museum, which will feature some of the rarest natural history specimens ever found on Earth.

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