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The eco-conscious Abu Dhabi hotel is as green as your Insta followers will be with envy when you post shots of your stay
The relaxed aura that results from a weekend at one of Abu Dhabi’s most idyllic new beachside getaways, the Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort, is also accompanied by an added glow of righteousness.
Because the Jumeirah property might be the most eco-conscious hotel in the UAE, committed as it is to minimising waste and supporting green events.
It is attempting to eliminate single-use plastics, a hot topic right now, by providing guests with refillable water bottles with local filtered water and banning plastic straws.
On the previous occasion I visited the hotel, it was acting as a starting base for the annual Electric Vehicle Road Trip Middle East; during my stay this time around, it was also hosting a Swim for Clean Seas event.
Views of the Arabian Gulf and the resort’s 400 metres of protected sand dunes are an almost omnipresent visual boon, from the moment you walk into the gleaming lobby. It is a genuine photo spot in itself, thanks to an eye-catching, sprawling shoal of glass jellyfish suspended from the ceiling.
All 293 rooms and suites face the sea, too – for further privacy, there are also eight villas within the property’s grounds.
The resort, which opened in November 2018, is sufficiently kind to nature that you may also spot a clutch of the several thousand turtles that call the Gulf home nesting on the beaches of Saadiyat.
As the name of our Ocean Suite suggests, the Gulf’s azure waters are also in eyeshot when in your own space, with two balconies that also look across the three swimming pools.
From the three main restaurants situated at beach level, the sights are also most agreeable. Breakfast on the first morning is at Tean, which offers an a la carte Levantine menu that ranges from subtle twists (eggs benedict with toasted zaatar muffins) to regional staples (such as lamb-packed Turkish pide or grilled halloumi).
Its terrace is a wonderful way to start the day; on the other side of the swimming pools, Mare Mare (pictured below left) has similarly recommended al fresco sea-facing seating. It moves the culinary focus a few thousand kilometres west along the Mediterranean to Italy, with a particular slant towards coastal catches: think zesty tonnarelli pasta with lobster or steamed octopus with mini roasted potatoes and black olives.
Sadly, at breakfast on the second morning, the seaside breeze has picked up to an extent that the terrace at White (pictured above right) is closed to customers, but in more clement weather, it certainly looks an inviting outdoor spot.
The king of the F&B outlets is The Lounge, however, where we enjoy dinner on the first evening. With a DJ building a party atmosphere from early evening, there’s an energy in the rooftop room to accompany artfully displayed modern dishes that juxtapose worldwide influences onto the European-themed menu. The melt-on-your-tongue beef cheek on a bed of polenta is the undoubted highlight.
After all that eating, you will want to take the short walk (or buggy ride) from the main hotel to the spa and Bodyism gym. They might be next door to each other, but the end games are vastly contrasting. While the latter’s motto is “Be kind to yourself”, you need to endure some pain to attain that goal; whereas in the 2,700sqm spa, you truly can indulge in genuinely kind self-indulgence.
Bodyism is run by a husband-and-wife duo from the company’s original gym in the UK, which has become a celeb favourite since it opened in 2006. Thirteen years on, its ethos is continued in Abu Dhabi, and as I find out at a “Warrior” class, that ethos involves a fair degree of graft in pursuit of a better body. The hour-long class comprises two circuits of 45-second exercise stations, bookended by warm-up and warm-down – and if you aren’t hurting for several days afterwards, you’re either a Bodyism personal trainer or fit enough to become one.
My 60-minute Saadiyat revitalising massage achieves exactly what it promises, meanwhile, followed by a personalised product recommendation. Should you wish, there is also a Moroccan hammam (pictured above) and a VIP couple’s spa suite with a private entrance.
The hotel’s eco-friendly endeavours make the whole experience guilt-free. Hospitality may be an industry where wastage has almost become endemic, but a stopover at the Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort is as green as your Insta followers will be with envy when you post shots of your stay.
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