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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 March 2019

Hotel insider: Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort

Abu Dhabi's latest luxury hotel offers a plastic-free experience and one of the most private stretches of beach in the capital

The welcome

I arrive at the hotel on a Thursday evening and am pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy it is to hand over the car and have the bags tended to. The hotel has not been open very long, but the arrival experience is not reflective of that. I am guided to the check-in counter where I am greeted by Israel, whose big smile and ­infectious personality generate a sense of excitement at being here. He shares some details about the hotel and its design and, once the ­formalities are over, I’m shown to my room.

The neighbourhood

The capital’s newest Jumeirah property is extremely private. Away from the cluster of hotels located near Louvre Abu Dhabi, it is positioned just a few minutes from the Saadiyat Beach Club and ­nearby golf course. The city centre is a 20-minute drive away and it’s about half an hour from the airport.

The room

The Ocean Deluxe room I’m staying in is spacious and minimalist in design. It has a terrace with a daybed and a small table and chairs, a king-size bed, a small lounge area and a large bathroom with a tub, twin sinks and separate toilet and shower. I am impressed by the hotel’s efforts to reduce plastic – paper is used for the ­amenities and glass bottles for ­drinking water. The only real ­disappointment is that there isn’t a power point anywhere near a mirror, which makes using the hairdryer rather difficult.

The service

There is still some way to go when it comes to service. Given that the property is newly opened, it’s understandable that some staff are still getting a handle on things, but it was unacceptable that staff let themselves into my room when the do not disturb sign was on. Service is better in the dining outlets.

The scene

It’s very quiet across the resort, but will no doubt get busier once the hotel is more entrenched. For now, it is relaxed, but slightly lacking in vibrancy. It’s worth noting that when I visited, work was ongoing in the spa and gym, and some of the outlets were not yet open to the public.

The food

There are a handful of options to choose from. Majlis is a traditional yet casual eatery and the first you come across from the lobby. A salad here will cost you from Dh50, mezze dishes from Dh25, and a coffee from Dh20. White is the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant. Mare Mare is the Italian eatery and is a good choice if you’re a pasta lover. The homemade lasagne served here is definitely worth a try, as are the sea bass ceviche (Dh75) and beef carpaccio (Dh120). Tean rounds out the food and beverage offering and serves Levantine cuisine. The open kitchen adds to its appeal and contributes to a comfortable, homely atmosphere. There’s a pool bar, too, and a rooftop lounge and cigar lounge set to open in the coming months.

Loved

The ocean-inspired, glass- blown chandelier in the lobby, which reflects the different colours of the Arabian Gulf, as well as the water stations across the resort where guests can fill the water bottles given to them upon check in.

Hated

That the menus across the property had a gluten-free ­option symbol noted in their fine print, but this wasn’t then used to specify which dishes on the menu were actually gluten free.

The verdict

Great for those looking to get away for a weekend or even just a night. It’s family-­friendly – there’s a kids’ pool and a kids’ and teens’ club. The section of beach here is one of the most private in the capital.

The bottom line

Rooms at Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island (www.jumeirah.com) start from Dh735 a night, including breakfast, taxes and Wi-Fi.

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Opening date set for Jumeirah's Saadiyat Island resort

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Updated: January 8, 2019 07:42 PM

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