Like a chocolate box of glittering treats, Abu Dhabi is a city that offers some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Not known for doing things by half, the UAE’s capital boasts an almost endless portfolio of opulent accommodation options – from bygone glamour to modernist architectural visions. With so many luxury hotels on offer, however, it can prove unexpectedly difficult to decide where to base yourself during your stay. Indeed, having browsed ‘the best beach hotels Abu Dhabi’, you might come away feeling mildly panicked.
After a recent luxury 4-day trip to the UAE, we’ve put together a guide to two of the best beach hotels Abu Dhabi, in the hope of making things a little easier for you. Offering 5 stay luxury, either hotel is ideal for those looking for a truly memorable trip to Abu Dhabi.
We hope that you enjoy.
Best Beach Hotels Abu Dhabi: Jumeirah Saadiyat Island
Nestled on one of Abu Dhabi’s pristine beaches, Jumeriah Saadiyat Island is the place to come to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Occupying one of the most sought after locations in Abu Dhabi, the resort is situated on the 27km stretch of Saadiyat Island; an area that has undergone an £18 million development programme.
Neighbouring some of the city’s most exciting cultural sights – including The Louvre Abu Dhabi – Jumeirah Saadiyat is the sleek, shiny, new kid on the block; having opened its doors in November 2018.
Just twenty minutes from Abu Dhabi’s international airport and ten minutes from the heart of the city, it’s easily accessible whilst still offering a quiet and peaceful refuge from downtown living.
Having caught an overnight flight to Abu Dhabi from London, arriving at this pearly white paradise was the perfect antidote for two weary, dishevelled travellers. Designed to resemble a laid back ‘summer house’ (albeit it, a particularly luxurious one), Jumeirah Saadiyat Island offers a low-key luxury.
Serene, calm and welcoming, this is the ideal resort for those looking to unwind and enjoy a decidedly tepid sea breeze. Offering 293 rooms, suites and villas, there are plenty of accommodation options for guests to choose from. We were both treated to a ‘Resort Deluxe King Room‘ that offered a bright and breezy room, complete with private balcony, huge bathroom and king-sized bed.
For those looking to really push the boat out, the villas (2, 3 and 4 bedrooms) looked particularly inviting, complete with private pools.
Our stomachs rumbling after some lack-lustre plane food, we headed straight to the hotel’s impressive breakfast buffet. Not quite your typical collection of pastries and fruit, Jumeirah’s breakfast (as we discovered) was fit for a king. Dining at the resort was a delight, and we were sure to make use of the hotel’s seven restaurants during our stay.
As we were visiting during Ramadan, we were treated to a particularly special dining experience; enjoying the hotel’s Iftar each evening. This was a slightly overwhelming and extravagant buffet, that offered traditional cuisine and delicacies from the wider Arabian peninsula.
Jumeirah Saadiyat Island was announced as the Jumeriah group’s first eco-conscious resort.
Fundamentally, this is due to the resort’s location on the island’s sandy beaches, which is resident to the endangered Hawksbill Turtle and Bottlenose Dolphin. In order to help protect its surrounding eco-system, Jumeirah Saadiyat Island has removed single-use plastic from the hotel. On arrival, guests are instead given a colourful water bottle to use during their stay, with filtered water stations scattered around the resort.
We were thrilled by this touch, having recently stayed at the similarly plastic-free Iberostar resort, and therefore made full use of our brightly coloured bottles during our stay.
Additionally, guests will find a rather cute, turtle-shaped guide in their rooms, with tips on how to ensure hatching turtles make it safely to the sea. Advice includes making sure that your room’s curtains are closed at night to ensure that the lights don’t distract the turtles from their pilgrimage (they should instead be guided by the light of the moon to the sea).
Reassured that this was not only a luxury resort, but one dedicated to protecting the environment and surrounding ecosystem, we were incredibly impressed by Jumeirah Saadiyat Island.
The 400m of pristine beach aside, the hotel also boasts three swimming pools and a spa. Visiting just as the low season was beginning (when temperatures begin to soar), we took early morning dips in the gloriously warm waters of the Arabian Gulf, before lazing by the shade of the pool. Our evenings at Jumeirah Saadiyat Island similarly took place on the beach, as we watched the sky turn a candy floss pink before setting somewhere beyond the horizon. Indeed, the sunsets here were an unexpected surprise; not something we would have initially associated with Abu Dhabi.
Guests also have the option of enjoying nature’s watercolour spectacle from the hotel’s beautiful rooftop bar.
Sufficiently relaxed after experiencing ‘island life’, we packed our bags and headed into the bright lights of the city for a truly memorable stay at what is said to be one of the best hotels in the world.
Best Beach Hotels Abu Dhabi: Emirates Palaces
The Emirates Palace is known around the world as the crowning jewel in Abu Dhabi’s crown. Costing an eye-watering £3 billion to build (the third most expensive in the world) and carrying the unofficial rating of a seven star hotel, things don’t get much more luxurious than a stay at the Emirates Palace.
How two, distinctly average, travel bloggers from Milton Keynes came to stay here is beyond us.
A whirlwind of sumptuous luxury from the moment that you walk through its doors, it’s evident that the Emirates Palace is a special place.
The preferred hotel of the world’s elite (including our own Royal family) the hotel even has its own six ‘Ruler Suites’; reserved for only the UAE’s Sheikhs and dignitaries. Indeed, not even the world’s most famous stars can stay here – even Elton John was turned away.
Ruler Suites aside, and unbeknownst to us on our arrival, we had been treated to one of the Palace’s most luxurious accommodations: the Khaleej Deluxe Suite. Once home to guests such as Prince Andrew and Pamela Anderson, this is – quite literally – a suite fit for a prince.
Stumbling through the suite’s doors (rooms are accessed using a ‘gold’ Emirates coin), our butler politely ignored our screams as we entered a space that was larger than most central London apartments. Decorated with gold and marble, the suite included a dining room, a lounge with a presidential style desk, an enormous bedroom, and a marble-filled bathroom complete with sunken bath.
A private wrap-around balcony – with views out across the peninsula – was also thrown in for good measure.
Attempting to calm ourselves down, we took a seat in the lounge to take a bite of the personalised chocolate mousse cake that had been left for us. As it turns out, this was the most incredible cake we have ever eaten; the sugar and deliciousness of it only fuelling our adrenaline levels. This was truly a once in a lifetime experience and one we were desperate to make the most of.
Regardless of whether you’re staying in a suite, please be rest assured that every room of the 394 residences in the Emirates Palace offer a glittering slice of luxury. The full room list can be found here.
Forcing ourselves out the door of our suite, the thought that we only had 24 hours to experience the Emirates Palace propelled us forward. Panicked, we jogged to the hotel’s ‘East Wing’ pool as the heat of the day began to retreat.
The hotel is divided into two wings, with a central domed (gold, of course) atrium in the middle. Pools are available at both wings, and include water slides, a 1.3km stretch of private sandy beach and a private marina.
Settling down in our sun loungers – ice-cold water and fresh towels kindly delivered to us on arrival – we lay back and stared in complete awe at our surroundings. The juxtaposition of the glinting, steely skyscrapers of the city set against the gentle swaying palm trees was mesmerising.
For our dinner at the Emirates Palace, we were in for another rare treat and were kindly invited to the hotel’s infamous Iftar. Housed within its own purpose-built marquee, this is one of the city’s most extravagant Iftars on offer. It proved a thoroughly enjoyable night with world-class food and entertainment, coupled with peaceful beach views.
Watching as family and friends arrived to enjoy an evening together, experiencing Iftar at the Emirates Palace allowed us a fascinating insight into this holy month and the sense of contagious celebration that it brings.
Thinking of visiting the UAE during Ramadan? Take a read here.
For those not visiting during Ramadan, fear not – the Emirates Palace boasts ten restaurants and three bars. Including Spanish, Indian, traditional Middle-Eastern and Asian cuisine, this is a hotel that caters to every palate.
For those looking for a particularly sweet treat, head to Palace Cappuccino for a hot chocolate sprinkled with 23 karat gold flakes. Without a doubt, it will be the most luxurious hot chocolate you’ll ever try.
With less than 24 hours to experience the Emirates Palace, and the majority of that time spent in our suite, we can firmly say that you’ll need to give yourself at least 3 nights here to truly enjoy all that it offers. We will be back!
Best Beach Hotels Abu Dhabi: Final Thoughts
Finding the best beach hotels Abu Dhabi is not a difficult task. Yet selecting hotels that will allow you to experience all that the city has to offer – beach and city and – can be a little more overwhelming. Our time at Jumeirah Saadiyat Island and Emirates Palace was therefore the perfect way to experience both facets of the city; with a final stay in the desert at Al Wathba Desert and Spa Resort.
Indeed, all three of our hotel stays in Abu Dhabi were once in a lifetime experiences; creating memories that we’ll look back on (yearningly) for years to come.
We hope you get to experience them, too.